The Ten Great Egyptian Versions of CreationThe creation and origin of the world (at least of our planet) always intrigued the primitive tribes of all continents. In Egypt , we found belief in ten creationgods, who were supposed to have dragged the world out of the primordial chaos. Besides all these beliefs and primitive myths there may have been manyothers which were less known and existed in the provinces in predynastic period.1. The god "ATOUM of Heliopolis" and Pithom (The Nile Delta)At Heliopolis, (Leontopolis of the 13th district), ATOUM, whose name means "He who is and is not" - was a god who floated in the waters of the Noun.The texts of the Pyramids show him as a pharaoh wearing the 2 crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. Then, despite the primitive idea that he exclusivelycreated the world, the following eras gave him two female partners, the goddesses TEMET (one of the 4 faces of Hathor) and IOUASSAS, who gave birth tothe first couple SHOU and TEFNOUT.In ancient times, at Pithom, (the 8th district ), Atoum was considered to be "the great Lord of the Universe." The priests later associated him with Re, thesource of life and light, who could predict the number of years each would pharaohs reign, as the fruit of the tree of eternity (called ISHED), where all partedlovers would find each other again one day.The Descendants of the Supreme God : ATOUM-RE :2. The Goddess NEITH of Sais (5th district of the Nile)NEITH had the form of a woman wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. She was the precursor of Diane. In her hands she held a bow and arrows. LikeATOUM, she was a hermit goddess who created the world using 7 words or 7 arrows.Replacing the Cow-Goddesses HESAT and METHYER she created the sun along with Sobek, the master of the marshes. Finally she was associatedwithDOUAMOUTEF, one of the four sons of Horus. She watched over the funeral vase containing the entrails of the dead.3. The God PTAH of MEMPHIS (the district on the border of the 2 kingdoms)He was thought to be the god who initiated life; he had conceived the world in his heart before creating it in fact. In the Old Kingdom, he borrowed manyvirtues from the preceding god ATOUM without completely replacing him.He is presented as a man wrapped in a case, with a skull-cap on his head. In his hands he held the Egyptian cross symbol, the ANKH- the symbol of eternity,and also the sceptreOuas of the gods.Already worshipped at Dei el-Medineh, near the valley of the queens. His cult probably started before the building of Memphis, where be became theprincipal god. Beginning with the 3rd Dynasty, PTAH was at first associated with Sokar, (the ancient mummified falcon god), then with Osiris, to blendtogether the three divine acts: of creation, metamorphosis and rebirth.4. OGDOADE of Hermopolis (15th district of Middle Egypt)This was a strange compendium of gods: 2 couples of serpents and 2 couples of frogs who had left the waters of the Noun. This god personified the elements ofcreation: infinite liquid, primordial obscurity, and the fertility from the floods, which fertilized the soil and brought along with it reptilians and amphibiansfrom the high Plateau. The clergy of Thebes could only surmise that humanity came from snakes (who had grown feet!) The hidden god Amon of Thebesreplaced the Ogdoade.5. The God THOT of Hermopolis (15th district of Middle Egypt)This curious god, with the head of a pointed beaked Ibis, held the sun on his head, succeeded the Ogdoade at Hermopolis. Considered in ancient times to bethegreat god of wisdom and science, he was the master of words and writing. He created the world by the WORD and became beside Osiris the judge of souls.In Memphis in the Old Kingdom he was thought of as the tongue of PTAH, and becoming the "guardian of truth".
