Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt

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Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt

By James Henry Breasted

Life After Death—The Sojourn in the Tomb—Death Makes its Impression on Religion

Among no people ancient or modern has the idea of a life beyond the grave held so prominent a place as among the ancient Egyptians. This insistent belief in a hereafter may perhaps have been, and experience in the land of Egypt has led me to believe it was, greatly favored and influenced by the fact that the conditions of soil and climate resulted in such a remarkable preservation of the human body as may be found under natural conditions nowhere else in the world. In going up to the daily task on some neighboring temple in Nubia, I was not infrequently obliged to pass through the corner of a cemetery, where the feet of a dead man, buried in a shallow grave, were now uncovered and extended directly across my path. They were precisely like the rough and calloused feet of the workmen in our excavations. How old the grave was I do not know, but any one familiar with the cemeteries of Egypt, ancient and modern, has found numerous bodies or portions of bodies indefinitely old which seemed about as well preserved as those of the living. This must have been a frequent experience of the ancient Egyptian, 1 and like Hamlet with the skull of Yorick in his hands, he must often have pondered deeply as he contemplated these silent witnesses. The surprisingly perfect state of preservation in which he found his ancestors whenever the digging of a new grave disclosed them, must have greatly stimulated his belief in their continued existence, and often aroused his imagination to more detailed pictures of the realm and the life of the mysterious departed. The earliest and simplest of these beliefs began at an age so remote that they have left no trace in surviving remains. The cemeteries of the prehistoric communities along the Nile, discovered and excavated since 1894, disclose a belief in the future life which was already in an advanced stage. Thousands of graves, the oldest of which cannot be dated much later than the fifth millennium B.C., were dug by these primitive people in the desert gravels along the margin of the alluvium. In the bottom of the pit, which is but a few feet in depth, lies the body with the feet drawn up toward the chin and surrounded by a meagre equipment of pottery, flint implements, stone weapons, and utensils, and rude personal ornaments, all of which were of course intended to furnish the departed for his future life.

From the archaic beliefs represented in such burials as these it is a matter of fifteen hundred years to the appearance of the earliest written documents surviving to us—documents from which we may draw fuller knowledge of the more developed faith of a people rapidly rising toward a high material civilization and a unified governmental organization, the first great state of antiquity. Much took place in the thought of this remote people during that millennium and a half, but for another half millennium after the beginning of written documents we are still unable to discern the drift of the development. For two thousand years, therefore, after the stage of belief represented by the earliest burials just mentioned, that development went on, though it is now a lost chapter in human thought which we shall never recover.

When we take up the course of the development about 3000 B.C., we have before us the complicated results of a commingling of originally distinct beliefs which have long since interpenetrated each other and have for many centuries circulated thus a tangled mass of threads which it is now very difficult or impossible to disentangle.

Certain fundamental distinctions can be made, however. The early belief that the dead lived in or at the tomb, which must therefore be equipped to furnish his necessities in the hereafter, was one from which the Egyptian has never escaped entirely, not even at the present day. As hostile creatures infesting the cemeteries, the dead were dreaded, and protection from their malice was necessary. Even the pyramid must be protected from the malignant dead prowling about the necropolis, and in later times a man might be afflicted even in his house by a deceased member of his family wandering in from the cemetery. His mortuary practices therefore constantly gave expression to his involuntary conviction that the departed continued to inhabit the tomb long after the appearance of highly developed views regarding a blessed hereafter elsewhere in some distant region. We who continue to place flowers on the graves of our dead, though we may at the same time cherish beliefs in some remote paradise of the departed, should certainly find nothing to wonder at in the conflicting beliefs and practices of the ancient Nile-dweller five thousand years ago. Side by side the two beliefs subsisted, that the dead continued to dwell in or near the tomb, and at the same time that he departed elsewhere to a distant and blessed realm.

In taking up the first of these two beliefs, the sojourn in the tomb, it will be necessary to understand the Egyptian notion of a person, and of those elements of the human personality which might survive death. These views are of course not the studied product of a highly trained and long-developed self-consciousness. On the contrary, we have in them the involuntary and unconscious impressions of an early people, in the study of which it is apparent that we are confronted by the earliest chapter in folk-psychology which has anywhere descended to us from the past.

