mythology, Chons (alternately Khensu,
Khons, Khonsu or Khonshu) is an ancient
lunar deity, from before formal structure
was given to a pantheon. His name reflects
the fact that the Moon (referred to as Iah
in Egyptian) travels across the night sky,
for it means The Wanderer, and also had
the titles Embracer, Pathfinder, and Defender,
as he was thought to watch over night travelers.
As the god of light in the night, Chons
was invoked to protect against wild animals,
increase male virility, and to aid with
healing. It was said that when Chons caused
the crescent moon to shine, women conceived,
cattle became fertile, and all nostrils
and every throat were filled with fresh
Chons can also be understood to mean king's placenta, and
consequently in early times, he was considered to slay the
king's (i.e. the pharaoh's) enemies, and extract their innards
for the king's use, metaphorically creating something resembling
a placenta for the king. This bloodthirsty aspect lead him
to be referred to, in such as the Pyramid texts, as the (one
who) lives on hearts. He also became associated with more
literal placentas, becoming seen as a deification of the royal
placenta, and so a god involved with childbirth.
During the Middle Kingdom, since the pool at the temple of
Mut was in the shape of a crescent moon,
Chons gradually replaced the war-god Menthu,
as her son in Theban thought. The father who had adopted Chons
was thought to be Amun, who had already
been changed into a more significant god by the rise of Thebes,
and had had his wife changed to Mut.
As these two were both considered extremely benign deities,
Menthu gradually lost his more aggressive
|In art, Chons was depicted as a child
with the head of a hawk, wearing the crescent
of the new moon subtending the disc of the
full moon. His head was shaven except for
the side-lock worn by Egyptian children,
signifying his role as Chons the Child.
Occasionally Chons was depicted as a young
man holding the flail of the pharaoh, wearing
a menat necklace. He was sometimes pictured
on the back of a goose, ram, or two crocodiles.
Chons' sacred animal was the baboon, considered
a lunar animal by the ancient Egyptians.
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