What is the Book of the Dead in ancient Egypt?
Ancient Egyptian Religion
Religion exerted a significant influence on daily life in ancient Egypt, as can be seen in the pyramids and temples.
The religious beliefs of the Egyptians appear on the walls of tombs and temples and in papyrus scrolls compiled in the form of the Book of the Dead.
They believed in various gods and even worshiped the forces of nature, such as the Nile.
Religion was even present in the power structure of this ancient civilization.
In addition to the existence of extraterrestrial gods, there was also the pharaoh, who had all the powers within him, assuming the role of priest and personification of God on earth.
The importance and status of the gods have evolved.
We can see, for example, that Narmer and his successors worshiped Horus and Ra since they would be “sons of Ra,” who would accompany him on his daily journey once he left the earthly plane.
With Mentuhotep, the Egyptians came to believe that the pharaoh was united with Osiris, the God of the dead, a figure gaining more and more relevance in the Egyptian Pantheon.
What Is the Importance of the Book of the Dead to the Egyptians?
The ancient Egyptians created the Book of the Dead to guide the deceased to the afterlife. The text consists of a series of magical spells to help the dead overcome the rule of Osiris
and help them in their journey through the underworld and migration to the afterlife.
The Egyptians believed that the deceased needed worldly things on their journey to the afterlife, So the art in the pyramids and tombs is not art itself,
but scenes of displays of supplies, servants, and other things needed on the other side.”
Versions of the Book of the Dead differed from one tomb to another, but one of the most famous images is the determination of the weight of the heart of the deceased, which was placed on a scale to compare it with a feather, which is a symbol of the dead.
Harmony, truth, and justice, The gods asked various questions about the deceased’s life, and the heart answered the bearer.
According to the answers, the heart gained or decreased weight, and Osiris finally delivered judgment. The judgment is favorable if the seat is lighter than the feathers, and the deceased is assured eternal life.
On the contrary, if the heart was heavier than the feather, this indicated impurity and was thrown into Ammit. It is a creature with the head of a crocodile, a hippopotamus’s legs,
and the lion’s body that devours it. This means the end of life without any possibility of resuscitation in the afterlife.
The tradition of including the Book of the Dead in tombs with inscriptions written directly on the walls of tombs began during the end of the Old Kingdom (between 2686 BC and 2181 BC),
and at first, it was only shown to royalty. It was buried in Saqqara.
By the New Kingdom (c. 1539 BC), the afterlife was thought to be within reach of all who could afford their own Book of the Dead, and the text became written on papyrus
and on the linen used to wrap the mummified bodies of mummies. Non-royal Egyptians.
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