The Sethians, also known as the Sons of Seth are an ancient royal family and priesthood who had venerated the serpent (worm). The various spellings of the name are Sethites, Setium, Kittim, Chittim, Chethim, Chusus, Chusaeans Cethim, Cethians, or Heth. It is said they attributed their gnosis to the founder of their race Seth who was the son of Javan, third son of Adam and Eve and Norea, wife of Noah.
He is also considered the Messiah to the Jewish people in later Jewish tradition. The Roman-Jewish historian Josephus said that Seth was a virtuous man, and that his descendants lived in perfect harmony and happiness.
The Sethians were said to have discovered astronomy, and inscribed their discoveries on two pillars, one of which, says Josephus, survived in his time. They were the true founders of what we know as ancient Gnosticism one of many Gnostic groups that had flourished in the North Africa and around the Mediterranean region, and especially in ancient Egypt, the island of Crete, Cyprus, mainland Greece and Rome at the time before and during the formations of early Christianity. The Sons of Seth held the doctrine that the Serpent (worm) was the violent wind, which came out of darkness, the first-born of the waters, and the generating principle of all things, especially of man.
Jesus said on a cross; “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.” – Psalm 22:6 And Job, “But I am a worm and no man. How much more is man rottenness, and the son of man a worm ? “First he said, ” Man is rottenness;” and afterwards, “The son of man a worm:” because a worm springs from rottenness, therefore “man is rottenness,” and “the son of man a worm.” – Job 25:6
In Scripture and often in history, Seth is known by various names which add to the confusion of his true identity. For example, Josephus in The Works of Flavius Josephus uses the name “Chethimus” for who we would call Seth today, and he said they possessed the island of Chethima now called Cyprus: and hence all islands and most maritime parts, are called Chethim by the Hebrews. He writes, “In the island of Cyprus there is still a town called Citium, which has an affinity in sound to Chetim. It may not here be improper to observe, that for the harmony of sound, the Greeks are accustomed to vary from the true orthography and pronunciation of proper names: but innovations of this kind are never countenanced’ by the Hebrews.”
Josephus had said, “these Chittim (Citium or Kittim) as having migrated from Phoenicia to the island of Cyprus. He also writes, “Chusus (Cush); for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves, and by all men in Asia, called Chusaeans (Sons of Cush). What Josephus simply said right now is that the Chittim were from Phoenicia, and related to the Ethiopians whom they were their Kings.
It is from all these names such as Chethim, Chusus and Chusaeans that we get the modern Seth, Sons of Seth or Sethians. This I will prove to you below.
In the course of my research into this man known as Seth who is the father and messiah of the Sehthians, I have found him to be no other than the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Sethos I, or Seti I of the Twentieth who was the father of the greatest king of the New Kingdom of Egypt, Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great) of the Nineteenth Dynasty.
This is alluded to by Gnostic scholar and author G.R.S. Mead, in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. Mead had questioned the name Sethian used by Hippolytus
CLOSELY connected with the Gnostics above described are the Sethians, to whom Hippolytus next devotes Seth. his attention. He speaks of their “innumerable commentaries,” and refers his readers especially to a certain treatise, called The Paraphrase of Seth, for a digest of their doctrines. But whether or not Hippolytus quotes from this document himself, or from some other treatise or treatises, is not apparent. The title, Paraphrase of Seth, is exceedingly puzzling; it is difficult to say what is the exact meaning of the term “paraphrasis,” and the doctrines set forth by Hippolytus have no connection with the Seth-legend.
The term Sethians, as used by Hippolytus, is not only puzzling on this account, but also because his summary differs entirely from the scraps of information on the system of the Sethites supposed to have been mentioned in his lost Syntagma, and allied to the doctrine of the Nicolaïtans by the epitomizers. In the latter fragments the hero Seth was chosen as the type of the good man, the perfect, the prototype of Christ.
