Ancient Egypt

Book of the Dead

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The Book of The Dead is actually the nickname of different magical spells, charms, numbers, passwords and formulas written down by the ancient Egyptians in different ways. The name, "Book of the Dead" was given by the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius, who had published some selected texts in 1842.

Most of these magical spells were written to help the Egyptians reach safely to their afterlife. Almost 200 spells had been discovered so far and most of them were written in a piece of papyrus where as some were written on the wall of tombs too. Book of the Dead - Papyrus of AniInitially, those texts were written on the exterior of the deceased person’s sarcophagus, but later they were written on papyrus sheets.

The ancient Egyptians were very religious and their religious beliefs were based on the polytheism (worship of many deities). There were two chief deities of the Egyptians namely Aman-Ra (The Sun God and the God of the Universe) and God Orisis (the God of the underworld who could possibly make a peaceful after life). The ancient Egyptian religion gave stress on the life after death.

It was believed that the life after death would take people to a particular state which could be achieved by the help of some magical spells.

Wealthy Egyptians used to hire scribes who could write down their all personal favorites on the papyrus sheets which were then stored watchfully in their tombs. People who were not that rich, used to purchase ready-made version of the Book of the dead which used to contain some most popular spells. There was a place on the papyrus sheet where people could write their own names as well. According to the Egyptian belief, Ba and Ka, two pieces of soul, find their ways to own tomb each night.

The Book of The Dead mainly contains the pictures of tests through which the deceased person would have to pass. The most important test was to take a weight of the dead person’s heart against the Ma’at (Truth), a feather and sin.