Triumph of Horus, The or Abydos Passion Play



  • An Egyptian drama written around 3200 BC and usuallyconsidered the world's oldest known play. Although a few scholarsdiscount this claim, saying it was a religious ceremony rather thana true drama, it seems clear that some type of dramatic performancedid take place in Abydos as part of the worship of Osiris. Our knowledgeof the play comes from a papyrus account written by Ikhernofret, aperformer of the 19th century BC, that was found at Luxor,the ancient Thebes. Professional actors apparently played the leadingroles and pilgrims the minor parts.

    The play concerns the death, burial, and resurrection of Osiris.At the start of the play he has married his sister, Isis, and is rulerof Egypt. His evil brother, Set, is jealous of Osiris's power andmurders him, scattering his limbs far and wide. Isis and their son,Horus, gather the pieces together and resurrect Osiris, who goes todwell in the afterworld to become the judge of souls. Horus fightsand defeats Set, and the drama ends with his coronation as king ofEgypt.