Linked to the myth of flooding, he accompanied SHOU, taking the form of a monkey, to be better able to catch the runaway Tefn out, who had to return toHeliopolis to rejoin his father Re and bring the flood waters which the country so much needed.6. The god HERYSHEF of Heracleopolis (20th district of Middle Egypt)This name means "he who is on the lake".Presented as a man with the head of a ram, he wore the 2 crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. These were thesymbols of his royal power which he exercised mainly during the time of the Middle Kingdom when his city was chosen as the capital of the Kingdom.He was considered to be a local creation god and (with the god Min of Coptos), and brought fertility and reproduction.7. The god MONTOU of Ermant near Thebes (4th district of Egypt)Usually represented a man with a falcon’s head (with the sun on his forehead) he was the god of war. He was a local creation god and his cult continued untilthe period of the Old Kingdom, when he was gradually replaced by AMON : the invisible, omnipresent god.8. The goddess METHYER or Mehytouret of Esna (3rd district of Upper Egypt)This ancient goddess was represented as a primeval cow floating on the waters of the Noun, symbolizing life leaving the waters. Like the goddess Neith, whosucceeded her, she also gave birth to the sun. She protected the sun by placing it between her horns, which were curved into the shape of a lyre.9. The goddess NEKBET of ElkabouNekheb (3rd district of Upper Egypt)Just like the goddess Neith, the creation goddess of Elkab created the world using 7 words or 7 arrows. She was a white vulture who extended her wings toprotect the pharaoh. Sometimes she was represented as perched on a nest held up by large flowers. She held in her claws the Ouas, the sceptre of the gods.10. The god KHNOUM of Elephantine (1st district of Upper Egypt)This ancient god was presented as a man (with the head of a ram) seated before a potter’s wheel. He was making two small human beings from the clay withhis hands! His companions were sometimes the goddess SATIS, (wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt with 2 antelope horns), and sometimes the gazellegoddess ANOUKIS, whose cult was supplanted by that of NEPHTYS, (the sister of Osiris and SET).SATIS was believed to be the goddess of fertility and love. She was thought to be able to purify (with the help of her Uraeus) the bodies of the first pharaohs asthey reached the entrance to the kingdom of the dead. Later, (as the Greek goddess Diana), SATIS became the goddess of hunting.Sohrab and RustumFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaSohrab and Rustum: An Episode is a narrative poem with strong tragic themes first published in 1853 by Matthew Arnold. The poem retells a famousepisode from Ferdowsis Persian epic Shahnameh relating how the great warrior Rustum unknowingly slew his long-lost son Sohrab in single combat. Arnold,who was unable to read the original, relied on summaries of the story in John MalcolmsHistory of Persia and Sainte-Beuves review of a French prosetranslation of Ferdowsi. In Sohrab and Rustum, Arnold attempted to imitate the "grandeur and rapidity" of Homers style which he was to discuss in hislectures On Translating Homer (1861). The poem consists of 892 lines of blank verse.SynopsisThe armies of the Persians and the Tartars have met on a plain by the River Oxus. The young warrior Sohrab, who is fighting for the Tartars, asks the Tartargeneral Peran-Wisa to delay the battle so he can challenge the Persian lords to single combat. He hopes that the fame he will win from this feat will reach theears of his long-lost father Rustum ("I seek one man, one man, and one alone – /Rustum, my father..."). Peran-Wisa is reluctant to let Sohrab risk his life insuch a way and tells him he would be better to seek Rustum far away in Seistan, where the old warrior is living in retirement with his father Zal. Nevertheless,he reluctantly agrees to Sohrabs request and challenges the Persians to choose a champion to fight with the young man. The Persians are at a loss whom tosend, but Gudurz learns that Rustum has arrived in the camp the night before and goes to Rustums tent to try to persuade him to take up the challenge.Rustum at first refuses, claiming he is too old and battle-weary and feels unappreciated by the young Persian king Kai Khosroo. Unaware of the young manstrue identity, he says he wishes he had a son like Sohrab. Gudurz eventually persuades Rustum to fight but Rustum only agrees on condition that he meetsSohrab incognito, wearing plain armour ("Let not men say of Rustum, he was matchd / In single fight with any mortal man.")
Sohrab and Rustum face each other between the two armies. Rustum is moved to pity at the sight of the youth and offers to take him back to Seistan to live ashis son if he will give up the fight. Sohrab has an intuition that the man is his father and asks him if he is indeed Rustum. Rustum fears that this is simply atrick so the lad can boast of having challenged the great warrior and refuses to reveal his identity. The combat begins.Rustum misses Sohrab with his club, giving his opponent the opportunity to spear him. Instead, Sohrab offers Rustum a truce. Rustum angrily refuses, callingSohrab a "girl", and the fight continues with ever greater intensity. Finally, as he is about to deliver a mighty blow, Rustum shouts out the battle cry"Rustum!" Hearing the name so unexpectedly confuses Sohrab and he drops his guard, allowing Rustum to deal him a mortal wound. As Sohrab lies dying,he proudly declares his ancestral lineage, promising that his own father – Rustum – will somehow hear of his demise and revenge him.Admiring the lads spirit – but frankly disbelieving his words – the victorious Rustum demands certain proofs to establish Sohrabs claim. Sohrab readilycomplies – finally revealing a heraldic emblem tattooed upon his upper arm by his mother when still a child. Rustum – recognising his own heraldry – andconvinced too late of the truth of Sohrabs words – drops his arms and tears his hair, wailing in grief and shame. Holding his only son – whom he had neverbefore met, and whom he has now unwittingly slain – Rustum disdains any further part in the warfare, and the opposing armies withdraw in peace.Psalm 23A psalm of David.1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters,3 he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me.5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.The Book of Ruth (1988) is a novel by Jane Hamilton. It won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a best first novel in 1988 and was the Oprahs BookClubselection for November 1996.Plot summaryAn awkward midwest girl, Ruth, is growing up the small town of Honey Creek, Illinois. All of her childhood, and most of her adult life, is spent wonderingwhat would happen if she could get away. Her father, Elmer, left her family when she was ten, which left her mother, May, very bitter. May is extremelyunhappy with an disappointed in Ruth because she is nothing like her shining brother, Matt. Matt is a mathematical genius with a scholarship to MIT, whileRuth is considered remedial. Their mother May is crushed when Matt moves away to Boston after graduation and she is left with Ruth, who takes a job withher at the local dry cleaner shop.Ruth and May make two friends during this short time period: Deedee and her daughter Daisy (a fast girl with a loose reputation.) One hot night at the locallake, Ruth meets Daisys friend, Ruby Dahl, a local male neer do well. Ruby and Daisy met through a court mandated course for drivers convicted of a DUI.One of many infractions in Rubys history of petty crime. When Ruby later takes Ruth out on a date, he tricks her into losing her virginity to him. But Ruthcontinues to see him, believing his early declaration of love. After several dates they decide to get married.