On the walls of the temple of Luxor, where the birth of Amenhotep III was depicted in sculptured scenes late in the fifteenth century before Christ, we find the little prince brought in on the arm of the Nile-god, accompanied apparently by another child. This second figure, identical in external appearance with that of the prince, is a being called by the Egyptians the "ka"; it was born with the prince, being communicated to him by the god. 1 This curious comrade of an individual was corporeal 2 and the fortunes of the two were ever afterward closely associated; but the ka was not an element of the personality, as is so often stated. It seems to me indeed from a study of the Pyramid Texts, that the nature of the ka has been fundamentally misunderstood. He was a kind of superior genius intended to guide the fortunes of the individual in the hereafter, or it was in the world of the hereafter that he chiefly if not exclusively had his abode, and there he awaited the coming of his earthly companion. In the oldest inscriptions the death of a man may be stated by saying that "he goes to his ka"; 3 when Osiris dies he "goes to his ka." 4 Hence the dead are referred to as those "who have gone to their kas." 5 Moreover, the ka was really separated from its protégé by more than the mere distance to the cemetery, for in one passage the deceased "goes to his ka, to the sky." 1 Similarly the sojourn in the hereafter is described as an association with the ka, 2 and one of the powers of the blessed dead was to have dominion over the other kas there. 3 In their relations with each other the ka was distinctly superior to his mundane companion. In the oldest texts the sign for the ka, the uplifted arms, are frequently borne upon the standard which bears the signs for the gods. "Call upon thy ka, like Osiris, that he may protect thee from all anger of the dead," 4 says one to the deceased; and to be the ka of a person is to have entire control over him. Thus in addressing Osiris it is said of Set, "He (Horus) has smitten Set for thee, bound; thou art his (Set's) ka." 5 In the hereafter, at least, a person is under the dominion of his own ka. The ka assists the deceased by speaking to the great god on his behalf, and after this intercession, by introducing the dead man to the god (Re). 6 He forages for the deceased and brings him food that they both may eat together, 7 and like two guests they sit together at the same table. 8 But the ka is ever the protecting genius. The dead king Pepi "lives with his ka; he (the ka) expels the evil that is before Pepi, he removes the evil that is behind Pepi, like the boomerangs of the lord of Letopolis, which remove the evil that is before him and expel the evil that is behind him." 9 Notwithstanding their intimate association, there was danger that the ka might fail to recognize his protégé, and the departed therefore received a garment peculiar to him, by means of which the ka may not mistake him for an enemy whom he might slay. 1 So strong was the ka, and so close was his union with his protégé, that to have control over a god or a man it was necessary to gain the power over his ka also, 2 and complete justification of the deceased was only certain when his ka also was justified. 3 Thus united, the deceased and his protecting genius lived a common life in the hereafter, and they said to the dead: "How beautiful it is in the company of thy ka!" 4 The mortuary priest whose duty it was to supply the needs of the deceased in the hereafter was for this reason called "servant of the ka," and whatever he furnished the ka was shared by him with his protégé, as we have seen him foraging for his charge, and securing for him provisions which they ate together. Eventually, that is after a long development, we find the tombs of about 2000 B.C. regularly containing prayers for material blessings in the hereafter ending with the words: "for the ka of X" (the name of the deceased).

While the relation of the ka to the dead is thus fairly clear, it is not so evident in the case of the living. His protecting power evidently had begun at the birth of the individual, though he was most useful to his protégé after earthly life was over. We find the ka as the protecting genius of a mortuary temple dwelling on earth, but it is certainly significant that it is a mortuary building which he protects. Moreover the earliest example of such a local genius is Osiris, a mortuary god, who is said to become the ka of a pyramid and its temple, that they may enjoy his protection. 1 As we stated above, however, the ka was not an element of the personality, and we are not called upon to explain him physically or psychologically as such. He is roughly parallel with the later notion of the guardian angel as found among other peoples, and he is of course far the earliest known example of such a being. It is of importance to note that in all probability the ka was originally the exclusive possession of kings, each of whom thus lived under the protection of his individual guardian genius, and that by a process of slow development the privilege of possessing a ka became universal among all the people. 2

