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The Hereafter in Ancient Egypt

Pyramids, temples, tombs, the burials of kings, nobles and the common people, all express the unique Ancient Egyptian idea of death. Ancient Egyptians believed in the resurrection and the hereafter perhaps more than any other ancient society. According to Egyptians, death was not simply the end, but was just one of the transformations in life’s natural cycle. The Ancient Egyptians saved a part of their wealth to prepare their tombs and to enjoy the afterlife inside it. In Ancient Egypt, Egyptians believed that man consists of many parts: for instance, man’s physical body was know in Hieroglyphics as HT, his name as RN, his heart as IB, his soul as BA and his shadow as SW. Cemeteries of the Pre-Dynastic Period provide us with the earliest evidence of Egyptian funerary beliefs and customs. The dead were separated from the living not only by the fact of their being dead, but also by being laid to rest in sets of graves at some distance from towns and villages, on the edge of the desert. Within the grave, the deceased was placed facing to the west and was accompanied by pottery vessels filled with food and drink, clothing, personal adornments and other equipments. In some cases, we found the deceased buried in a squatting position like the embryo in his mother’s womb. Also found are some shells behind the deceased intended to help him to be resurrected in the afterlife. In other cases, we found a little statue of a woman to help in the rebirth of the body again. Later, the offering formula which appeared in the tombs was responsible for turning the lists of offerings inscribed on the tombs’ walls into real objects. Offerings usually consisted of bread, beer and oxen. Grave contents varied in quantity and quality according to the status of the tomb’s owner.

Contents :  

  – Burial Customs in Ancient Egypt and Their Development
  – Books of the Hereafter
  – Ancient Egyptian Belief in Resurrection

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