Seller: ancientgifts (4,366) 100% , Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 122841740900 "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt (Treasures From The British Museum)" by John H. Taylor, Nigel C. Strudwick, and The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: Bowers Museum (2005). Pages: 244. Size: 12 x 9 x 1 inch; 2¾ pounds. Summary: Among the people of the ancient world, the Egyptians occupied a unique position with their approach to death and the possibility of resurrection. "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt - Treasures from the British Museum" features the largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian funerary material from the world-renowned British Museum. This comprehensive exhibition features 140 objects, including 14 mummies and/or coffins, and is the largest exhibition of its kind to be shown by the British Museum outside of Britain. CONDITION: VERY GOOD. HUGE unread/merely flipped through (albeit modestly "shopworn") softcover. Bowers Museum (2005) 244 pages. I'd guess that this was the display copy for an open-shelf book store, based on the fact that while the book has seemingly only been flipped through once or twice, there is modest shelfwear to the covers. Inside the book is pristine; the pages clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, seemingly only flipped through a few times by bookstore "lookie-loo's (there's no "reading crease" to the spine. Outside the book does evidence very mild edge and corner shelfwear. This is principally evidenced as very faint "rounding" to the top and bottom open corners of both front and back covers. The spine also evidences mild bumps at at the head and heel. However these are relatively light bumps...there's no splits at the spine head or heel, and only a very few pages within the book show a very faint echo (small corner bend mark) at the lower inside corner. This is a tiny bump echo bend to the first dozen or two pages. Last, if you hold the book up to the light, you can detect faint rubbing/scuffing to the flat surface of the covers (covers are matte black and so show rub marks very easily merely from being shelved between other books). This is moreso observed to the back cover than the front. The overall condition is not too distant from what might pass as "new" stock from an open-shelf book store (such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton, for instance) wherein patrons are permitted to browse open stock, and so otherwise "new" books often show modest handling/shelf/browsing wear, consequence simply of being shelved and re-shelved. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #9038c. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Catalogue of exhibition organized by The British Museum, London. Includes bibliographical references. REVIEW: The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, California exhibited a series on ancient Egyptian art and culture. This volume, published in 2005, is an oversized hardcover filled with photos, descriptions, and history of the exhibited works. REVIEW: John H. Taylor is a curator at the British Museum specializing in ancient Egyptian funerary archaeology. John Taylor holds curatorial responsibility for ancient Egyptian funerary antiquities, amulets and jewelry. He also provides curatorial supervision for the departmental loans program. His expertise focuses on funerary objects of the pharaonic period (particularly coffins), mummies and mummification, metal statuary of the first millennium B.C., the Third Intermediate Period (circa 1069-664 B.C.) and the history of Egyptology. He is the author of "Egyptian Coffins", "Unwrapping a Mummy", and "Egypt and Nubia". TABLE OF CONTENTS: The Gods. Beliefs About the Afterlife. Mummification. Trappings of the Mummy. Cult of the Dead. Furnishings of the Tomb. Servants for the Afterlife. Bibliography. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: Mummies From The British Museum at Bowers Museum. "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt" features the largest collectionof mummies and coffins to ever leave British Museum and illustrates the fascinating story of how Egyptians prepared and sent the dead into the afterlife. Among the peoples of the ancient world, the Egyptians occupy a unique position with their approach to death and the possibility of resurrection, particularly since so much of the evidence that has survived over thousands of years comes from a funerary context. The largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian funerary material outside of Cairo is housed at The British Museum. As part of its joint venture with the British Museum, the Bowers Museum has drawn upon this world-famous collection of mummies and funerary objects to present "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt...Treasures from the British Museum". The extensive exhibition features 140 objects, including 14 mummies and/or coffins, and is the largest exhibition of its kind to be shown by the British Museum outside of Britain. "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt" focuses on embalming, coffins, sarcophagi, shabti figures, magic and ritual, amulets, papyri, as well as the process of mummification. The exhibition illustrates in depth the story of the fascinating Egyptian ritual of preparing and sending the dead to the afterlife, complete with furnishings created specifically for an individual's coffin, such as spectacular gold jewelry and a wooden boat to transport the dead into the underworld. According to one of the exhibition curators, Assistant Keeper of Antiquities at the British Museum Dr. John Taylor, the Egyptian mummies and coffins in this exhibition are of the highest quality and Mummies from the British Museum have not been exhibited for many years. "This exhibition will provide the ultimate look into the world of mummification," Dr. Taylor said. "We speak of death as one of the great rites of passage of human existence. Whether we believe that life continues beyond death, or ends at that moment, or whether we admit that we do not know, death is a door through which we must all pass." "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt" is divided into seven sections: -The Gods features life size statues and stone busts of the gods of the afterlife, including Sekhmet and Osiris. -Beliefs about the Afterlife focuses on the papyrus texts and other inscriptions regarding the afterlife. -Mummification is the heart of the exhibition with mummies, coffins, and canopic jars for the internal organs. Mummies are one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. The preservation of the body was an essential part of the Egyptian funerary belief and practice. Mummification features two of the exhibition's most spectacular pieces: a child mummy from the Greco Roman period with a lifelike portrait, and a gilded cartonnage mummy mask dating from the Greco-Roman Period (late 1st century B.C.-early 1st century A.D.). -Trappings of the Mummies features clothing, jewelry, amulets of various sorts, and a papyrus scepter - items that are necessary to prepare the dead for the afterlife. The amulets are predominantly gold with red juniper and a blue glaze known as Faience. -Cult of the Dead features offering tables and statues, including an inscribed alabaster tablet for sacred oils. -Furnishing of the Tomb includes all objects that would be placed in an Egyptian tomb to accompany the dead into the afterlife, including spectacular gold jewelry, a wooden boat to transport the dead into the underworld, bowls, jars, a glass vase, and a headrest. -Shabtis: Servants for the Afterlife. Shabti figures were developed from the servant figures common in tombs of the Middle Kingdom. They are shown mummified like the deceased, with their own coffin, and were inscribed with a spell to provide food for their master or mistress in the afterlife. "This exhibition is particularly exciting because it has never been displayed before," Dr. Taylor said. All the objects in the exhibition will be published in the Bowers Museum's lavishly illustrated 256-page catalogue that will accompany the exhibition. [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University]. REVIEW: Among the peoples of the ancient world, the Egyptians occupy a unique position with their approach to death and the possibility of resurrection, particularly since so much of the evidence that has survived over thousands of years comes from a funerary context. The largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian funerary material outside of Cairo is housed at The British Museum. As part of its joint venture with the British Museum, the Bowers Museum has drawn upon this world-famous collection of mummies and funerary objects to present "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt…Treasures from the British Museum". The extensive exhibition and the accompanying catalogue features 140 objects, including 14 mummies and/or coffins, and is the largest exhibition of its kind to be shown by the British Museum outside of Britain. "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt" focuses on embalming, coffins, sarcophagi, shabti figures, magic and ritual, amulets, papyri, as well as the process of mummification. The exhibition illustrates in depth the story of the fascinating Egyptian ritual of preparing and sending the dead to the afterlife, complete with furnishings created specifically for an individual’s coffin, such as spectacular gold jewelry and a wooden boat to transport the dead into the underworld. According to one of the exhibition curators, Assistant Keeper of Antiquities at the British Museum Dr. John Taylor, the Egyptian mummies and coffins in this exhibition are of the highest quality and have not been exhibited for many years. “This exhibition will provide the ultimate look into the world of mummification,” Dr. Taylor said. “We speak of death as one of the great rites of passage of human existence. Whether we believe that life continues beyond death, or ends at that moment, or whether we admit that we do not know, death is a door through which we must all pass.” [Art Daily]. REVIEW: Perhaps nothing better illustrates the saying "Everything old is new again" than the mystique of the mummies of ancient Egypt. Generation after generation has swooned at the sight of the pharaohs' treasures, which remain unsurpassed three millenniums later. The Egyptian cult of the dead has found immortality in the imaginations of Westerners who have transmuted its symbols into opera, movies, furniture, jewelry, teapots, towels and more. And now a new round of mummy mania is about to be unleashed upon Southern California with a phenomenal exhibition: "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt ... Treasures from the British Museum," which opened Sunday at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana. [Los Angeles Times]. REVIEW: In May of 2003, the British Museum signed a landmark five-year collaborative agreement with the Bowers Museum of Santa Ana, California, to showcase its incredible collections and to provide a service to visitors and especially students who aren’t able to travel to Britain. In April 2005, the Bowers Museum thus presented "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt" featuring a spectacular collection of 140 objects from the British Museum. The British Museum of London, England, has the largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian material outside of Cairo. Its spectacular collection consists of more than 100,000 objects. Displays include a gallery of monumental sculpture and the internationally famous collection of mummies and coffins. Egyptian objects have formed part of the collections of the British Museum since its beginning. The original start of the Museum was to provide a home for objects left to the nation by Sir Hans Sloane when he died in 1753, about 150 of which were from Egypt. European interest in Egypt began to grow in earnest after the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798, particularly since Napoleon included scholars in his expedition who recorded a great deal about the ancient and mysterious country. After the British defeated the French in 1801, many antiquities which the French had collected were confiscated by the British Army and presented to the British Museum in the name of King George III in 1803. The most famous of these was the Rosetta Stone. After Napoleon, Egypt came under the control of Mohammed Ali, who was determined to open the country to foreigners. As a result, European officials residing in Egypt began collecting antiquities. Britain's consul was Henry Salt, who amassed two collections which eventually formed an important core of the British Museum collection, and was supplemented by the purchase of a number of papyri. Antiquities from excavations also came into the Museum in the later 1800's as a result of the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund (now Society). A major source of antiquities came from the efforts of E.A. Wallis Budge (Keeper 1886-1924), who regularly