The actual personality of the individual in life consisted, according to the Egyptian notion, in the visible body, and the invisible intelligence, the seat of the last being considered the "heart" or the "belly," 3 which indeed furnished the chief designations for the intelligence. Then the vital principle which, as so frequently among other peoples, was identified with the breath which animated the body, was not clearly distinguished from the intelligence. The two together were pictured in one symbol, a human-headed bird with human arms, which we find in the tomb and coffin scenes depicted hovering over the mummy and extending to its nostrils in one hand the figure of a swelling sail, the hieroglyph for wind or breath, and in the other the so-called crux ansata, or symbol of life. This curious little bird-man was called by the Egyptians the "ba." The fact has been strangely overlooked that originally the ba came into existence really for the first time at the death of the individual. All sorts of devices and ceremonies were resorted to that the deceased might at death become a ba, or as the Pyramid Texts, addressing the dead king, say, "that thou mayest become a ba among the gods, thou living as (or 'in') thy ba." 1 There was a denominative verb "ba," meaning "to become a ba." Ba has commonly been translated as "soul," and the translation does indeed roughly correspond to the Egyptian idea. It is necessary to remember, however, in dealing with such terms as these among so early a people, that they had no clearly defined notion of the exact nature of such an element of personality. It is evident that the Egyptian never wholly dissociated a person from the body as an instrument or vehicle of sensation, and they resorted to elaborate devices to restore to the body its various channels of sensibility, after the ba, which comprehended these very things, had detached itself from the body. He thought of his departed friend as existing in the body, or at least as being in outward appearance still possessed of a body, as we do, if we attempt to picture our departed friend at all. Hence, when depicted in mortuary paintings, the departed of course appears as he did in life. 2

In harmony with these conceptions was the desire of the surviving relatives to insure physical restoration to the dead. Gathered with the relatives and friends of the deceased, on the flat roof of the massive masonry tomb, the mortuary priest stood over the silent body and addressed the departed: "Thy bones perish not, thy flesh sickens not, thy members are not distant from thee." 1 Or he turns to the flesh of the dead itself and says: "O flesh of this king Teti, decay not, perish not; let not thy odor be evil." 2 He utters a whole series of strophes, each concluding with the refrain: "King Pepi decays not, he rots not, he is not bewitched by your wrath, ye gods." 3

However effective these injunctions may have been, they were not considered sufficient. The motionless body must be resuscitated and restored to the use of its members and senses. This resurrection might be the act of a favoring god or goddess, as when accomplished by Isis or Horus, or the priest addresses the dead and assures him that the Sky-goddess will raise him up: "She sets on again for thee thy head, she gathers for thee thy bones, she unites for thee thy members, she brings for thee thy heart into thy body." 1 Sometimes the priest assumes that the dead does not even enter the earth at interment and assures the mourning relatives: "His abomination is the earth, king Unis enters not Geb (the Earth-god). When he perishes, sleeping in his house on earth, his bones are restored, his injuries are removed." 2 But if the inexorable fact be accepted that the body now lies in the tomb, the priest undauntedly calls upon the dead: "Arise, dwellers in your tombs. Loose your ⌈bandages,⌉ throw off the sand from thy (sic!) face. Lift thee up from upon thy left side, support thyself on thy right side. Raise thy face that thou mayest look at this which I have done for thee. I am thy son, I am thy heir." 3 He assures the dead: "Thy bones are gathered together for thee, thy members are prepared for thee, thy ⌈impurities⌉ are thrown off for thee, thy bandages are loosed for thee. The tomb is opened for thee, the coffin is broken open for thee." 4 And yet the insistent fact of death so inexorably proclaimed by the unopened tomb led the priest to call upon the dead to waken and arise before each ceremony which he performed. As he brings food and drink we find him calling: "Raise thee up, king Pepi, receive to thee thy water. Gather to thee thy bones, stand thou up upon thy two feet, being a glorious one before the glorious. Raise thee up for this thy bread which cannot dry up, and thy beer which cannot become stale." 5

But even when so raised the dead was not in possession of his senses and faculties, nor the power to control and use his body and limbs. His mourning friends could not abandon him to the uncertain future without aiding him to recover all his powers. "King Teti's mouth is opened for him, king Teti's nose is opened for him, king Teti's ears are opened for him," 1 says the priest, and elaborate ceremonies were performed to accomplish this restoration of the senses and the faculty of speech. 2

