(Dedun) A Nubian God who features in Egyptian texts chiefly as a provider of incense, a major Nubian export, and as a representative of Nubia generally. Dedwen is depicted anthropomorphically, and is characterized in typical fashion in utterance 437 of the Pyramid Texts as “the youth of Upper Egypt who came out of Nubia; he gives you [the king] the incense wherewith the Gods are censed.” Dedwen is also referred to as presiding over Nubia, sometimes in contexts where the limits of Egyptian sovereignty are being symbolically established; hence in utterances 480 and 572 Dedwen is juxtaposed to Soped, who is associated with the Sinai Peninsula, another region at the limits of Egyptian control which was also a source of a precious commodity, namely turquoise. In spells 345 and 346 of the Coffin Texts, it is said of the deceased that “Dedwen makes his perfume of what is in you,” or “from your skin”, the sweetness of aroma being a symbol for the reversal of the process of decay.

A Late Period hieratic papyrus concerning the cult topography of the Delta (Brooklyn papyrus 47.218.84) incorporates Dedwen into a myth known from other sources in which Horus, angered at his mother for freeing Seth, decapitates her. This version states that in the wake of his misdeed “Dedwen made Horus fly off into the sky and inflicted the same thing upon him [Horus],” i.e., decapitated him (Meeks, §26). It is perhaps to be noted in this connection that Dedwen was worshiped near Oxyrhynchus as the son of Taweret and Osiris (Meeks, p. 262), and that in the Late Period his name was occasionally written Djed-wen, “the enduring existent”, indicating strong Osirian associations.

Meeks, Dimitri. 2006. Mythes et Légendes du Delta: d’après le papyrus Brooklyn 47.218.84. Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale.

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