The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians
by E. A. Wallis Budge
1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse







Sometime Scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge, and Tyrwhitt Hebrew Scholar; Keeper of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum


LONDON J.M. DENT & SONS LIMITED Aldine House, Bedford Street, W.C.

[Frontispiece: The Elysian Fields of the Egyptians according to the Papyrus of Ani. 1. Ani adoring the gods of Sekhet-Aaru. 2. Ani reaping in the Other World. 3. Ani ploughing in the Other World. 4. The abode of the perfect spirits, and the magical boats.]


This little book is intended to serve as an elementary introduction to the study of Egyptian Literature. Its object is to present a short series of specimens of Egyptian compositions, which represent all the great periods of literary activity in Egypt under the Pharaohs, to all who are interested in the study of the mental development of ancient nations. It is not addressed to the Egyptological specialist, to whom, as a matter of course, its contents are well known, and therefore its pages are not loaded with elaborate notes and copious references. It represents, I believe, the first attempt made to place before the public a summary of the principal contents of Egyptian Literature in a handy and popular form.

The specimens of native Egyptian Literature printed herein are taken from tombs, papyri, stelae, and other monuments, and, with few exceptions, each specimen is complete in itself. Translations of most of the texts have appeared in learned works written by Egyptologists in English, French, German, and Italian, but some appear in English for the first time. In every case I have collated my own translations with the texts, and, thanks to the accurate editions of texts which have appeared in recent years, it has been found possible to make many hitherto difficult passages clear. The translations are as literal as the difference between the Egyptian and English idioms will permit, but it has been necessary to insert particles and often to invert the order of the words in the original works in order to produce a connected meaning in English. The result of this has been in many cases to break up the short abrupt sentences in which the Egyptian author delighted, and which he used frequently with dramatic effect. Extraordinarily concise phrases have been paraphrased, but the meanings given to several unknown words often represent guess-work.

In selecting the texts for translation in this book an attempt has been made to include compositions that are not only the best of their kind, but that also illustrate the most important branches of Egyptian Literature. Among these religious, mythological, and moral works bulk largely, and in many respects these represent the peculiar bias of the mind of the ancient Egyptian better than compositions of a purely historical character. No man was more alive to his own material interests, but no man has ever valued the things of this world less in comparison with the salvation of his soul and the preservation of his physical body. The immediate result of this was a perpetual demand on his part for information concerning the Other World, and for guidance during his life in this world. The priests attempted to satisfy his craving for information by composing the Books of the Dead and the other funerary works with which we are acquainted, and the popularity of these works seems to show that they succeeded. From the earliest times the Egyptians regarded a life of moral excellence upon earth as a necessary introduction to the life which he hoped to live with the blessed in heaven. And even in pyramid times he conceived the idea of the existence of a God Who judged rightly, and Who set "right in the place of wrong." This fact accounts for the reverence in which he held the Precepts of Ptah-hetep, Kaqemna, Herutataf, Amenemhat I, Ani, Tuauf, Amen-hetep, and other sages. To him, as to all Africans, the Other World was a very real thing, and death and the Last Judgment were common subjects of his daily thoughts. The great antiquity of this characteristic of the Egyptian is proved by a passage in a Book of Precepts, which was written by a king of the ninth or tenth dynasty for his son, who reigned under the name of Merikara. The royal writer in it reminds his son that the Chiefs [of Osiris] who judge sinners perform their duty with merciless justice on the Day of Judgment. It is useless to assume that length of years will be accepted by them as a plea of justification. With them the lifetime of a man is only regarded as a moment. After death these Chiefs must be faced, and the only things that they will consider will be his works. Life in the Other World is for ever, and only the reckless fool forgets this fact. The man who has led a life free from lies and deceit shall live after death like a god.

The reader who wishes to continue his studies of Egyptian Literature will find abundant material in the list of works given on pp. 256-8.


BRITISH MUSEUM, April 17, 1914.



II. THE PYRAMID TEXTS: 9 The Book of Opening the Mouth 13 The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings 16 Hymns to the Sky-goddess and Sun-god 18 The King in Heaven 20 The Hunting and Slaughter of the Gods by the King 21

III. STORIES OF MAGICIANS WHO LIVED UNDER THE ANCIENT EMPIRE: 25 Ubaaner and the Wax Crocodile 25 The Magician Tchatchamankh and the Gold Ornament 27 Teta, who restored Life to Dead Animals, &c. 29 Rut-tetet and the Three Sons of Ra 33

IV. THE BOOK OF THE DEAD: 37 Summary of Chapters 42 Hymns, Litany, and Extracts from the Book of the Dead 44 The Great Judgment 51

V. BOOKS OF THE DEAD OF THE GRAECO-ROMAN PERIOD: 59 Book of Breathings 59 Book of Traversing Eternity 61 The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys 62 The Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys 64 The Book of Making Splendid the Spirit of Osiris 64


VII. LEGENDS OF THE GODS: 71 The Destruction of Mankind 71 The Legend of Ra and Isis 74 The Legend of Horus of Behutet 77 The Legend of Khnemu and the Seven Years' Famine 83 The Legend of the Wanderings of Isis 87 The Legend of the Princess of Bekhten 92

VIII. HISTORICAL LITERATURE: 98 Extract from the Palermo Stone 100 Edict against the Blacks 101 Inscription of Usertsen III at Semnah 101 Campaign of Thothmes II in the Sudan 102 Capture of Megiddo by Thothmes III 103 The Conquests of Thothmes III summarised by Amen-Ra 106 Summary of the Reign of Rameses III 110 The Invasion and Conquest of Egypt by Piankhi 116

IX. AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL LITERATURE: 126 The Autobiography of Una 127 The Autobiography of Herkhuf 131 The Autobiography of Ameni Amenemhat 135 The Autobiography of Thetha 137 The Autobiography of Amasis, the Naval Officer 140 The Autobiography of Amasis, surnamed Pen-Nekheb 143 The Autobiography of Tehuti, the Erpa 145 The Autobiography of Thaiemhetep 149

X. TALES OF TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE: 155 The Story of Sanehat 155 The Story of the Educated Peasant Khuenanpu 169 The Journey of the Priest Unu-Amen into Syria 185

XI. FAIRY TALES: 196 The Tale of the Two Brothers 196 The Story of the Shipwrecked Traveller 207

XII. EGYPTIAN HYMNS TO THE GODS: 214 Hymn to Amen-Ra 214 Hymn to Amen 219 Hymn to the Sun-god 220 Hymn to Osiris 221 Hymn to Shu 222

XIII. MORAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL LITERATURE: 224 The Precepts of Ptah-hetep 225 The Maxims of Ani 228 The Talk of a Man who was tired of Life with His Soul 231 The Lament of Khakhepersenb, surnamed Ankhu 235 The Lament of Apuur 236

XIV. EGYPTIAN POETICAL COMPOSITIONS: 241 The Poem in the Tomb of Antuf 242

XV. MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE: 244 The Book of Two Ways 244 The Book "Am Tuat" 244 The Book of Gates 246 The Ritual of Embalmment 247 The Ritual of the Divine Cult 248 The Book "May My Name Flourish" 250 The Book of Aapep 250 The Instructions of Tuauf 250 Medical Papyri 252 Magical Papyri 252 Legal Documents 253 Historical Romances 254 Mathematical Papyri 254



















The Literature of ancient Egypt is the product of a period of about four thousand years, and it was written in three kinds of writing, which are called hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic. In the first of these the characters were pictures of objects, in the second the forms of the characters were made as simple as possible so that they might be written quickly, and in the third many of them lost their picture form altogether and became mere symbols. Egyptian writing was believed to have been invented by the god Tehuti, or Thoth, and as this god was thought to be a form of the mind and intellect and wisdom of the God who created the heavens and the earth, the picture characters, or hieroglyphs as they are called, were held to be holy, or divine, or sacred. Certain religious texts were thought to possess special virtue when written in hieroglyphs, and the chapters and sections of books that were considered to have been composed by Thoth himself were believed to possess very great power, and to be of the utmost benefit to the dead when they were written out for them in hieroglyphs, and buried with them in their coffins. Thoth also invented the science of numbers, and as he fixed the courses of the sun, moon, and stars, and ordered the seasons, he was thought to be the first astronomer. He was the lord of wisdom, and the possessor of all knowledge, both heavenly and earthly, divine and human; and he was the author of every attempt made by man to draw, paint, and carve. As the lord and maker of books, and as the skilled scribe, he was the clerk of the gods, and kept the registers wherein the deeds of men were written down. The deep knowledge of Thoth enabled him to find out the truth at all times, and this ability caused the Egyptians to assign to him the position of Chief Judge of the dead. A very ancient legend states that Thoth acted in this capacity in the great trial that took place in heaven when Osiris was accused of certain crimes by his twin-brother Set, the god of evil. Thoth examined the evidence, and proved to the gods that the charges made by Set were untrue, and that Osiris had spoken the truth and that Set was a liar. For this reason every Egyptian prayed that Thoth might act for him as he did for Osiris, and that on the day of the Great Judgment Thoth might preside over the weighing of his heart in the Balance. All the important religious works in all periods were believed to have been composed either by himself, or by holy scribes who were inspired by him. They were believed to be sources of the deepest wisdom, the like of which existed in no other books in the world. And it is probably to these books that Egypt owed her fame for learning and wisdom, which spread throughout all the civilised world. The "Books of Thoth," which late popular tradition in Egypt declared to be as many as 36,525 in number, were revered by both natives and foreigners in a way which it is difficult for us in these days to realise. The scribes who studied and copied these books were also specially honoured, for it was believed that the spirit of Thoth, the twice-great and thrice-great god, dwelt in them. The profession of the scribe was considered to be most honourable, and its rewards were great, for no rank and no dignity were too high for the educated scribe. Thoth appears in the papyri and on the monuments as an ibis-headed man, and his companion is usually a dog-headed ape called "Asten." In the Hall of the Great Judgment he is seen holding in one hand a reed with which he is writing on a palette the result of the weighing of the heart of the dead man in the Balance. The gods accepted the report of Thoth without question, and rewarded the good soul and punished the bad according to his statement. From the beginning to the end of the history of Egypt the position of Thoth as the "righteous judge," and framer of the laws by which heaven and earth, and men and gods were governed, remained unchanged.