All this was of no avail, however, unless the unconscious body received again the seat of consciousness and feeling, which in this restoration of the mental powers was regularly the heart. "The heart of king Teti is not taken away," 3 says the ritual; or if it has gone the Sky-goddess "brings for thee thy heart into thy body (again)." 4

Several devices were necessary to make of this unresponsive mummy a living person, capable of carrying on the life hereafter. He has not become a ba, or a soul merely by dying, as we stated in referring to the nature of the ba. It was necessary to aid him to become a soul. Osiris when lying dead had become a soul by receiving from his son Horus the latter's eye, wrenched from the socket in his conflict with Set. Horus, recovering his eye, gave it to his father, and on receiving it Osiris at once became a soul. From that time any offering to the dead might be, and commonly was, called the "eye of Horus, "and might thus produce the same effect as on Osiris.

"Raise thee up," says the priest, "for this thy bread, which cannot dry up, and thy beer which cannot become stale, by which thou shalt become a soul." 1 The food which the priest offered possessed the mysterious power of effecting the transformation of the dead man into a soul as the "eye of Horus" had once transformed Osiris. And it did more than this, for the priest adds, "by which thou shalt become one prepared." 2 To be "one prepared" or, as the variants have it, "one equipped," is explained in the tombs of the Old Kingdom, where we find the owner boasting, "I am an excellent, equipped spirit, I know every secret charm of the court." 3 This man, a provincial noble, is proud of the fact that he was granted the great boon of acquaintance with the magical mortuary equipment used for the king at the court, an equipment intended to render the dead invulnerable and irresistible in the hereafter. We are able then to understand another noble of the same period when he says: "I am an excellent equipped spirit (literally, 'glorious one') whose mouth knows," 4 meaning his mouth is familiar with the mortuary magical equipment, which he is able to repeat whenever needed: Similarly one of the designations of the departed in the Pyramid Texts is "the glorious by reason of their equipped mouths." 5 Finally this strangely potent bread and beer which the priest offers the dead, not only makes him a "soul" and makes him "prepared," but it also gives him "power" or makes him a "mighty one." 6 The "power" conferred was in the first place intended to control the body of the dead and guide its actions, and without this power intended for this specific purpose it is evident the Egyptian believed the dead to be helpless. 7 This "power" was also intended to give the dead ability to confront successfully the uncanny adversaries who awaited him in the beyond. It was so characteristic of the dead, that they might be spoken of as the "mighty" as we say the "blessed," and it was so tangible a part of the equipment of the departed that it underwent purification together with him. 1 This "power" finally gave the deceased also "power" over all other powers within him, and the priest says to him, "Thou hast power over the powers that are in thee." 2

From these facts it is evident that the Egyptians had developed a rude psychology of the dead, in accordance with which they endeavored to reconstitute the individual by processes external to him, under the control of the survivors, especially the mortuary priest who possessed the indispensable ceremonies for accomplishing this end. We may summarize it all in the statement that after the resuscitation of the body, there was a mental restoration or a reconstitution of the faculties one by one, attained especially by the process of making the deceased a "soul" (ba), in which capacity he again existed as a person, possessing all the powers that would enable him to subsist and survive in the life hereafter. It is therefore not correct to attribute to the Egyptians a belief in the immortality of the soul strictly interpreted as imperishability or to speak of his "ideas of immortality." 3

That life now involved an elaborate material equipment, a monumental tomb with its mortuary furniture. The massive masonry tomb, like a truncated pyramid with very steep sides, was but the rectangular descendant of the prehistoric tumulus, with a retaining wall around it, once of rough stones, now of carefully laid hewn stone masonry, which has taken on some of the incline of its ancient ancestor, the sand heap, or tumulus, still within it. In the east side of the superstructure, which was often of imposing size, was a rectangular room, perhaps best called a chapel, where the offerings for the dead might be presented and these ceremonies on his behalf might be performed. For, notwithstanding the elaborate reconstitution of the dead as a person, he was not unquestionably able to maintain himself in the hereafter without assistance from his surviving relatives. All such mortuary arrangements were chiefly Osirian, for in the Solar faith the Sun-god did not die among men, nor did he leave a family to mourn for him and maintain mortuary ceremonies on his behalf. To be sure, the oldest notion of the relation of Osiris to the dead, which is discernible in the Pyramid Texts, represents him as hostile to them, but this is an archaic survival of which only a trace remains. 1 As a son of Geb the Earth-god, it was altogether natural to confide the dead to his charge. 2

