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The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Translated by Raymond O. Faulkner. Edited by Carol Andrews. Ancient Egyptian religious and magical texts, meant to . THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD. Translated The late R. O. Faulkner probably produced as much in his years of retirement as some scholars. Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead by R. O. Faulkner, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

Written words conveyed the full force of a spell. A number of spells are for magical amulets , which would protect the deceased from harm. In addition to being represented on a Book of the Dead papyrus, these spells appeared on amulets wound into the wrappings of a mummy.

Other items in direct contact with the body in the tomb, such as headrests, were also considered to have amuletic value.

For most of the history of the Book of the Dead there was no defined order or structure. Chapters 17—63 Explanation of the mythic origin of the gods and places. The deceased is made to live again so that he may arise, reborn, with the morning sun. Chapters 64— The deceased travels across the sky in the sun ark as one of the blessed dead.

In the evening, the deceased travels to the underworld to appear before Osiris. Chapters — Having been vindicated, the deceased assumes power in the universe as one of the gods.

This section also includes assorted chapters on protective amulets, provision of food, and important places. The Book of the Dead is a vital source of information about Egyptian beliefs in this area.

Preservation[ edit ] One aspect of death was the disintegration of the various kheperu, or modes of existence. Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into sah, an idealised form with divine aspects; [29] the Book of the Dead contained spells aimed at preserving the body of the deceased, which may have been recited during the process of mummification.

The ka, or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and required sustenance from offerings of food, water and incense. In case priests or relatives failed to provide these offerings, Spell ensured the ka was satisfied. It was the ba, depicted as a human-headed bird, which could "go forth by day" from the tomb into the world; spells 61 and 89 acted to preserve it.

An akh was a blessed spirit with magical powers who would dwell among the gods. In the Book of the Dead, the dead were taken into the presence of the god Osiris , who was confined to the subterranean Duat. There are also spells to enable the ba or akh of the dead to join Ra as he travelled the sky in his sun-barque, and help him fight off Apep. There are fields, crops, oxen, people and waterways. The deceased person is shown encountering the Great Ennead , a group of gods, as well as his or her own parents.

The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

While the depiction of the Field of Reeds is pleasant and plentiful, it is also clear that manual labour is required. For this reason burials included a number of statuettes named shabti, or later ushebti.

These statuettes were inscribed with a spell, also included in the Book of the Dead, requiring them to undertake any manual labour that might be the owner's duty in the afterlife. Two 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the 'seven gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter ten of the 21 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'.

All are guarded by unpleasant protectors. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds guarded by supernatural creatures.

Their names—for instance, "He who lives on snakes" or "He who dances in blood"—are equally grotesque. These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells included in the Book of the Dead; once pacified they posed no further threat, and could even extend their protection to the dead person.

The deceased was led by the god Anubis into the presence of Osiris. There, the dead person swore that he had not committed any sin from a list of 42 sins , [44] reciting a text known as the "Negative Confession". Then the dead person's heart was weighed on a pair of scales, against the goddess Maat , who embodied truth and justice.

Maat was often represented by an ostrich feather, the hieroglyphic sign for her name. If the scales balanced, this meant the deceased had led a good life.

Anubis would take them to Osiris and they would find their place in the afterlife, becoming maa-kheru, meaning "vindicated" or "true of voice". The judgment of the dead and the Negative Confession were a representation of the conventional moral code which governed Egyptian society.

For every "I have not John Taylor points out the wording of Spells 30B and suggests a pragmatic approach to morality; by preventing the heart from contradicting him with any inconvenient truths, it seems that the deceased could enter the afterlife even if their life had not been entirely pure. The text is hieratic , except for hieroglyphics in the vignette.

The use of red pigment, and the joins between papyrus sheets, are also visible.

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A close-up of the Papyrus of Ani , showing the cursive hieroglyphs of the text A Book of the Dead papyrus was produced to order by scribes.

They were commissioned by people in preparation for their own funeral, or by the relatives of someone recently deceased. They were expensive items; one source gives the price of a Book of the Dead scroll as one deben of silver, [51] perhaps half the annual pay of a labourer.