The substances used by the Egyptians for writing upon were very numerous, but the commonest were stone of various kinds, wood, skin, and papyrus. The earliest writings were probably traced upon these substances with some fluid, coloured black or red, which served as ink. When the Egyptians became acquainted with the use of the metals they began to cut their writings in stone. The text of one of the oldest chapters of the Book of the Dead (LXIV) is said in the Rubric to the chapter to have been "found" cut upon a block of "alabaster of the south" during the reign of Menkaura, a king of the fourth dynasty, about 3700 B.C. As time went on and men wanted to write long texts or inscriptions, they made great use of wood as a writing material, partly on account of the labour and expense of cutting in stone. In the British Museum many wooden coffins may be seen with their insides covered with religious texts, which were written with ink as on paper. Sheepskin, or goatskin, was used as a writing material, but its use was never general; ancient Egyptian documents written on skin or, as we should say, on parchment, are very few. At a very early period the Egyptians learned how to make a sort of paper, which is now universally known by the name of "papyrus." When they made this discovery cannot be said, but the hieroglyphic inscriptions of the early dynasties contain the picture of a roll of papyrus, and the antiquity of the use of papyrus must therefore be very great. Among the oldest dated examples of inscribed papyrus may be noted some accounts which were written in the reign of King Assa (fourth dynasty, 3400 B.C.), and which were found at Sakkarah, about 20 miles to the south of Cairo.

Papyrus was made from the papyrus plant that grew and flourished in the swamps and marshes of Lower Egypt, and in the shallow pools that were formed by the annual Nile flood. It no longer grows in Egypt, but it is found in the swamps of the Egyptian Sudan, where it grows sometimes to a height of 25 feet. The roots and the stem, which is often thicker than a man's arm, are used as fuel, and the head, which is large and rounded, is in some districts boiled and eaten as a vegetable. The Egyptian variety of the papyrus plant was smaller than that found in the Sudan, and the Egyptians made their paper from it by cutting the inner part of the stem into thin strips, the width of which depended upon the thickness of the stem; the length of these varied, of course, with the length of the stem. To make a sheet of papyrus several of these strips were laid side by side lengthwise, and several others were laid over them crosswise. Thus each sheet of papyrus contained two layers, which were joined together by means of glue and water or gum. Pliny, a Roman writer, states (Bohn's edition, vol. iii. p. 189) that Nile water, which, when in a muddy state, has the peculiar qualities of glue, was used in fastening the two layers of strips together, but traces of gum have actually been found on papyri. The sheets were next pressed and then dried in the sun, and when rubbed with a hard polisher in order to remove roughnesses, were ready for use.[1] By adding sheet to sheet, rolls of papyrus of almost any length could be made. The longest roll in the British Museum is 133 feet long by 16-1/2 inches high (Harris Papyrus, No. 1), and the second in length is a copy of the Book of the Dead, which is 123 feet long and 18-1/2 inches high; the latter contains 2666 lines of writing arranged in 172 columns. The rolls on which ordinary compositions were written were much shorter and not so high, for they are rarely more than 20 feet long, and are only from 8 to 10 inches in height.

The scribe mixed on his palette the paints which he used. This palette usually consisted of a piece of alabaster, wood, ivory, or slate, from 8 to 16 inches in length and from 2 to 3-1/2 inches in width; all four corners were square. At one end of the palette a number of oval or circular hollows were sunk to hold ink or paint. Down the middle was cut a groove, square at one end and sloping at the other, in which the writing reeds were placed. These were kept in position by a piece of wood glued across the middle of the palette, or by a sliding cover, which also served to protect the reeds from injury. On the sides of this groove are often found inscriptions that give the name of the owner of the palette, and that contain prayers to the gods for funerary offerings, or invocations to Thoth, the inventor of the art of writing. The black ink used by the scribes was made of lamp-black or of finely-powdered charcoal mixed with water, to which a very small quantity of gum was probably added. Red and yellow paint were made from mineral earths or ochres, blue paint was made from lapis-lazuli powder, green paint from sulphate of copper, and white paint from lime-white. Sometimes the ink was placed in small wide-mouthed pots made of Egyptian porcelain or alabaster. The scribe rubbed down his colours on a stone slab with a small stone muller. The writing reed, which served as a pen, was from 8 to 10 inches long, and from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch in diameter; the end used in writing was bruised and not cut. In late times a very much thicker reed was used, and then the end was cut like a quill or steel pen. Writing reeds of this kind were carried in boxes of wood and metal specially made for the purpose. Many specimens of all kinds of Egyptian writing materials are to be seen in the Egyptian Rooms of the British Museum.

[Footnote 1: In some parts of Mesopotamia where scribes at the present day use rough paper made in Russia, each sheet before being written upon is laid upon a board and polished by means of a glass bottle.]

As papyrus was expensive the pupils in the schools attached to the great temples of Egypt wrote their exercises and copies of standard literary compositions on slices of white limestone of fine texture, or upon boards, in the shape of modern slates used in schools, whitened with lime. The "copies" from which they worked were written by the teacher on limestone slabs of somewhat larger size. Copies of the texts that masons cut upon the walls of temples and other monuments were also written on slabs of this kind, and when figures of kings or gods were to be sculptured on the walls their proportions were indicated by perpendicular and horizontal lines drawn to scale. Portions of broken earthen-ware pots were also used for practising writing upon, and in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods lists of goods, and business letters, and the receipts given by the tax-gatherers, were written upon potsherds. In still later times, when skin or parchment was as expensive as papyrus, the Copts, or Egyptian Christians, used slices of limestone and potsherds for drafts of portions of the Scriptures and letters in much the same way as did their ancestors.

A roll of papyrus when not in use was kept in shape by a string or piece of papyrus cord, which was tied in a bow; sometimes, especially in the case of legal documents, a clay seal bearing the owner's name was stamped on the cord. Valuable rolls were kept in wooden cases or "book boxes," which were deposited in a chamber or "house" set apart for the purpose, which was commonly called the "house of books," i.e. the library. Having now described the principal writing materials used by the ancient Egyptians, we may pass on to consider briefly the various classes of Egyptian Literature that have come down to us.



"Pyramid Texts" is the name now commonly given to the long hieroglyphic inscriptions that are cut upon the walls of the chambers and corridors of five pyramids at Sakkarah. The oldest of them was built for Unas, a king of the fifth dynasty, and the four others were built for Teta, Pepi I, Merenra, and Pepi II, kings of the sixth dynasty. According to the calculation of Dr. Brugsch, they were all built between 3300 and 3150 B.C., but more recent theories assign them to a period about 700 years later. These Texts represent the oldest religious literature known to us, for they contain beliefs, dogmas, and ideas that must be thousands of years older than the period of the sixth dynasty when the bulk of them was drafted for the use of the masons who cut them inside the pyramids. It is probable that certain sections of them were composed by the priests for the benefit of the dead in very primitive times in Egypt, when the art of writing was unknown, and that they were repeated each time a king died. They were first learned by heart by the funerary priests, and then handed on from mouth to mouth, generation after generation, and at length after the Egyptians had learned to write, and there was danger of their being forgotten, they were committed to writing. And just as these certain sections were absorbed into the great body of Pyramid Texts of the sixth dynasty, so portions of the Texts of the sixth dynasty were incorporated into the great Theban Book of the Dead, and they appear in papyri that were written more than 2000 years later. The Pyramid Texts supply us with much information concerning the religious beliefs of the primitive Egyptians, and also with many isolated facts of history that are to be found nowhere else, but of the meaning of a very large number of passages we must always remain ignorant, because they describe states of civilisation, and conditions of life and climate, of which no modern person can form any true conception. Besides this the meanings of many words are unknown, the spelling is strange and often inexplicable, the construction of the sentence is frequently unlike anything known in later texts, and the ideas that they express are wholly foreign to the minds of students of to-day, who are in every way aliens to the primitive Egyptian African whose beliefs these words represent. The pyramids at Sakkarah in which the Pyramid Texts are found were discovered by the Frenchman, Mariette, in 1880. Paper casts of the inscriptions, which are deeply cut in the walls and painted green, were made for Professor Maspero, the Director of the Service of Antiquities in Egypt, and from these he printed an edition in hieroglyphic type of all five texts, and added a French translation of the greater part of them. Professor Maspero correctly recognised the true character of these old-world documents, and his translation displayed an unrivalled insight into the true meaning of many sections of them. The discovery and study of other texts and the labours of recent workers have cleared up passages that offered difficulties to him, but his work will remain for a very long time the base of all investigations.

