Who Are the Four Sons of Horus?

Throughout Egyptian mythology, there are a group of gods, who embody a representation of the four canopic jars that often were placed in the presence of mummified bodies. They were given the name of the Four Sons of Horus. The canopic jars held the most revered parts of the human body, in regards to ancient Egyptian belief. This article explores some of these thoughts.


If you were wondering what the body parts kept within the canopic jars were, you should know that the heart was not one of them. The heart was believed to carry the soul of a person. This is why it was left inside of the dead body. The brain was not regarded as one of the most important parts of the body. It was transformed into a liquid substance and tossed to the trash. The stomach, liver, small intestines and the lungs were taken out of the body and preserved in their own jar.


There was a direct connection between the pharaoh and the god, Horus. It is believed that a mummified ruler was viewed as an extension of this god. It was thought that the god then protected his decaying body. These pharaohs were also viewed as children of Horus. Now, onto the sons of Horus. Representing the contents within the canopic jars, the sons of Horus were believed to protect the body parts kept inside the jars from attackers or looter who wished to cause mischief. Each jar was assigned a deity to ensure this protection. At first, these sons were nameless and only identified by the body parts they protected. They later came to be known as Hapi, Duamatef, Qebehsenuf, and Imset.




This particular deity has been referred to under many different names, including Amsety, Imsety, Mesta, and Amset. He was considered the protector of the liver and was the only one of his brothers to be represented as a human. Various animals personified all his brothers. In turn, he was protected by what was seen as the early remnants of Isis.




Represented by the head of a baboon, Hapi was also known for providing protection for the throne of Ausare (also known as Osiris), who is associated with the Uinderworld. Hapi’s jar was the one that contained the lungs of the deceased. The act of suffocation or drowning was also connected to Hapi because of his connection to the lungs. He is also attached to the element of air.




Duamutef protected the jar contianing the stomach, as well as the large intestines of the mummies. The animal that most represented him was the jackal. Because of his assoication with the stomach, he was also assocaieted with the death that comes from serving in a war. This is because the most aimed at body during combat was that of the torso area.




The head of a hawk represent this particular son of Horus, who was in charge of protecting the jar holding the instestines. It is often that elements of poisoin and magic are mentioned when referring to this deity.