Can it possibly be that there is a connection between the name “Seth” and the mysterious “Setheus” of the Codex Brucianus? And further, are we to look for the origin of the Sethians along the Egyptian line of tradition of the Hyksōs-cult, the Semitic background of which made Seth the Mystery-God?”
If we look to recorded history from the Greeks, we can confirm author G.R.S. Mead’s theory for the the origin of the Sethians along the Egyptian line of tradition of the Hyksōs-cult. Herodotus tells us when Seth (Sesostris or Set I) defeated an army without much resistance he erected a pillar in their capital with a vagina on it to symbolize the fact that the army fought like women. This must be the same pillar that Josephus said survived in his time. Manetho said he was master of the Mediterranean. According to Diodorus Siculus (who calls him Sesoösis), and Strabo, he conquered the whole world, even Scythia and Ethiopia, divided Egypt into administrative districts or nomes, was a great law-giver, and introduced a caste system into Egypt and the worship of Serapis (The Serpent). Also, Hippolytus, their teachings were based on the Orphic (Ophite) Mysteries.
Author of Isis Unveiled, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky refers to Seth by the name of Heth. Blavatsky had written: “Hivim or Chivim (Heb.). Whence the Hivites who, according to some Roman Catholic commentators, descend from Heth, son of Canaan, son of Ham, “the accursed”. The names Hivi or Hivite, and Levi—signify a “Serpent”; and the Hivites or Serpent-tribe of Palestine, were, like all Levites and Ophites of Israel, initiated Ministers to the temples, i.e., Occultists, as are the priests of Quetzo Cohuatl. The Gibeonites whom Joshua assigned to the service of the sanctuary were Hivites. (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II. 481.)
She adds, “They were a two-fold colony which came both from Egypt and Syria. The Syrian Cadmians colonized the islands above mentioned. The Egyptian adventurers settled first in Crete, and afterwards in the Cyclades, Peloponnesus, Greece, Samothrace, Macedonia, Illyrium, as we shall hereafter find.”
Who Blavatsky calls Heth, and who Manetho said was master of the Mediterranean, Siculus, and Strabo, said conquered the whole world, and instituted the worship of the Serpent we can easily connect with the Egyptian Pharaoh Seth. If we also look to the archaeological and historical evidence that has been found at Crete, we can see the strong ties between Crete and Egypt. It is known as the birthplace of Western Civilization. They worshipped the serpent. The men of Crete are often depicted in the artwork they left behind as tall, slender, muscular and with a reddish skin color like that Egyptian dynasty in the time of Seth, and other Pharaohs such as Ramesses II and III.
I believe it was because of his accomplishments, Seth would be considered the original founder of the world-wide religion of what we can call Jewish Gnosticism, and all Abrahamic religions in the ancient form of the serpent. The true Jewish Gnostic Messiah and law giver. The founder of the so-called Sethians. I write in more detail about the Egyptian Pharaoh Seth I in the section titled, “Seth: The Jewish Gnostic Messiah.”
THE SETHIANS ARE THE SAME AS THE OPHITES, AND JEWISH GNOSTICS
Irenaeus in the 2nd century, first mentions the Sethians (Latin Sethoitae) along side the Ophites and in Pseudo-Tertullian (Ch.30). Both Irenaeus and Theodoret said the Sethians were the same as the Ophians or Ophites. Saint Philastrius (also Philaster or Filaster) Bishop of Brescia said that amongst the sects that flourished in Judaism before the advent of Christ, Ophitism was the most important Jewish heresy to arrive in Palestine prior to Christs purported existence.
According to Epiphanius of Salamis (c.375), the Sethians were in his time found only in Egypt and Palestine, although fifty years before they had been found as far away as Greater Armenia (Panarion 39.1.1 2; 40.1). Palestine would be another one of the many names for Crete and the Philistines for the Cretans as well.
Philaster has three chapters of Ophites, Cainites and Sethians. They are placed by him among the heresies before Christ where he writes on the Sethians, “they not only said that the Christ descended from Seth, but also that he was Seth himself.” According to Theodoretus, the Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, the Sethians, Ophians, or Ophites, the emblematical serpent-worshippers held the serpent as the symbol of Christ. Clement of Alexandria mentions the Cainites, or Cainists, and Ophians. He says “that some heretics are denominated from their opinions, or the objects of their veneration, as the Cainists and Ophians.”
