Andjety - A precursor of Osiris


Andjety in his anthropomorphic form was originally worshipped in the mid-Delta in the Lower ninth nome. Andjety (meaning 'he of Andjet', i.e. the town of Busiris) was the precursor of Osiris at the cult center of Busiris. The iconography of this god persuasively argues for his being the forerunner of Osiris. Andjety holds the two scepters in the shape of a 'crook' and a 'flail', insignia which are Osiris' symbols of dominion. Also his high conical crown decorated with two feathers is clearly related to the 'atef' crown of Osiris.

As early as the beginning of 4th Dynasty King Sneferu, the builder of the first true pyramid tomb, is carved wearing this crown of Andjety. The close relationship of the god to the monarch is is also evident from the earliest references in the Pyramid Texts, where the king's power as a universal ruler is enhanced by his being equated to Andjety 'presiding over the eastern districts'. Perhaps Andjety is an embodiment of sovereignty and its attendant regalia. As such he would readily be absorbed into the nature of Osiris and by extension into the pharaoh himself. The most likely explanation of his epithet, 'bull of vultures', found in the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts, is that it emphasizes his role as a procreative consort of major goddesses.

Andjety figures in a funerary context as well. The notion that he is responsible for rebirth in the Afterlife is probably the reason for the substitution for the two feathers of a bicornate uterus in early writings of his name in the Pyramid Texts. In the Underworld too there is an obvious identification between Andjety and Osiris, as ruler. Hence in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, the king is depicted burning incense to the god Osiris-Andjety who holds a 'crook' scepter, wears two feathers in his headband and is accompanied by Isis.

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