It was the duty of every son to arrange the material equipment of his father for the life beyond—a duty so naturally and universally felt that it involuntarily passed from the life of the people into the Osiris myth as the duty of Horus toward his father Osiris. It was an obligation which was sometimes met with faithfulness in the face of difficulty and great danger, as when Sebni of Elephantine received news of the death of his father, Mekhu, in the Sudan, and at once set out with a military escort to penetrate the country of the dangerous southern tribes and to rescue the body of his father. The motive for such self-sacrifice was of course the desire to recover his father's body that it might be embalmed and preserved, in order that the old man might not lose all prospect of life beyond. Hence it was that when the son neared the frontier on his return, he sent messengers to the court with news of what had happened, so that as he re-entered Upper Egypt he was met by a company from the court, made up of the embalmers, mortuary priests, and mourners, bearing fragrant oil, aromatic gums, and fine linen, that all the ceremonies of embalmment, interment, and complete equipment for the hereafter might be completed at once, before the body should further perish. 3

The erection of the tomb was an equally obvious duty incumbent upon sons and relatives, unless indeed that father was so attached to his own departed father that he desired to rest in his father's tomb, as one noble of the twenty-sixth century B.C. informs us was his wish. He says: "Now I caused that I should be buried in the same tomb with this Zau (his father's name) in order that I might be with him in the same place; not, however, because I was not in a position to make a second tomb; but I did this in order that I might see this Zau every day, in order that I might be with him in the same place." 1 This pious son says further: "I buried my father, the count Zau, surpassing the splendor, surpassing the goodliness of any ⌈equal⌉ of his who was in this South" (meaning Upper Egypt). 2

From the thirty-fourth century on, as the tombs of the First Dynasty at Abydos show, it had become customary for favorite officials and partisans of the Pharaoh to be buried in the royal cemetery, forming a kind of mortuary court around the monarch whom they had served in life. Gradually the king became more and more involved in obligations to assist his nobles in the erection of their tombs and to contribute from the royal treasury to the splendor and completeness of their funerals. The favorite physician of the king receives a requisition on the treasury and the royal quarries for the labor and the transportation necessary to procure him a great and sumptuous false door of massive limestone for his tomb, and he tells us the fact with great satisfaction and much circumstance in his tomb inscriptions. 3 We see the Pharaoh in the royal palanquin on the road which mounts from the valley to the desert plateau, whither he has ascended to inspect his pyramid, now slowly rising on the margin of the desert overlooking the valley. Here he discovers the unfinished tomb of Debhen, one of his favorites, who may have presumed upon a moment of royal complaisance to call attention to its unfinished condition. The king at once details fifty men to work upon the tomb of his protégé, and afterward orders the royal engineers and quarrymen who are at work upon a temple in the vicinity to bring for the fortunate Debhen two false doors of stone, the blocks for the façade of the tomb, and likewise a portrait statue of Debhen to be erected therein. 1 One of the leading nobles who was flourishing at the close of the twenty-seventh century B.C. tells us in his autobiography how he was similarly favored: "Then I besought . . . the majesty of the king that there be brought for me a limestone sarcophagus from Troja (royal quarries near Cairo, from which much stone for the pyramids of Gizeh was taken). The king had the treasurer of the god (= Pharaoh's treasurer) ferry over, together with a troop of sailors under his hand, in order to bring for me this sarcophagus from Troja; and he arrived with it in a large ship belonging to the court (that is, one of the royal galleys), together with its lid, the false door . . . (several other blocks the words for which are not quite certain in meaning), and one offering-tablet." 2

