Study Guide

Sons of Horus

  • Profile

    Have you ever seen a mummy in its tomb? Cool, right? But have you ever noticed—near the coffin—four jars with either kings' heads or animal heads for lids? Those are the Four Sons of Horus: Imsety, Duamutef, Hapy, and Qebhsenuef, uniting like an underworld Voltron to protect a dead person from danger. Each one is in charge of a different mummified organ, and they carry them inside their magic cookie jar bodies. Yeah, these cookie jars are filled with guts. Yuck.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Four Sons of Horus

    Nickname

    Our real names: Imsety (Imset), Duamutef, Hapy (or Hapi, not the same guy as the god of the Nile), and Qebhsenuef (Kebsenuef)
    Gods of the Canopic Jars
    Mummy Protectors
    Gut Squad
    The Four Jars of the Apocalypse

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Duat (Osiris's afterworld, before his throne)

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Keeping every mummy's vital organs safe:
    Imsety: liver
    Duamutef: stomach
    Hapy: lungs
    Qebhsenuef: large intestines

    Education

    Anubis and Sokar Funerary School

    Beliefs

    Political views

    We serve Osiris and Horus

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Horus the Younger (father, even though he's a kid. Weird.) Some say our mother is Isis, but ew?

    Siblings

    Each other

    Children

    None

    Friends

    Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, Horus the Younger, Anubis, Sokar, Serqet, Neith

    Enemies

    Jackals, tomb robbers, grave rot

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Single

    Interested in

    Nobody. We're kids and we're jars.

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Tutenstein 
    The cutest little mummy ever.
    CSI is always interesting, whichever show it is. Doesn't everyone want to know how people die? 
    We watch Mythbusters for the science. Mostly, though explosions and guts are great, too. 
    South Park 

    Quotations

    "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share."
    – Steve Jobs

    "When I hear somebody sigh, 'life is hard,' I'm always tempted to ask: 'compared to what?'" 
    – Sydney J. Harris

    "Is it a sin to rush into the secret house of death, ere death dare come to us?" 
    – Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra "When Kingdom come, you ready?" 
    – Jay-Z, "Kingdom Come"

    "I want to live where soul meets body… and feel what it's like to be new." 
    – Death Cab for Cutie, "Soul Meets Body"

    Books

    Afterwards by Thomas Hardy
    So gloomy. Sheesh. It's not so bad here.
    "Because I could not stop for death" by Emily Dickinson
    Um, yes, Emily. Yes, you could.
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    There are four of us, and even we were confused by all the different narrators.
    "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe
    Okay, so maybe dying isn't usually recommended to be this exciting or scary. But that pendulum sure would make our jobs easier.
    Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked?: Field Notes from a Funeral Director by Robert Webster
    We just hold on to your organs until you need them next, but we're sure you have other questions. This guy can help.
    Do Funerals Matter?: The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective by William G. Hoy    
    We might've started the funeral business in ancient Egypt, but you people have certainly gone on to great things.
    Embalming: History, Theory, and Practice by Robert Mayer
    We're going to use this one for the textbook in our new online class.
    The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson 
    In order to do a proper mummification, you have to know where the body parts are. This helps.
    The Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity by Salima Ikram and Aidan Dodson 
    How to get to the afterlife in a bunch of pieces.

    Music

    Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
    There are just enough of us to make this sound goooood. We let Hapy sing the main part. He's got the lungs for it.
    Amazing Grace by John Newton
    You'd think we'd be sick of this one by now, as many times as we hear it at funerals. But it's beautiful. Especially when Duamutef belts it out on the bagpipes.
    Help I'm Alive by Metric 
    We can fix that.
    Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees
    Ah ah ah ah….
    Rob Zombie is kinda awesome for a living guy. We play his music in the prep room.
    Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson 
    Not sure why she's having such a hard time breathing. Hapy hasn't taken her lungs yet.
    Re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton
    We're not unreasonable.
    Wilting Lily sings catchy songs about anatomy and physiology. And he knows all the organs we keep in our jars. Is he just stalling to avoid med school exams? We're not sure, but we are sure these are catchy study guides.

    Movies

    The Mummy series is one of our favorites, even if they get it wrong and give Imhotep (and Evy) five canopic jars, instead of four. Do you count five here? Do you?
    Of course, there wouldn't have been a Mummy series, if it weren't for the Boris Karloff original in 1932. 
    Bubba Ho-Tep 
    Don't believe it. Elvis is with us. Well, four parts of him, anyway.
    The Phantasm series 
    Scary alien or not, this guy has got to be the worst funeral director ever.
    Shaun of the Dead 
    Even zombies can be funny.
    Frankenweenie 
    This is not how you preserve a dog, kid.
    The Sixth Sense
    We see dead people too. But we're not scared of them.
    The Silence of the Lambs 
    We promise not to put any fava beans in with your liver.