visited Egypt and built up a wide-ranging collection of papyri and funerary material. Mummies are one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. The preservation of the body was an essential part of the Egyptian funerary belief and practice. Mummification seems to have its origins in the late Predynastic period (before 3000 B.C.) when specific parts of the body were wrapped, such as the face and hands. It has been suggested that the process developed to reproduce the desiccating (drying) effects of the hot dry sand on a body buried within it. The best literary account of the mummification process is given by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who says that the entire process took 70 days. The internal organs, apart from the heart and kidneys, were removed via a cut in the left side. The organs were dried and wrapped, and placed in canopic jars, or later replaced inside the body. The brain was removed, often through the nose, and discarded. Bags of natron or salt were packed both inside and outside the body, and left for forty days until all the moisture had been removed. The body was then cleansed with aromatic oils and resins and wrapped with bandages, often household linen torn into strips. In recent times, scientific analysis of mummies, by X-rays, CT scans, endoscopy and other processes has revealed a wealth of information about how individuals lived and died. It has been possible to identify medical conditions such as lung cancer, osteoarthritis and tuberculosis, as well as parasitic disorders such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). The earliest ancient Egyptians buried their dead in small pits in the desert. The heat and dryness of the sand dehydrated the bodies quickly, creating lifelike and natural 'mummies' as seen in the exhibition. Later, the ancient Egyptians began burying their dead in coffins to protect them from wild animals in the desert. However, they realized that bodies placed in coffins decayed because they were not exposed to the hot, dry sand of the desert. Over many centuries, the ancient Egyptians developed a method of preserving bodies so they would remain lifelike. The process included embalming the bodies and wrapping them in strips of linen. Today, we call this process mummification. Egyptian amulets (ornamental charms) were worn by both the living and the dead. Some protected the wearer against specific dangers and others endowed him or her with special characteristics, such as strength or fierceness. Amulets were often in the shape of animals, plants, sacred objects, or hieroglyphic symbols. The combination of shape, color and material were important to the effectiveness of an amulet. Papyri (Egyptian scrolls) show that amulets were used in medicine, often in conjunction with poultices (a medicated dressing, often applied hot) or other preparations, and the recitation of spells. Sometimes, the papyri on which the spells were written could also act as amulets, and were folded up and worn by the owner. One of the most widely worn protective amulets was the wedjat eye: the restored eye of Horus. It was worn by the living, and often appeared on rings and as an element of necklaces. It was also placed on the body of the deceased during the mummification process to protect the incision through which the internal organs were removed. Several of the spells in the Book of the Dead were intended to be spoken over specific amulets, which were then placed in particular places on the body of the deceased. The scarab (beetle) was an important funerary amulet, associated with rebirth, and the heart scarab amulet prevented the heart from speaking out against the deceased. The ancient Egyptians believed in many different gods and goddesses -- each one with their own role to play in maintaining peace and harmony across the land. Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some brought the flood every year, some offered protection, and some took care of people after they died. Others were either local gods who represented towns, or minor gods who represented plants or animals. Ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to recognize and worship these gods and goddesses so that life continued smoothly. Shabti figures developed from the servant figures common in tombs of the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1782 B.C.). They were shown as mummified like the deceased, with their own coffin, and were inscribed with a spell to provide food for their master or mistress in the afterlife. From the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 B.C.) onward, the deceased was expected to take part in the maintenance of the 'Field of Reeds,' where he or she would live for eternity. This meant undertaking agricultural labor, such as plowing, sowing, and reaping the crops. The shabti figure became regarded as a servant figure that would carry out heavy work on behalf of the deceased. The figures were still mummiform (in the shape of mummies), but now held agricultural implements such as hoes. They were inscribed with a spell which made them answer when the deceased was called to work. The name 'shabti' means 'answerer.' From the end of the New Kingdom, anyone who could afford to do so had a workman for every day of the year, complete with an overseer figure for each gang of ten laborers. This gave a total of 401 figures, though many individuals had several sets. These vast collections of figures were often of extremely poor quality, uninscribed and made of mud rather than the faience which had been popular in the New Kingdom. [HistoryPlace.Com]. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: I bought this book when I went to see the exhibit at the Bowers Museum. This was one of the best Ancient Egyptian exhibits I've attended, and I picked up the book to remind me of all the beautiful items I saw. The book is equally fabulous! REVIEW: Tremendous exhibition catalogue. Exquisite mummies and related artifacts, wonderful photography, and an erudite narration gives riveting context. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: REVIEW: Mummification in Ancient Egypt. The practice of mummifying the dead began in ancient Egypt circa 3500 B.C. The English word mummy comes from the Latin mumia which is derived from the Persian mum meaning 'wax' and refers to an embalmed corpse which was wax-like. The idea of mummifying the dead may have been suggested by how well corpses were preserved in the arid sands of the country. Early graves of the Badarian Period (circa 5000 B.C.) contained food offerings and some grave goods, suggesting a belief in an afterlife, but the corpses were not mummified. These graves were shallow rectangles or ovals into which a corpse was placed on its left side, often in a fetal position. They were considered the final resting place for the deceased and were often, as in Mesopotamia, located in or close by a family's home. Graves evolved throughout the following eras until, by the time of the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt (circa 3150 - 2613 B.C.), the mastaba tomb had replaced the simple grave, and cemeteries became common. Mastabas were seen not as a final resting place but as an eternal home for the body. The tomb was now considered a place of transformation in which the soul would leave the body to go on to the afterlife. It was thought, however, that the body had to remain intact in order for the soul to continue its journey. Once freed from the body, the soul would need to orient itself by what was familiar. For this reason, tombs were painted with stories and spells from The Book of the Dead, to remind the soul of what was happening and what to expect, as well as with inscriptions known as The Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts which would recount events from the dead person's life. Death was not the end of life to the Egyptians but simply a transition from one state to another. To this end, the body had to be carefully prepared in order to be recognizable to the soul upon its awakening in the tomb and also later. By the time of the Old Kingdom of Egypt (circa 2613-2181 B.C.), mummification had become standard practice in handling the deceased and mortuary rituals grew up around death, dying, and mummification. These rituals and their symbols were largely derived from the cult of Osiris who had already become a popular god. Osiris and his sister-wife Isis were the mythical first rulers of Egypt, given the land shortly after the creation of the world. They ruled over a kingdom of peace and tranquility, teaching the people the arts of agriculture, civilization, and granting men and women equal rights to live together in balance and harmony. Osiris' brother, Set, grew jealous of his brother's power and success, however, and so murdered him; first by sealing him in a coffin and sending him down the Nile River and then by hacking his body into pieces and scattering them across Egypt. Isis retrieved Osiris' parts, reassembled him, and then with the help of her sister Nephthys, brought him back to life. Osiris was incomplete, however - he was missing his penis which had been eaten by a fish - and so could no longer rule on earth. He descended to the underworld where he became Lord of the Dead. Prior to his departure, though, Isis had mated with him in the form of a kite and bore him a son, Horus, who would grow up to avenge his father, reclaim the kingdom, and again establish order and balance in the land. This myth became so incredibly popular that it infused the culture and assimilated earlier gods and myths to create a central belief in a life after death and the possibility of resurrection of the dead. Osiris was often depicted as a mummified ruler and regularly represented with green or black skin symbolizing both death and resurrection. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson writes: "The cult of Osiris began to exert influence on the mortuary rituals and the ideals of contemplating death as a "gateway into eternity". This deity, having assumed the cultic powers and rituals of other gods of the necropolis, or cemetery sites, offered human beings salvation, resurrection, and eternal bliss." Eternal life was only possible, though, if one's body remained intact. A person's name, their identity, represented their immortal soul, and this identity was linked to one's physical form. Parts of the Soul. The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts: 1.The Khat was the physical body; 2.The Ka one’s double-form (astral self); 3.The Ba was a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens (specifically between the afterlife and one's body); 4.The Shuyet was the shadow self; 5.The Akh was the immortal, transformed self after death; 6.The Sahu was an aspect of the Akh; 7.The Sechem was another aspect of the Akh; 8.The Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil, holder of one's character; 9.The Ren was one’s secret name. The Khat needed to exist in order for the Ka and Ba to recognize itself and be able to function properly. Once released from the body, these different aspects would be confused and would at first need to center themselves by some familiar form. When a person died, they were brought to the embalmers who offered three types of service. According to Herodotus: "The best and most expensive kind is said to represent [Osiris], the next best is somewhat inferior and cheaper, while the third is cheapest of all". The grieving family was asked to choose which service they preferred, and their answer was extremely important not only for the deceased but for themselves. Burial practice and mortuary rituals in ancient Egypt were taken so seriously because of the belief that death was not the end of life. Obviously, the best service was going to be the most expensive, but if the family could afford it and yet chose not to purchase it, they ran the risk of a haunting. The dead person would know they had been given a cheaper service than they deserved and would not be able to peacefully go on into the afterlife; instead, they would return to make their relatives' lives miserable until the wrong was righted. Burial practice and mortuary rituals in ancient Egypt were taken so seriously because of the belief that death was not the end of life. The individual who had died could still see and hear, and if wronged, would be given leave by the gods for revenge. It would seem, however, that people still chose the level of service they could most easily afford. Once chosen, that level determined the kind of coffin one would be buried in, the funerary rites available, and the treatment of the body. Egyptologist Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University at Cairo, has studied mummification in depth and provides the following: "The key ingredient in the mummification was natron, or netjry, divine salt. It is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt, most commonly in the Wadi Natrun some sixty four kilometres northwest of Cairo. It has desiccating and defatting properties and was the preferred desiccant, although common salt was also used in more