The Pyramid Texts, and the older texts quoted or embodied in them, were written, like every religious funerary work in Egypt, for the benefit of the king, that is to say, to effect his glorious resurrection and to secure for him happiness in the Other World, and life everlasting. They were intended to make him become a king in the Other World as he had been a king upon earth; in other words, he was to reign over the gods, and to have control of all the powers of heaven, and to have the power to command the spirits and souls of the righteous, as his ancestors the kings of Egypt had ruled their bodies when they lived on earth. The Egyptians found that their king, who was an incarnation of the "Great God," died like other men, and they feared that, even if they succeeded in effecting his resurrection by means of the Pyramid Texts, he might die a second time in the Other World. They spared no effort and left no means untried to make him not only a "living soul" in the Tuat, or Other World, but to keep him alive there. The object of every prayer, every spell, every hymn, and every incantation contained in these Texts, was to preserve the king's life. This might be done in many ways. In the first place it was necessary to provide a daily supply of offerings, which were offered up in the funerary temple that was attached to every pyramid. The carefully selected and duly appointed priest offered these one by one, and as he presented each to the spirit of the king he uttered a formula that was believed to convert the material food into a substance possessing a spiritual character and fit to form the food of the ka, or "double," or "vital power," of the dead king. The offerings assisted in renewing his life, and any failure to perform this service was counted a sin against the dead king's spirit. It was also necessary to perform another set of ceremonies, the object of which was to "open the mouth" of the dead king, i.e. to restore to him the power to breathe, think, speak, taste, smell, and walk. At the performance of these ceremonies it was all-important to present articles of food, wearing apparel, scents and unguents, and, in short, every object that the king was likely to require in the Other World. The spirits of all these objects passed into the Other World ready for use by the spirit of the king. It follows as a matter of course that the king in the Other World needed a retinue, and a bodyguard, and a host of servants, just as he needed slaves upon earth. In primitive times a large number of slaves, both male and female, were slain when a king died, and their bodies were buried in his tomb, whilst their spirits passed into the Other World to serve the spirit of the king, just as their bodies had served his body upon earth. As the king had enemies in this world, so it was thought he would have enemies in the Other World, and men feared that he would be attacked or molested by evilly-disposed gods and spirits, and by deadly animals and serpents, and other noxious reptiles. To ward off the attacks of these from his tomb, and his mummified body, and his spirit, the priest composed spells of various kinds, and the utterance of such, in a proper manner, was believed to render him immune from the attacks of foes of all kinds. Very often such spells took the form of prayers. Many of the spells were exceedingly ancient, even in the Pyramid Period; they were, in fact, so old that they were unintelligible to the scribes of the day. They date from the time when the Egyptians believed more in magic than religion; it is possible that when they were composed, religion, in our sense of the word, was still undeveloped among the Egyptians.

When the Pyramid Texts were written men believed that the welfare of souls and spirits in the Other World could be secured by the prayers of the living. Hence we find in them numerous prayers for the dead, and hymns addressed to the gods on their behalf, and extracts from many kinds of ancient religious books. When these were recited, and offerings made both to the gods and to the dead, it was confidently believed that the souls of the dead received special consideration and help from the gods, and from all the good spirits who formed their train. These prayers are very important from many points of view, but specially so from the fact that they prove that the Egyptians who lived under the sixth dynasty attached more importance to them than to magical spells and incantations. In other words, the Egyptians had begun to reject their belief in the efficacy of magic, and to develop a belief of a more spiritual character. There were many reasons for this development, but the most important was the extraordinary growth of the influence of the religion of Osiris, which had before the close of the period of the sixth dynasty spread all over Egypt. This religion promised to all who followed it, high or low, rich or poor, a life in the world beyond the grave, after a resurrection that was made certain to them through the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Osiris, who was the incarnation of the great primeval god who created the heavens and the earth. A few extracts illustrating the general contents of the Pyramid Texts may now be given.

I. Mention has already been made of the "opening of the mouth" of the dead king: under the earliest dynasties this ceremony was performed on a statue of the king. Water was sprinkled before it, and incense was burnt, and the statue was anointed with seven kinds of unguents, and its eyes smeared with eye paint. After the statue had been washed and dressed a meal of sepulchral offerings was set before it. The essential ceremony consisted in applying to the lips of the statue a curiously shaped instrument called the PESH KEF, with which the bandages that covered the mouth of the dead king in his tomb were supposed to be cut and the mouth set free to open. In later times the Liturgy of Opening the Mouth was greatly enlarged and was called the Book of Opening the Mouth. The ceremonies were performed by the Kher-heb priest, the son of the deceased, and the priests and ministrants called Sameref, Sem, Smer, Am-as, Am-khent, and the assistants called Mesentiu. First of all incense was burnt, and the priest said, "Thou art pure," four times. Water was then sprinkled over the statue and the priest said, "Thou art pure. Thou art pure. Thy purifications are the purifications of Horus,[1] and the purifications of Horus are thy purifications." This formula was repeated three times, once with the name of Set,[2] once with the name of Thoth,[3] and once with the name of Sep. The priest then said, "Thou hast received thy head, and thy bones have been brought unto thee before Keb."[4] During the performance of the next five ceremonies, in which incense of various kinds was offered, the priest said: "Thou art pure (four times). That which is in the two eyes of Horus hath been presented unto thee with the two vases of Thoth, and they purify thee so that there may not exist in thee the power of destruction that belongeth unto thee. Thou art pure. Thou art pure. Pure is the seman incense that openeth thy mouth. Taste the taste thereof in the divine dwelling. Seman incense is the emission of Horus; it stablisheth the heart of Horus-Set, it purifieth the gods who are in the following of Horus. Thou art censed with natron. Thou art established among the gods thy brethren. Thy mouth is like that of a sucking calf on the day of its birth. Thou art censed. Thou art censed. Thou art pure. Thou art pure. Thou art established among thy brethren the gods. Thy head is censed. Thy mouth is censed. Thy bones are purified. [Decay] that is inherent in thee shall not touch thee. I have given thee the Eye of Horus,[5] and thy face is filled therewith. Thou art shrouded in incense (say twice)."[6]

[Footnote 1: A form of the Sun-god.]

[Footnote 2: Originally a benevolent god: later the great god of evil.]

[Footnote 3: The scribe of the gods, lord of wisdom: see pp. 1,2.]

[Footnote 4: The Earth-god.]

[Footnote 5: Horus gave his eye to Osiris, and thereby restored life to him.]

[Footnote 6: Repetitions are omitted.]

The next ceremony, the ninth, represented the re-birth of the king, who was personified by a priest. The priest, wrapped in the skin of a bull, lay on a small bed and feigned death. When the chief priest had said, "O my father," four times, the priest representing the king came forth from the bull's skin, and sat up; this act symbolized the resurrection of the king in the form of a spirit-body (sahu). The chief priest then asserted that the king was alive, and that he should never be removed, and that he was similar in every way to Horus. The priest personifying the king then put on a special garment, and taking a staff or sceptre in his hand, said, "I love my father and his transformation. I have made my father, I have made a statue of him, a large statue. Horus loveth those who love him." He then pressed the lips of the statue, and said, "I have come to embrace thee. I am thy son. I am Horus. I have pressed for thee thy mouth.... I am thy beloved son." The words then said by the chief priest, "I have delivered this mine eye from his mouth, I have cut off his leg," mean that the king was delivered from the jaws of death, and that a grievous wound had been inflicted on the god of death, i.e. Set.

Whilst these ceremonies were being performed the animals brought to be sacrificed were slain. Chief of these were two bulls, gazelle, geese, &c., and their slaughter typified the conquest and death of the enemies of the dead king. The heart and a fore-leg of each bull were presented to the statue of the king, and the priest said: "Hail, Osiris! I have come to embrace thee. I am Horus. I have pressed for thee thy mouth. I am thy beloved Son. I have opened thy mouth. Thy mouth hath been made firm. I have made thy mouth and thy teeth to be in their proper places. Hail, Osiris![1] I have opened thy mouth with the Eye of Horus." Then taking two instruments made of metal the priest went through the motion of cutting open the mouth and eyes of the statue, and said: "I have opened thy mouth. I have opened thy two eyes. I have opened thy mouth with the instrument of Anpu.[2] I have opened thy mouth with the Meskha instrument wherewith the mouth of the gods was opened. Horus openeth the mouth and eyes of the Osiris. Horus openeth the mouth of the Osiris even as he opened the mouth of his father. As he opened the mouth of the god Osiris so shall he open the mouth of my father with the iron that cometh forth from Set, with the Meskha instrument of iron wherewith he opened the mouth of the gods shall the mouth of the Osiris be opened. And the Osiris shall walk and shall talk, and his body shall be with the Great Company of the Gods who dwell in the Great House of the Aged One (i.e. the Sun-god) who dwelleth in Anu.[3] And he shall take possession of the Urrt Crown therein before Horus, the Lord of mankind. Hail, Osiris! Horus hath opened thy mouth and thine eyes with the instruments Sebur and An, wherewith the mouths of the gods of the South were opened.... All the gods bring words of power. They recite them for thee. They make thee to live by them. Thou becomest the possessor of twofold strength. Thou makest the passes that give thee the fluid of life, and their life fluid is about thee. Thou art protected, and thou shalt not die. Thou shalt change thy form [at pleasure] among the Doubles[4] of the gods. Thou shalt rise up as a king of the South. Thou shalt rise up as a king of the North. Thou art endowed with strength like all the gods and their Doubles. Shu[5] hath equipped thee. He hath exalted thee to the height of heaven. He hath made thee to be a wonder. He hath endowed thee with strength."

[Footnote 1: It was assumed that the king after death became a being with the nature of Osiris, and he was therefore addressed as "Osiris."]

[Footnote 2: Or Anubis, a very ancient god who presided over embalming; he appears in the form of a man with the head of a dog or jackal.]

[Footnote 3: The On of the Bible, the Heliopolis of the Greeks. This city lay a few miles to the east of the modern city of Cairo.]

[Footnote 4: Every living thing possessed a KA or "double," which was the vital power of the heart and could live after the death of the body.]