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Our dad, Horus the Younger
    Getting to stay up late
    Keeping dead people safe
    Jackals (except when they try to eat our contents)
    Egyptian magic

    Interests

    Anatomy
    Physiology
    Funeral science
    Toxicology
    Genealogy
    Astronomy

    Groups

    Ancient Egyptian Gods 
    Egyptian Mythology 
    National Funeral Directors Association 
    Zombies 

    • Spotter's Guide

      Open a tomb and you're likely to find these four hanging out. They're cylindrical jars, each with their own distinctive head, and they each hold a different mummified organ in case the mummy needs it again. Sometimes they're bundled up in their own mini-sarcophagus or in a square shrine that's sitting next to the sarcophagus. If you go to the afterlife, you'll see them hanging out around the front step toward Osiris's throne or standing on top of a lotus flower right in front of his face. But don't misjudge. They're not just decorative—they've got some personality!

      Sex: Male
      Age: Adult
      Build: Jars (cylindrical and about a foot tall, like cookie jars) with either men's heads for lids or different heads for each lid. If the lids are different, Imsety is a human-headed jar, Duamutef is a jackal-headed jar, Hapy is a baboon-headed jar, and Qebhsenuef is a falcon-headed jar.
      Complexion: If all human, medium brown like most Egyptian men in paintings. If different, Imsety is medium brown skinned, Duamutef is a black jackal, Hapy is a brown baboon with a white and blue face, and Qebhsenuef is a golden falcon with blue or black markings.
      Hair Color: Black, if they're wearing wigs. Duamutef has black fur as a jackal, and Hapy has brown and white fur as a baboon.
      Facial Hair: Sometimes Imsety has a black beard or goatee.
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: None. They don't even have hands. They do, however, hold mummified organs inside: Imsety (liver), Duamutef (stomach), Hapy (lungs), and Qebhsenuef (large intestines).
      Clothing: As jars, they don't really require clothing.
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: The four goddesses who guard them: Imsety's protectress Isis, Duamutef's protectress Neith, Hapy's protectress Nephthys, and Qebhsenuef's protectress Serqet.

      Typical Companions

      Anubis 
      Osiris 
      Horus the Younger 
      Nephthys 
      Dead people

      Known Hangouts

      Tombs
      Funeral homes
      Osiris's throne room
      The Duat pool hall on the weekends (Horus shoots a mean round of 8-ball)

    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970

      Jars and Ladders

      In the Pyramid Texts, the Four Sons of Horus appear to help a dead pharaoh get to heaven. They offer him ladders made out of snakes so he can climb up to the stars and join the gods in Ra's sun boat.

      Jan 1, 1970

      A Queen's Royal Organs

      The oldest-known canopic jars were found in the tomb of Queen Hotepheres I. She was Pharaoh Khufu's mother, and he had her buried near his own Great Pyramid with only the best objects, including a gorgeous set of jars to hold her mummified organs. However, these jars didn't have fancy shmancy lids like they would have in later times.

      Dec 21, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Guarding the Coffin

      The Four Sons appear as jars holding the viscera and also as gods wrapped like mummies, standing on the sides of a coffin (Imsety and Duamutef on the east or front of the coffin, and Hapy and Qebhsenuef on the west or back of the coffin). They are also associated with the cardinal directions around this time: Duamutef in the east, Qebhsenuef in the west, Imsety in the south, and Hapy in the north. Don't lead us astray, sons.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Four Lids for Four Sons

      After being identical jars with flat lids and then jars with human heads and occasionally Anubis heads, suddenly the canopic jars get four different lids: one representing each of the Four Sons of Horus. This continues through Egyptian history. The guardian goddesses (Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Serqet), who take care of the Four Sons, also start appearing in funeral furniture, like on the four edges of coffins and sarcophagi. It's a party up in there.

      Dec 20, 1069 - Dec 20, 2019

      It's a Sham!

      Either because they were in a hurry, lazy, or preferred their new way of doing things, embalmers stopped taking the organs out of mummies. Instead, they mummified them, wrapped them in linen, and put them back in the body. Since the canopic jars were no longer needed, but nobody wanted to offend the Four Sons, they still put jars in the tomb—but these were fake jars that weren't even hollow. Ripoff!