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The winged sun is a symbol (sometimes known as Behedeti, a name of Horus) associated with divinity, royalty and power in the Ancient Near East (Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Persia). The symbol has also been found in the records of ancient cultures residing in various regions of South America as well as Australia.
Ancient Near East
Ancient Egyptian use
In ancient Egypt, the symbol is attested from the Old Kingdom (Sneferu, 26th century BCE), often flanked on either side with a uraeus. In early Egyptian religion, the symbol Behedeti represented Horus of Edfu, later identified with Ra-Harachte. It is sometimes depicted on the neck of Apis, the bull of Ptah. As time passed (according to interpretation) all of the subordinated gods of Egypt were considered to be aspects of the sun god.
The winged sun is symbolic also of the eternal soul. When placed above the temple doors it served as a reminder to the people of their eternal nature.
Mesopotamia and the Levant
From roughly 2000 BCE, the symbol spread to the Levant and to Mesopotamia. It appears in reliefs with Assyrian rulers and in Hieroglyphic Anatolian as a symbol for royalty, transcribed as SOL SUUS (literally, "his own self, the Sun", i.e., "His Majesty")
From ca. the 8th century BCE, it appears on Hebrew seals, by now as a generic symbol for "power". One example is a seal where the winged sun is flanked by two Ankh symbols and a Hebrew inscription translating to "possession of Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Juda". Numerous pottery finds dating to the same time bear the symbol together with the inscription lemelekh "king's [property]".
Compare also Malachi 4:2, referring to a winged "Sun of righteousness",
- But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings... (KJV)
The winged sun is conventionally depicted as the knob of the Staff of Hermes.
The symbol was used on the cover of Charles Taze Russell's textbook series Studies in the Scriptures beginning with the 1911 editions. Various groups such as Freemasonry, Theosophy, Rosicrucians and Unity Church have also used it. Variations of the symbol are used as a trademark logo on vehicles produced by the Chrysler Corporation, and Harley Davidson.
- R. Mayer, Opificius, Die geflügelte Sonne, Himmels- und Regendarstellungen im Alten Vorderasien, UF 16 (1984) 189-236.
- D. Parayre, Carchemish entre Anatolie et Syrie à travers l'image du disque solaire ailé (ca. 1800-717 av. J.-C.), Hethitica 8 (1987) 319-360.
- D. Parayre, Les cachets ouest-sémitiques à travers l'image du disque solaire ailé, Syria 67 (1990) 269-314.
- The Winged Sun Disk
- Relief Depicting Gilgamesh Between Two Bull-Men Supporting a Winged Sun Disk, Kapara palace, Tell Halaf.
- Charles T. Russell's use of winged disk
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Winged sun. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|