In one case, a Book of the Dead was written on second-hand papyrus. Most owners were men, and generally the vignettes included the owner's wife as well. Towards the beginning of the history of the Book of the Dead, there are roughly 10 copies belonging to men for every one for a woman.

The scribes working on Book of the Dead papyri took more care over their work than those working on more mundane texts; care was taken to frame the text within margins, and to avoid writing on the joints between sheets.

Some papyri give proof that the text and illustrations were produced separately without regard to each other, for chapters and their vignettes do not coincide.

In spite of this lack of order certain spells are found in every extant Book of the Dead papyrus: Funerary papyri of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty and later after about BC are characterised not only by a new style of vignette with subdued use of colour but by a regularising of the order of chapters and a fixing of their total number at This unchanging text of Late Period funerary papyri is sometimes known as the Saite Recension to distinguish it from the more arbitrary contents of earlier Books of the Dead , which are said to embody the Theban Recension.

Some of the oldest chapters of the Book of the Dead can actually be traced back to the original Utterances in the Pyramid Texts, but without exception they have survived in so corrupt a form as to be virtually unintelligible. Chapters , and are examples of such survivals. Other spells also appear to be ancient, but examination often proves that they are relatively recent in composition.

One of the most important spells con cerned with the heart was Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead, which was always to be inscribed 'on a scarab made from nephrite [a green stone], mounted in fine gold, with a silver suspension ring and placed at the throat of the deceased'.

The spell was reputed to be very old, having been found 'in Hermopolis, under the feet of the Majesty of this god [that is, beneath a statue of the god Thoth]. It was written on a block of Upper Egyptian mineral in the writing of the god himself and was discovered in the time of the Majesty of the vindicated King of Upper and Lower Egypt Menkaure.

It was the king's son Hordedef who found it while he was going around making an inspection of the temples. Hordedef himself was revered throughout the pharaonic period for his reputation as a wise man, so any spell connected with him would be bound to have extra potency. It looks suspiciously as though a false pedigree was created for Chapter 30B to make it look older than it really was: Hordedef was also linked with Chapter A concerning the four torches which would give light to the deceased.

This spell was reputed to have been found by the prince 'written in the god's own hand in a secret chest in the temple of Wenut [a hare goddess]' at Hermopolis.

According to one version, the all-important Chapter 64 was found 'in the foundations of the One-who-is-in-the-Henu-bark [that is, beneath the temple of the funerary god Sokaris] by a Supervisor of Wall-builders in the time of the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Semty, vindicated'.

Semty or Khasty, the name cannot be read with certainty, is better known as Den, fifth king of the First Dynasty, who ruled about BC.

Since writing only makes its appearance in Egypt with the beginning of the First Dynasty some two hundred years earlier the spell could scarcely claim to be more ancient. But it cannot be without significance that it appears to have no antecedent in the Pyramid Texts. So, like Chapters 30B and A, Chapter 64 was probably composed far more recently than would first appear to be the case. This would certainly help to explain the number of variant forms of this chapter: On the other hand, some of the versions of chapters which were incorporated into the repertoire at quite a late stage made no attempt to hide their recent composition.

Some copies of Chapter concerning the spell for the headrest state that the text was found 'at the neck of the mummy of King Usermaatre [that is, Ramesses II or Ramesses iii] in the necropolis'. Some versions of Chapter concerning the bringing of the udjat-eye relate how the text was found by prince Khaemwese, son of King Ramesses II, in the cemetery at Saqqara or else was composed by Amenhotep son of Hapu, Chief of building works under King Amenophis III.

Significantly for the potency of this spell, both Khaemwese and Amenhotep son of Hapu were revered by the Egyptians for their wisdom. At first Book of the Dead texts were written in a form of semi-cursive hieroglyphs known as linear hieroglyphs or Book of the Dead hieroglyphs.

However, unlike hieratic the cursive script which developed from hieroglyphs but whose signs soon became quite distinct from the original hieroglyphic signs on which they were based , the script employed in funerary papyri always remained visibly hieroglyphic.

During the New Kingdom chapters were invariably written in vertical columns but they were often to be read in the opposite or retrograde direction to normal practice. Although vignettes were frequently highly coloured only black ink was used for the text, except for the title of each spell or particularly important sections which were normally written in red to make them stand out.