[Footnote 5: The Air-god, the son of Keb and Nut.]

The ceremonies that followed concerned the dressing of the statue of the king and his food. Various kinds of bandlets and a collar were presented, and the gift of each endowed the king in the Other World with special qualities. The words recited by the priest as he offered these and other gifts were highly symbolic, and were believed to possess great power, for they brought the Double of the king back to this earth to live in the statue, and each time they were repeated they renewed the life of the king in the Other World.

II. The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings was another all-important work. The oldest form of it, which is found in the Pyramid Texts, proves that even under the earliest dynasties the belief in the efficacy of sacrifices and offerings was an essential of the Egyptian religion. The opening ceremonies had for their object the purification of the deceased by means of sprinkling with water in which salt, natron, and other cleansing substances had been dissolved, and burning of incense. Then followed the presentation of about one hundred and fifty offerings of food of all kinds, fruit, flowers, vegetables, various kinds of wine, seven kinds of precious ointments, wearing apparel of the kind suitable for a king, &c. As each object was presented to the spirit of the king, which was present in his statue in the Tuat Chamber of the tomb, the priest recited a form of words, which had the effect of transmuting the substance of the object into something which, when used or absorbed by the king's spirit, renewed the king's life and maintained his existence in the Other World. Every object was called the "Eye of Horus," in allusion to its life-giving qualities. The following extracts illustrate the Liturgy of Funerary Offerings:

32. This libation is for thee, Osiris, this libation is for thee, Unas.[1] (Here offer cold water of the North.) It cometh forth before thy son, cometh forth before Horus. I have come, I have brought unto thee the Eye of Horus, that thy heart may be refreshed thereby. I have brought it and have set it under thy sandals, and I present unto thee that which flowed forth from thee. There shall be no stoppage to thy heart whilst it is with thee, and the offerings that appear at the command[2] shall appear at thy word of command. (Recite four times.)

[Footnote 1: The king who is identified with Osiris.]

[Footnote 2: The deceased who possessed the words of power uttered in the tomb the names of the offerings he required, and the offerings appeared forthwith.]

37. Thou hast taken possession of the two Eyes of Horus, the White and the Black, and when they are in thy face they illumine it. (Here offer two jugs of wine, one white, one black.)

38. Day hath made an offering unto thee in the sky. The South and the North have given offerings unto thee. Night hath made an offering unto thee. The South and the North have made an offering unto thee. An offering is brought unto thee, look upon it; an offering, hear it. There is an offering before thee, there is an offering behind thee, there is an offering with thee. (Here offer a cake for the journey.)

41. Osiris Unas, the white teeth of Horus are presented unto thee so that they may fill thy mouth. (Here offer five bunches of onions.)

47. O Ra, the worship that is paid to thee, the worship of every kind, shall be paid [also] to Unas. Everything that is offered to thy body shall be offered to the Double of Unas also, and everything that is offered to his body shall be thine. (Here offer the table of holy offerings.)

61. O ye oils, ye oils, which are on the forehead of Horus, set ye yourselves on the forehead of Unas, and make him to smell sweet through you. (Here offer oil of cedar of the finest quality.)

62. Make ye him to be a spirit-soul (khu) through possession of you, and grant ye him to have the mastery over his body, let his eyes be opened, and let all the spirit-souls see him, and let them hear his name. Behold, Osiris Unas, the Eye of Horus hath been brought unto thee, for it hath been seized for thee that it may be before thee. (Here offer the finest Thehenu oil.)

III. As specimens of the hymns in the Pyramid Texts may be quoted the following: the first is a hymn to Nut, the Sky-goddess, and the second is a hymn to Ra, the Sun-god.

[O] Nut, thou hast extended thyself over thy son the Osiris Pepi, Thou hast snatched him out of the hand of Set; join him to thyself, Nut. Thou comest, snatch thy son; behold, thou comest, form this great one [like] unto thyself. [O] Nut, cast thyself upon thy son the Osiris Pepi. [O] Nut, cast thyself upon thy son the Osiris Pepi. Form thou him, O Great Fashioner; this great one is among thy children. Form thou him, O Great Fashioner; this great one is among thy children. Keb [was to] Nut. Thou didst become a spirit. Thou wast a mighty goddess in the womb of thy mother Tefnut when thou wast not born. Form thou Pepi with life and well-being; he shall not die. Strong was thy heart, Thou didst leap in the womb of thy mother in thy name of "Nut." [O] perfect daughter, mighty one in thy mother, who art crowned like a king of the North, Make this Pepi a spirit-soul in thee, let him not die. [O] Great Lady, who didst come into being in the sky, who art mighty. Who dost make happy, and dost fill every place (or being), with thy beauty, The whole earth is under thee, thou hast taken possession of it. Thou hast encompassed the earth, everything is in thy two hands, Grant thou that this Pepi may be in thee like an imperishable star. Thou hast associated with Keb in thy name of "Pet" (i.e. Sky). Thou hast united the earth in every place. [O] mistress over the earth, thou art above thy father Shu, thou hast the mastery over him. He hath loved thee so much that he setteth himself under thee in everything. Thou hast taken possession of every god for thyself with his boat (?). Thou hast made them shine like lamps, Assuredly they shall not cease from thee like the stars. Let not this Pepi depart from thee in thy name of "Hert" (ll. 61-64).

The Hymn to the Sun-god is as follows:

Hail to thee, Tem! Hail to thee, Kheprer, who created himself. Thou art the High, in this thy name of "Height." Thou camest into being in this thy name of "Kheprer." Hail to thee, Eye of Horus,[1] which he furnisheth with his hands completely. He permitteth not thee to be obedient to those of the West; He permitteth not thee to be obedient to those of the East; He permitteth not thee to be obedient to those of the South; He permitteth not thee to be obedient to those of the North; He permitteth not thee to be obedient to those who are in the earth; [For] thou art obedient to Horus. He it is who hath furnished thee, he it is who hath builded thee, he it is who hath made thee to be dwelt in. Thou doest for him whatsoever he saith unto thee, in every place whither he goeth. Thou liftest up to him the water-fowl that are in thee. Thou liftest up to him the water-fowl that are about to be in thee. Thou liftest up to him every tree that is in thee. Thou liftest up to him every tree that is about to be in thee. Thou liftest up to him the cakes and ale that are in thee. Thou liftest up to him the cakes and ale that are about to be in thee. Thou liftest up to him the gifts that are in thee. Thou liftest up to him the gifts that are about to be in thee. Thou liftest up to him everything that is in thee. Thou liftest up to him everything that is about to be in thee. Thou takest them to him in every place wherein it pleaseth him to be. The doors upon thee stand fast [shut] like the god Anmutef,[2] They open not to those who are in the West; They open not to those who are in the East; They open not to those who are in the North; They open not to those who are in the South; They open not to those who are in the middle of the earth; But they open to Horus.

He it was who made them, he it was who made them stand [firm], he it was who delivered them from every evil attack which the god Set made upon them. He it was who made thee to be a settled country in this thy name of "Kerkut." He it was who passed bowing after thee in thy name of "Nut." He it was who delivered thee from every evil attack which Set made upon thee (Pepi II, ll. 767-774.)

[Footnote 1: Here a name of Egypt.]

[Footnote 2: The god who was "the pillar of his mother."]

IV. The following passages describe the power of the king in heaven, and his felicity there:

"The sky hath withdrawn the life of the star Septet (Sothis, the Dog-star); behold Unas a living being, the son of Septet. The Eighteen Gods have purified him in Meskha (the Great Bear), [he is] an imperishable star. The house of Unas perisheth not in the sky, the throne of Unas perisheth not on the earth. Men make supplication [there], the gods fly [thither]. Septet hath made Unas fly to heaven to be with his brethren the gods. Nut,[1] the Great Lady, hath unfolded her arms to Unas. She hath made them into two divine souls at the head of the Souls of Anu, under the head of Ra. She made them two weeping women when thou wast on thy bier (?). The throne of Unas is by thee, Ra, he yieldeth it not up to anyone else. Unas cometh forth into heaven by thee, Ra. The face of Unas is like the [faces of the] Hawks. The wings of Unas are like [those of] geese. The nails of Unas are like the claws of the god Tuf. There is no [evil] word concerning Unas on earth among men. There is no hostile speech about him with the gods. Unas hath destroyed his word, he hath ascended to heaven. Upuatu hath made Unas fly up to heaven among his brethren the gods. Unas hath drawn together his arms like the Smen goose, he striketh his wings like a falcon, flying, flying. O men, Unas flieth up into heaven.

[Footnote 1: The Sky-goddess.]

"O ye gods of the West, O ye gods of the East, O ye gods of the South, O ye gods of the North, ye four groups who embrace the holy lands, devote ye yourselves to Osiris when he appeareth in heaven. He shall sail into the Sky, with his son Horus by his fingers. He shall announce him, he shall make him rise up like the Great God in the Sky. They shall cry out concerning Unas: Behold Horus, the son of Osiris! Behold Unas, the firstborn son of Hathor! Behold the seed of Keb! Osiris hath commanded that Unas shall rise as a second Horus, and these Four Spirit-souls in Anu have written an edict to the two great gods in the Sky. Ra set up the Ladder[1] in front of Osiris, Horus set up the Ladder in front of his father Osiris when he went to his spirit, one on this side [and] one on the other side; Unas is between them. Behold, he is the god of the pure seats coming forth from the bath (?). Unas standeth up, lo Horus; Unas sitteth down, lo Set. Ra graspeth his hand, spirit to heaven, body to earth."

[Footnote 1: The Ladder by which souls ascended to heaven. A picture of the Ladder is given in the Papyrus of Ani, Plate XXII.]

