10/22/08 BR- describe one interesting thing that you learned on the field trip yesterday. Today : Understanding the Purpose and Content of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Make sure to hand in scavenger hunts from yesterday! Story of Osiris summary/cartoon is due on Thursday!.
Today: Understanding the Purpose and Content of the Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
What we call the Egyptian Book of the Dead was known to the Egyptians as Reu nu pert em hru translated that means “The Chapters of coming forth by day.” It is a collection of chapters made up of magic spells and formulas. It was illustrated and written on papyrus. These papyri were commissioned by the deceased before their death. Like most products these text came in different qualities. You could commission the finest quality papyrus money could buy or you could purchase one "off the rack" and have a scribe fill in the blanks with your name.
This collection of funerary chapters began to appear in Egyptian tombs around 1600 BC. It can be thought of as the deceased's guidebook to a happy afterlife. The text was intended to be read by the deceased during their journey into the Underworld. It enabled the deceased to overcome obstacles and not lose their way. It did this by teaching passwords, giving clues, and revealing routes that would allow the deceased to answer questions and navigate around hazards. It would grant the help and protection of the gods while proclaiming the deceased's identity with the gods. The Papyrus of Ani is one of the finest and most complete examples of this type of Egyptian funerary text to survive. The Papyrus of Ani now resides in The British Museum, London.
Servants are dragging a chest on which Anubis is sitting, inside the chest is
more of Ani's worldly possessions or perhaps his canopic jars. All of these objects
will be placed in the tomb for his use in the afterlife. In front of them are eight male
mourners dressed in white. Ani's mummy rides on a funerary boat which is being
drawn by oxen. Very hard to see in this picture are the goddesses Isis and
Nephthys who are usually shown in this scene protecting the dead. Ani's wife
mourns at his side. The man wearing a leopard skin and turned back towards Ani's
mummy is a priest, he is burning incense.
The mummy stands before the entrance of his tomb, in the
protective embrace of Anubis. The two women are probably family
members, they are patting dirt on their heads, this was a sign of
mourning. Behind them are three priests. The priest wearing the
leopard skin (a sign of priesthood) burns incense and presents
offerings of food and drink, while the other two are about to perform
the important ceremony of “opening of the mouth.” This ceremony
was thought to restore the mummy's ability to see, breathe, eat and
-The passage into the afterlife was a series of challenges.
-The book was your “cheat code” to get you through each stage.
Like you saw above this is where the heart was “weighed” but, the book could offer spells to help balance the equation.
O my heart which I had from my mother! O my heart of different ages! Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the keeper of the balance, for you are my ka which was in my body, the protector who made my members hale. Go forth to the happy place whereto we speed, do not tell lies about me in the presence of the god; it is indeed well that you should hear!
On the journey to the fields of peace, the person’s soul would have to pass by several guardians or gatekeepers using secret words.
The third gate: the name of its gatekeeper is 'One who eats the Putrefaction of his Posterior'; the name of its guardian is 'Alert of Face'; the name of the announcer in it is 'Gateway'.Words spoken by the Osiris-[name], the justified, when arriving at the gate: 'I am the secret one of the cloudburst, the one who separated the Two Companions. It is in order that I might drive away evil from Osiris that I have come. I am the one who clothed his own standard, who emerges in the Wereret-Crown. I have established offerings in Abydos. Open the way for me in Rosetjau because I have relieved the sickness in Osiris. I have painted his perch. Make way for me so that he might shine in Rosetjau.
In the final stage the person had to make 42 “negative confessions.” The book would help them make these confessions.
Wide-of-stride who comes from On: I have not done evil.
Flame-grasper who comes from Kheraha: I have not robbed.
Long-nosed who comes from Khmun: I have not coveted.
Shadow-eater who comes from the cave: I have not stolen.
Savage-faced who comes from Rosetjau: I have not killed people...
Describe what the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” was and what it was used for.