Ancient History Sourcebook:
Coffin Text: The Tale of Horus and the Pig, c. 1900 BCE
Why the Egyptians did not eat pork.
O Batit of the evening, you swamp-dwellers, you of Mendes, ye of Buto, you of the shade
of Re which knows not praise, you who brew stoppered beer---do you know why Rekhyt [Lower
Egypt] was given to Horus? It was Re who gave it to him in recompense for the injury in
his eye. It was Re--he said to Horus: "Pray, let me see your eye since this has
happened to it" [injured in the fight with Seth]. Then Re saw it. Re said:
"Pray, look at that injury in your eye, while your hand is a covering over the good
eye which is there." Then Horus looked at that injury. It assumed the form of a black
pig. Thereupon Horus shrieked because of the state of his eye, which was stormy
[inflamed]. Horus said: "Behold, my eye is as at that first blow which Seth made
against my eye!" Thereupon Horus swallowed his heart before him [lost consciousness].
Then Re said: "Put him upon his bed until he has recovered." It was Seth---he
has assumed form against him as a black pig; thereupon he shot a blow into his eye. Then
Re said: "The pig is an abomination to Horus." "Would that he might
recover," said the gods. That is how the pig became an abomination to the gods, as
well as men, for Horus' sake....
From: A. de Buck, The Egyptian Coffin Texts, (Chicago, 1918), p. 326.
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© Paul Halsall, Janaury 1999