The power of the king in heaven was almost as absolute as it was upon earth, and in a very remarkable passage in the text of Unas, which is repeated in the text of Teta, we have a graphic description of the king as a mighty hunter, who chases the gods and lassoes them, and then kills and eats them in order that he may absorb their strength and wisdom, and all their divine attributes, and their power of living eternally. The passage reads:

"The skies lower, the Star-gods tremble, the Archers[1] quake, the bones of the Akeru[1] gods tremble, and those who are with them are struck dumb when they see Unas rising up as a soul, in the form of the god who liveth upon his fathers, and who turneth his mothers into his food. Unas is the lord of wisdom, and his mother knoweth not his name. The adoration of Unas is in heaven, he hath become mighty in the horizon like Temu, the father that gave him birth, and after Temu had given him birth Unas became stronger than his father. The Doubles (i.e. vital strength) of Unas are behind him, the soles of his feet are beneath his feet, his gods are over him, his serpents are [seated] upon his brow, the serpent-guides of Unas are in front of him, and the spirit of the flame looketh upon [his] soul. The powers of Unas protect him. Unas is a bull in heaven. He directeth his steps where he willeth. He liveth upon the form which each god taketh upon himself, and he eateth the flesh of those who come to fill their bellies with the magical charms in the Lake of Fire. Unas is equipped with power against the spirit-souls thereof, and he riseth in the form of the mighty one, the lord of those who dwell in power (?). Unas hath taken his seat with his back turned towards Keb (the Earth-god). Unas hath weighed his words[2] with the hidden god (?) who hath no name, on the day of hacking in pieces the firstborn. Unas is the lord of offerings, the untier of the knot, and he himself maketh abundant the offerings of meat and drink. Unas devoureth men, and liveth upon the gods, he is the lord of envoys whom he sendeth forth on his missions. 'He who cutteth off hairy scalps,' who dwelleth in the fields, tieth the gods with ropes. Tcheser-tep shepherdeth them for Unas and driveth them unto him; and the Cord-master hath bound them for slaughter. Khensu, the slayer of the wicked, cutteth their throats, and draweth out their intestines, for it is he whom Unas sendeth to slaughter [them], and Shesmu[3] cutteth them in pieces, and boileth their members in his blazing caldrons of the night. Unas eateth their magical powers, and he swalloweth their spirit-souls. The great ones among them serve for his meal at daybreak, the lesser serve for his meal at eventide, and the least among them serve for his meal in the night. The old gods and the old goddesses become fuel for his furnace. The mighty ones in heaven light the fire under the caldrons wherein are heaped up the thighs of the firstborn; and he who maketh those who live in heaven to go about for Unas lighteth the fire under the caldrons with the thighs of their women; he goeth about the Two Heavens in their entirety, and he goeth round about the two banks of the Celestial Nile. Unas is the Great Power, the Power of Powers, and Unas is the Chief of the gods in visible forms. Whatsoever he findeth upon his path he eateth forthwith, and the magical might of Unas is before that of all the spirit-bodies who dwell in the horizon. Unas is the firstborn of the firstborn gods. Unas is surrounded by thousands, and oblations are made unto him by hundreds; he is made manifest as the Great Power by Saah (Orion), the father of the gods. Unas repeateth his rising in heaven, and he is crowned lord of the horizon. He hath reckoned up the bandlets and the arm-rings [of his captives], he hath taken possession of the hearts of the gods. Unas hath eaten the Red Crown, and he hath swallowed the White Crown; the food of Unas is the intestines, and his meat is hearts and their words of power. Behold, Unas eateth of that which the Red Crown sendeth forth, he increaseth, and the words of power of the gods are in his belly; his attributes are not removed from him. Unas hath eaten the whole of the knowledge of every god, and the period of his life is eternity, and the duration of his existence is everlastingness. He is in the form of one who doeth what he wisheth, and who doth not do what he hateth, and he abideth on the horizon for ever and ever and ever. The Soul of the gods is in Unas, their spirit-souls are with Unas, and the offerings made unto him are more than those that are made unto the gods. The fire of Unas is in their bones, for their soul is in Unas, and their shades are with those who belong unto them. Unas hath been with the two hidden (?) Kha (?) gods, ...; the seat of the heart of Unas is among those who live upon this earth for ever and ever and ever."

[Footnote 1: These are names of groups of stars.]

[Footnote 2: i.e. entered into judgment.]

[Footnote 3: The executioner of Osiris.]

The following extract is from one of the later Pyramid Texts:

"Pepi was brought forth by the god Nu, when there was no heaven, when there was no earth, when nothing had been established, when there was no fighting, and when the fear of the Eye of Horus did not exist. This Pepi is one of the Great Offspring who were brought forth in Anu (Heliopolis), who have never been conquered by a king or ruled by chiefs, who are irresistible, whose words cannot be gainsaid. Therefore this Pepi is irresistible; he can neither be conquered by a king nor ruled by chiefs. The enemies of Pepi cannot triumph. Pepi lacketh nothing. His nails do not grow long [for want of prey]. No debt is reckoned against Pepi. If Pepi falleth into the water Osiris will lift him out, and the Two Companies of the Gods will bear him up on their shoulders, and Ra, wheresoever he may be, will give him his hand. If Pepi falleth on the earth the Earth-god (Keb) will lift him up, and the Two Companies of the Gods will bear him up on their shoulders, and Ra, wheresoever he may be, will give him his hand.... Pepi appeareth in heaven among the imperishable stars. His sister the star Sothis (the Dog-star), his guide the Morning Star (Venus) lead him by the hand to the Field of Offerings. He taketh his seat on the crystal throne, which hath faces of fierce lions and feet in the form of the hoofs of the Bull Sma-ur. He standeth up in his place between the Two Great Gods, and his sceptre and staff are in his hands. He lifteth up his hand to the Henmemet spirits, and the gods come to him with bowings. The Two Great Gods look on in their places, and they find Pepi acting as judge of the gods. The word of every spirit-soul is in him, and they make offerings to him among the Two Companies of the Gods.



The short stories of the wonderful deeds of ancient Egyptian magicians here given are found in the Westcar Papyrus, which is preserved in the Royal Museum in Berlin, where it is numbered P. 3033. This papyrus was the property of Miss Westcar of Whitchurch, who gave it to the eminent German Egyptologist, Richard Lepsius, in 1839; it was written probably at some period between the twelfth and eighteenth dynasties. The texts were first edited and translated by Professor Erman.


The first story describes an event which happened in the reign of Nebka, a king of the third dynasty. It was told by Prince Khafra to King Khufu (Cheops). The magician was called Ubaaner,[1] and he was the chief Kher-heb in the temple of Ptah of Memphis, and a very learned man. He was a married man, but his wife loved a young man who worked in the fields, and she sent him by the hands of one of her maids a box containing a supply of very fine clothes. Soon after receiving this gift the young man proposed to the magician's wife that they should meet and talk in a certain booth or lodge in her garden, and she instructed the steward to have the lodge made ready for her to receive her friend in it. When this was done, she went to the lodge, and she sat there with the young man and drank beer with him until the evening, when he went his way. The steward, knowing what had happened, made up his mind to report the matter to his master, and as soon as the morning had come, he went to Ubaaner and informed him that his wife had spent the previous day drinking beer with such and such a young man. Ubaaner then told the steward to fetch him his casket made of ebony and silver-gold, which contained materials and instruments used in working magic, and when it was brought him, he took out some wax, and fashioned a figure of a crocodile seven spans long. He then recited certain magical words over the crocodile, and said to it, "When the young man comes to bathe in my lake thou shalt seize him." Then giving the wax crocodile to the steward, Ubaaner said to him, "When the young man goes down to the lake to bathe according to his daily habit, thou shalt throw the crocodile into the water after him." Having taken the crocodile from his master the steward departed.

[Footnote 1: This name means "splitter of stones." It will be remembered that the late Sir H.M. Stanley was called the "stone-splitter," because of his great strength of deed and word.]

Then the wife of Ubaaner told the steward to set the little lodge in the garden in order, because she was going to spend some time there. When the steward had furnished the lodge, she went there, and the young peasant paid her a visit. After leaving the lodge he went and bathed in the lake, and the steward followed him and threw the wax crocodile into the water; it immediately turned into a large crocodile 7 cubits (about 11 feet) long and seized the young man and swallowed him up. When this took place the magician Ubaaner was with the king, and he remained in attendance upon him for seven days, during which time the young man was in the lake, with no air to breathe. When the seven days were ended King Nebka proposed to take a walk with the magician. Whilst they were going along Ubaaner asked the king if he would care to see a wonderful thing that had happened to a young peasant, and the king said he would, and forthwith walked to the place to which the magician led him. When they arrived at the lake Ubaaner uttered a spell over the crocodile, and commanded it to come up out of the water bringing the young man with him; and the crocodile did so. When the king saw the beast he exclaimed at its hideousness, and seemed to be afraid of it, but the magician stooped down fearlessly, and took the crocodile up in his hand, and lo, the living crocodile had disappeared, and only a crocodile of wax remained in its place. Then Ubaaner told King Nebka the story of how the young man had spent days in the lodge in the garden talking and drinking beer with his wife, and His Majesty said to the wax crocodile, "Get thee gone, and take what is thine with thee." And the wax crocodile leaped out of the magician's hand into the lake, and once more became a large, living crocodile. And it swam away with the young man, and no one ever knew what became of it afterwards. Then the king made his servants seize Ubaaner's wife, and they carried her off to the ground on the north side of the royal palace, and there they burned her, and they scattered her ashes in the river. When King Khufu had heard the story he ordered many offerings to be made in the tomb of his predecessor Nebka, and gifts to be presented to the magician Ubaaner.


