Monday is upon us once again, friends!
I’ve loved many things about ancient Egypt since I was a kid. Their art was amazing, and their gods looked super cool, especially Anubis. He’s always been my fave. And who wouldn’t love to venture into an ancient tomb and nose around? Assuming there’s no curse, of course.
I recently found a digital copy of Sir E.A. Wallace Budge’s The Book of the Dead. At the beginning of the book, he explains that there really is no specific/official book of the dead. It is, instead, a name given to scrolls and other written works that are found with the dead in their tombs. Budge’s book is a collection of information from many of those sources.
I’m not going to write up a whole book report, because that would be super boring for me to write and even boringer for you to read. Yes, I just typed boringer on purpose. I write the blog; I do what I want.
First, some of the scrolls were super long. The Papyrus of Nebeseni measures 77 feet and 7.5 inches. The Papyrus of Princess Nesitanebtashru (aka the Greenfield Papyrus) measures about 123 feet. That’s a whole lot of papyrus.
Thoth is considered the author of these books of the dead. He was the writer of spells, the heart and mind of the creator, and the savior of Ra. Basically, if you’re in ancient Egypt and you want to go somewhere nice when you die, he’s your dude.
I won’t get too far into the whole drama between the gods, and trust me, it is a drama. However, I will provide you with a link to Budge’s The Book of the Dead, and you can read all about it if you want. Spoiler alert: an eyeball is eaten.
Within the books of the dead, you might find written hails to the gods (a little butt-kissing), vignettes, liturgies, prayers, etc.
Or in the case of the The Papyrus of Nesi-Khensu, you’d find a contract. The paragraph below is lifted from Budge’s book.
“This is really the copy of a contract which is declared to have been made between Nesi-Khensu and Amen-Rā, ‘the holy god, the lord of all the gods.’ As a reward for the great piety of the queen, and her devotion to the interests of Amen-Rā upon earth, the god undertakes to make her a goddess in his kingdom, to provide her with an estate there in perpetuity and a never-failing supply of offerings, and happiness of heart, soul and body, and the [daily] recital upon earth of the ‘Seventy Songs of Rā’ for the benefit of her soul in the Khert-Neter, or Under World. The contract was drawn up in a series of paragraphs in legal phraseology by the priests of Amen, who believed they had the power of making their god do as they pleased when they pleased.”
And they say J-Lo is a diva.
One thing that I found especially interesting was the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. Basically, rites are performed and the mouth of the corpse is opened with a tool so that the deceased can eat and drink in the afterlife.
That’s all I have for now, but then, wasn’t it enough? The link to Sir Budge’s book is below. It’s pretty short and really interesting. I recommend that you grab a copy with pictures because pictures make everything better!