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Religion

Religion and the afterlife in Ancient Egypt.
by

Anniek Wheeler

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of Religion

Ancient Egypt:
RELIGION The Gods Atum . King of the gods
. Created all other gods
. Was the first god on earth
. Coughed up Tefnut and Shu Tefnut . The goddess of moisture
. Mother of Geb and Nut Shu . God of Air
. Father of Geb and Nut Siblings/Spouses In the god's family tree, there is a lot of incest. Many gods marry their siblings, as will become apparent in the next generation! Geb . God of earth
. Father of main Egyptian gods
. His laughs cause earthquakes Nut . Mother of main Egyptian gods
. Stretches across the sky and wears a robe of stars
. Swallows Ra (the sun god) every evening and gives birth to him again every morning Isis Osiris Nepthys Seth . Helper of people in need
. Protector of the Pharaoh
. Horus's mother . God of the dead
. Ruler of the underworld
. God of resurrection and fertility
. In charge of barley crops . Protector of the dead
. Wife of Seth . The god of chaos
. Represented everything that threatened harmony in Ancient Egypt Horus . God of the sky
. Protector of Egypt's ruler
. Pharaoh is the worldly incarnation of Horus
. Son of Isis and Osiris
. Ruler of the living world Anubis . God of embalming the dead
. Jackals were found in cemeteries
. Helped embalm Osiris after he was killed by Seth In the beginning, there was nothing but the dark water of chaos, called Nun. Out of the water rose a great hill called Ben- Ben. On it was Atum, the first god. He coughed up the gods Shu, the air, and Tefnut, moisture. From these two gods came Geb, earth, and Nut, the sky. These two gods had four children: Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nepthys. Isis and Osiris married and were the king and queen of the earth. The earth had great prosperity and peace. However, Seth, their brother, grew jealous and killed Osiris to take the throne for himself. Osiris moved to the underworld and ruled as king of the dead. Osiris and Isis's son Horus took back the throne from Seth and became the new king of the living. Osiris continued to rule as king of the underworld. The Creation Myth If they were good, they passed the test and would be brought by Horus to Osiris, Iris, and Nephthys in the underworld. If someone was bad and failed, they would be devoured and not have eternal life. In the Egyptian afterlife there were several paradises: the most prominent of which were Duat and Aaru. Duat was the actual ‘underworld’. This was part of the domain of Osiris, and where the sun god Ra traveled during the night. It was not a hellish place and everything there was controlled by the gods, many of whom lived in Duat. Akhenaten, also known as Amenhotep IV, proposed a monotheistic structure to religion wherein everyone worshipped a god named Aten. Akhenaten was not very popular as a result. Egyptians worshiped a number of gods (this is called polytheistic), and each one accounted for a number of the domains of everyday society and natural interaction. Although initially applying to pharaohs, Egyptians believed that the body possessed a ka, which was a life-force which would be liberated when a person died. A funeral, most importantly mummification, would reunite the ba with the ka, allowing them to live forever as a constantly reborn akh. Ba Ka Akh Humans would also have a ba, a set of individual spiritual characteristics. When a person died they would be forced to deal with a number of demons to reach the afterlife, and the ways with which to succeed were detailed in the Book of the Dead. Once they succeeded they were to be escorted by Anubis to a judgement hall. There they would have their heart (their mortal actions) weighed against the feather of Ma’at by Ammit while Thoth would record the result. Ma'at . God of truth, justice and harmony
. Associated with the balance of the world
. Ra's daughter (a demon, she was half lion, half crocodile, half hippo) Ammit Thoth (half bird, half baboon) Aaru consisted of many islands in the ka (soul) of the Nile, each covered in fields of reeds. This was a beautiful paradise in the domain of Osiris. However, it could only be reached after a perilous journey. Once the initial journey was completed there was a final test: there were fifteen gates into Aaru. And each were guarded by demons...










Demons with knives. Ra . The most important god to the ancient egyptians
. Swallowed every night and transported to the underworld where he became a man with a ram's head
. Birthed again every morning The Afterlife Mummification and now to... Initially the egyptians buried their dead in sand pits. The sand naturally caused the corpses to dry out, and thus created the first mummies. However wild animals were able to break into these graves, so the egyptians turned to simple coffins to protect their dead. Unfortunately when the bodies were not in contact with sand, they would rot. This problem led to the first instances of embalming. The oldest discovery of an intact mummy was of "Ginger", who dated back to 3400BCE. Coffins are placed in larger stone sarcophagus, around which are arranged various goods such as furniture, jewelry, food, drink, etc. (this could vary since just about everyone who could afford it would be mummified, not just the pharaohs). Body is taken to “ibu”, or “place of purification” to be washed with palm wine (for good smell) and water from the Nile. Incision is made on the left side of the body to remove internal organs, since they rot first. Liver, lungs, stomach, and intestine are washed and dried with natron. The heart is left inside, considered the intelligence center of the body (therefore necessary for the afterlife) Natron was used in everything: soap, mouthwash, detergents, preservatives, insecticides... Brain is smashed with a long hook and pulled out through the nose. Body is covered with natron. All the fluids and rags at this point are saved to be buried along with the body. The body crevice is also stuffed with natron. After 40 days, the body is washed again with Nile water, and covered with oils to keep the skin elastic (and fabulous). Dehydrated organs are wrapped in linen and returned to body. Then it’s stuffed with sawdust, leaves ,and rags to make it appear lifelike Originally the organs would actually be stored in the canopic jars, but they came to be more of a symbolic representation of the gods protecting various organs: Imsety (human-headed) looks after the liver Hapy (baboon-headed) looks after the lungs Duamutef (jackal-headed) looks after the stomach Qebehsenuef (falcon-headed) looks after the intestines The body is then wrapped in linen. A cloth is placed on top, with a picture of Osiris painted on top. Another layer of cloth is layer on, and finally the entire thing is put in a coffin. Religious objects were wrapped up with the body. Most notably, the Isis knot, a Plummet and a scroll from the Book of the Dead. All the while, a priest reads out spells and enchantments to protect the spirit en route to the afterlife. The Book known of even in the Middle Ages, and Egyptologists began to translate and identify its purpose in the 19th century. The earliest translations appeared in 1805, and the name Book of the Dead was coined by Karl Richard Lepsius in 1842. The Book of the Dead is a series of texts, often matched to an illustration, which are meant to guide their holder through the afterlife. The texts are divided into a number of chapters, typically referred to as spells, which provide unique insight and contents. They were printed on papyrus.
Some of the more notable spells are those which explain the ritual “Weighing of the Heart”. Most copies of the book do not contain every spell (every book was unique), but there are a total of 192 that have been discovered and translated. Some spells identify gods that will be encountered in the afterlife, and some provide other mystical knowledge and advice.
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