The Prince Baiufra stood up and offered to relate to King Khufu (Cheops) a story of a magician called Tchatchamankh, who flourished in the reign of Seneferu, the king's father. The offer having been accepted, Baiufra proceeded to relate the following: On one occasion it happened that Seneferu was in a perplexed and gloomy state of mind, and he wandered distractedly about the rooms and courts of his palace seeking to find something wherewith to amuse himself, but he failed to do so. Then he bethought himself of the court magician Tchatchamankh, and he ordered his servants to summon him to the presence. When the great Kher-heb and scribe arrived, he addressed him as "my brother," and told him that he had been wandering about in his palace seeking for amusement, and had failed to find it. The magician promptly suggested to the king that he should have a boat got ready, decorated with pretty things that would give pleasure, and should go for a row on the lake. The motions of the rowers as they rowed the boat about would interest him, and the sight of the depths of the waters, and the pretty fields and gardens round about the lake, would give him great pleasure. "Let me," said the magician, "arrange the matter. Give me twenty ebony paddles inlaid with gold and silver, and twenty pretty maidens with flowing hair, and twenty network garments wherein to dress them." The king gave orders for all these things to be provided, and when the boat was ready, and the maidens who were to row had taken their places, he entered the boat and sat in his little pavilion and was rowed about on the lake. The magician's views proved to be correct, for the king enjoyed himself, and was greatly amused in watching the maidens row. Presently the handle of the paddle of one of the maidens caught in her long hair, and in trying to free it a malachite ornament which she was wearing in her hair fell into the water and disappeared. The maiden was much troubled over her loss, and stopped rowing, and as her stopping threw out of order the strokes of the maidens who were sitting on the same seat as she was, they also stopped rowing. Thereupon the king asked why the rowing had ceased, and one of the maidens told him what had happened; and when he promised that the ornament should be recovered, the maiden said words which seem to mean that she had no doubt that she should recover it. On this Seneferu caused Tchatchamankh to be summoned into the presence, and when he came the king told him all that had happened. Then the magician began to recite certain spells, the effect of which was to cause the water of the lake first to divide into two parts, and then the water on one side to rise up and place itself on the water on the other side. The boat, presumably, sank down gently on the ground of the lake, for the malachite ornament was seen lying there, and the magician fetched it, and returned it to its owner. The depth of the water in the middle of the lake where the ornament dropped was 12 cubits (between 18 and 19 feet), and when the water from one side was piled up on that on the other, the total depth of the two sections taken together was, we are told, 24 cubits. As soon as the ornament was restored to the maiden, the magician recited further spells, and the water lowered itself, and spread over the ground of the lake, and so regained its normal level. His Majesty, King Seneferu, assembled his nobles, and having discussed the matter with them, made a handsome gift to his clever magician. When King Khufu had heard the story he ordered a large supply of funerary offerings to be sent to the tomb of Seneferu, and bread, beer, flesh, and incense to the tomb of Tchatchamankh.


When Baiufra had finished the story given above, Prince Herutataf, the son of King Khufu, and a very wise man, with whose name Egyptian tradition associated the discovery of certain chapters of the Book of the Dead, stood up before his father to speak, and said to him, "Up to the present thou hast only heard tales about the wisdom of magicians who are dead and gone, concerning which it is quite impossible to know whether they be true or not. Now, I want Thy Majesty to see a certain sage who is actually alive during thy lifetime, whom thou knowest not." His Majesty Khufu said, "Who is it, Herutataf?" And Prince Herutataf replied, "He is a certain peasant who is called Teta, and he lives in Tet-Seneferu. He is one hundred and ten years old, and up to this very day he eats five hundred bread-cakes (sic), and a leg of beef, and drinks one hundred pots of beer. He knows how to reunite to its body a head which has been cut off, he knows how to make a lion follow him whilst the rope with which he is tied drags behind him on the ground, and he knows the numbers of the Apet chambers (?) of the shrine (?) of Thoth." Now His Majesty had been seeking for a long time past for the number of the Apet chambers (?) of Thoth, for he had wished to make something like it for his "horizon."[1] And King Khufu said to his son Herutataf, "My son, thou thyself shalt go and bring the sage to me"; thereupon a boat was made ready for Prince Herutataf, who forthwith set out on his journey to Tet-Seneferu, the home of the sage. When the prince came to the spot on the river bank that was nearest to the village of Teta, he had the boat tied up, and he continued his journey overland seated in a sort of sedan chair made of ebony, which was carried or slung on bearing poles made of costly sesentchem wood inlaid or decorated with gold. When Herutataf arrived at the village, the chair was set down on the ground, and he got out of it and stood up ready to greet the old man, whom he found lying upon a bed, with the door of his house lying on the ground. One servant stood by the bed holding the sage's head and fanning him, and another was engaged in rubbing his feet. Herutataf addressed a highly poetical speech to Teta, the gist of which was that the old man seemed to be able to defy the usual effects of old age, and to be like one who had obtained the secret of everlasting youth, and then expressed the hope that he was well. Having paid these compliments, which were couched in dignified and archaic language, Herutataf went on to say that he had come with a message from his father Khufu, who hereby summoned Teta to his presence. "I have come," he said, "a long way to invite thee, so that thou mayest eat the food, and enjoy the good things which the king bestows on those who follow him, and so that he may conduct thee after a happy life to thy fathers who rest in the grave." The sage replied, "Welcome, Prince Herutataf, welcome, O thou who lovest thy father. Thy father shall reward thee with gifts, and he shall promote thee to the rank of the senior officials of his court. Thy Ka[2] shall fight successfully against thine enemy, thy soul knows the ways of the Other World, and thou shalt arrive at the door of those who are apparelled in ... I salute thee, O Prince Herutataf."

[Footnote 1: These were probably books and instruments which the magicians of the day used in making astrological calculations, or in working magic.]

[Footnote 2: The "double," or the vital force.]

Herutataf then held out his hands to the sage and helped him to rise from the bed, and he went with him to the river bank, Teta leaning on his arm. When they arrived there Teta asked for a boat wherein his children and his books might be placed, and the prince put at his disposal two boats, with crews complete; Teta himself, however, was accommodated in the prince's boat and sailed with him. When they came to the palace, Prince Herutataf went into the presence of the king to announce their arrival, and said to him, "O king my lord, I have brought Teta"; and His Majesty replied, "Bring him in quickly." Then the king went out into the large hall of his palace, and Teta was led into the presence. His Majesty said, "How is it, Teta, that I have never seen thee?" And Teta answered, "Only the man who is summoned to the presence comes; so soon as the king summoned me I came." His Majesty asked him, saying, "Is it indeed true, as is asserted, that thou knowest how to rejoin to its body the head which hath been cut off?" Teta answered, "Most assuredly do I know how to do this, O king my lord." His Majesty said, "Let them bring in from the prison a prisoner, so that his death-sentence may be carried out." Then Teta said, "Let them not bring a man, O king my lord. Perhaps it may be ordered that the head shall be cut off some other living creature." So a goose was brought to him, and he cut off its head, and laid the body of the goose on the west side of the hall, and its head on the east side. Then Teta recited certain magical spells, and the goose stood up and waddled towards its head, and its head moved towards its body. When the body and the head came close together, the head leaped on to the body, and the goose stood up on its legs and cackled.

Then a goose of another kind called khetaa was brought to Teta, and he did with it as he had done with the other goose. His Majesty next caused an ox to be taken to Teta, and when he had cut off its head, and recited magical spells over the head and the body, the head rejoined itself to the body, and the ox stood up on its feet. A lion was next brought to Teta, and when he had recited spells over it, the lion went behind him, and followed him [like a dog], and the rope with which he had been tied up trailed on the ground behind the animal.

King Khufu then said to Teta, "Is it true what they say that thou knowest the numbers of the Apet chambers (?) of the shrine (?) of Thoth?" Teta replied, "No. I do not know their number, O king my lord, but I do know the place where they are to be found." His Majesty asked, "Where is that?" Teta replied, "There is a box made of flint in a house called Sapti in Heliopolis." The king asked, "Who will bring me this box?" Teta replied, "Behold, O king my lord, I shall not bring the box to thee." His Majesty asked, "Who then shall bring it to me?" Teta answered, "The oldest of the three children of Rut-tetet shall bring it unto thee." His Majesty said, "It is my will that thou shalt tell me who this Rut-tetet is." Teta answered, "This Rut-tetet is the wife of a priest of Ra of Sakhabu,[1] who is about to give birth to three children of Ra. He told her that these children should attain to the highest dignities in the whole country, and that the oldest of them should become high priest[2] of Heliopolis." On hearing these words the heart of the king became sad; and Teta said, "Wherefore art thou so sad, O king my lord? Is it because of the three children? I say unto thee, Verily thy son, verily his son, verily one of them." His Majesty asked, "When will these three children be born?" Teta answered, "Rut-tetet will give them birth on the fifteenth day of the first month of Pert."[3] The king then made a remark the exact meaning of which it is difficult to follow, but from one part of it it is clear that he expressed his determination to go and visit the temple of Ra of Sakhabu, which seems to have been situated on or near the great canal of the Letopolite nome. In reply Teta declared that he would take care that the water in the canal should be 4 cubits (about 6 feet) deep, i.e. that the water should be deep enough for the royal barge to sail on the canal without difficulty. The king then returned to his palace and gave orders that Teta should have lodgings given him in the house of Prince Herutataf, that he should live with him, and that he should be provided with one thousand bread-cakes, one hundred pots of beer, one ox, and one hundred bundles of vegetables. And all that the king commanded concerning Teta was done.