Ruby has no guests at the wedding, as his mother has dementia and died from pneumonia shortly after moving to Florida with Rubys father, and Rubysfather has no respect for his son. It is revealed at this time that Ruby was a normal baby until his mother, while drunk, falls asleep in the bathtub with Rubywhere he almost drowned. Thus explaining the common assumption that he is slow witted.Because Ruby doesnt have a job, after the marriage, he moves in with Ruth and her mother. May and Ruby do not get along and Ruth becomes very agitatedbecause she had envisioned marriage as the end to her troubles and wants peace within the house. She discovers that she is pregnant and May becomes awarmer mother - advising Ruth to relax and coaching her on child rearing. Even May and Ruby get along much better during her pregnancy. After the birthof Ruths son, Justin, May and Ruby appear to grow closer - much to Ruths dismay.Over the years, Ruth becomes increasingly discontent, ultimately regretting her marriage to Ruby, who has descended into alcoholism and drug abuse,frequenting pornography theatres and demanding sex from Ruth. During the holiday season, Ruth discovers she is pregnant for the second time. The familytensions come to a head when, now toddler, Justin wants some Christmas baked goods kept in the freezer and May and Ruth refuse him, with the excuse ofnot wanting his teeth to be rotten like Rubys. Ruby becomes dark and declares that he is the man of the house, telling Justi n to get the sweets, so they canshare them. May gets upset and Ruby attacks her, cornering her in the basement and eventually beating and strangling her to death. He turns on Ruth, andbreaks her hands, and beats her. He stops short of killing her when Justin tells him to stop.After escaping to a neighbors house, Ruth is rescued by police and Ruby arrested. Ruth is sent to a special hospital for pregnant women with special needs torecover and give birth. Eventually she and her son Justin are taken in by Ruths Aunt Sid. Justin has a hard time being with his mother and frequently hasnightmares about the murder. It is revealed that Ruby was ultimately diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and committed to a mental hospital for thecrime.The book ends with Ruth pining over her lost life, and how she has to move forward with her sons.Book of the DeadFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFor other uses, see Book of the Dead (disambiguation).It is detail scene, from the Papyrus of Hunefer (ca. 1275 B.C.), shows the scribe Hunefers heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather oftruth, by the jackal-headed Anubis. The Ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result. If his heart is lighter than the feather, Hunefer is allowed topass into the afterlife. If not, he is eaten by the waiting chimeric devouring creature Ammitcomposed of the deadly crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus.Vignettes such as these were a common illustration in Egyptian books of the dead.The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. Theoriginal Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rwnwprt m hrw is translated as "Book of Coming Forth by Day".  Another translation would be "Bookof emerging forth into the Light". The text consists of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead persons journey through the Duat, or underworld,and into the afterlife.The Book of the Dead was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which were painted onto objects,not papyrus. Some of the spells included were drawn from these older works and date to the 3rd millennium BCE. Other spells were composed later inEgyptian history, dating to the Third Intermediate Period (11th to 7th centuries BCE). A number of the spells which made up the Book continued to beinscribed on tomb walls and sarcophagi, as had always been the spells from which they originated. The Book of the Dead was placed in the coffin or burialchamber of the deceased.There was no single or canonical Book of the Dead. The surviving papyri contain a varying selection of religious and magical texts and vary considerably intheir illustration. Some people seem to have commissioned their own copies of the Book of the Dead, perhaps choosing the spells they thought most vital intheir own progression to the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was most commonly written in hieroglyphic or hieratic script on a papyrus scroll, and oftenillustrated with vignettes depicting the deceased and their journey into the afterlife.