St. Epiphanius had written about the Ophites in Adversus Haereses; “We venerate the serpent because God has made it the cause of Gnosis for mankind. Ialdabaoth (the Demiurge who was the ‘god of the Jews’) did not with men to have any recollection of the Mother or of the Father on high. It was the serpent, who by tempting them, brought them Gnosis; who taught the man and the woman the complete knowledge of the mysteries from on high. That is why [its] father Ialdabaoth mad with fury, cast it down from the heavens.”
St. Hippolytus, Elenchos V. 17 – “No one can be saved and rise up again without the Son, who is the serpent. For it was he who brought the paternal models down from aloft, and it is he who carries back up again those, who have been awakened from sleep and have reassumed the features of the Father.”
It is important that you understand that the Gnostic Sethians are the same as the Gnostic sect as the ancient Ophians or Ophites who are the descendants of Egyptian Pharaoh Sethos I (Seti). Madam Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled had written “It is probable that the fiery serpents or Seraphim mentioned in the twenty-first chapter of the book of Numbers were the same as the Levites, or Ophite tribe.” Blavatsky further writes, “The names Heva, Hivi or Hivite, and Levi all signify a serpent; and it is a curious fact that the Hivites, or serpent-tribe of Palestine, like the Levites or Ophites of Israel, were ministers to the temples.”
THE ROMAN CONNECTION
They are all clear that this King who Josephus calls Chusus, and Siculus and Strabo Sesostris who in Greek is Sethos would be no other than Egyptian Pharaoh Sethos I, or Seti I of the Twentieth who was the father of the greatest king of the New Kingdom of Egypt, Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great) of the Nineteenth Dynasty. He conquered the whole world, even Scythia and Ethiopia, divided Egypt into administrative districts or nomes, was a great law-giver, and introduced a caste system into Egypt and the worship of Serapis (The Serpent).
Jerome says that some have translated the word Kittim, in the prophecies of Isaiah, by the modern name Cyprus, and that the modern Cyprians are the descendants of the ancient Kittim. Cicero, in his treatise De Finibus speaks of the Citians as a Phoenician colony.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Kittim is used to describe the name of the Romans referred to as warriors from the west, who capture Jerusalem.” The Septuagint render the name of Kittim, by Kittii or Cittii. The Latin Vulgate understands the Word Chittim to mean Romans. In the New Oxford Dictionary it is written,(On Daniel 11:30) “30: Kittim here represents Rome (cf. Gen 10.4), which forced Antiochus to withdraw from Egypt in 168 B.C.E. during his second campaign. This same year, Antiochus desecrated the Jerusalem temple.” (New Oxford NRSV 2001)
This is also documented in the scriptures under the book of Numbers where it is predicted, “ships shall come from the coasts of Chittim.” With that said, the name Chittim or Kittim would be used as a general name for the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean, in the time when the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans ruled these islands and lands. Essentially they are all cousins and each empire starting with the Phoenicians were just a succession of the other through family battles and the right of the sword through the War Rule.
It is said in the Scripture of Kittim in Jeremiah: “Pass over to the isles of Kittim and see; and to Arabia, and consider diligently, whether there hath been such a thing (ii. 10). And in Isaiah: Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon (Zidon) arise, pass over to Kittim; even there shalt thou have no rest (xxxiii. 12). In Ezekiel: Of the oaks of Bashan have theymade thine oars; they have made thy planks of ivory, the daughter of steps, from the isles of Kittim (xxvii. 6). The isles of Kittim would stand for Crete, Kos, Cyprus, Rhodes and other now Roman provinces denoted by the name Kittim.