[Footnote 1: A town which seems to have been situated in the second nome or "county" of Lower Egypt; the Greeks called the nome Letopolites.]

[Footnote 2: His official title was "Ur-mau."]

[Footnote 3: The season Pert = November 15 - March 15.]


The last section of the Westcar Papyrus deals with the birth of the three sons of Ra, who have been mentioned above. When the day drew nigh in which the three sons were to be born, Ra, the Sun-god, ordered the four goddesses, Isis, Nephthys,[1] Meskhenet,[2] and Heqet,[3] and the god Khnemu,[4] to go and superintend the birth of the three children, so that when they grew up, and were exercising the functions of rule throughout all Egypt, they should build temples to them, and furnish the altars in them with offerings of meat and drink in abundance. Then the four goddesses changed themselves into the forms of dancing women, and went to the house wherein the lady Rut-tetet lay ill, and finding her husband, the priest of Ra, who was called Rauser, outside, they clashed their cymbals together, and rattled their sistra, and tried to make him merry. When Rauser objected to this and told them that his wife lay ill inside the house, they replied, "Let us see her, for we know how to help her"; so he said to them and to Khnemu who was with them, "Enter in," and they did so, and they went to the room wherein Rut-tetet lay. Isis, Nephthys, and Heqet assisted in bringing the three boys into the world. Meskhenet prophesied for each of them sovereignty over the land, and Khnemu bestowed health upon their bodies. After the birth of the three boys, the four goddesses and Khnemu went outside the house, and told Rauser to rejoice because his wife Rut-tetet had given him three children. Rauser said, "My Ladies, what can I do for you in return for this?" Having apparently nothing else to give them, he begged them to have barley brought from his granary, so that they might take it away as a gift to their own granaries; they agreed, and the god Khnemu brought the barley. So the goddesses set out to go to the place whence they had come.

[Footnote 1: Isis and Nephthys were the daughters of Keb and Nut, and sisters of Osiris and Set; the former was the mother of Horus, and the latter of Anubis.]

[Footnote 2: A goddess who presided over the birth of children.]

[Footnote 3: A very ancient Frog-goddess, who was associated with generation and birth.]

[Footnote 4: A god who assisted at the creation of the world, and who fashioned the bodies of men and women.]

When they had arrived there Isis said to her companions: "How is it that we who went to Rut-tetet [by the command of Ra] have worked no wonder for the children which we could have announced to their father, who allowed us to depart [without begging a boon]?" So they made divine crowns such as belonged to the Lord (i.e. King), life, strength, health [be to him!], and they hid them in the barley. Then they sent rain and storm through the heavens, and they went back to the house of Rauser, apparently carrying the barley with them, and said to him, "Let the barley abide in a sealed room until we dance our way back to the north." So they put the barley in a sealed room. After Rut-tetet had kept herself secluded for fourteen days, she said to one of her handmaidens, "Is the house all ready?" and the handmaiden told her that it was provided with everything except jars of barley drink, which had not been brought. Rut-tetet then asked why they had not been brought, and the handmaiden replied in words that seem to mean that there was no barley in the house except that which belonged to the dancing goddesses, and that that was in a chamber which had been sealed with their seal. Rut-tetet then told her to go and fetch some of the barley, for she was quite certain that when her husband Rauser returned he would make good what she took. Thereupon the handmaiden went to the chamber, and broke it open, and she heard in it loud cries and shouts, and the sounds of music and singing and dancing, and all the noises which men make in honour of the birth of a king, and she went back and told Rut-tetet what she had heard. Then Rut-tetet herself went through the room, and could not find the place where the noises came from, but when she laid her temple against a box, she perceived that the noises were inside it. She then took this box, which cannot have been of any great size, and put it in another box, which in turn she put in another box, which she sealed, and then wrapping this in a leather covering, she laid it in a chamber containing her jar of barley beer or barley wine, and sealed the door. When Rauser returned from the fields, Rut-tetet related to him everything that had happened, and his heart was exceedingly glad, and he and his wife sat down and enjoyed themselves.

A few days after these events Rut-tetet had a quarrel with her handmaiden, and she slapped her well. The handmaiden was very angry, and in the presence of the household she said words to this effect: Dost thou dare to treat me in this way? I who can destroy thee? She has given birth to three kings, and I will go and tell the Majesty of King Khufu of this fact. The handmaiden thought that, if Khufu knew of the views of Rauser and Rut-tetet about the future of their three sons, and the prophecies of the goddesses, he would kill the children and perhaps their parents also. With the object in her mind of telling the king the handmaiden went to her maternal uncle, whom she found weaving flax on the walk, and told him what had happened, and said she was going to tell the king about the three children. From her uncle she obtained neither support nor sympathy; on the contrary, gathering together several strands of flax into a thick rope he gave her a good beating with the same. A little later the handmaiden went to the river or canal to fetch some water, and whilst she was filling her pot a crocodile seized her and carried her away and, presumably, ate her. Then the uncle went to the house of Rut-tetet to tell her what had happened, and he found her sitting down, with her head bowed over her breast, and exceedingly sad and miserable. He asked her, saying, "O Lady, wherefore art thou so sad?" And she told him that the cause of her sorrow was the handmaiden, who had been born in the house and had grown up in it, and who had just left it, threatening that she would go and tell the king about the birth of the three kings. The uncle of the handmaiden nodded his head in a consoling manner, and told Rut-tetet how she had come to him and informed him what she was going to do, and how he had given her a good beating with a rope of flax, and how she had gone to the river to fetch some water, and how a crocodile had carried her off.

There is reason to think that the three sons of Rut-tetet became the three kings of the fifth dynasty who were known by the names of Khafra, Menkaura, and Userkaf. The stories given above are valuable because they contain elements of history, for it is now well known that the immediate successors of the fourth dynasty, of which Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura, the builders of the three great pyramids at Gizah, were the most important kings, were kings who delighted to call themselves sons of Ra, and who spared no effort to make the form of worship of the Sun-god that was practised at Anu, or Heliopolis, universal in Egypt. It is probable that the three magicians, Ubaaner, Tchatchamankh, and Teta were historical personages, whose abilities and skill in working magic appealed to the imagination of the Egyptians under all dynasties, and caused their names to be venerated to a remote posterity.



"Book of the Dead" is the name that is now generally given to the large collection of "Chapters," or compositions, both short and long, which the ancient Egyptians cut upon the walls of the corridors and chambers in pyramids and rock-hewn tombs, and cut or painted upon the insides and outsides of coffins and sarcophagi, and wrote upon papyri, etc., which were buried with the dead in their tombs. The first modern scholar to study these Chapters was the eminent Frenchman, J. Francois Champollion; he rightly concluded that all of them were of a religious character, but he was wrong in calling the collection as a whole "Funerary Ritual." The name "Book of the Dead" is a translation of the title "Todtenbuch," given by Dr. R. Lepsius to his edition of a papyrus at Turin, containing a very long selection of the Chapters,[1] which he published in 1842. "Book of the Dead" is on the whole a very satisfactory general description of these Chapters, for they deal almost entirely with the dead, and they were written entirely for the dead. They have nothing to do with the worship of the gods by those who live on the earth, and such prayers and hymns as are incorporated with them were supposed to be said and sung by the dead for their own benefit. The author of the Chapters of the Book of the Dead was the god Thoth, whose greatness has already been described in Chapter I of this book. Thus they were considered to be of divine origin, and were held in the greatest reverence by the Egyptians at all periods of their long history. They do not all belong to the same period, for many of them allude to the dismemberment and burning of the dead, customs that, though common enough in very primitive times, were abandoned soon after royal dynasties became established in Egypt.

[Footnote 1: The actual number of Chapters in this papyrus is 165.]

It is probable that in one form or another many of the Chapters were in existence in the predynastic period,[1] but no copies of such primitive versions, if they ever existed, have come down to us. One Egyptian tradition, which is at least as old as the early part of the eighteenth dynasty (1600 B.C.), states that Chapters XXXB and LXIV were "discovered" during the reign of Semti, a king of the first dynasty, and another tradition assigns their discovery to the reign of Menkaura (the Mycerinus of classical writers), a king of the fourth dynasty. It is certain, however, that the Egyptians possessed a Book of the Dead which was used for kings and royal personages, at least, early under the first dynasty, and that, in a form more or less complete, it was in use down to the time of the coming of Christianity into Egypt. The tombs of the officials of the third and fourth dynasties prove that the Book of Opening the Mouth and the Liturgy of Funerary Offerings (see pp. 13-18) were in use when they were made, and this being so it follows as a matter of course that at this period the Egyptians believed in the resurrection of the dead and in their immortality, that the religion of Osiris was generally accepted, that the efficacy of funerary offerings was unquestioned by the religious, and that men died believing that those who were righteous on earth would be rewarded in heaven, and that the evil-doer would be punished. The Pyramid Texts also prove that a Book of the Dead divided into chapters was in existence when they were written, for they mention the "Chapter of those who come forth (i.e. appear in heaven)," and the "Chapter of those who rise up" (Pepi I, l. 463), and the "Chapter of the betu incense," and the "Chapter of the natron incense" (Pepi I, 469). Whether these Chapters formed parts of the Pyramid Texts, or whether both they and the Pyramid Texts belonged to the Book of the Dead cannot be said, but it seems clear that the four Chapters mentioned above formed part of a work belonging to a Book of the Dead that was older than the Pyramid Texts. This Book of the Dead was no doubt based upon the beliefs of the followers of the religion of Osiris, which began in the Delta and spread southwards into Upper Egypt. Its doctrines must have differed in many important particulars from those of the worshippers of the Sun-god of Heliopolis, whose priests preached the existence of a heaven of a solar character, and taught their followers to believe in the Sun-god Ra, and not in Temu, the ancient native god of Heliopolis, and not in the divine man Osiris. The exposition of the Heliopolitan creed is found in the Pyramid Texts, which also contain the proofs that before the close of the sixth dynasty the cult of Osiris had vanquished the cult of Ra, and that the religion of Osiris had triumphed.

