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- The Book of the Dead - 6/6 -

to avoid the block of execution of the god Shesmu. Chapters LI-LIII provided the deceased with pure food and clean water from the table of the gods; he lived upon what they lived upon, and so became one with them. Chapters LIV-LXII gave the deceased power to obtain cool water from the Celestial Nile and the springs of waters of heaven, and being identified with Shu, the god of light and air, he was enabled to pass over all the earth at will. His life was that of the Egg of the "Great Cackler," and the goddess Sesheta built a house for him in the Celestial Anu, or Heliopolis.

The recital of Chapter LXIII enabled the deceased to avoid drinking boiling water in the Tuat. The water in some of its pools was cool and refreshing to those who were speakers of the truth, but it turned into boiling water and scalded the wicked when they tried to drink of it. Chapter LXIV is an epitome of the whole Book of the Dead, and it formed a "great and divine protection" for the deceased. The text is of a mystical character and suggests that the deceased could, through its recital, either absorb the gods into his being, or become himself absorbed by them. Its rubric orders abstention from meats, fish and women on the part of those who were to recite it. Chapter LXV gave the deceased victory over all his enemies, and Chapters LXVI and LXVII gave him access to the Boat of Ra. Chapters LXVIII-LXX procured him complete freedom of motion in heaven and on earth. Chapter LXXI is a series of addresses to the Seven Spirits who punished the wicked in the Kingdom of Osiris, and Chapter LXXII aided the deceased to be reborn in the Mesqet Chamber. The Mesqet was originally a bull's skin in which the deceased was wrapped. Chapter LXXIII is the same as Chapter IX. Chapters LXXIV and LXXV secured a passage for the deceased in the Henu Boat of Seker the Death-god, and Chapter LXXVI brought to his help the praying mantis which guided him through the "bush" to the House of Osiris. By the recital of Chapters LXXVII-LXXXVIII, i.e., the "Chapters of Transformations," the deceased was enabled to assume at will the forms of (1) the Golden Hawk, (2) the Divine Hawk, (3) the Great Self-created God, (4) the Light-god or the Robe of Nu, (5) the Pure Lily, (6) the Son of Ptah, (7) the Benu Bird, (8) the Heron, (9) the Soul of Ra, (10) the Swallow, (11) the Sata or Earth-serpent, (12) the Crocodile. Chapter LXXXIX brought the soul (ba) of the deceased to his body in the Tuat, and Chapter XC preserved him from mutilation and attacks of the god who "cut off heads and slit foreheads." Chapters XCI and XCII prevented the soul of the deceased from being shut in the tomb. Chapter XCIII is a spell very difficult to understand. Chapters XCIV and XCV provided the deceased with the books of Thoth and the power of this god, and enabled him to take his place as the scribe of Osiris. Chapters XCVI and XCVII also placed him under the protection of Thoth. The recital of Chapter XCVIII provided the deceased with a boat in which to sail over the northern heavens, and a ladder by which to ascend to heaven. Chapters XCIX-CIII gave him the use of the magical boat, the mystic name of each part of which he was obliged to know, and helped him to enter the Boat of Ra and to be with Hathor. The Bebait, or mantis, led him to the great gods (Chapter CIV), and the Uatch amulet from the neck of Ra provided his double (ka) and his heart-soul (ba) with offerings (Chapters CV, CVI). Chapters CVII-CIX made him favourably known to the spirits of the East and West, and the gods of the Mountain of Sunrise. In this region lived the terrible Serpent-god Ami-hem-f; he was 30 cubits (50 feet) long. In the East the deceased saw the Morning Star, and the Two Sycamores, from between which the Sun-god appeared daily, and found the entrance to the Sekhet Aaru or Elysian Fields. Chapter CX and its vignette of the Elysian Fields have already been described (see p. 31). Chapters CXI and CXII describe how Horus lost the sight of his eye temporarily through looking at Set under the form of a black pig, and Chapter CXIII refers to the legend of the drowning of Horus and the recovery of his body by Sebek the Crocodile-god. Chapter CXIV enabled the deceased to absorb the wisdom of Thoth and his Eight gods. Chapters CXV-CXXII made him lord of the Tuats of Memphis and Heliopolis, and supplied him with food, and Chapter CXXIII enabled him to identify himself with Thoth. Chapters CXXIV and CXXV, which treat of the Judgment, have already been described. Chapter CXXVI contains a prayer to the Four Holy Apes, Chapter CXXVII a hymn to the gods of the "Circles" in the Tuat, and Chapter CXXVIII a hymn to Osiris. Chapters CXXX and CXXXI secured for the deceased the use of the Boats of Sunrise and Sunset, and Chapter CXXXII enabled him to return to earth and visit the house he had lived in. Chapters CXXXIII (or CXXXIX)-CXXXVI resemble in contents Chapter CXXXI. Chapter CXXXVII describes a series of magical ceremonies that were to be performed for the deceased daily in order to make him to become a "living soul for ever." The formulae are said to have been composed under the IVth dynasty. Chapter CXXXVIII refers to the ceremony of reconstituting Osiris, and Chapters CXL-CXLII deal with the setting up of twelve altars, and the making of offerings to all the gods and to the various forms of Osiris. Chapter CXLIII consists of a series of vignettes, in three of which solar boats are represented.