DevelopmentPart of the Pyramid Texts, a precursor of the Book of the Dead, inscribed on the tomb of TetiThe Book of the Dead developed from a tradition of funerary manuscripts dating back to the Egyptian Old Kingdom. The first funerary texts werethe Pyramid Texts, first used in the Pyramid of King Unas of the 5th dynasty, around 2400 BCE. These texts were written on the walls of the burialchambers within pyramids, and were exclusively for the use of the Pharaoh (and, from the 6th dynasty, the Queen). The Pyramid Texts were written in anunusual hieroglyphic style; many of the hieroglyphs representing humans or animals were left incomplete or drawn mutilated, most likely to prevent themcausing any harm to the dead pharaoh. The purpose of the Pyramid Texts was to help the dead King take his place amongst the gods, in particular toreunite him with his divine father Ra; at this period the afterlife was seen as being in the sky, rather than the underworld described in the Book of theDead. Towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the Pyramid Texts ceased to be an exclusively royal privilege, and were adopted by regional governors andother high-ranking officials.In the Middle Kingdom, a new funerary text emerged, the Coffin Texts. The Coffin Texts used a newer version of the language, new spells, and includedillustrations for the first time. The Coffin Texts were most commonly written on the inner surfaces of coffins, though they are occasionally found on tombwalls or on papyri. The Coffin Texts were available to wealthy private individuals, vastly increasing the number of people who could expect to participate inthe afterlife; a process which has been described as the "democratization of the afterlife". The Book of the Dead first developed in Thebes towards the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period, around 1700 BCE. The earliest known occurrenceof the spells included in the Book of the Dead is from the coffin of Queen Mentuhotep, of the 13th dynasty, where the new spells were included amongst oldertexts known from the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts. Some of the spells introduced at this time claim an older provenance; for instance the rubric to spell30B states that it was discovered by the Prince Hordjedef in the reign of King Menkaure, many hundreds of years before it is attested in the archaeologicalrecord.By the 19th dynasty, the Book of the Dead had become widespread not only for members of the royal family, but courtiers and other officials as well. At thisstage, the spells were typically inscribed on linen shrouds wrapped around the dead, though occasionally they are found written on coffins or on papyrus.The New Kingdom saw the Book of the Dead develop and spread further. The famous Spell 125, the Weighing of the Heart, is first known from the reignof Hatshepsut and Tuthmose III, c.1475 BCE. From this period onward the Book of the Dead was typically written on a papyrus scroll, and the text illustratedwith vignettes. During the 19th dynasty in particular, the vignettes tended to be lavish, sometimes at the expense of the surrounding text. In the Third Intermediate Period, the Book of the Dead started to appear in hieratic script, as well as in the traditional hieroglyphics. The hieratic scrolls werea cheaper version, lacking illustration apart from a single vignette at the beginning, and were produced on smaller papyri. At the same time, many burialsused additional funerary texts, for instance the Amduat.During the 25th and 26th dynasties, the Book of the Dead was updated, revised and standardised. Spells were consistently ordered and numbered for the firsttime. This standardised version is known today as the Saiterecension, after the Saite (26th) dynasty. In the Late period and Ptolemaic period, the Book of theDead remained based on the Saiterecension, though increasingly abbreviated towards the end of the Ptolemaic period. New funerary texts appeared, includingthe Book of Breathing and Book of Traversing Eternity. The last use of the Book of the Dead was in the 1st century BCE, though some artistic motifs drawnfrom it were still in use in Roman times.
SpellsSee also: List of Book of the Dead spellsThe mystical Spell 17, from the Papyrus of Ani. The vignette at the top illustrates, from left to right, the god Heh as a representation of the Sea; a gateway tothe realm of Osiris; the Eye of Horus; the celestial cow Mehet-Weret; and a human head rising from a coffin, guarded by the four Sons of Horus. The Book of the Dead is made up of a number of individual texts and their accompanying illustrations. Most sub-texts begin with the word ro, which can meanmouth, speech, a chapter of a book, spell, utterance, or incantation. This ambiguity reflects the similarity in Egyptian thought between ritual speech andmagical power. In the context of the Book of the Dead, it is typically translated as either "chapter" or "spell". In this article, the word "spell" is used.At present, some 192 spells are known, though no single manuscript contains them all. They served a range of purposes. Some are intended to give thedeceased mystical knowledge in the afterlife, or perhaps to identify them with the gods: for instance, Spell 17, an obscure and lengthy description of thegod Atum. Others are incantations to ensure the different elements of the dead persons being were preserved and reunited, and to give the deceased controlover the world around him. Still others protect the deceased from various hostile forces, or guide him through the underworld past various obstacles.Famously, two spells also deal with the judgement of the deceased in the Weighing of the Heart ritual.Such spells as 26-30, and sometimes spells 6 and 126 relate to the heart, and were inscribed on scarabs. The texts and images of the Book of the Dead were magical as well as religious. Magic was as legitimate an activity as praying to the gods, even when the magicwas aimed at controlling the gods themselves.  Indeed, there was little distinction for the Ancient Egyptians between magical and religious practice.  