Also known simply as the Cippus of Horus, with known objects dating from the 18th dynasty to the Roman period, a class of inscribed cippi and stelae depicting the young Egyptian god Horus standing atop crocodiles, holding in his outstretched hands snakes, scorpions, and gazelles. Sometimes other gods, such as the imported healer and snake-charmer Bes or Heka, the divine manifestation of magic, are included, as well as inscriptions either relating to various scenes from Egyptian mythology or describing the healing and defeat of the poisonous demons. These cippi are intended as curative charms, healing those afflicted with scorpion or snake bites. Both private and public versions exist; they range in height from almost life-size statues of stone placed in chapels, such as that of the temple of Mut near Luxor, to foot-high wooden charms most likely placed in gardens or private homes, to inch-tall images meant to be worn around the neck. A well-worn stela was found along an old Egyptian trade-route, most likely as a divine cure and way-station for those wounded along the journey.
The stela plays off several mythological narratives for its efficacy. First and foremost is the god Seth's attack on the young Horus in the guise of a crocodile, and his attempt on Horus' life by sending poisonous scorpions. But Horus' triumph over the serpents is also an allusion to the sun god's defeat of the serpent Apophis. The patient through the images and the inscriptions is equated with the god, the attacking animals with demons, thus playing on notions of divine justice and precedent. By the same logic, the charm becomes apotropaic, warding off the demons before they can strike.
Considering a literacy rate estimated at less than 1%, and the relative frequency of the cippi, it is quite certain that the charm's effect did not depend on a recitation of the text. Rather, wear on many of those found suggests that water was poured over them, and the water, "blessed" by the cippus, was then imbibed; the general belief in the magical uses of spittle, spitting, licking and swallowing is common enough in egyptian magic and religion. Other times, the cippus may have been rubbed over the afflicted part of the body, as a type of local anesthetic.