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Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Sethites and the Red Hippo

 

Seth as a hippo


Dr. Alice C. Linsley


At Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), the oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship, archaeologists found hippos buried in the elite cemeteries (Nekhen News, Vol. 25, 2013, p. 20). They also found numerous carved and sculpted figurines of hippos, some with red coloration. They concluded that hippo imagery is "linked to local elites" (Nekhen News Vol. 27, 2015, pp. 8-9). Cain's brother Seth/Seti is often shown in ancient images as a red hippo. The hippo figurines likely indicate that there were Sethite Hebrew at Nekhen as well as Horite Hebrew.

That Sethites were living among the Horites of Nekhen is not surprising given that these two groups represent a moiety structure of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. The term "moiety" refers to one people organized into two ritual groups. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the lines of Cain and Seth indicate that their descendants intermarried (endogamy). This diagram shows the pattern of cousin marriage in which the cousin bride names her first-born son after her father.




The Adam of Genesis is the father of three sons: Cain/Kain, Abel, and Seth. Seth is said to be in the image of his father Adam (Gen. 5:1). This likely means that he had a red skin tone. The word “Adam” refers to blood ("dam" in Hebrew, "dammu" in Ancient Akkadian) and the color red. Adam is derived from the root אדם (A.D.M), meaning "to be red or ruddy" (Strong’s #119).

The rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36 practiced endogamy and certain genetic traits were inherited by their descendants. Apparently, a red skin tone was one of those traits. Seth is a founder of the Sethite Hebrew who are mentioned in texts from 2400 BC. This means that the historical Adam probably lived between c.4600-4000 B.C.

Seth is often portrayed in ancient images as a red hippo. Seth’s homeland is the land of Seti, at the northern edge of the Upper Nile. This region is sometimes referred to as the land of red earth. The connection between "adam" and "adamah" (soil) is evident in Genesis 2:7 which states that "the adam" (human) was formed out of the "adamah". The region of the Nile under consideration has a cambic B horizon. Chromic cambisols have a strong red brown color. Before Egypt and Sudan became political entities, the homeland of Seth included part of the Green Sahara, an area prone to flooding. Later, the Egyptians referred to that region as Deshret (dshrt) or the "Red Land". Today deserts comprise most of Egypt and Sudan, but that was not the case in Adam’s time.

The autochthonous origin of humans is a common theme in the creation stories of Africa. It speaks of humans being made from the soil (humus) of the region where their first parents were created. It is an explanation for why people look different. The genetic diversity of humans was explained by a connection between the people and the land where they resided. There are as many skin tones among humans as there are soil colors.





The autochthonous origin of humans is expressed in the Shilluk creation story. The Shilluk of Sudan call the Creator Jouk. Jouk made white people out of white sand and the Shilluk out of black soil. When the Creator came to Egypt, he made the people there out of the red silt of the Nile.

The rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36 practiced endogamy and certain genetic traits were inherited by their descendants. Apparently, a red skin tone was one of those traits.

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