The earliest recorded form of Horus is the tutelary deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the king who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death. The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris, and he plays a key role in the Osiris myth as Osiris's heir and the rival to Set, the murderer of Osiris. In another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife. Horus served many functions, most notably being a god of kingship and the sky.
Horus is recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphs as ḥr.w "Falcon"; the pronunciation has been reconstructed as ħaːruw. Additional meanings are thought to have been "the distant one" or "one who is above, over". As the language changed over time, it appeared in Coptic dialects variously as hoːɾ or ħoːɾ and was adopted into ancient Greek as Ὧρος Hōros (pronounced at the time as hoːɾos). It also survives in Late Egyptian and Coptic theophoric names such as Har-si-ese "Horus, Son of Isis".
Nekheny may have been another falcon god worshipped at Nekhen, city of the falcon, with whom Horus was identified from early on.