In such cases as these, and indeed quite frequently, the king was expected to contribute to the embalmment and burial of a favorite noble. We have already seen how the Pharaoh sent out his body of mortuary officials, priests, and embalmers to meet Sebni, returning from the Sudan with his father's body. 3 Similarly he despatched one of his commanders to rescue the body of an unfortunate noble who with his entire military escort had been massacred by the Bedwin on the shores of the Red Sea, while building a ship for the voyage to Punt, the Somali coast, in all likelihood the land of Ophir of the Old Testament. Although the rescuer does not say so in his brief inscription, it is evident that the Pharaoh desired to secure the body of this noble also in order to prepare it properly for the hereafter. 1 Such solicitude can only have been due to the sovereign's personal attachment to a favorite official. This is quite evident in the case of Weshptah, one of the viziers of the Fifth Dynasty about 2700 B.C. The king, his family, and the court were one day inspecting a new building in course of construction under Weshptah's superintendence, for, besides being grand vizier, he was also chief architect. All admire the work and the king turns to praise his faithful minister when he notices that Weshptah does not hear the words of royal favor. The king's exclamation alarms the courtiers, the stricken minister is quickly carried to the court, and the priests and chief physicians are hurriedly summoned. The king has a case of medical rolls brought in, but all is in vain. The physicians declare his case hopeless. The king is smitten with sorrow and retires to his chamber, where he prays to Re. He then makes all arrangements for Weshptah's burial, ordering an ebony coffin made and having the body anointed in his own presence. The dead noble's eldest son was then empowered to build the tomb, which the king furnished and endowed. 2 The noble whose pious son wished to rest in the same tomb with him (p. 64) enjoyed similar favor at the king's hands. His son says: "I requested as an honor from the majesty of my lord, the king of Egypt, Pepi II, who lives forever, that there be levied a coffin, clothing, and festival perfume for this Zau (his dead father). His majesty caused that the custodian of the royal domain should bring a coffin of wood, festival perfume, oil, clothing, two hundred pieces of first-grade linen and of fine southern linen . . . taken from the White House (the royal treasury) of the court for this Zau." 1

Interred thus in royal splendor and equipped with sumptuous furniture, the maintenance of the departed, in theory at least, through all time was a responsibility which he dared not intrust exclusively to his surviving family or eventually to a posterity whose solicitude on his behalf must continue to wane and finally disappear altogether. The noble therefore executed carefully drawn wills and testamentary endowments, the income from which was to be devoted exclusively to the maintenance of his tomb and the presentation of oblations of incense, ointment, food, drink, and clothing in liberal quantities and at frequent intervals. The source of this income might be the revenues from the noble's own lands or from his offices and the perquisites belonging to his rank, from all of which a portion might be permanently diverted for the support of his tomb and its ritual. 2

In a number of cases the legal instrument establishing these foundations has been engraved as a measure of safety on the wall inside the tomb-chapel itself and has thus been preserved to us. At Siut Hepzefi the count and baron of the province has left us ten elaborate contracts on the inner wall of his tomb-chapel, intended to perpetuate the service which he desired to have regularly celebrated at his tomb or on his behalf. 3

The amount of the endowment was sometimes surprisingly large. In the twenty-ninth century B.C., the tomb of prince Nekure, son of king Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty, was endowed from the prince's private fortune with no less than twelve towns, the income of which went exclusively to the support of his tomb. A palace steward in Userkaf's time, in the middle of the twenty-eighth century B.C., appointed eight mortuary priests for the service of his tomb, and a baron of Upper Egypt two centuries and a half later endowed his tomb with the revenues from eleven villages and settlements. The income of a mortuary priest in such a tomb was, in one instance, sufficient to enable him to endow the tomb of his daughter in the same way. In addition to such private resources, the death of a noble not infrequently resulted in further generosity on the part of the king, who might either increase the endowment which the noble had already made during his life, or even furnish it entirely from the royal revenues. 1