Theconcept of magic (heka) was also intimately linked with the spoken and written word. The act of speaking a ritual formula was an act of creation;  there is asense in which action and speech were one and the same thing. The magical power of words extended to the written word. Hieroglyphic script was held tohave been invented by the god Thoth, and the hieroglyphs themselves were powerful. Written words conveyed the full force of a spell.  This was even truewhen the text was abbreviated or omitted, as often occurred in later Book of the Dead scrolls, particularly if the accompanying images were present. TheEgyptians also believed that knowing the name of something gave power over it; thus, the Book of the Dead equips its owner with the mystical names of manyof the entities he would encounter in the afterlife, giving him power of them. The spells of the Book of the Dead made use of several magical techniques which can also be seen in other areas of Egyptian life. A number of spells are formagical amulets, which would protect the deceased from harm. In addition to being represented on a Book of the Dead papyrus, these spells appeared onamulets wound into the wrappings of a mummy.  Everyday magic made use of amulets in huge numbers. Other items in direct contact with the body in thetomb, such as headrests, were also considered to have amuletic value.  A number of spells also refer to Egyptian beliefs about the magical healing power ofsaliva.OrganizationAlmost every Book of the Dead was unique, containing a different mixture of spells drawn from the corpus of texts available. For most of the history ofthe Book of the Dead there was no defined order or structure.  In fact, until Paul Barguets 1967 "pioneering study" of common themes betweentexts, Egyptologists concluded there was no internal structure at all.  It is only from the Saite period (26th dynasty) onwards that there is a definedorder.The Books of the Dead from the Saite period tend to organize the Chapters into four sections: Chapters 1–16 The deceased enters the tomb, descends to the underworld, and the body regains its powers of movement and speech.
Chapters 17–63 Explanation of the mythic origin of the gods and places, the deceased are made to live again so that they may arise, reborn, with the morning sun. Chapters 64–129 The deceased travels across the sky in the sun ark as one of the blessed dead. In the evening, the deceased travels to the underworld to appear before Osiris. Chapters 130–189 Having been vindicated, the deceased assumes power in the universe as one of the gods. This section also includes assorted chapters on protective amulets, provision of food, and important places. Egyptian concepts of death and afterlifeA depiction of the ba, an element of the soulThe spells in the Book of the Dead depict Egyptian beliefs about the nature of death and the afterlife. The Book of the Dead is a vital source of informationabout Egyptian beliefs in this area.PreservationOne aspect of death was the disintegration of the various kheperu, or modes of existence. Funerary rituals served to re-integrate these different aspects ofbeing.Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into a sah, an idealised form with divine aspects; the Book of the Dead containedspells aimed at preserving the body of the deceased, which may have been recited during the process of mummification. The heart, which was regarded asthe aspect of being which included intelligence and memory, was also protected with spells, and in case anything happened to the physical heart, it wascommon to bury jewelled heart scarabs with a body to provide a replacement. The ka, or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and requiredsustenance from offerings of food, water and incense. In case priests or relatives failed to provide these offerings, Spell 105 ensured the ka was satisfied. Thename of the dead person, which constituted their individuality and was required for their continued existence, was written in many places throughoutthe Book, and spell 25 ensured the deceased would remember their own name.  The ba was a free-ranging spirit aspect of the deceased. It was the ba,depicted as a human-headed bird, which could "go forth by day" from the tomb into the world; spells 61 and 89 acted to preserve it. Finally, the shut, orshadow of the deceased, was preserved by spells 91, 92 and 188.  If all these aspects of the person could be variously preserved, remembered, and satiated,then the dead person would live on in the form of an akh. An akh was a blessed spirit with magical powers who would dwell among the gods.AfterlifeThe nature of the afterlife which the dead person enjoyed is difficult to define, because of the differing traditions within Ancient Egyptian religion. Inthe Book of the Dead, the dead were taken into the presence of the god Osiris, who was confined to the subterranean Duat. There are also spells to enablethe ba or akh of the dead to join Ra as he travelled the sky in his sun-barque, and help him fight offApep. As well as joining the Gods, the Book of theDead also depicts the dead living on in the Field of Reeds, a paradisaical likeness of the real world.  The Field of Reeds is depicted as a lush, plentifulversion of the Egypt of the living. There are fields, crops, oxen, people and waterways. The deceased person is shown encountering the Great Ennead, a groupof gods, as well as his or her own parents. While the depiction of the Field of Reeds is pleasant and plentiful, it is also clear that manual labour is required. Forthis reason burials included a number of statuettes named shabti, or later ushebti. These statuettes were inscribed with a spell, also included in the Book of theDead, requiring them to undertake any manual labour that might be the owners duty in the afterlife.  It is also clear that the dead not only went to a placewhere the gods lived, but that they acquired divine characteristics themselves. In many occasions, the deceased is mentioned as "The Osiris - [Name]" inthe Book of the Dead.