The Roman Gnostic Sethians (Kittim or Romans) had colonized Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, Greece, Sicily, Italy and many other nations. The Sethians would the Roman-Greek Gnostic branch of the Brotherhood who created, and claimed allegiance to the Roman Empire. Their code name of the Sethians or Sons of Seth is derived from the Hebrew “Chittim or Cethim.”
In the first book of Maccabees, the king of Greek Macedon is called the King of Chittim. Various spellings of the name are found in the history books. According to Ptolemy, this is was the country of Cetis, and Homer had written the Odyssey, a people whom he calls Cetii, who are supposed to derive their name from the river Cetius, which flowed through their country. The Roman-Jewish historian Josephus states that his descendants emigrated from Phoenicia (Crete) to Cyprus—Ciltium, one of its chief cities being called after him.
THE TRUE SCRIBES OF GOD WHO FOLLOW THE PATH OF WATER
The meaning of the name Seth identifies their roles as the scribes and historians for this Roman Gnostic branch and religion. Seth or Seh for Teth, or Thoth, Names that mean “scribe or true scribe,” and also water.
Robert Shaw had written in the Historical origins, comprising The Chaldaen and Hebrew Volumes 1-4: “Seth (from which Seh) water, from the water. Seth means also the sun, while being the word from which our ” Sea.” But for another meaning of the name you have Ma, true, and Seth or Seh for Teth, scribe, thus “true scribe.” Thoth, Mercury or Hermes, was the Scribe of the Gods. In a passage of the ” Book of the Dead,” we read ” Tet otherwise Set.” See translation by Birch, also Egypt, I., 427.
In the Bible Cain slays his brother Abel, and in the Egyptian Mythology Seth slays his brother Osiris, which is explained by the interpreters, as meaning that the flood drowned the world. Seth is Cain, Abel is Osiris. Sometimes also, Seth is represented as the same with Osiris: it is the same differently manifested, and when you say you can (Cain) you say you are Abel (Norman Fr., Habel,Eng. Able). The name Thoth is also spelled Athoth, and of Seth Aseth, Am-aseth, Amosis, Moses; Amathoth, Mouthosis, or Tuthmosis.”
There is no question that who we know of as the Sethians also respected the books of the Old Testament. Irenaeus makes this clear in his writings on the Gnostics. It is also commonly understood amongst scholars today that these names such as the Sethians, Ophites, and Essenes to just name a few are in fact labels created by church fathers. These alleged factions of Gnostics never referred to themselves by these names. As it is said, the victor writes history which is the case of the Gnostic Catholic Church who I believe had inherited these ancient mysteries by winning the age-old battle of knowledge and power.
Epiphanius who was bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church in Salamis, Cyprus at the end of the 4th century confirms this when he had written; “certain books written by themselves, with the names of great men affixed to them: seven books of Seth, and others; another of Abraham, which they call his, Revelation, and others with the name of Moses.’ Afterwards Epiphanius speaks ‘ of other books called the Jubilees, and another book called the Little Genesis, in which were the names of Cain’s and Seth’s wives.
They were who the Greeks had called the Phoenicians and Curetes who had come to Crete with their Phoenician Prince Cadmus or Caedmon. Cadmus was said to be the inventor of the alphabet and some say he was the actual author of “Genesis.” This book would eventually become the Old and New Testaments of the Roman Jewish Gnostics who helped form not only both the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches, but all Abrahamic religions that they imported all around the world.
Eliphas Levi confirms this when he had written:”So is the Apocalypse the book of the Gnosis or Secret Doctrine of the first Christians, and the key of this doctrine is indicated by an occult versicle of the Lord’s Prayer, which the Vulgate leaves untranslated, while in the Greek Rite, the priests only are permitted to pronounce it.”
As I mentioned above, the New Testament genealogy traces the ancestry of Jesus to Seth. Their Book of Gnosis is the the Apocalypse of St John. The Jewish Jesus is the Christian messiah, and the anointed savior. The cornerstone of the Roman, Greek and Russian Catholic faith.
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. He is a father, husband, author, martial arts black belt, and an expert in Gnosticism, the occult, and esotericism.