[Footnote 1: i.e. before Menes became king of both Upper and Lower Egypt.]

Certain of the Chapters of the Book of the Dead (e.g. XXXB and LXIV) were written in the city of Thoth, or Khemenu, others were written in Anu, or Heliopolis, and others in Busiris and other towns of the Delta. Of the Book of the Dead that was in use under the fifth and sixth dynasties we have no copies, but many Chapters of the Recension in use under the eleventh and twelfth dynasties are found written in cursive hieroglyphs upon wooden sarcophagi, many of which may be seen in the British Museum. With the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty the Book of the Dead enters a new phase of its existence, and it became the custom to write it on rolls of papyrus, which were laid with the dead in their coffins, instead of on the coffins themselves. As the greater number of such rolls have been found in the tombs of priests and others at Thebes, the Recension that was in use from the eighteenth to the twenty-first dynasty (1600-900 B.C.) is commonly called the THEBAN RECENSION. This Recension, in its earliest form, is usually written with black ink in vertical columns of hieroglyphs, which are separated by black lines; the titles of the Chapters, the opening words of each section, and the Rubrics are written with red ink. About the middle of the eighteenth dynasty pictures painted in bright colours, "vignettes," were added to the Chapters; these are very valuable, because they sometimes explain or give a clue to the meaning of parts of the texts that are obscure. Under the twentieth and twenty-first dynasties the writing of copies of the Book of the Dead in hieroglyphs went out of fashion, and copies written in the hieratic, or cursive, character took their place. These were ornamented with vignettes drawn in outline with black ink, and although the scribes who made them wrote certain sections in hieroglyphs, it is clear that they did not possess the skill of the great scribes who flourished between 1600 and 1050 B.C. The last Recension of the Book of the Dead known to us in a complete form is the SAITE RECENSION, which came into existence about 600 B.C., and continued in use from that time to the Roman Period. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods the priests composed several small works such as the "Book of Breathings" and the "Book of Traversing Eternity," which were based upon the Book of the Dead, and were supposed to contain in a highly condensed form all the texts that were necessary for salvation. At a still later period even more abbreviated texts came into use, and the Book of the Dead ended its existence in the form of a series of almost illegible scrawls traced upon scraps of papyrus only a few inches square.

Rolls of papyrus containing the Book of the Dead were placed: (1) In a niche in the wall of the mummy chamber; (2) in the coffin by the side of the deceased, or laid between the thighs or just above the ankles; (3) in hollow wooden figures of the god Osiris, or Ptah-Seker-Osiris, or in the hollow pedestals on which such figures stood.

The Egyptians believed that the souls of the dead on leaving this world had to traverse a vast and difficult region called the Tuat, which was inhabited by gods, devils, fiends, demons, good spirits, bad spirits, and the souls of the wicked, to say nothing of snakes, serpents, savage animals, and monsters, before they could reach the Elysian Fields, and appear in the presence of Osiris. The Tuat was like the African "bush," and had no roads through it. In primitive times the Egyptians thought that only those souls that were provided with spells, incantations, prayers, charms, words of power, and amulets could ever hope to reach the Kingdom of Osiris. The spells and incantations were needed for the bewitchment of hostile beings of every kind; the prayers, charms, and words of power were necessary for making other kinds of beings that possessed great powers to help the soul on its journey, and to deliver it from foes; and the amulets gave the soul that was equipped with them strength, power, will, and knowledge to employ successfully every means of assistance that presented itself.

The OBJECT OF THE BOOK OF THE DEAD was to provide the dead man with all these spells, prayers, amulets, &c., and to enable him to overcome all the dangers and difficulties of the Tuat, and to reach Sekhet Aaru and Sekhet Hetep (the Elysian Fields), and to take his place among the subjects of Osiris in the Land of Everlasting Life. As time went on the beliefs of the Egyptians changed considerably about many important matters, but they never attempted to alter the Chapters of the Book of the Dead so as to bring them, if we may use the expression, "up to date." The religion of the eighteenth dynasty was far higher in its spiritual character generally than that of the twelfth dynasty, but the Chapters that were used under the twelfth dynasty were used under the eighteenth, and even under the twenty-sixth dynasty. In religion the Egyptian forgot nothing and abandoned nothing; what was good enough for his ancestors was good enough for him, and he was content to go into the next world relying for his salvation on the texts which he thought had procured their salvation. Thus the Book of the Dead as a whole is a work that reflects all the religious beliefs of the Egyptians from the time when they were half savages to the period of the final downfall of their power.

The Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead contains about one hundred and ninety Chapters, many of which have Rubrics stating what effects will be produced by their recital, and describing ceremonies that must be performed whilst they are being recited. It is impossible to describe the contents of all the Chapters in our limited space, but in the following brief summary the most important are enumerated. Chap. 1 contains the formulas that were recited on the day of the funeral. Chap. 151 gives a picture of the arrangement of the mummy chamber, and the texts to be said in it. Chap. 137 describes certain magical ceremonies that were performed in the mummy chamber, and describes the objects of magical power that were placed in niches in the four walls. Chap. 125 gives a picture of the Judgment Hall of Osiris, and supplies the declarations of innocence that the deceased made before the Forty-two Judges. Chaps. 144-147, 149, and 150 describe the Halls, Pylons, and Divisions of the Kingdom of Osiris, and supply the name of the gods who guard them, and the formulas to be said by the deceased as he comes to each. Chap. 110 gives a picture of the Elysian Fields and a text describing all the towns and places in them. Chap. 5 is a spell by the use of which the deceased avoided doing work, and Chap. 6 is another, the recital of which made a figure to work for him. Chap. 15 contains hymns to the rising and to the setting sun, and a Litany of Osiris; and Chap. 183 is a hymn to Osiris. Chaps. 2, 3, 12, 13, and others enabled a man to move about freely in the Other World; Chap. 9 secured his free passage in and out of the tomb; and Chap. 11 overthrew his enemies. Chap. 17 deals with important beliefs as to the origin of God and the gods, and of the heavens and the earth, and states the different opinions which Egyptian theologians held about many divine and mythological beings. The reason for including it in the Book of the Dead is not quite clear, but that it was a most important Chapter is beyond all doubt. Chaps. 21 and 22 restored his mouth to the deceased, and Chap. 23 enabled him to open it. Chap. 24 supplied him with words of power, and Chap. 25 restored to him his memory. Chaps. 26-30B gave to the deceased his heart, and supplied the spells that prevented the stealers of hearts from carrying it off, or from injuring it in any way. Two of these Chapters (29 and 30B) were cut upon amulets made in the form of a human heart. Chaps. 31 and 32 are spells for driving away crocodiles, and Chaps. 33-38, and 40 are spells against snakes and serpents. Chaps. 41 and 42 preserved a man from slaughter in the Other World, Chap. 43 enabled him to avoid decapitation, and Chap. 44 preserved him from the second death. Chaps. 45, 46, and 154 protected the body from rot or decay and worms in the tomb. Chap. 50 saved the deceased from the headsman in the Tuat, and Chap. 51 enabled him to avoid stumbling. Chaps. 38, 52-60, and 62 ensured for him a supply of air and water in the Tuat, and Chap. 63 protected him from drinking boiling water there. Chaps. 64-74 gave him the power to leave the tomb, to overthrow enemies, and to "come forth by day." Chaps. 76-89 enabled a man to transform himself into the Light-god, the primeval soul of God, the gods Ptah and Osiris, a golden hawk, a divine hawk, a lotus, a benu bird, a heron, a swallow, a serpent, a crocodile, and into any being or thing he pleased. Chap. 89 enabled the soul of the deceased to rejoin its body at pleasure, and Chaps. 91 and 92 secured the egress of his soul and spirit from the tomb. Chaps. 94-97 made the deceased an associate of Thoth, and Chaps. 98 and 99 secured for him the use of the magical boat, and the services of the celestial ferryman, who would ferry him across the river in the Tuat to the Island of Fire, in which Osiris lived. Chaps. 101 and 102 provided access for him to the Boat of Ra. Chaps. 108, 109, 112, and 116 enabled him to know the Souls (i.e. gods) of the East and West, and of the towns of Pe,[1] Nekhen,[2] Khemenu,[3] and Anu.[4] Chaps. 117-119 enabled him to find his way through Rastau, a part of the kingdom of Seker, the god of Death. Chap. 152 enabled him to build a house, and Chap. 132 gave him power to return to the earth and see it. Chap. 153 provided for his escape from the fiend who went about to take souls in a net. Chaps. 155-160, 166, and 167 formed the spells that were engraved on amulets, i.e. the Tet (male), the Tet (female), the Vulture, the Collar, the Sceptre, the Pillow, the Pectoral, &c., and gave to the deceased the power of Osiris and Isis and other gods, and restored to him his heart, and lifted up his head. Chap. 162 kept heat in the body until the day of the resurrection. Chaps. 175 and 176 gave the deceased everlasting life and enabled him to escape the second death. Chap. 177 raised up the dead body, and Chap. 178 raised up the spirit-soul. The remaining Chapters perfected the spirit-soul, and gave it celestial powers, and enabled it to enjoy intercourse with the gods as an equal, and enabled it to participate in all their occupations and pleasures. We may now give a few extracts that will give an idea of the contents of some of the most important passages.

1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse