chapter  2
29 Pages

The Iconography of the Solar Journey.

Contrary to what the reader might expect from the title, this chapter proposes to deal with linguistic, not visual representations of the solar journey.1 Instead of the term "iconography" I could equally (and perhaps less misleadingly) have used the term "imagery". However, I use the term "icon" in the technical sense as an expression or articulation of content that can be realised in both language and image. In my article "Verborgenheit des Mythos in Agypten"2 I argued that myth, in the strict sense of a narrative form, is strikingly rare in Egyptian religious texts. Using the term "icon", I shall try to focus on the specifically non-narrative form in which myth appears in Egyptian texts.3 The expression "iconography", therefore, is the exact equivalent of what is usually known as the "mythology" of the solar journey. It is a view of cosmic events as acts in the divine world, including boats and their crews, "sun apes" and jackals, Isis and Seth, Horus and Thoth, and Apophis, the enemy of the sun god.