The Book of the Dead of Ancient Egypt includes riddles, spells and recommendations to pass all the tests of the other world.
Few civilizations have had the funerary development of the Egyptians. Dynasties passed and the approach to life in Ancient Egypt was the same. They had the certainty that the passage through this plane of existence was ephemeral, and what was truly important was life at the end of it. As such, pyramids, mythology, rites and literature they were built around the motif of transcendence after death. The Book of the Dead was the code of what to do once they faced the Judgment of Osiris, to finally integrate into the Universe —or disappear trying.
When the bird leaves
Image: Wikimedia Commons
For the ancient Egyptians, the soul manifested itself in two essences. The first was the Ka, or ‘life force‘. As part of the universal principle, this energy accompanied human beings on their way to reach the Judgment of Osiris: the final test in which the gods determined if the person had had a pure heart in his passage through the Earth. The journey began with the departure of the spirit of this world, symbolized as a bird taking flight.
Known as the ‘Book of the emergency in the light’ or ‘Book of the exit to the day’, the Book of the Dead was a compilation of riddles, spells and recommendations that was written in life to pass all the tests of the other world . If the person’s Ka achieved dodge all obstacles, he would finally reach the court of Osiris. There, his heart would be balanced. The counterweight would be Maat, the pen-shaped goddess of Justice.
If the heart was lighter than the feather goddess, then transcendence could be achieved. Otherwise, a ancient beast in the form of a crocodile I would devour it in one bite. At that time, the Ka would disappear forever. These inscriptions were generally engraved directly on people’s sarcophagi. In some cases, however, they were inscribed on papyrus.
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Image: Teece Museum
A team of archaeologists from the . Research Institute worked on the recovery of fragments of a Book of the Dead with approximately 2,300 years old. Digitally, the possibility of uniting the framework of spells with fragments of a linen mummy wrap, according to Smithsonian Magazine coverage.
Although originally thought to be independent archaeological pieces, it appears that the narrative not only complements, but has continuity in both writings. What is truly fascinating is that one of the remains was in Canterbury, in the United Kingdom, while another was in New Zealand:
“There is a small space between the two fragments; however, the scene makes sense, the enchantment makes sense, and the text makes it perfect, ”explains Alison Griffith, a classics scholar. “It’s just amazing remotely piecing together fragments.”
According to experts, both pieces are written in hieratic or cursive script. In both cases, scenes of offerings, pyramids, supplies and servants are seen, which the person would need in the other world. With this information, the archaeologists determined that surely belonged to someone influential, named ‘Petosiris’.
Although it is not clear how it was divided into so many fragments, it appears that the University of Queensland, in Australia, has the piece it takes to complete it. “History, like the shroud, is slowly being rebuilt,” said Terri Elder, curator of the Teece Museum.
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