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Transcript of Egyptian Afterlife
provided the dead with everything they would need in the afterlife, and it turns out that the afterlife looks a lot like this one.
The Pharaoh reigned supreme on earth as the incarnation of the Sun God, but the scribe held important social standing as one who could record the lives of Pharaohs.
"I have come unto you; I have committed no faults; I have not sinned; I have done no evil; I have accused no man falsely; therefore let nothing be done against me." from a
Book of the Dead
What does the afterlife look like?
The Importance of the Scribe
As written in
The Teachings of Kety
, the scribe is placed on the "path of god." Because he serves the king, "there is no scribe lacking sustenance."
Much of what we know of the lives of kings and their visions of the afterlife comes directly from the written hieroglyphics of scribes. Written on papyrus, but also on stone columns, tomb murals, and funerary temples, hieroglyphics reveal the details of an Egyptian worldview centered around the life lived after this one.
If you are interested in more details about the Seated Scribe, you can go here: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/seated-scribe
Egyptians believed that the afterlife was earned from a life of sinlessness--of right behavior and deed. If one lived without sin, one had a light heart, one lighter than a feather.
Here we see Hunefer's heart being weighed against a feather while Thoth records the events and Maat sits ready to devour the heart (and so prevent Hunefer from entering the afterlife) if it is found too heavy with sin.
Boats for floating the Nile, weapons for war, banquet items for feasting, all of these have been found in Egyptian tombs, either as objects or in murals.
One of the most famous discoveries in Egyptology is the tomb of "King Tut." Tutankhamun was relatively unimportant as a king; he died very young. But his unraided tomb has given us an idea of what would have been in even more propsperous tombs. For more information about some of the items found in Tutankhamun's tomb, one of the view that has been found relatively untouched, you can go here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/tutankhamun_gallery.shtml
Vol I, No. 3
Necropolis at Giza, Cairo, Egypt, Old Kingdom
Can we be comfortable with Death?
provided the dead with a burial space for the mummified body and most importantly, the
It may be difficult for us in the US to understand an Egyptian view of the afterlife. Because we are afraid of death, because we stave off death as much as we can--with diet choices as much as plastic surgeries--we often do not confront death until we are forced to.
But in ancient Egypt, kings (later to be called Pharaohs) would spend their entire reigns preparing for the afterlife by commissioning burials, funerary temples, and burial goods.
This week we will learn about how Egyptian royals used the Humanities to fulfill their visions of bounty in the afterlife.
Unfortunately, most tombs have been raided over time--some within their own day, others over generations. But the architectural ediface, part of a grand necropolis, and the murals inside those tomb spaces reveal much about the vision of the living, and so the dead, the influences of other cultures on the Egyptians, and the religious beliefs pertaining to the afterlife.
In the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser, we clearly see an Ancient Near Eastern influence on tomb structures--the Ziggurat. In the mural of Ti Hunting Hippos, we see the importance of the Nile not only as a vehicle of recreation but also of travel through the afterlife.
When the Afterlife Comes Calling
Model of Tutankhamun's Boat, Valley of the Kings, Egypt, ca. 1,335 BCE
This presentation is an overview of the material in your text. It is not comprehensive, nor is it meant to be. This presentation allows you to introduce yourself to concepts and images in the respective chapter. Best practice says to view this presentation with your book open, as many of the images in this presentation are small or incomplete.
We can answer this by looking at the works that ancient Egyptians commissioned and placed in
, or cities of the dead.
Seated Scribe, Saqqara, Egypt, Old Kingdom; section from Hunefer's
Book of the Dead
Book of Going Forth by Day
), Thebes, Egypt, New Kingdom
detail of musicians and dancers from the tomb of Nebamun, Thebes, Egypt, New Kingdom
Stepped Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara, Egypt, Predynastic Period; detail of Ti Hunting Hippos, Saqqara, Egypt