economical burials." In the most expensive type of burial service, the body was laid out on a table and washed. The embalmers would then begin their work at the head: "The brain was removed via the nostrils with an iron hook, and what cannot be reached with the hook is washed out with drugs; next the flank is opened with a flint knife and the whole contents of the abdomen removed; the cavity is then thoroughly cleaned and washed out, firstly with palm wine and again with an infusion of ground spices. After that it is filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and every other aromatic substance, excepting frankincense, and sewn up again, after which the body is placed in natron, covered entirely over for seventy days – never longer. When this period is over, the body is washed and then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum, which is commonly used by the Egyptians instead of glue. In this condition the body is given back to the family who have a wooden case made, shaped like a human figure, into which it is put." In the second-most expensive burial, less care was given to the body: "No incision is made and the intestines are not removed, but oil of cedar is injected with a syringe into the body through the anus which is afterwards stopped up to prevent the liquid from escaping. The body is then cured in natron for the prescribed number of days, on the last of which the oil is drained off. The effect is so powerful that as it leaves the body it brings with it the viscera in a liquid state and, as the flesh has been dissolved by the natron, nothing of the body is left but the skin and bones. After this treatment, it is returned to the family without further attention. The third and cheapest method of embalming was "simply to wash out the intestines and keep the body for seventy days in natron". The internal organs were removed in order to help preserve the corpse, but because it was believed the deceased would still need them, the viscera were placed in canopic jars to be sealed in the tomb. Only the heart was left inside the body as it was thought to contain the Ab aspect of the soul. The embalmers removed the organs from the abdomen through a long incision cut into the left side. In removing the brain, as Ikram notes, they would insert a hooked surgical tool up through the dead person's nose and pull the brain out in pieces but there is also evidence of embalmers breaking the nose to enlarge the space to get the brain out more easily. Breaking the nose was not the preferred method, though, because it could disfigure the face of the deceased and the primary goal of mummification was to keep the body intact and preserved as life-like as possible. This process was followed with animals as well as humans. Egyptians regularly mummified their pet cats, dogs, gazelles, fish, birds, baboons, and also the Apis bull, considered an incarnation of the divine. The removal of the organs and brain was all about drying out the body. The only organ they left in place, in most eras, was the heart because that was thought to be the seat of the person's identity and character. Blood was drained and organs removed to prevent decay, the body was again washed, and the dressing (linen wrapping) applied. Although the above processes are the standard observed throughout most of Egypt's history, there were deviations in some eras. Bunson notes: "Each period of ancient Egypt witnessed an alteration in the various organs preserved. The heart, for example, was preserved in some eras, and during the Ramessid dynasties the genitals were surgically removed and placed in a special casket in the shape of the god Osiris. This was performed, perhaps, in commemoration of the god's loss of his own genitals or as a mystical ceremony. Throughout the nation's history, however, the canopic jars were under the protection of the Mesu Heru, the four sons of Horus. These jars and their contents, the organs soaked in resin, were stored near the sarcophagus in special containers." Once the organs had been removed and the body washed, the corpse was wrapped in linen - either by the embalmers, if one had chosen the most expensive service (who would also include magical amulets and charms for protection in the wrapping), or by the family - and placed in a sarcophagus or simple coffin. The wrapping was known as the 'linen of yesterday' because, initially, poor people would give their old clothing to the embalmers to wrap the corpse in. This practice eventually led to any linen cloth used in embalming known by the same name. The funeral was a public affair at which, if one could afford them, women were hired as professional mourners. These women were known as the 'Kites of Nephthys' and would encourage people to express their grief through their own cries and lamentation. They would reference the brevity of life and how suddenly death came but also gave assurance of the eternal aspect of the soul and the confidence that the deceased would pass through the trial of the weighing of the heart in the afterlife by Osiris to pass on to paradise in the Field of Reeds. Grave goods, however rich or modest, would be placed in the tomb or grave. These would include shabti dolls who, in the afterlife, could be woken to life through a spell and assume the dead person's tasks. Since the afterlife was considered an eternal and perfect version of life on earth, it was thought there was work there just as in one's mortal life. The shabti would perform these tasks so the soul could relax and enjoy itself. Shabti dolls are important indicators to modern archaeologists on the wealth and status of the individual buried in a certain tomb; the more shabti dolls, the greater the wealth. Besides the shabti, the person would be buried with items thought necessary in the afterlife: combs, jewelry, beer, bread, clothing, one's weapons, a favorite object, even one's pets. All of these would appear to the soul in the afterlife and they would be able to make use of them. Before the tomb was sealed, a ritual was enacted which was considered vital to the continuation of the soul's journey: the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. In this rite, a priest would invoke Isis and Nephthys (who had brought Osiris back to life) as he touched the mummy with different objects (adzes, chisels, knives) at various spots while anointing the body. In doing so, he restored the use of ears, eyes, mouth, and nose to the deceased. The son and heir of the departed would often take the priest's role, thus further linking the rite with the story of Horus and his father Osiris. The deceased would now be able to hear, see, and speak and was ready to continue the journey. The mummy would be enclosed in the sarcophagus or coffin, which would be buried in a grave or laid to rest in a tomb along with the grave goods, and the funeral would conclude. The living would then go back to their business, and the dead were then believed to go on to eternal life. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Rituals. Ever since European archaeologists began excavating in Egypt in the 18th and 19th centuries A.D., the ancient culture has been largely associated with death. Even into the mid-20th century CE reputable scholars were still writing on the death-obsessed Egyptians whose lives were lacking in play and without joy. Mummies in dark, labyrinthine tombs, strange rituals performed by dour priests, and the pyramid tombs of the kings remain the most prominent images of ancient Egypt in many people's minds even in the present day, and an array of over 2,000 deities - many of them uniquely associated with the afterlife - simply seems to add to the established vision of the ancient Egyptians as obsessed with death. Actually, though, they were fully engaged in life, so much so that their afterlife was considered an eternal continuation of their time on earth. When someone died in ancient Egypt the funeral was a public event which allowed the living to mourn the passing of a member of the community and enabled the deceased to move on from the earthly plane to the eternal. Although there were outpourings of grief and deep mourning over the loss of someone they loved, they did not believe the dead person had ceased to exist; they had merely left the earth for another realm. In order to make sure they reached their destination safely, the Egyptians developed elaborate mortuary rituals to preserve the body, free the soul, and send it on its way. These rituals encouraged the healthy expression of grief among the living but concluded with a feast celebrating the life of the deceased and his or her departure, emphasizing how death was not the end but only a continuation. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick notes, "for the life-loving Egyptians, the guarantee of continuing life in the netherworld was immensely important". The mortuary rituals provided the people with just that sort of guarantee. The earliest burials in ancient Egypt were simple graves in which the deceased was placed, on the left side, accompanied by some grave goods. It is clear there was already a belief in some kind of afterlife prior to circa 3500 B.C. when mummification began to be practiced but no written record of what form this belief took. Simple graves in the Predynastic Period in Egypt (circa 6000 - 3150 B.C.) evolved into the mastaba tombs of the Early Dynastic Period (circa 3150 - 2613 B.C.) which then became the grand pyramids of the Old Kingdom (circa 2613-2181 B.C.). All of these periods believed in an afterlife and engaged in mortuary rituals, but those of the Old Kingdom are the best known from images on tombs. Although it is usually thought that everyone in Egypt was mummified after their death, the practice was expensive & only the upper class and nobility could afford it. By the time of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the culture had a clear understanding of how the universe worked and humanity's place in it. The gods had created the world and the people in it through the agency of magic (heka) and sustained it through magic as well. All the world was imbued with mystical life generated by the gods who would welcome the soul when it finally left the earth for the afterlife. In order for the soul to make this journey, the body it left behind needed to be carefully preserved, and this is why mummification became such an integral part of the mortuary rituals. Although it is usually thought that everyone in Egypt was mummified after their death, the practice was expensive, and usually only the upper class and nobility could afford it. In the Old Kingdom the kings were buried in their pyramid tombs, but from the First Intermediate Period of Egypt (2181-2040 B.C.) onwards, kings and nobles favored tombs cut into rock face or into the earth. By the time of the New Kingdom (circa 1570-1069 B.C.) the tombs and the rituals leading to burial had reached their highest state of development. There were three methods of embalming/funerary ritual available: the most expensive and elaborate, a second, cheaper option which still allowed for much of the first, and a third which was even cheaper and afforded little of the attention to detail of the first. The following rituals and embalming methods described are those of the first, most elaborate option, which was performed for royalty and the specific rituals are those observed in the New Kingdom of Egypt. After death, the body was brought to the embalmers where the priests washed and purified it. The mortuary priest then removed those organs which would decay most quickly and destroy the body. In early mummification, the organs of the abdomen and the brain were placed in canopic jars which were thought to be watched over by the guardian gods known as The Four Sons of Horus. In later times the organs were taken out, treated, wrapped, and placed back into the body, but canopic jars were still placed in tombs, and The Four Sons of Horus were still thought to keep watch over the organs. The embalmers removed the organs from the abdomen through a long incision cut into the left side; for the brain, they would insert a hooked surgical tool up through the dead person's nose and pull the brain out in pieces. There is also evidence of embalmers breaking the nose to enlarge the space to get the brain out more easily. Breaking the nose was not the preferred method, though, because it could disfigure the face of the deceased and the primary goal of mummification was to keep the body intact and preserved as life-like as possible. The removal of the organs and brain was all about drying out the body - the only organ they left in place was the heart because that was thought to be the seat of the person's identity. This was all done because the soul needed to be freed from the body to continue on its eternal journey into the afterlife and, to do so, it needed to have an intact 'house' to leave behind and also one it would recognize if it wished to return to visit. After the removal of the organs, the body was soaked in natron for 70 days and then washed and purified again. It was then carefully wrapped in linen; a process which could take up to two weeks. