History of Civilization
Book of the Dead Paper
The historical evidence that has been retrieved from ancient Egypt has proven that a great deal of Egyptian life was devoted to preparation for the afterlife with the gods. There were a number of requirements that must have been met in order for them to journey to the afterlife and obtain godly stature. The Egyptians believed that a successful afterlife was based on having led an honorable, virtuous life while on earth. A person’s conduct and deeds while living would be weighed on the balance scales in order to determine if they were honorable enough to have life after death. If not, they were devoured and the quest for afterlife ended abruptly. The first of the two most critical behaviors was their relationships to the gods assured through ritual observances and incantations, which were enacted to please the deities. The other most critical was their relationships with other people as demonstrated through ethical conduct and pledged through the Negative Confession.
Becoming holy and entering the afterlife was no easy task. It was a process with multiple steps and requirements that determined one’s final fate. One of the main tasks of the newly deceased was the requirement of the passing through the Arits and speaking the proper words to the doorkeepers. Ani succeeds in completing this task, saying, “Ani says, triumphant, when he comes to the first Arit: ‘I am the mighty one who creates his own light. I have come to you, O Osiris, and, purified from that which defiles you, I adore you’” (sect. 16 pg. 27).
One of the most significant aspects relating life on earth to the afterlife was the practice of rituals. An example of a simple ritualistic practice was Egyptians regularly giving offerings in the belief that the gods would accept them and look fondly upon the offerors for doing so, thus ensuring that the offerors would remain in good favor with the deities. In the Book of the Dead, offerings were first mentioned in Ani’s requests to join the gods in the receiving of offerings. He called out, “…may offerings be made to me in my presence, even as they are...