The Constellation of Horus

(Review in Newsletter Ex Oriente Lux 18, 2001)


reviewBillions of stars and a handful of pyramids. Everyone is amazed by the precision with which the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids. The question is often asked: when and why did they build those colossal pyramids? The theories are both diverse and inconclusive. The theory of Bauval (The Orion Mystery), in which he states that the Belt of Orion correlates with the three pyramids of Gizeh, is not accepted by scientists. The scientific theory states that the constellation Orion contains more stars. Indeed, the theory of Bauval is incomplete because he starts from an incorrect projection.

In mid November 2,000, Egyptologist Kate Spence offered a new theoretical model based on the orientation of the pyramids. This should allow the dating of the construction of the pyramids (ca. 2,480 BCE). Her vision and the result of two recent C-14 investigations into the precise age of the pyramids are at odds with each other (a difference of approx. 450 years). Could the precise orientation of the pyramids have possibly been the result of observations between 3,001 and 2,851 BCE of a Pole star, which, as Alpha Draconis in Thuban, happened at that time to coincide exactly with the true north of the celestial sphere?

The remarkable correspondence between ancient Egypt and the stellar sky is indeed so special that no-one has ever discovered it. In point of fact, the ancient Egyptians did create an enormous constellation on earth, like a scale model. Not only does the Pyramid field (twelve pyramids built during the 3rd and 4th Dynasties, and the pyramid-city of the 5th Dynasty) correlate with the stars of the main outline of Orion, the pyramids also depict the iconographic representation of the famous Horus pose, “the Constellation of the King”. That depiction is now known under the term “smiting the enemy”. However, reconstruction has shown that the royal Horus pose is the invincible icon of ancient Egypt. This is substantiated by the locations of the pyramids of the 6th Dynasty. The pyramids of the 12th Dynasty added a further dimension. The temple-cities of Memphis, Letopolis and Heliopolis correlate with certain stars, which conforms to the fact that the constellation of Horus is made up of sixteen stars.

Zitman’s research is not only based on existing texts and source material, but also on traditional, ancient knowledge about the origin and significance of the names of stars and constellations. His study furthermore revealed ancient Egyptian geographic and planning knowledge, with which they controlled the geographical order of their territory. After all, according to ancient sources, geometry and surveying were their speciality. Even in predynastic times, the Egyptians used the heliacal rising of the star Sirius and therefore built settlements on the points of observations, thus dividing their territory according to a planned model. Even the form of the river Nile (from Thebes up to and including the Delta) played a crucial role in the division of their territory. He discovered that the river Nile (mirrored image) with its sixteen important settlements correlated with the sixteen stars of Scorpio, the constellation of Osiris.

In the 17th century, John Donne stated that one could tie meridians and circles of latitudes into a network. By projecting this network onto the stellar sky, the Egyptians realized this 5,000 years earlier; they used the observation of the heliacal rising of the star Sirius as an indicator to measure the length of the solar year (365 days). The geographical latitude of Hieraconpolis and Buto are separated by 365 minutes of arc. This is the reason why these places became the prehistoric capitals of Upper and Lower Egypt. They were the places of observation where the first annual heliacal rising of the star Sirius could be witnessed . Zitman draws an observation line between the settlements, ‘die Thronstätten’, of ancient Egypt. After the reign of the third Dynasty, the locations where the observations occurred were replaced by others. In the course of the centuries, first from the South of Edfu to Saïs/Xoïs, and later, during the reign of the fourth Dynasty, from Philaë to Heliopolis. The geographical latitude between the above locations were in all cases separated by 365 minutes of arc (see also Subpage 1: Astro-geodesy and the Planological Infrastructure of Egypt).

Zitman claims that the Egyptians were aware of the earth’s precession, and that they observed its effects. The remarkable correspondence with the length of the solar year became the foundation for his study into the territorial division of ancient Egypt. He states that the Egyptians and Sumerians used the nocturnal sky as a grid to “map” the earth. This offered him the key to solve the riddle of a round clay tablet on display in the British Museum and known as a planisphere. This Sumerian Planisphere, which shows the above-mentioned Egyptian observational pattern, is divided into sections and constellations. This division was used by the Egyptians and Sumerians as a grid. Its analysis and projection on a map reveals the homeland of the mutual ancestors of the Egyptians (the population of Lower Egypt) and the Sumerians. His theory is confirmed by a prehistoric rock painting (ca. 6,500 BC) of an ancient Egyptian depiction of Nekhet (Strong Arm) and the recent discovery in that area of the oldest (ca. 7,500 BC) piece of ceramic in the world.

 The revolutionary discoveries concerning the Pyramid field and the Starmap, the Observation line of Sirius, and the knowledge which the ancient Egyptians possessed of the effect of precession, millennia before Hipparchus, might well change our entire view on human history.