The privileges accruing to the dead from these endowments, while they were intended to secure him against all apprehension of hunger, thirst, or cold in the future life, seem to have consisted chiefly in enabling him to share in the most important feasts and celebrations of the year. Like all Orientals the Egyptian took great delight in religious celebrations, and the good cheer which abounded on such occasions he was quite unwilling to relinquish when he departed this world. The calendar of feasts, therefore, was a matter of the greatest importance to him, and he was willing to divert plentiful revenues to enable him to celebrate all its important days in the hereafter as he had once so bountifully done among his friends on earth. He really expected, moreover, to celebrate these joyous occasions among his friends in the temple just as he once had been wont to do, and to accomplish this he had a statue of himself erected in the temple court. Sometimes the king, as a particular distinction granted to a powerful courtier, commissioned the royal sculptors to make such a statue and station it inside the temple door. In his tomb likewise the grandee of the Pyramid Age set up a sumptuous stone portrait statue of himself, concealed in a secret chamber hidden in the mass of the masonry. Such statues, too, the king not infrequently furnished to the leading nobles of his government and court. It was evidently supposed that this portrait statue, the earliest of which we know anything in art, might serve as a body for the disembodied dead, who might thus return to enjoy a semblance at least of bodily presence in the temple, or again in the same way return to the tomb-chapel, where he might find other representations of his body in the secret chamber close by the chapel. 1

We discern in such usages the emergence of a more highly developed and more desirable hereafter, which has gradually supplanted the older and simpler views. The common people doubtless still thought of their dead either as dwelling in the tomb, or at best as inhabiting the gloomy realm of the west, the subterranean kingdom ruled by the old mortuary gods eventually led by Osiris. But for the great of the earth, the king and his nobles at least, a happier destiny had now dawned. They might dwell at will with the Sun-god in his glorious celestial kingdom. In the royal tomb we can henceforth discern the emergence of this Solar hereafter (cf. pp. 140–1).

49:1 See also Prof. G. Elliot Smith, The History of Mummification in Egypt, Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, 1910.

52:1 On the creation of the kas in the beginning by the god see Brit. Mus. 797, infra, p. 45.

52:2 Pyr. § 372.

52:3 BAR, I, 187, 253.

52:4 Pyr. §§ 826, 832, 836; cf. also "he goes with his ka," Pyr. § 17.

52:5 Petrie, Deshasheh, 7; Lepsius, Denkmaeler, Text I, 19; Pyr. § 829.

53:1 Pyr. § 1431.

53:2 "How beautiful it is with thy ka (that is, in the company of thy ka = in the hereafter) forever," Pyr. § 2028.

53:3 Pyr. § 267 and § 311.

53:4 Pyr. § 63.

53:5 Pyr. § 587. See also § 1609 and § 1623.

53:6 Pyr. Ut. 440.

53:7 Pyr. § 564.

53:8 Pyr. § 1357.

53:9 Pyr. § 908.

54:1 Pyr. Ut. 591.

54:2 Pyr. § 776.

54:3 Pyr. § 929.

54:4 Pyr. § 2028.

55:1 Pyr. Texts. A later example is found in the temple of Seti I, latter half of the fourteenth century B.C., in a relief where the ka is depicted as a woman, with the ka sign of uplifted arms on her head, embracing the name of Seti's Gurna temple. Champollion, Monuments, pl. 151, Nos. 2 and 3.

55:2 I owe this last remark to Steindorff, who has recently published a reconsideration of the ka (Zeitschrift für aegypt. Sprache, 48,151, ff.), disproving the old notion that the mortuary statues in the tombs, especially of the Old Kingdom, are statues of the ka. He is undoubtedly right. After the collection of the above data it was gratifying to receive the essay of Steindorff and to find that he had arrived at similar conclusions regarding the nature and function of the ka, though in making the ka so largely mortuary in function I differ with him.

55:3 See above, pp. 44–45; and my essay, Zeitsch. für aegypt. Sprache, 39, pp. 39 ff.

56:1 Pyr. § 1943 b.

56:2 There were other designations of the dead, but there were not additional elements of his personality besides the ba and the body, as we find it so commonly stated in the current discussions of this subject. Thus the dead were thought of as "glorious" (y’?w), p. 57 and in the Pyramid Texts are frequently spoken of as the "glorious" just as we say the "blessed." The fact that they later spoke of "his y’?w," that is "his glorious one," does not mean that the y’?w was another element in the personality. This is shown in the reference to Osiris when he died, as "going to his y’?w" (Pyr. § 472), which is clearly a substitution of y’?w for ka, in the common phrase for dying, namely, "going to his ka." The use of y’?w with the pronoun, namely, "his y’?w," is rare in the Pyramid Texts, but came into more common use in the Middle Kingdom, as in the Misanthrope, who addresses his soul as his y’?w. Similarly the "shadow" is only another symbol, but not another element of the personality. There is no ground for the complicated conception of a person in ancient Egypt as consisting, besides the body of a ka, a ba (soul), a y’?w (spirit), a shadow, etc. Besides the body and the ba (soul), there was only the ka, the protecting genius, which was not an element of the personality as we have said.

