BOOK OF THE DEAD


The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead was one of the most important funerary texts in the entire Egyptian epoch.

It was mostly written on papyrus and was first used around 1550 BC. The term ‘book’ is somewhat misleading. It was rather a collection of texts that once compiled together make up a larger written document.

It consisted of a number of spells that were intended to assist the dead in their journey through the Duat (underworld) so that they might make it to the afterlife.

Some spells are as follows.

My mouth has been given to me that I may speak with it in the presence of the Great God. - This spell was used so that the deceased could speak out during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony.

Another.

If it grows, I grow, if it lives, I live, if it breathes air, I breathe air. - This was to enable the deceased to breathe in the afterlife.

And my favourite.

Come for my soul, O you wardens of the sky! If you delay letting my soul see my corpse, you will find the Eye of Horus standing up thus against you. - This was a warning to evilness not to interfere with the deceased body being reunited with their soul.

Overall, the spells in the book of the Dead were used right up the end of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Traditional funerary rituals started to become less common once Christianity waged through Egypt.

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