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Ancient Egypt: Afterlife Essay

2506 words - 11 pages

In ancient Egypt the idea of a life after death was popular among the Egyptian people. Earlier in ancient times the Pharaoh was the only one believed to be able to enjoy an afterlife, but during the end of the Old Kingdom more people began to believe they too could enjoy an easier life after death. Preparations for death were extremely important if one wanted to enjoy a happy afterlife; the Egyptians believed that only if certain burial practises were completed could they live an eternal afterlife. The mummification process was one of the most important practises in making it to the afterlife; this was the Egyptians way of keeping the body preserved and ready for a new life. These processes ...view middle of the document...

They saw life in everything, they saw life in the fertility in the black land, they saw the sun rise and believed it was Re being reborn. The Egyptians were not preoccupied with death but instead they were obsessed with life.

The concepts within the Osiris myth are seen throughout Egyptian history through the practise of mummification on the deceased. The myth states that Seth, Osiris' brother, was jealous of Osiris as he was the King of Egypt. Seth threw Osiris into the Mediterranean Sea in a chest, resulting in Osiris' death. Isis (Osiris' wife) found Osiris' body and hid it in the Nile Delta. Isis then became pregnant and gave birth to Osiris' son, Horus. Seth found Osiris' body and cut it into fourteen pieces, and then scattered the pieces all over Egypt. Isis and Nephthys (Isis' sister and Seth’s wife) collected all of Osiris' pieces and mourned him. The gods, Anubis and Thoth, assisted them as they put the pieces together and wrapped them in bandages. Thoth gave Isis words to speak over Osiris' dead body. Isis and Nephthys then transformed into birds and fanned life back into Osiris with their wings. After Osiris was resurrected he stayed in the Underworld where he was named King of the Underworld. In this myth we can see links to how the Egyptians preserved and cared for their dead. We can see this in how Osiris was in a chest when he died and how the Egyptians placed their dead in a coffin, how Osiris' body was wrapped in bandages and can be associated with how the Egyptians wrapped their deceased in bandages in order to preserve them. Also, Isis spoke words over Osiris which is replicated in how the Egyptians performed spells from the Book of the Dead over the dead body, and how the Egyptians replicated Isis and Nephthys mourning Osiris by having two young female ritual mourners at funeral processions. The earliest texts which refer to this myth are included in the Pyramid Texts found on the burial chamber walls of the pyramids of the Fifth Dynasty, such as the Pyramid of Teti.

In ancient Egypt it was said that once an Egyptian had passed into to afterlife the body would be split up into five parts known as the Ka, Ba, Akh, shadow (khaibit) and the name (ren). The Ka was the life-force of the deceased; this was the body that had given the Egyptian life and breath during its lifetime. When seen in art, such as a carving on the wall of the Dendera Temple, the Ka usually takes shape of up stretched arms. This part of the body stayed in the tomb inhabiting the body or in some cases a life like statue of the deceased. It required food, drink, perfume and other necessary objects needed for leisure and comfort in the afterlife. The relatives of the deceased would often make offerings of these necessary objects in the offering chamber; an example of one of these chambers is the offering chamber in the mastaba of Mereruka at Saqqara (Dynasty 6). If offerings were not made it was believed a painting which was placed on the Ka door would supply...

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