57:1 Pyr. § 725.

57:2 Pyr. § 722.

57:3 Pyr. Ut. 576; see also preservation from decay by Isis and Nephthys, Pyr. § 1255.

58:1 Pyr. § 835.

58:2 Pyr. § 308.

58:3 Pyr. §§ 1878–9.

58:4 Pyr. § 2008–9.

58:5 Pyr. §§ 858–9; see also the resuscitation before purification, Pyr. §§ 837, 841, and not uncommonly.

59:1 Pyr. § 712.

59:2 See also Pyr. §§ 9, 10, and for the opening of the mouth, especially Ut. 20, 21, 22, 34, 38; for the opening of the eyes, Ut. 638, 639; for the opening of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, see Pyr. § 1673.

59:3 Pyr. § 748.

59:4 Pyr. § 828 = § 835; the heart may also be restored to the body by Horus, Pyr. Ut. 595, or by Nephthys, Ut. 628.

60:1 Pyr. § 859.

60:2 Ibid.

60:3 BAR, I, 378.

60:4 BAR, I, 329.

60:5 Pyr. Ut. 473.

60:6 Pyr. § 859.

60:7 Pyr. § 2096.

61:1 Pyr. § 837.

61:2 Pyr. § 2011.

61:3 The above does not exhaust the catalogue of qualities which were thought valuable to the dead and were communicated to him in the Pyramid Texts. Thus they say of the deceased: "His fearfulness (b’w) is on his head, his terror is at his side, his magical charms are before him" (Pyr. § 477). For "fearfulness" a variant text has "lion's-head" (Pyr. § 940), which was a mask placed over the head of the deceased. With this should be compared the equipment of the deceased with a jackal's face, not infrequently occurring (e.g., Pyr. § 2098), which of course is a survival of the influence of the ancient mortuary p. 62 god, of the jackal head, Anubis. Two other variant passages (§ 992 and § 1472) have "ba" (soul) instead of "fearfulness" above. This threefold equipment was that of Osiris. It is found several times, e.g., in § 1559, where the text states: "His power is within him, his soul (ba) is behind him, his preparation (or equipment) is upon him, which Horus gave to Osiris." Again it is fourfold, as in Pyr. § 1730, where the appropriate recitation is enjoined

"that he may be a glorious one thereby,
 that he may be a soul thereby,
 that he may be an honored one thereby,
 that he may be a powerful (or mighty) one thereby"
                                             (Pyr. § 1730).
[paragraph continues]Similarly the ceremony of offering ointment to the dead is performed, and as a result the priest says, "Thou art a soul thereby, thou art a mighty one thereby, thou art an honored one thereby" (Pyr. § 2075), omitting the "equipment" or "preparation." It is also omitted in Pyr. § 2096 and § 2098.

63:1 Ut. 534.

63:2 Ut. 592.

63:3 BAR, I, 362–374.

64:1 BAR, I, 383; other examples of filial piety in the same respect, BAR, I, 181–7, 248, 274

64:2 BAR, I, 382.

64:3 BAR, I, 237–240.

65:1 BAR, I, 210–212.

65:2 BAR, I, 308.

65:3 See above, p. 61.

66:1 BAR, I, 360.

66:2 BAR, I, 242–9.

67:1 BAR, I, 382.

67:2 BAR, I, 200–9, 213–222, 226–230, 231, 349, 378, 535–593.

67:3 BAR, I, 535–593. They will be found in substance infra, pp. 259–269.

68:1 So with the vizier, Weshptah, above, p. 66; see also BAR, I, 378, 241, 213–230.

69:1 The supposition that these statues were intended to be those of the ka in particular is without foundation. Ka statues are nowhere mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, nor does the inscription regularly placed on such a statue ever refer to it as a statue of the ka. Later see also Steindorff, Zeitschr. für aegypt. Sprache, 48, 152–9.



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