The Last Judgment
Ancient Egyptians had paid much attention to maintaining values of truth and justice and reducing the sins and faults that could upset their gods. They believed they would be judged for all their deeds and actions. The final and most challenging test of all, they believe, came when the dead person's spirit was examined by the gods who ruled in the afterlife. According to them, there would be a court for the last judgment which would find them either innocent or quality. Scenes depicting the Day of the Last Judgment decorate the walls of the tombs of the New Kingdom, although this thought had been known to the Ancient Egyptians since the Old Kingdom as mentioned in the Pyramid Texts.
Headed by god Osiris, the court of judgment consists of 42 gods as the judges, referring to the 42 nomes of Upper and Lower Egypt. Each god has a distinct head, such as a head of a snake, a sheep, a falcon or a scarab. Likewise, gods were given peculiar names, like “the Blood Eater” “the Darkness Eater” “the Hell's Legs”.
At the court, god Osiris is depicted sitting on his throne which is preceded with four children posing on the lotus flowers. Holding the ankh symbol, God Horus introduces the deceased to his father. Near the scale stands the "Dead's Eater". This imaginary ugly demon creature has a head of a crocodile, a chest of a lion, and a back of a hippo; and he is always ready for eating the dead if found guilty.
Before undertaking the judgment procedures, the two sides of the scale are always set on the same level so as ensure justice.
The dead man is supposed to enter the Hall of Two Truth and greet the great god Osiris, announcing that he knows his name and the names of the 42 judges attending at this sacred hall.
At this stage, the deceased starts mentioning the crimes he had never committed in his past life. That is, he enumerates the mean deeds and sins he had never made, such as the sins of stealing a temple's wealth, starving people, or any other wrongs that may upset the gods.
Then, he/she has to go to each of the 42 judges to confess his/her innocence of each crime separately.
After the confessions, gods Horus and Anubis take the heart of the dead person to place onto the scale in order to be weighted. If the side with the heart goes down, lower than the side with the Ma'at-feather (Feather of Truth), this means that this person is mean and that he had not been just in his life, which makes his resurrection impossible. Notably, the Weighing of the Heart is one of the most famous funerary ceremonies in Ancient Egypt and this well-executed scene is typical of the versions of the Nineteenth Dynasty.
However, if the side with the symbol of justice “Maat” rises, this man is proven to have been just and truthful in his life and therefore deserves to be honored by having the title “the Truthful Voice” and to be free to enter the other world's heaven.
Horus steadies the balance, which is topped by the figure of a baboon and a feather. Thoth holds a scribe's palette, ready to write down the verdict and to announce it to Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, who await the news in an elaborate kiosk. Should the verdict be a bad one and the deceased be found guilty of sin, he will be devoured by Ammit, the "Dead's Eater", whose name literally means 'She Who Swallows the Dead'.
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