Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Egyptian Book of the Dead

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (Egypt, 1550-50 BCE)

A loose collection of texts with a number of magic spells to assist a dead person's journey through the underworld and into the afterlife. Written by many priests, they were placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased. Some were also inscribed on tomb walls and sarcophagi. Calling them "THE Book" is misleading; there was no single approved edition, but a corpus of texts from which spells were selected to suit an individual's needs. Some 192 spells are known today, with various purposes, such as imparting knowledge of the afterlife, ensuring a safe passage, or protecting the deceased from hostile forces.

  • The finest known copy of the Book of the Dead was smuggled out of Egypt in 1888 and is now in the British Museum.


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