Chons

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(Redirected from Khonsu)

In Egyptian 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 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 air.

During the Middle Kingdom, since the pool at the temple of Mut was in the shape of a crescent moon, Chons gradually replaced 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.

In art, Chons was depicted as a child with the head of a hawk, wearing the crescent of the new moon subtending the disk 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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