Two gate spells. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the seven gates of the House of Osiris. Below, they encounter ten of the 21 mysterious portals ofthe House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds. All are guarded by unpleasant protectors. The path to the afterlife as laid out in the Book of the Dead was a difficult one. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and moundsguarded by supernatural creatures. These terrifying entities were armed with enormous knives and are illustrated in grotesque forms, typically as humanfigures with the heads of animals or combinations of different ferocious beasts. Their names—for instance, "He who lives on snakes" or "He who dances inblood"—are equally grotesque. These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells included in the Book of the Dead; once pacified theyposed no further threat, and could even extend their protection to the dead person.  Another breed of supernatural creatures was slaughterers who killedthe unrighteous on behalf of Osiris; theBook of the Dead equipped its owner to escape their attentions. As well as these supernatural entities, there were alsothreats from natural or supernatural animals, including crocodiles, snakes, and beetles. JudgementThe Weighing of the Heart ritual, shown in the Book of the Dead of SesostrisIf all the obstacles of the Duat could be negotiated, the deceased would be judged in the "Weighing of the Heart" ritual, depicted in Spell 125. The deceasedwas led by the godAnubis into the presence of Osiris. There, the dead person swore that he had not committed any sin from a list of 42 sins, reciting a textknown as the "Negative Confession". Then the dead persons heart was weighed on a pair of scales, against the goddess Maat, who embodied truth andjustice. Maat was often represented by an ostrich feather, the hieroglyphic sign for her name.  At this point, there was a risk that the deceaseds heart wouldbear witness, owning up to sins committed in life; Spell 30B guarded against this eventuality. If the scales balanced, this meant the deceased had led a goodlife. Anubis would take them to Osiris and they would find their place in the afterlife, becoming maa-kheru, meaning "vindicated" or "true of voice". If theheart was out of balance with Maat, then another fearsome beast called Ammit, the Devourer, stood ready to eat it and put the dead persons afterlife to anearly and unpleasant end.This scene is remarkable not only for its vividness but as one of the only parts of the Book of the Dead with any explicit moral content. The judgement of thedead and the Negative Confession were a representation of the conventional moral code which governed Egyptian society. For every "I have not..." in theNegative Confession, it is possible to read an unexpressed "Thou shalt not".  While the Ten Commandments of Judaeo-Christian ethics are rules of conductlaid down by divine revelation, the Negative Confession is more a divine enforcement of everyday morality.  Views differ among Egyptologists about how farthe Negative Confession represents a moral absolute, with ethical purity being necessary for progress to the Afterlife. John Taylor points out the wording ofSpells 30B and 125 suggests a pragmatic approach to morality; by preventing the heart from contradicting him with any inconvenient truths, it seems that thedeceased could enter the afterlife even if their life had not been entirely pure.  Ogden Goelet says "without an exemplary and moral existence, there was nohope for a successful afterlife", while Geraldine Pinch suggests that the Negative Confession is essentially similar to the spells protecting from demons, andthat the success of the Weighing of the Heart depended on the mystical knowledge of the true names of the judges rather than on the deceaseds moralbehaviour.Producing a Book of the DeadPart of the Book of the Dead of Pinedjem II. The text is hieratic, except for hieroglyphics in the vignette. The use of red pigment, and the joins betweenpapyrus sheets, are also visibleA close-up of the Papyrus of Ani, showing the cursive hieroglyphs of the text
A Book of the Dead papyrus was produced to order by scribes. They were commissioned by people in preparation for their own funeral, or by the relatives ofsomeone recently deceased. They were expensive items; one source gives the price of a Book of the Dead scroll as onedeben of silver, perhaps half the annualpay of a labourer. Papyrus itself was evidently costly, as there are many instances of its re-use in everyday documents, creatingpalimpsests. In one case,a Book of the Dead was written on second-hand papyrus.Most owners of the Book of the Dead were evidently part of the social elite; they were initially reserved for the royal family, but later papyri are found in thetombs of scribes, priests and officials. Most owners were men, and generally the vignettes included the owners wife as well. Towards the beginning of thehistory of the Book of the Dead, there are roughly 10 copies belonging to men for every one for a woman. However, during the Third Intermediate Period, 2/3were for women; and women owned roughly a third of the hieratic paypri from the Late and Ptolemaic Periods.The dimensions of a Book of the Dead could vary widely; the longest is 40m long while some are as short as 1m. They are composed of sheets of papyrus joinedtogether, the individual papyri varying in width from 15 cm to 45 cm. The scribes working on Book of the Dead papyri took more care over their work thanthose working on more mundane texts; care was taken to frame the text within margins, and to avoid writing on the joints between sheets. Thewords peretemheru, or coming forth by day sometimes appear on the reverse of the outer margin, perhaps acting as a label. Books were often prefabricated in funerary workshops, with spaces being left for the name of the deceased to be written in later. For instance, inthe Papyrus of Ani, the name "Ani" appears at the top or bottom of a column, or immediately following a rubric introducing him as the speaker of a block oftext; the name appears in a different handwriting to the rest of the manuscript, and in some places is mis-spelt or omitted entirely.The text of a New Kingdom Book of the Dead was typically written in cursive hieroglyphs, most often from left to right, but also sometimes from right to left.The hieroglyphs were in columns, which were separated by black lines - a similar arrangement to that used when hieroglyphs were carved on tomb walls ormonuments. Illustrations were put in frames above, below, or between the columns of text. The largest illustrations took up a full page of papyrus. From the 21st Dynasty onward, more copies of the Book of the Dead are found in hieratic script. The calligraphy is similar to that of other hieraticmanuscripts of the New Kingdom; the text is written in horizontal lines across wide columns (often the column size corresponds to the size of the papyrussheets of which a scroll is made up). Occasionally a hieratic Book of the Dead contains captions in hieroglyphic.The text of a Book of the Dead was written in both black and red ink, regardless of whether it was in hieroglyphic or hieratic script. Most of the text was inblack, with red used for the titles of spells, opening and closing sections of spells, the instructions to perform spells correctly in rituals, and also for the namesof dangerous creatures such as the demon Apep. The black ink used was based oncarbon, and the red ink on ochre, in both cases mixed with water.The style and nature of the vignettes used to illustrate a Book of the Dead varies widely. Some contain lavish colour illustrations, even making use of gold leaf.Others contain only line drawings, or one simple illustration at the opening. Book of the Dead papyri were often the work of several different scribes and artists whose work was literally pasted together. It is usually possible toidentify the style of more than one scribe used on a given manuscript, even when the manuscript is a shorter one.The text and illustrations were producedby different scribes; there are a number of Books where the text was completed but the illustrations were left empty. Discovery, translation, interpretation and preservationKarl Richard Lepsius, first translator of a complete Book of the Dead manuscriptThe existence of the Book of the Dead was known as early as the Middle Ages, well before its contents could be understood. Since it was found in tombs, it wasevidently a document of a religious nature, and this led to the widespread misapprehension that the Book of the Dead was the equivalent ofa Bible or Quran.
The first modern facsimile of a Book of the Dead was produced in 1805 and included in theDescription de lÉgypte produced by the staff of Napoleonsexpedition to Egypt. In 1822,Jean Francois Champollion began to translate hieroglyphic text; he examined some of theBook of the Dead papyri and identifiedthem as a funerary ritual.In 1842 Karl Richard Lepsius published a translation of a manuscript dated to the Ptolemaicera and coined the name "Book of The Dead". He also introducedthe spell numbering system which is still in use, identifying 165 different spells. Lepsius promoted the idea of a comparative edition of the Book of the Dead,drawing on all relevant manuscripts. This project was undertaken by EdouardNaville, starting in 1875 and completed in 1886, producing a three-volumework including a selection of vignettes for every one of the 186 spells he worked with, the variations of the text for every spell, and commentary. In1876,Samuel Birch of the British Museum published a photographic copy of the papyrus of Nebseny.The work of E. A. Wallis Budge, Birchs successor at the British Museum, is still in wide circulation – including both his hieroglyphic editions and his Englishtranslations, though the latter are now considered inaccurate and out-of-date. More recent translations in English have been published by T. G. Allen(1974) and Raymond O. Faulkner (1972). As more work has been done on the Book of the Dead, more spells have been identified, and the total now standsat 192.Research work on the Book of the Dead has always posed technical difficulties thanks to the need to copy very long hieroglyphic texts. Initially, these werecopied out by hand, with the assistance either of tracing paper or a camera lucida. In the mid-19th century, hieroglyphic fonts became available and madelithographic reproduction of manuscripts more feasible. In the present day, hieroglyphics can be rendered in desktop publishing software and this, combinedwith digital print technology, means that the costs of publishing aBook of the Dead may be considerably reduced. However, a very large amount of the sourcematerial in museums around the world remains unpublished.The Story of the Ramayana BrieflySo, just to let you know what you are in for, here is a very brief summary of the Ramayana, the adventures of lord Rama. Rama is the son of King Daśaratha,but he is also an incarnation