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson explains: "This was an important aspect of the mortuary process, accompanied by incantations, hymns, and ritual ceremonies. In some instances the linens taken from shrines and temples were provided to the wealthy or aristocratic deceased in the belief that such materials had special graces and magical powers. An individual mummy would require approximately 445 square yards of material. Throughout the wrappings semiprecious stones and amulets were placed in strategic positions, each one guaranteed to protect a certain region of the human anatomy in the afterlife." Among the most important of these amulets was the one which was placed over the heart. This was done to prevent the heart from bearing witness against the deceased when the moment of judgment came. Since the heart was the seat of individual character, and since it was obvious that people often made statements they later regretted, it was considered important to have a charm to prevent that possibility. The embalmers would then return the mummy to the family who would have had a coffin or sarcophagus made. The corpse would not be placed in the coffin yet, however, but would be laid on a bier and then moved toward a waiting boat on the Nile River. This was the beginning of the funeral service which started in the early morning, usually departing either from a temple of the king or the embalmer's center. The servants and poorer relations of the deceased were at the front of the procession carrying flowers and food offerings. They were followed by others carrying grave goods such as clothing and shabti dolls, favorite possessions of the deceased, and other objects which would be necessary in the afterlife. Directly in front of the corpse would be professional mourners, women known as the Kites of Nephthys, whose purpose was to encourage others to express their grief. The kites would wail loudly, beat their breasts, strike their heads on the ground, and scream in pain. These women were dressed in the color of mourning and sorrow, a blue-gray, and covered their faces and hair with dust and earth. This was a paid position, and the wealthier the deceased, the more kites would be present in the procession. A scene from the tomb of the pharaoh Horemheb (1320-1292 B.C.) of the New Kingdom vividly depicts the Kites of Nephthys at work as they wail and fling themselves to the ground. In the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt, the servants would have been killed upon reaching the tomb so that they could continue to serve the deceased in the afterlife. By the time of the New Kingdom, this practice had long been abandoned and an effigy now took the place of the servants known as a tekenu. Like the shabti dolls, which one would magically animate in the afterlife to perform work, the tekenu would later come to life, in the same way, to serve the soul in paradise. The corpse and the tekenu were followed by priests, and when they reached the eastern bank of the Nile, the tekenu and the oxen who had pulled the corpse were ritually sacrificed and burned. The corpse was then placed on a mortuary boat along with two women who symbolized the goddesses Isis and Nephthys. This was in reference to the Osiris myth in which Osiris is killed by his brother Set and returned to life by his sister-wife Isis and her sister Nephthys. In life, the king was associated with the son of Osiris and Isis, Horus, but in death, with the Lord of the Dead, Osiris. The women would address the dead king as the goddesses speaking to Osiris. The boat sailed from the east side (representing life) to the west (the land of the dead) where it docked and the body was then moved to another bier and transported to its tomb. A priest would have already arranged to have the coffin or sarcophagus set up at the entrance of the tomb, and at this point, the corpse was placed inside of it. The priest would then perform the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony during which he would touch the corpse at various places on the body in order to restore the senses so the deceased could again see, hear, smell, taste, and talk. During this ceremony, the two women representing Isis and Nephthys would recite The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys, the call-and-response incantation which re-created the moment when Osiris had been brought back to life by the sisters. The lid was then fastened on the coffin and it was carried into the tomb. The tomb would have the deceased's name written in it, statues and pictures of him or her in life, and inscriptions on the wall (Pyramid Texts) telling the story of their life and providing instructions for the afterlife. Prayers would be made for the soul of the deceased and grave goods would be arranged around the coffin; after this, the tomb would be sealed. The family was expected to provide for the continued existence of the departed by bringing them food and drink offerings and remembering their name. If a family found this too burdensome, they hired a priest (known as a Ka-Servant) to perform the duties and rituals. Lists of food and drink to be brought were inscribed on the tomb (Offering Lists) as well as an autobiography of the departed so they would be remembered. The soul would continue to exist peacefully in the next life (following justification) as long as these offerings were made. The priests, family, and guests would then sit down for a feast to celebrate the life of the departed and his forward journey to paradise. This celebration took place outside of the tomb under a tent erected for the purpose. Food, beer, and wine would have been brought earlier and was now served as an elaborate picnic banquet. The deceased would be honored with the kind of festival he or she would have known and enjoyed in life. When the party concluded, the guests would return to their homes and go on with life. For the soul of the departed, however, a new life had just begun. Following the mortuary rituals and the closing of the tomb, the soul was thought to wake in the body and feel disoriented. Inscriptions on the wall of the tomb, like the Pyramid Texts, or in one's coffin, as with the Coffin Texts, would remind the soul of its life on earth and direct it to leave the body and move forward. These texts were replaced in the New Kingdom of Egypt by the Book of the Dead. One of the gods, most often Anubis, would appear to lead the soul forth toward the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where it would be judged. Depictions of the judgment frequently show a long line of souls waiting for their moment to appear before Osiris and these are cared for by deities like Qebhet, who provided them with cool, refreshing water. Familiar goddesses like Nephthys, Isis, Neith, and Serket would also be there to comfort and encourage the soul. When one's time came, one would move forward to where Osiris, Anubis, and Thoth stood by the scales of justice and would recite the Negative Confessions, a ritual list of sins one could honestly say one had not committed. At this point one's heart was weighed in the balance against the white feather of truth; if one's heart was lighter than the feather, one was justified, and if not, the heart was dropped to the floor where it was eaten by the monster Amut and the soul would then cease to exist. If one had been justified by the weighing of the heart, Osiris, Thoth, and Anubis would confer with the Forty-two Judges and then allow one to pass on toward paradise. This next part of the journey takes different forms depending on different texts and time periods. In some versions, the soul must still avoid pitfalls, demons, and dangers, and required the assistance of a guide book such as The Egyptian Book of the Dead. In other depictions, once one had been justified, one went to the shores of Lily Lake where a final test had to be passed. The ferryman was an eternally unpleasant man named Hraf-hef to whom the soul needed to be kind and gracious. If one passed this final test, one was rowed across the lake to paradise in the Field of Reeds. Here the soul would find everything and everyone thought to be lost through death. Those who had passed on before would be waiting as well as one's favorite pets. The house the soul had loved while alive, the neighborhood, friends, all would be waiting and the soul would enjoy this life eternally without the threat of loss and in the company of the immortal gods. This final paradise, however, was only possible if the family on earth had performed the mortuary rituals completely and if they continued to honor and remember the departed soul. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Ancient Egyptian Burial. Egyptian burial is the common term for the ancient Egyptian funerary rituals concerning death and the soul’s journey to the afterlife. Eternity, according to the historian Bunson, “was the common destination of each man, woman and child in Egypt” but not `eternity’ as in an afterlife above the clouds but, rather, an eternal Egypt which mirrored one’s life on earth. The afterlife for the ancient Egyptians was The Field of Reeds which was a perfect reflection of the life one had lived on earth. Egyptian burial rites were practiced as early as 4000 B.C. and reflect this vision of eternity. The earliest preserved body from a tomb is that of so-called `Ginger’, discovered in Gebelein, Egypt, and dated to 3400 B.C. Burial rites changed over time between circa 4000 B.C. and 30 B.C. but the constant focus was on eternal life and the certainty of personal existence beyond death. This belief became well-known throughout the ancient world via cultural transmission through trade (notably by way of the Silk Road) and came to influence other civilizations and religions. It is thought to have served as an inspiration for the Christian vision of eternal life and a major influence on burial practices in other cultures. According to Herodotus (484-425/413 B.C.), the Egyptian rites concerning burial were very dramatic in mourning the dead even though it was hoped that the deceased would find bliss in an eternal land beyond the grave. He writes: "As regards mourning and funerals, when a distinguished man dies, all the women of the household plaster their heads and faces with mud, then, leaving the body indoors, perambulate the town with the dead man’s relatives, their dresses fastened with a girdle, and beat their bared breasts. The men too, for their part, follow the same procedure, wearing a girdle and beating themselves like the women. The ceremony over, they take the body to be mummified." Mummification was practiced in Egypt as early as 3500 B.C. and is thought to have been suggested by the preservation of corpses buried in the arid sand. The Egyptian concept of the soul – which may have developed quite early – dictated that there needed to be a preserved body on the earth in order for the soul to have hope of an eternal life. The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts: the Khat was the physical body; the Ka one’s double-form; the Ba a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens; Shuyet was the shadow self; Akh the immortal, transformed self, Sahu and Sechem aspects of the Akh; Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil; Ren was one’s secret name. The Khat needed to exist in order for the Ka and Ba to recognize itself and so the body had to be preserved as intact as possible. After a person had died, the family would bring the body of the deceased to the embalmers where the professionals “produce specimen models in wood, graded in quality. They ask which of the three is required, and the family of the dead, having agreed upon a price, leave the embalmers to their task”. There were three levels of quality and corresponding price in Egyptian burial and the professional embalmers would offer all three choices to the bereaved. According to Herodotus: “The best and most expensive kind is said to represent [Osiris], the next best is somewhat inferior and cheaper, while the third is cheapest of all”. These three choices in burial dictated the kind of coffin one would be buried in, the funerary rites available and, also, the treatment of the body. According to the historian Ikram, "The key ingredient in the mummification was natron, or netjry, divine salt. It is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt, most commonly in the Wadi Natrun some sixty four kilometres northwest of Cairo. It has desiccating and defatting properties and was the preferred desiccant, although common salt was also used in more economical burials. The body of the deceased, in the most expensive type of burial, was laid out on a table and the brain removed via the nostrils with an iron hook, and what cannot be reached with the hook is washed out with drugs; next the flank is opened with a flint knife and the whole contents of the abdomen removed; the cavity is then thoroughly cleaned and washed out, firstly with palm wine and again with an infusion of ground spices. After that it is filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and every other aromatic substance, excepting frankincense, and sewn up again, after which the body is placed in natron, covered entirely over for seventy days – never longer. When this period is over, the body is washed and then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum, which is commonly used by the Egyptians instead of glue. In this condition the body is given back to the family who have a wooden case made, shaped like a human figure, into which it is put. The second most expensive burial differed from the first in that less care was given to the body. No incision is made and the intestines are not removed, but oil of cedar is injected with a syringe into the body through the anus which is afterwards stopped up to prevent the liquid from escaping. The body is then cured in natron for the prescribed number of days, on the last of which the oil is drained off. The effect is so powerful that as it leaves the body it brings with it the viscera in a liquid state and, as the flesh has been dissolved by the natron, nothing of the body is left but the skin and bones. After this treatment, it is returned to the family without further attention. The third, and cheapest, method of embalming was “simply to wash out the intestines and keep the body for seventy days in natron” The internal organs were removed in order to help preserve the corpse but, because it was believed the deceased would still need them, the viscera were placed in canopic jars to be sealed in the tomb. Only the heart was left inside the body as it was thought to contain the Ab aspect of the soul. Even the poorest Egyptian was given some kind of ceremony as it was thought that, if the deceased were not properly buried, the soul would return in the form of a ghost to haunt the living. As mummification could be very expensive, the poor gave their used clothing to the embalmers to be used in wrapping the corpse. This gave rise to the phrase “The Linen of Yesterday” alluding to death. “The poor could not afford new linens, and so wrapped their beloved corpses in those of `yesterday’”. In time, the phrase came to be applied to anyone who had died and was employed by the Kites of Nephthys (the professional female mourners at funerals). “The deceased is addressed by these mourners as one who dressed in fine linen but now sleeps in the `linen of yesterday’. That image alluded to the fact that life upon the earth became `yesterday’ to the dead” (Bunson, 146). The linen bandages were also known as The Tresses of Nephthys after that goddess, the twin sister of Isis, became associated with death and the afterlife. The poor were buried in simple graves with those artifacts they had enjoyed in life or whatever objects the family could afford to part with. Every grave contained some sort of provision for the afterlife. Tombs in Egypt were originally simple graves dug into the earth which then developed into the rectangular mastabas, more ornate graves built of mud brick. Mastabas eventually advanced in form to become the structures known as `step pyramids’ and those then became `true pyramids’. These tombs became increasingly important as Egyptian civilization advanced in that they would be the eternal resting place of the Khat and that physical form needed to be protected from grave robbers and the elements. The coffin, or sarcophagus, was also securely constructed for the purposes of both symbolic and practical protection of the corpse. The line of hieroglyphics which run vertically down the back of a sarcophagus represent the backbone of the deceased and was thought to provide strength to the mummy in rising to eat and drink. Provisioning the tomb, of course, relied upon one’s personal wealth and, among the artifacts included were Shabti Dolls. In life, the Egyptians were called upon to donate a certain amount of their time every year to public building projects. If one were ill, or could not afford the time, one could send a replacement worker. One could only do this once in a year or else face punishment for avoidance of civic duty. In death, it was thought, people would still have to perform this same sort of service (as the afterlife was simply a continuation of the earthly one) and so Shabti Dolls were placed in the tomb to serve as one’s replacement worker when called upon by the god Osiris for service. The more Shabti Dolls found in a tomb, the greater the wealth of the one buried there. As on earth, each Shabti could only be used once as a replacement and so more dolls were to be desired than less and this demand created an industry dedicated to their creation. Once the corpse had been mummified and the tomb prepared, the funeral was held in which the life of the deceased was honored and the loss mourned. Even if the deceased had been popular, with no shortage of mourners, the funeral procession and burial was accompanied by Kites of Nephthys (always women) who were paid to lament loudly throughout the proceedings. They sang The Lamentation of Isis and Nephthys, which originated in the myth of the two sisters weeping over the death of Osiris, and were supposed to inspire others at the funeral to a show of emotion. As in other ancient cultures, remembrance of the dead ensured their continued existence in the afterlife and a great showing of grief at a funeral was thought to have echoes in the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Osiris) where the soul of the departed was heading. From the Old Kingdom Period on, the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony was performed either before the funeral procession or just prior to placing the mummy in the tomb. This ceremony again underscores the importance of the physical body in that it was conducted in order to reanimate the corpse for continued use by the soul. A priest would recite spells as he used a ceremonial blade to touch the mouth of the corpse (so it could again breathe, eat, and drink) and the arms and legs so it could move about in the tomb. Once the body was laid to rest and the tomb sealed, other spells and prayers, such as The Litany of Osiris (or, in the case of a pharaoh, the spells known as The Pyramid Texts) were recited and the deceased was then left to begin the journey to the afterlife. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Death in Ancient Egypt. To the ancient Egyptians, death was not the end of life but only a transition to another plane of reality. Once the soul had successfully passed through judgment by the god Osiris, it went on to an eternal paradise, The Field of Reeds, where everything which had been lost at death was returned and one would truly live happily ever after. Even though the Egyptian view of the afterlife was the most comforting of any ancient civilization, people still feared death. Even in the periods of strong central government when the king and the priests held absolute power and their view of the paradise-after-death was widely accepted, people were still afraid to die. The rituals concerning mourning the dead never dramatically changed in all of Egypt's history and are very similar to how people react to death today. One might think that knowing their loved one was on a journey to eternal happiness, or living in paradise, would have made the ancient Egyptians feel more at peace with death, but this is clearly not so. Inscriptions mourning the death of a beloved wife or husband or child - or pet - all express the grief of loss, how they miss the one who has died, how they hope to see them again someday in paradise - but not expressing the wish to die and join them anytime soon. There are texts which express a wish to die, but this is to end the sufferings of one's present life, not to exchange one's mortal existence for the hope of eternal paradise. The prevailing sentiment among the ancient Egyptians, in fact, is perfectly summed up by Hamlet in Shakespeare's famous play: "The undiscovered country, from whose bourn/No traveler returns, puzzles the will/And makes us rather bear those ills we have/Than fly to others that we know not of". The Egyptians loved life, celebrated it throughout the year, and were in no hurry to leave it even for the kind of paradise their religion promised. A famous literary piece on this subject is known as Discourse Between a Man and his Ba (also translated as Discourse Between a Man and His Soul and The Man Who Was Weary of Life). This work, dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 B.C.), is a dialogue between a depressed man who can find no joy in life and his soul which encourages him to try to enjoy himself and take things easier. The man, at a number of points, complains how he should just give up and die - but at no point does he seem to think he will find a better existence on the 'other side' - he simply wants to end the misery he is feeling at the moment. The dialogue is often characterized as the first written work debating the benefits of suicide, but scholar William Kelly Simpson disagrees, writing: "What is presented in this text is not a debate but a psychological picture of a man depressed by the evil of life to the point of feeling unable to arrive at any acceptance of the innate goodness of existence. His inner self is, as it were, unable to be integrated and at peace. His dilemma is presented in what appears to be a dramatic monologue which illustrates his sudden changes of mood, his wavering between hope and despair, and an almost heroic effort to find strength to cope with life. It is not so much life itself which wearies the speaker as it is his own efforts to arrive at a means of coping with life's difficulties." As the speaker struggles to come to some kind of satisfactory conclusion, his soul attempts to guide him in the right direction of giving thanks for his life and embracing the good things the world has to offer. His soul encourages him to express gratitude for the good things he has in this life and to stop thinking about death because no good can come of it. To the ancient Egyptians, ingratitude was the 'gateway sin' which let all other sins into one's life. To the ancient Egyptians, ingratitude was the 'gateway sin' which let all other sins into one's life. If one were grateful, then one appreciated all that one had and gave thanks to the gods; if one allowed one's self to feel ungrateful, then this led one down a spiral into all the other sins of bitterness, depression, selfishness, pride, and negative thought. The message of the soul to the man is similar to that of the speaker in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes when he says, "God is in heaven and thou upon the earth; therefore let thy words be few". The man, after wishing that death would take him, seems to consider the words of the soul seriously. Toward the end of the piece, the man says, "Surely he who is yonder will be a living god/Having purged away the evil which had afflicted him...Surely he who is yonder will be one who knows all things". The soul has the last word in the piece, assuring the man that death will come naturally in time and life should be embraced and loved in the present. Another Middle Kingdom text, The Lay of the Harper, also resonates with the same theme. The Middle Kingdom is the period in Egyptian history when the vision of an eternal paradise after death was most seriously challenged in literary works. Although some have argued that this is due to a lingering cynicism following the chaos and cultural confusion of the First Intermediate Period, this claim is untenable. The First Intermediate Period of Egypt (2181-2040 B.C.) was simply an era lacking a strong central government, but this does not mean the civilization collapsed with the disintegration of the Old Kingdom, simply that the country experienced the natural changes in government and society which are a part of any living civilization. The Lay of the Harper is even more closely comparable to Ecclesiastes in tone and expression as seen clearly in the refrain: "Enjoy pleasant times/And do not weary thereof/Behold, it is not given to any man to take his belongings with him/Behold, there is no one departed who will return again" (Simpson, 333). The claim that one cannot take one's possessions into death is a direct refutation of the tradition of burying the dead with grave goods: all those items one enjoyed and used in life which would be needed in the next world. It is entirely possible, of course, that these views were simply literary devices to make a point that one should make the most of life instead of hoping for some eternal bliss beyond death. Still, the fact that these sentiments only find this kind of expression in the Middle Kingdom suggests a significant shift in cultural focus. The most likely cause of this is a more 'cosmopolitan' upper class during this period, which was made possible precisely by the First Intermediate Period, which 19th- and 20th-century CE scholarship has done so much to vilify. The collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt empowered regional governors and led to greater freedom of expression from different areas of the country instead of