Chapters CXLIV and CXLVII deal with the Seven Great Halls (Arit) of the Kingdom of Osiris. The gate of each Hall was guarded by a porter, a watchman, and a messenger; the first kept the door, the second looked out for the arrival of visitors, and the third took their names to Osiris. No one could enter a Hall without repeating the name of it, of the porter, of the watchman, and of the messenger. According to a late tradition the Gates of the Kingdom of Osiris were twenty-one in number (Chapters CXLV and CXLVI), and each had a magical name, and each was guarded by one or two gods, whose names had to be repeated by the deceased before he could pass. Chapter CXLVIII supplied the deceased with the names of the Seven Cows and their Bull on which the "gods" were supposed to feed. Chapters CXLIX and CL give the names of the Fourteen Aats, or districts, of the Kingdom of Osiris. Chapter *CLI-A and *CLI-B give a picture of the mummy chamber and the magical texts that were necessary for the protection of both the chamber and the mummy in it. Chapter CLII provided a house for the deceased in the Celestial Anu, and Chapter *CLIII-A and *CLIII-B enabled his soul to avoid capture in the net of the snarer of souls. Chapter CLIV is an address to Osiris in which the deceased says, "I shall not decay, nor rot, nor putrefy, nor become worms, nor see corruption. I shall have my being, I shall live, I shall flourish, I shall rise up in peace." Chapters CLV-CLXVII are spells which were engraved on the amulets, giving the deceased the protection of Ra, Osiris, Isis, Horus, and other gods. The remaining Chapters (CLXVIII-CXC) are of a miscellaneous character, and few of them are found in more than one or two papyri of the Book of the Dead. A few contain hymns that are not older than the XVIIIth dynasty, and one is an extract from the text on the Pyramid of Unas (lines 379-399). The most interesting is, perhaps, Chapter CLXXV, which describes the Tuat as airless, waterless, and lightless. In this chapter the deceased is assured of immortality in the words, "Thou shalt live for millions of millions of years, a life of millions of years."

E. A. Wallis Budge.

Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum.

April 15, 1920.


The Trustees of the British Museum have published:--

1. Coloured facsimile of the Papyrus of Hunefer, XIXth dynasty, with hieroglyphic transcript and translation. 11 plates, large folio.

2. Coloured facsimile of the Papyrus of Anhai, XXIst dynasty, with hieroglyphic transcript and translation. 8 plates, large folio.

3. Collotype reproduction of the Papyrus of Queen Netchemet, XXIst dynasty, with hieroglyphic transcript and translation. 12 plates, large folio.

4. Coloured reproduction of the hieratic text of the Book of Breathings, with hieroglyphic transcript and translation. With 2 collotypes of the vignettes, large folio.

5. Hieroglyphic transcript of the Papyrus of Nu, with one collotype plate.

Nos. 1-5 are bound in one volume, price £2 10s.

6. Collotype reproduction of the Papyrus of Queen Nesi-ta-nebt-ashru, with full descriptions of the vignettes, translations, and introduction, containing several illustrations, and 116 plates of hieratic text. Large 4to. Price £2 10s.


[1] See Journal de Trévoux, June, 1704; Caylus, Antiq. Egypt., tom. I, plate 21; Denon, Travels, plates 136 and 137; and Description de l'Égypte, tom. II, plate 64 ff.

[2] Copie Figurée d'un Rouleau de Papyrus trouvé à Thèbes dans un tombeau des Rois. Paris, XIII-1805. This papyrus is nearly 30 feet in length and was brought to Strassburg by a paymaster in Napoleon's Army in Egypt called Poussielgue, who sold it to M. Cadet.

[3] [Hieroglyphs].

[4] The longest papyrus in the world is Papyrus Harris No. 1 (Brit. Mus. No. 9999); it measures 133 feet by 1 foot 4 1/2 inches.

[5] Pyramid of Pepi I, ll. 664 and 662.

[6] I.e., Truth, or Law, in a double aspect.

[7] A name of Osiris.

[8] I.e., the "Lord to the uttermost limit of everything," or God.

[9] He was according to one legend the firstborn son of Osiris.

[10] I.e., I have kept the Moral and Divine Law.

[11] I.e., the "Beneficent Being," a title of Osiris.

The Book of the Dead - 6/6

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