of the god Vishnu, born in human form to do battle with the demon lord Ravana. Ravana had obtained divine protection againstother demons, and even against the gods - but because he scorned the world of animals and men, he had not asked for protection from them. Therefore,Vishnu incarnated as a human being in order to put a stop to Ravana. King Daśaratha has three other sons besides Rama. There is Lakshmana, who isdevoted to Rama. There is also Bharata, the son of Daśarathas pretty young wife Kaikeyi, and finally there is Śatrughna, who is as devoted to Bharata asLakshmana is to Rama.When Daśaratha grows old, he decides to name Rama as his successor. Queen Kaikeyi, however, is outraged. She manages to compel Daśaratha to name theirson Bharata as his successor instead, and to send Rama into exile in the forest. Rama agrees to go into exile, and he is accompanied by his wife Sita and hisbrother Lakshmana. When their exile is nearly over, Sita is abducted by the evil Ravana who carries her off to Lanka city (on the island of Sri Lanka). Ramaand Lakshmana follow in pursuit, and they are aided by the monkey lord, Hanuman, who is perfectly devoted to Rama.After many difficulties and dangers, Rama finally confronts Ravana and defeats him in battle. What happens after that is a ma tter of some dispute in thedifferent versions of the Ramayana. Did Rama accept Sita back into his household? Or did he send her away because she had been in the possession ofanother male? You will see different versions of the ending in the two different editions of the Ramayana that you will read for this class.A Digression About TimeIn historical terms, the events of the Ramayana are supposed to precede the events of the Mahabharata. The time periods of Hindu mythology are called"yugas," and the world as we know it goes through a cycle of four yugas. Sometimes these four yugas are compared to a cow standing on four legs. In the"Best Age," the Krita Yuga, the cow is standing on all four legs. In the next age, the Treta Yuga, or "Age of Three," the cow is standing on only three legs andis slightly teetering, and so the world is slightly corrupted. In the next age, the "Age of Two," or Dwapara Yuga, there is only half as much righteousness inthe world as there used to be, like a cow standing on only two legs. This is followed by the worst age, the Kali Yuga, where there is only one-fourth of theworlds original righteousness remaining. As a result, the world of the Kali Yuga has become extremely corrupt and utterly unstable. The cow is standing onjust one leg!The events of the Ramayana take place in the Treta Yuga, when the world is only somewhat corrupted. The events of the Mahabharata take place much later,at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, the "Age of Two," when the world is far more grim and corrupt than in Ramas times. The violent and tragic events at theend of the Mahabharata mark the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of the Kali Yuga, the worst age of the world.We are living in the Kali Yuga, in case you were wondering...The Story of the Mahabharata Briefly
In some ways, the entire story of the Mahabharata is an explanation of how our world, the world of the Kali Yuga, came into being, and how things got to beas bad as they are. The Ramayana has its share of suffering and even betrayal, but nothing to match the relentless hatred and vengeance of the Mahabharata.The culmination of the Mahabharata is the Battle of Kurukshetra when two bands of brothers, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the sons of two brothers andthus cousins to one another, fight each other to death, brutally and cruelly, until the entire race is almost wiped out.The five sons of Pandu, the Pandavas, are the heroes of the story. The eldest is Yudhishthira, the King. Next is Bhima, an enormously strong fighter withequally enormous appetites. After Bhima is Arjuna, the greatest of the warriors, and the companion of Krishna. The last two are twins, Nakula and Sahadeva.These five brothers share one wife, Draupadi (she became the wife of all five of them by accident, as you will learn).The enemies of the Pandavas are the Kauravas, who are the sons of Pandus brother, Dhritarashtra. Although Dhritarashtra is still alive, he cannot manage torestrain his son Duryodhana, who bitterly resents the achievements of his cousins, the Pandavas. Duryodhana arranges for his maternal uncle to challengeYudhishthira to a game of dice, and Yudhishthira gambles everything away, even himself. The Pandavas have to go into exile, but when they return theyengage the Kauravas in battle. Krishna fights on the side of the Pandavas, and serves as Arjunas charioteer. The famous "Song of the Lord," or Bhagavad-Gita, is actually a book within the Mahabharata, as the battle of Kurukshetra begins. When Arjuna faces his cousins on the field of battle, he despairs andsinks down, unable to fight. The Bhagavad-Gita contains the words that Krishna spoke to Arjuna at that moment.The Pandavas do win the battle. Duryodhana is killed, and the Kaurava armies are wiped out. But it is hardly a happy ending. Yudhishthira becomes king,but the world is forever changed by the battles violence. If you are familiar with the Iliad, you might remember how that epic ends with the funeral of theTrojan hero Hector, a moment which is utterly bleak and sad. The same is true for the Mahabharata. There are many truths that are learned in the end, butthe victory, such as it is, comes at a terrible price.