conformity to a single vision of the king. The cynicism and world-weary view of religion and the afterlife disappear after this period and New Kingdom (circa 1570-1069 B.C.) literature again focuses on an eternal paradise which waits beyond death. The popularity of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (better known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead) during this period is amongst the best evidence for this belief. The Book of the Dead is an instructional manual for the soul after death, a guide to the afterlife, which a soul would need in order to reach the Field of Reeds. The reputation Ancient Egypt has acquired of being 'death-obsessed' is actually undeserved; the culture was obsessed with living life to its fullest. The mortuary rituals so carefully observed were intended not to glorify death but to celebrate life and ensure it continued. The dead were buried with their possessions in magnificent tombs and with elaborate rituals because the soul would live forever once it has passed through death's doors. While one lived, one was expected to make the most of the time and enjoy one's self as much as one could. A love song from the New Kingdom of Egypt, one of the so-called Songs of the Orchard, expresses the Egyptian view of life perfectly. In the following lines, a sycamore tree in the orchard speaks to one of the young women who planted it when she was a little girl: "Give heed! Have them come bearing their equipment; Bringing every kind of beer, all sorts of bread in abundance; Vegetables, strong drink of yesterday and today; And all kinds of fruit for enjoyment; Come and pass the day in happiness; Tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow; Even for three days, sitting beneath my shade." Although one does find expressions of resentment and unhappiness in life - as in the Discourse Between a Man and his Soul - Egyptians, for the most part, loved life and embraced it fully. They did not look forward to death or dying - even though promised the most ideal afterlife - because they felt they were already living in the most perfect of worlds. An eternal life was only worth imagining because of the joy the people found in their earthly existence. The ancient Egyptians cultivated a civilization which elevated each day to an experience in gratitude and divine transcendence and a life into an eternal journey of which one's time in the body was only a brief interlude. Far from looking forward to or hoping for death, the Egyptians fully embraced the time they knew on earth and mourned the passing of those who were no longer participants in the great festival of life. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Egyptian Afterlife - The Field of Reeds. The ancient Egyptians believed that life on earth was only one part of an eternal journey which ended, not in death, but in everlasting joy. One was born on earth through the benevolence of the gods and the deities known as The Seven Hathors then decreed one's fate after birth; the soul then went on to live as good a life as it could in the body it had been given for a time. When death came, it was only a transition to another realm where, if one were justified by the gods, one would live eternally in a paradise known as The Field of Reeds. The Field of Reeds (sometimes called The Field of Offerings), known to the Egyptians as A'aru, was a mirror image of one's life on earth. The aim of every ancient Egyptian was to make that life worth living eternally and, as far as the records indicate, they did their very best at that. Egypt has been synonymous with tombs and mummies since the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries A.D. when western explorers, archaeologists, entrepreneurs, showmen, and con men began investigating and exploiting the culture. The first film sensationalizing mummies, Cleopatra's Tomb, was produced in 1899 A.D. by George Melies. The film is now lost but, reportedly, told the story of Cleopatra's mummy which was discovered, hacked to pieces, and then revived to wreak havoc on the living. 1911 A.D. saw the release of "The Mummy" by Thanhouser Company in which the mummy of an Egyptian princess is revived through charges of electrical current and, in the end, the scientist who brings her back to life marries her. The 1922 A.D. discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun was world-wide news and the story of The Curse of King Tut which followed after fascinated people as much as the photos of the immense treasure taken from the tomb. Egypt became associated with death in the popular imagination and later films such as The Mummy (1932) capitalized on this interest. In the 1932 film, Boris Karloff plays Imhotep, an ancient priest who was buried alive, as well as the resurrected Imhotep who goes by the name of Ardath Bey. Bey is trying to murder the beautiful Helen Grosvenor (played by Zita Johann) who is the reincarnation of Imhotep's great love, Ankesenamun. In the end, Bey's plans to murder, mummify, and then resurrect Helen as her past-life incarnation of the Egyptian princess are thwarted and Bey is reduced to dust. This film's immense box-office success guaranteed sequels which were produced throughout the 1940's (The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost, and The Mummy's Curse, 1940-1944) spoofed in the 1950's (Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy, 1955), continued in the 1960's (The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb in `64 and The Mummy's Shroud in `67), and on to the 1971 Blood From the Mummy's Tomb. The mummy horror genre was revived with the remake of The Mummy in 1999 which was just as popular as the 1932 film, inspiring the sequel The Mummy Returns in 2001 and the films on the Scorpion King (2002-2012) which were equally well received. The recent release Gods of Egypt (2015) shifts the focus from mummies and kings to Egyptian gods and the afterlife but still promotes the association of Egypt with death and darkness through its excessively violent plot and depiction of the underworld as the abode of demons. Mummies, curses, mystical gods and rites have been a staple of popular depictions of Egyptian culture in books as well as film for almost 200 years now all promoting the seemingly self-evident 'fact' that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. This understanding is fueled by the works of early writers on ancient Egypt who misinterpreted the Egyptian's view of eternal life as obsessing over the end of one's time on earth. Even into the 20th century A.D., when scholars had a better understanding of Egyptian culture, the noted historian Edith Hamilton, generally quite reliable, wrote in 1930 A.D.: "In Egypt the center of interest was in the dead...Countless numbers of human beings for countless numbers of centuries thought of death as that which was nearest and most familiar to them. [The Egyptians were] wretched people, toiling people, [who] do not play. Nothing like the Greek games is conceivable in Egypt. If fun and sport had played any real part in the Egyptian's lives they would be in the archaeological record in some form for us to see. But the Egyptians did not play." In fact, there is ample evidence that the Egyptians played a great deal. Sports which were regularly enjoyed in ancient Egypt include hockey, handball, archery, swimming, tug of war, gymnastics, rowing, and a sport known as "water jousting" which was a sea battle played in small boats on the Nile River in which a 'jouster' tried to knock the other jouster out of his boat while a second team member maneuvered the craft. Children were taught to swim at an early age and swimming was among the most popular sports which gave rise to other water games. The board game of Senet was extremely popular, representing one's journey through life to eternity. Music, dance, and carefully choreographed gymnastics were part of the major festivals and one of the chief concepts valued by the Egyptians was gratitude for the life they had been given and everything in it. The gods were considered one's close friends and benefactors who imbued every day with meaning. Hathor was always close at hand as The Lady of the Sycamore, a tree goddess, who provided shade and comfort but was at the same time presiding over the heavenly Nile River, the Milky Way as a cosmic force and, as Lady of the Necropolis, opened the door for the departed soul to the afterlife. She was also present at every festival, wedding, and funeral as The Lady of Drunkeness who encouraged people to lighten their hearts by drinking beer. The other gods and goddesses of Egypt are also depicted as intimately concerned with the life and welfare of human beings. During one's earthly journey they provided the living with all of their needs and, after death, they appeared to comfort and guide the soul. Goddesses like Selket, Nephthys, and Qebhet guided and protected the newly arrived souls in the afterlife; Qebhet even brought them cool, refreshing water. Anubis, Thoth, and Osiris brought them to judgment and rewarded or punished them. The popular image of the Egyptians as death obsessed could not be more wrong; if anything, the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with life and living it abundantly. The scholar James F. Romano notes: "In surveying the evidence that survives from antiquity, we are left with the overall impression that most Egyptians loved life and were willing to overlook its hardships. Indeed, the perfect afterlife was merely an ideal version of their earthly existence. Only the travails and petty annoyances that bothered them in their lifetimes would be missing in the afterlife; all else, they hoped, would be as it was on earth. The Egyptian afterlife was a mirror-image of life on earth. To the Egyptians, their country was the most blessed and perfect world. In ancient Greek literature one finds the famous stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey depicting great battles in a foreign land and adventures on the return journey; but no such works exist in Egyptian literature because they were not that interested in leaving their homes or their land. The Egyptian work Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor cannot be compared with Homer's works as the characters have nothing in common and the themes are completely different. The sailor had no desire for adventure or glory, he was just going about his master's business and, unlike Odysseus, the sailor is not at all tempted by the magical island with all good things on it because he knows that the only things he wants are back home in Egypt. The Egyptian afterlife was a mirror-image of life on earth. To the Egyptians, their country was the most blessed and perfect world. Egyptian festivals encouraged living life to its fullest and appreciating the moments one had with family and friends. One's home, however modest, was deeply appreciated and so were the members of one's family and larger community. Pets were loved as dearly by the Egyptians as they are in the present day and were preserved in art works, inscriptions, and in writing, often by name. Since life in ancient Egypt was so highly valued it only makes sense that they would have imagined an afterlife which mirrored it closely. Death was only a transition, not a completion, and opened the way to the possibility of eternal happiness. When a person died, the soul was thought to be trapped in the body because it was used to this mortal home. Spells and images painted on tomb walls (known as the Coffin Texts, The Pyramid Texts, and The Egyptian Book of the Dead) and amulets attached to the body, were provided to remind the soul of its continued journey and to calm and direct it to leave the body and proceed on. The soul would make its way toward the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) in the company of Anubis, the guide of the dead, where it would wait in line with others for judgment by Osiris. There are different versions of what would happen next but, in the most popular story, the soul would make the Negative Confessions in front of Osiris, Thoth, Anubis, and the Forty-Two Judges. The Negative Confessions are a list of 42 sins against one's self, others, or the gods which one could honestly say one had never engaged in. Historian Margaret Bunson notes how "the Confessions were to be recited to establish the moral virtue of the deceased and his or her right to eternal bliss" (187). The Confessions would include statements such as: "I have not stolen, I have not stolen the property of a god, I have not said lies, I have not caused anyone to weep, I have not gossiped, I have not made anyone hungry" and many others. It may seem exceptionally harsh to expect a soul to go through life and never "cause anyone to weep" but it is thought that lines like this one or "I have not made anyone angry" are meant to be understood with qualification; as in "I have not caused anyone to weep unjustly" or "I have not made anyone angry without reason". After the Negative Confessions were made, Osiris, Thoth, Anubis, and the Forty-Two Judges would confer. If one's confession was