Because of their colouring these passages are usually known as rubrics. In rare instances yellow rather than red was used see, for example, BM Funerary papyri of the Third Intermediate Period and later after about BC were often written in hieratic rather than in linear hieroglyphs and in that case the text was written in horizontal lines arranged in pages not in columns.

Sometimes parts of a papyrus were written in hieratic and other parts in linear hieroglyphs. During the Graeco-Roman Period after BC , when hieratic survived only as the script of funerary papyri, a few Books of the Dead were written in demotic, the third script employed by the Egyptians which by then was in current use for documents of a nonfunerary nature. Mention has already been made of the hieratic Book of the Dead of the Ptolemaic Period BM in which the prospective owner is designated only as 'so-and-so' but written in demotic, a script with which the scribe was obviously better acquainted.

A Book of the Dead papyrus could be as long or as short as required. The Greenfield Papyrus BM which is 41 metres in length, is one of the longest known.

For practical purposes the height of any papyrus, funerary or otherwise, was rarely greater than 48 centimetres.


On the other hand, some funerary papyri of the Third Intermediate Period are very narrow indeed. Funerary papyri might be rolled up, tied with a strip of linen and sealed with a piece of stamped mud. They would then be placed on or in the coffin or inside a wooden statuette of the funerary god Ptah-Sokaris-Osiris or even inside the hollowed-out plinth on which the statuette stood. The papyrus of Anhai BM was found inside just such a figure. Some papyri were inserted among the folds of the bandages which enveloped the mummy, either over the chest, beneath the arms or between the legs.

From the New Kingdom onwards a Book of the Dead papyrus became an essential part of the funerary equipment and every Egyptian who could afford to acquire a copy was buried with it close at hand for use in the afterlife.

That is why so many and varied examples have survived and why so much has been learned about the text which has been called erroneously but very evocatively the Bible of Ancient Egypt. He has taken the crook and the flail and the office of his forefathers.

May your heart which is in the desert land be glad, for your son Horus is firm on your throne, while you have appeared as Lord of Busiris, as the Ruler who is in Abydos. The Two Lands flourish in vindication because of you in the presence of the Lord of All. All that exists is ushered in to him in his name of 'Face to whom men are ushered'; the Two Lands are marshalled for him as leader in this his name of Sokar; his might is far-reaching, one greatly feared in ths hs name of Osiris; he passes over the length of eternity in his name of Wennefer.

Hail to you, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Ruler of Rulers, who took possession of the Two Lands even in the womb of Nut; he rules the plains of the Silent Land, even he the golden of body, blue of head, on whose arms is turquoise. O Pillar of Myriads, broad of breast, kindly of countenance, who is in the Sacred Land: May you grant power in the sky, might on earth and vindication in the realm of the dead, a journeying downstream to Busiris as a living soul and a journeying upstream to Abydos as a heron; to go in and out without hindrance at all the gates of the Netherworld.

May there be given to me bread from the House of Cool Water and a table of offerings from Heliopolis, my toes being firm-planted in the Field of Rushes.

May the barley and emmer which are in it belong to the ka of the Osiris N. Through it also the student at home and likewise the tourist visiting the Theban tombs should be greatly enlightened, even if much of the religion of Egypt remains tantalizingly obscure.

Book of the Dead by Faulkner Raymond O

All rights reserved. This site was generously funded, in part, by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Share this book. Classics and Ancient World: Egypt and Near East. Translated by Raymond O. Edited by Carol Andrews. January Active available.

Book Format Paperback. Carol A. Related Titles Egyptian Mummies. Back to top.This edition certainly does not do that, although the translation seems clear and the images are wonderful. From the New Kingdom onwards shabtis inscribed with Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead and carrying agricultural implements becom one of the commonest elements of Egyptian funerary equipment.

The similarity it shares with the Egyptian work is that it is intended to comfort the soul and lead it out of the body and on to the afterlife. Written words conveyed the full force of a spell. This would certainly help to explain the number of variant forms of this chapter: These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells included in the Book of the Dead; once pacified they posed no further threat, and could even extend their protection to the dead person.

Sometimes parts of a papyrus were written in hieratic and other parts in linear hieroglyphs.

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