found acceptable then the soul would present its heart to Osiris to be weighed in the golden scales against the white feather of truth. If one's heart was found to be lighter than the feather, one moved on to the next phase but, if the heart was heavier, it was thrown to the floor where it was eaten by Ammut "the female devourer of the dead". This resulted in "the Great Death" which was non-existence. There was no 'hell' in the Egyptian afterlife; non-existence was a far worse fate than any kind eternal damnation. If the soul passed through the Weighing of the Heart it moved on to a path which led to Lily Lake (also known as the Lake of Flowers). There are, again, a number of versions of what could happen on this path where, in some, one finds dangers to be avoided and gods to help and guide while, in others, it is an easy walk down the kind of path one would have known back home. At the shore of Lily Lake the soul would meet the Divine Ferryman, Hraf-hef (He-Who-Looks-Behind-Him) who was perpetually unpleasant. The soul would have to find some way to be courteous to Hraf-hef, no matter what unkind or cruel remarks he made, and show one's self worthy of continuing the journey. If the soul passed through the Weighing of the Heart it moved on to a path which led to Lily Lake. Having passed this test, the soul was brought across the waters to the Field of Reeds. Here one would find those loved ones who had passed on before, one's favorite dogs or cats, gazelles or monkeys, or whatever cherished pet one had lost. One's home would be there, right down to the lawn the way it had been left, one's favorite tree, even the stream that ran behind the house. Here one could enjoy an eternity of the life one had left behind on earth in the presence of one's favorite people, animals, and most loved possessions; and all of this in the immediate presence of the gods. Spell 110 of The Egyptian Book of the Dead is to be spoken by the deceased to claim the right to enter this paradise. The 'Lady of the Air' referenced is most likely Ma'at but could be Hathor: "I acquire this field of yours which you love, O Lady of the Air. I eat and carouse in it, I drink and plough in it, I reap in it, I copulate in it, I make love in it, I do not perish in it, for my magic is powerful in it." Versions of this view changed over time with some details added and others omitted but the near-constant vision was of an afterlife that directly reflected the life one had known on earth. Bunson explains: "Eternity itself was not some vague concept. The Egyptians, pragmatic and determined to have all things explained in concrete terms, believed that they would dwell in paradise in areas graced by lakes and gardens. There they would eat the "cakes of Osiris" and float on the Lake of Flowers. The eternal kingdoms varied according to era and cultic belief, but all were located beside flowing water and blessed with breezes, an attribute deemed necessary for comfort. The Garden of A'aru was one such oasis of eternal bliss. Another was Ma'ati, an eternal land where the deceased buried a flame of fire and a scepter of crystal - rituals whose meanings are lost. The goddess Ma'at, the personification of cosmic order, justice, goodness, and faith was the protector of the deceased in this enchanted realm, called Hehtt in some eras. Only the pure of heart, the uabt, could see Ma'at. Bunson's note on how the view of the afterlife changed according to time and belief is reflected in some visions of the afterlife which deny its permanence and beauty. These interpretations do not belong to any one particular period but seem to crop up periodically throughout Egypt's later history. They are particularly prominent, however, in the period of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 B.C.) expressed in texts known as The Lay of the Harper (or Songs of the Harper) and Dispute Between a Man and His Ba (soul). The Lay of the Harper is so called because the inscriptions always include an image of a harpist. They are a collection of songs which reflect on death and the meaning of life. Dispute Between a Man and his Ba comes from the collection of texts known as Wisdom Literature which are often skeptical of the afterlife. Some of the texts which comprise The Lay of the Harper affirm life after death clearly while others question it and some deny it completely. One example from circa 2000 B.C. from the stele of Intef reads, in part, "hearts at rest/Hear not the cry of mourners at the tomb/Which have no meaning to the silent dead." In Dispute Between a Man and His Ba, the man complains to his soul that life is misery but he fears death and what awaits him on the other side. In these versions, the afterlife is presented as either a myth people cling to or just as uncertain and tenuous as one's life. Scholar Geraldine Pinch comments: "the soul might experience life in the Field of Reeds, a paradise similar to Egypt, but this was not a permanent state. When the night sun passed on, darkness and death returned. The star-spirits were destroyed at dawn and reborn each night. Even the evil dead, the Enemies of Ra, continuously came back to life like Apophis so that they could be tortured and killed again. In still another version, the justified dead served Ra as the crew of his solar barge as it crossed the night sky and helped defend the sun god from the serpent Apophis. In this version, the just souls are co-workers with the gods in the afterlife who help make the sun rise again for those still on earth. Their friends and relatives who were still living would greet the sunrise with gratitude for their efforts and would think of them every morning. As in all ancient cultures, remembrance of the dead was an important cultural value of the Egyptians and this version of the afterlife reflects that. Even in versions where the soul arrives in paradise it could still be called upon to man The Boat of Millions, the sun barge, to help the gods protect the light from the forces of darkness. For the greater part of Egypt's history, however, some version of the paradise of the Field of Reeds, reached after a judgment by a powerful god, prevailed. A wall painting from the tomb of the craftsman Sennedjem from the 19th Dynasty (1292-1186 B.C.) depicts the soul's journey from earthly life to eternal bliss. Sennedjem is seen meeting the gods who grant him leave to pass on to paradise and is then depicted with his wife, Iyneferti, enjoying their time together in the Field of Reeds where they harvest wheat, go to work, plow their field, and harvest fruit from their trees just as they used to do on the earthly plane. Scholar Clare Gibson writes: "tHe Field of Reeds was an almost unimaginably ideal version of Egypt where cultivated crops grew to extraordinary heights, trees bore succulent fruit, and where transfigured souls (who all appeared physically perfect and in the prime of life) wanted for nothing in the way of sustenance, luxuries, and even love". If a soul was not interested in plowing fields or harvesting grains in the afterlife, it could call on a shabti doll to do the work instead. Shabti dolls were funerary figures made of wood, stone, or faience which were placed in the tombs or graves with the dead. In the afterlife it was thought one could call on these shabtis to do one's work while one relaxed and enjoyed one's self. Spell 472 of the Coffin Texts and Spell Six of The Egyptian Book of the Dead both are instructions for the soul to call the shabti to life in the Field of Reeds. Once the shabti went off to work, the soul could then go back to relaxing beneath a favorite tree with a good book or walk by a pleasant stream with one's dog. The Egyptian afterlife was perfect because the soul was given back everything which had been lost. One's best friend, husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, cherished cat or most dearly loved dog were there upon one's arrival or, at least, would be eventually; and there the souls of the dead would live forever in paradise and never have to part again. In all of the ancient world there was never a more comforting afterlife imagined by any other culture. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Egyptian Afterlife and The Feather of Truth. Is it possible to have a heart that is lighter than a feather? To the ancient Egyptians it was not only possible but highly desirable. The after-life of the ancient Egyptians was known as the Field of Reeds and was a land very much like one's life on earth save that there was no sickness, no disappointment and, of course, no death. One lived eternally by the streams and beneath the trees which one had loved so well in one's life on earth. An Egyptian tomb inscription from 1400 B.C., regarding one's afterlife, reads, "May I walk every day unceasing on the banks of my water, may my soul rest on the branches of the trees which I have planted, may I refresh myself in the shadow of my sycamore." To reach the eternal paradise of the Field of Reeds, however, one had to pass through the trial by Osiris, the judge of the dead, in the hall of truth. In The Egyptian Book of the Dead it is recorded that the soul would be lead before the god Osiris and recite the 42 negative confessions beginning with the prayer, "I have not learnt the things which are not" meaning that the soul strove in life to devote itself to matters of lasting importance rather than the trivial matters of everyday life. The 42 negative declarations which followed the opening prayer went to assure Osiris of the soul's purity and ended, in fact, with the statement, "I am pure" repeated a number of times. It was not the soul's claim to purity which would win over Osiris, however, but, instead, the weight of the soul's heart. The `heart' of the soul was handed over to Osiris who placed it on a great golden scale balanced against the white feather of Ma'at, the feather of truth, of harmony, on the other side. If the soul's heart was lighter than the feather then the soul was freely admitted into the bliss of the Field of Reeds. Should the heart prove heavier, however, it was thrown to the floor of the Hall of Truth where it was devoured by Amenti (a god with the face of a crocodile, front of a leopard and the back of a rhinoceros) and the individual soul then ceased to exist. There was no `hell' for the ancient Egyptians; their `fate worse than death' was non-existence. It is a popular misconception that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death when, in reality, they were in love with life and so, naturally, wished it to continue on after bodily death. The Egyptians enjoyed singing, dancing, boating, hunting, fishing and family gatherings just as people enjoy them today. The elaborate funerary rites, mummification, the placement of Shabti dolls (dolls made of clay or wood which would do one's work for one in the afterlife) were not meant as tributes to the finality of life but to its continuance and the hope that the soul would win admittance to the Field of Reeds when the time came to stand before the scales of Osiris. Even so, not all the prayers nor all the hopes nor the most elaborate rites could help that soul whose heart was heavier than the white feather of Truth. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Soul in Ancient Egypt. At the beginning of time, the god Atum stood on the primordial mound in the midst of the waters of chaos and created the world. The power which enabled this act was heka (magic) personified in the god Heka, the invisible force behind the gods. The earth and everything in it was therefore imbued with magic, and this naturally included human beings. Humanity had been created by the gods, and one lived and moved owing to the magical force which animated them: the soul. An individual's life on earth was considered only one part of an eternal journey. The personality was created at the moment of one's birth, but the soul was an immortal entity inhabiting a mortal vessel. When that vessel failed and the person's body died, the soul went on to another plane of existence where, if it was justified by the gods, it would live forever in a paradise which was a mirror image of one's earthly existence. This soul was not only one's character, however, but a composite being of different entities, each of which had its own role to play in the journey of life and afterlife. The mortuary rituals which were such an important aspect of Egyptian culture were so carefully observed because each aspect of the soul had to be addressed in order for the person to continue on their way to eternity. The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts which were integrated into a whole individual but had very distinct aspects. Egyptologist Rosalie David explains: "The Egyptians believed that the human personality had many facets - a concept that was probably developed early in the Old Kingdom. In life, the preson was a complete entity, but if he had led a virtuous life, he could also have access to a multiplicity of forms that could be used in the next world. In some instances, these forms could be employed to help those whom the deceased wished to support or, alternately, to take revenge on his enemies. In order for these aspects of the soul to function, the body had to remain intact, and this is why mummification became so integral a part of the mortuary rituals and the culture. In some eras, the soul was thought to be comprised of five parts and in others seven, but, generally, it was nine: "the soul was not only one's character but a composite being of different entities, each of which had its own role to play in the journey of life and afterlife." The Khat was the physical body which, when it became a corpse, provided the link between one's soul and one's earthly life. The soul would need to be nourished after death just as it had to be while on earth, and so food and drink offerings were brought to the tomb and laid on an offerings table. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick observes that "one of the most common subjects for tomb paintings and carvings was the deceased seated at an offerings table laden with food". The dead body was not thought to actually eat this food but to absorb its nutrients supernaturally. Paintings and statues of the dead person were also placed in the tomb so that, if something should happen to damage the body, the statue or painting would assume its role. The Ka was one’s double-form or astral self and corresponds to what most people in the present day consider a 'soul.' This was "the vital source that enabled a person to continue to receive offerings in the next world". The ka was created at the moment of one's birth for the individual and so reflected one's personality, but the essence had always existed and was "passed across the successive generations, carrying the spiritual force of the first creation". The ka was not only one's personality but also a guide and protector, imbued with the spark of the divine. It was the ka which would absorb the power from the food offerings left in the tomb, and these would sustain it in the afterlife. All living things had a ka - from plants to animals and on up to the gods - which was evident in that they were, simply, alive. The Ba is most often translated as 'soul' and was a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens and, specifically, between the afterlife and one's corpse. Each ba was linked to a particular body, and the ba would hover over the corpse after death but could also travel to the afterlife, visit with the gods, or return to earth to those places the person had loved in life. The corpse had to reunite with the ka each night in order for the ka to receive sustenance, and it was the job of the ba to accomplish this. The gods had a ba as well as a ka. Examples of this are the Apis bull which was the ba of Osiris and the Phoenix, the ba of Ra. The Shuyet was the shadow self which means it was essentially the shadow of the soul. The shadow in Egypt represented comfort and protection, and the sacred sites at Amarna were known as Shadow of Ra for this reason. Exactly how the shuyet functioned is not clear, but it was considered extremely important and operated as a protective and guiding entity for the soul in the afterlife. The Egyptian Book of the Dead includes a spell where the soul claims, "My shadow will not be defeated" in stating its ability to traverse the afterlife toward paradise. The Akh was the immortal, transformed, self which was a magical union of the ba and ka. Strudwick writes, "once the akh had been created by this union, it survived as an 'enlightened spirit,' enduring and unchanged for eternity" (178). Akh is usually translated as 'spirit' and was the higher form of the soul. Spell 474 of the Pyramid Texts states, "the akh belongs to heaven, the corpse to earth," and it was the akh which would enjoy eternity among the stars with the gods. The akh could return to earth, however, and it was an aspect of the akh which would come back as a ghost to haunt the living if some wrong had been done or would return in dreams to help someone they cared for. The Sahu was the aspect of the Akh which would appear as a ghost or in dreams. It separated from the other aspects of the soul once the individual was justified by Osiris and judged worthy of eternal existence. The Sechem was another aspect of the Akh which allowed it mastery of circumstances. It was the vital life energy of the individual which manifested itself as the power to control one's surroundings and outcomes. The Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil, which defined a person's character. This was the spiritual heart which rose from the physical heart (hat) which was left in the mummified body of the deceased for this reason: it was the seat of the person's individuality and the record of their thoughts and deeds during their time on earth. It was the ab which was weighed in the balances against the white feather of truth by Osiris and, if found heavier than the feather, it was dropped to the floor where it was devoured by the monster Amut. Once the heart was eaten, the soul ceased to exist. If the heart was found lighter than the feather, the soul was justified and could proceed on toward paradise. A special amulet was included in the mummification of the corpse and placed over the heart as a protective charm to prevent the heart from bearing witness against the soul and possibly condemning it falsely. The Ren was one’s secret name. This was given to one at birth by the gods, and only the gods knew it. Scholar Nicholaus B. Pumphrey writes, "the only way that the fate or destiny can change is if a creature of higher power changes the name. As long as the name of the being exists, the being will exist throughout eternity as part of the fabric of the divine order" (6-7). The ren was the name by which the gods knew the individual soul and how one would be called in the afterlife. The mortuary rituals were observed to address each aspect of the soul and assure the living that the deceased would live on after death. Mummification was practiced to preserve the body, amulets and magical texts were included to address the other spiritual facets which made up an individual. The dead were not forgotten once they were placed in their tomb. Rituals were then observed daily in their honor and for their continued existence. Rosalie David writes: "In order to ensure that the link was maintained between the living and the dead, so that the person's immortality was assured, all material needs had to be provided for the deceased, and the correct funerary rituals had to be performed. It was expected that a person's heir would bring the daily offerings to the tomb to sustain the owner's ka." If the family was unable to perform this duty, they could hire a 'Ka-servant' who was a priest specially trained in the rituals. A tomb could not be neglected or else the person's spirit would suffer in the afterlife and could then return to seek revenge. This, in fact, is the plot of one of the best known Egyptian ghost stories, Khonsemhab and the Ghost, in which the spirit of Nebusemekh returns to ask help of Khonesmhab, the High Priest of Amun. Nebusemekh's tomb has been neglected to the point where no one even remembers where it is and no one comes to visit or bring the necessary offerings. Khonsemhab sends his servants to locate, repair, and refurbish the tomb and then promises to provide daily offerings to Nebusemekh's ka. These offerings would be left on an altar table in the offering chapel of those tombs elaborate enough to have one or on the offerings table in the tomb. The ka of the deceased would enter the tomb through the false door provided and inhabit the body or a statue and draw nourishment from the offerings provided. In case there was a delay for whatever reason, a significant quantity of food and drink was buried with those who could afford it. Strudwick notes how "the immediate needs of the deceased were met by inhuming a veritable feast - meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, and jugs of wine, water, and beer - with the mummy" (186). This would ensure that the departed was provided for but did not negate the obligation on the part of the living to remember and care for the dead. Offerings Lists, which stipulated what kinds of food were to be brought and in what quantity, were inscribed on tombs so that the Ka-servant or some other priest in the future could continue provisions, even long after the family was dead. Autobiographies accompanied the Offerings Lists to celebrate the person's life and provide a means of lasting remembrance. For the most part, people took the upkeep of their family's graves and the offerings seriously in honor of the departed and knowing that, someday, they would require the same kind of attention for the sustenance of their own souls. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a collection of spells which enable the soul of the deceased to navigate the afterlife. The famous title was given the work by western scholars; the actual title would translate as The Book of Coming Forth by Day or Spells for Going Forth by Day and a more apt translation to English would be The Egyptian Book of Life. Although the work is often referred to as "the Ancient Egyptian Bible" it is no such thing although the two works share the similarity of being ancient compilations of texts written at different times eventually gathered together in book form. The Book of the Dead was never codified and no two copies of the work are exactly the same. They were created specifically for each individual who could afford to purchase one as a kind of manual to help them after death. Egyptologist Geralidine Pinch explains: "The Egyptian Book of the Dead is a term coined in the nineteenth century A.D. for a body of texts known to the Ancient Egyptians as the Spells for Going Forth by Day. After the Book of the Dead was first translated by Egyptologists, it gained a place in the popular imagination as the Bible of the Ancient Egyptians. The comparison is very inappropriate. The Book of the Dead was not the central holy book of Egyptian religion. It was just one of a series of manuals composed to assist the spirits of the elite dead to achieve and maintain a full afterlife. The afterlife was considered to be a continuation of life on earth and, after one had passed through various difficulties and judgment in the Hall of Truth, a paradise which was a perfect reflection of one's life on earth. After the soul had been justified in the Hall of Truth it passed on to cross over Lily Lake to rest in the Field of Reeds where one would find all that one had lost in life and could enjoy it eternally. In order to reach that paradise, however, one needed to know where to go, how to address certain gods, what to say at certain times, and how to comport one's self in the land of the dead; which is why one would find an afterlife manual extremely useful. Having a Book of the Dead in one's tomb would be the equivalent of a student in the modern day getting their hands on all the test answers they would ever need. The Book of the Dead originated from concepts depicted in tomb paintings and inscriptions from as early as the Third Dynasty of Egypt (circa 2670 - 2613 B.C.). By the 12th Dynasty (1991 - 1802 B.C.) these spells, with accompanying illustrations, were written on papyrus and placed in tombs and graves with the dead. Their purpose, as historian Margaret Bunson explains, "was to instruct the deceased on how to overcome the dangers of the afterlife by enabling them to assume the form of serveral mythical creatures and to give them the passwords necessary for admittance to certain stages of the underworld" (47). They also served, however, to provide the soul with fore-knowledge of what would be expected at every stage. Having a Book of the Dead in one's tomb would be the equivalent of a student in the modern day getting their hands on all the test answers they would ever need in every grade of school. At some point prior to 1600 B.C. the different spells had been divided in chapters and, by the time of the New Kingdom (1570 - 1069 B.C.), the book was extremely popular. Scribes who were experts in spells would be consulted to fashion custom-made books for an individual or a family. Bunson notes, "These spells and passwords were not part of a ritual but were fashioned for the deceased, to be recited in the afterlife" (47). If someone were sick, and feared they might die, they would go to a scribe and have them write up a book of spells for the afterlife. The scribe would need to know what kind of life the person had lived in order to surmise the type of journey they could expect after death; then the appropriate spells would be written specifically for that individual. Prior to the New Kingdom, The Book of the Dead was only available to the royalty and the elite. The popularity of the Osiris Myth in the period of the New Kingdom made people believe the spells were indispensible because Osiris featured so prominently in the soul's judgment in the afterlife. As more and more people desired their own Book of the Dead, scribes obliged them and the book became just another commodity produced for sale. In the same way that publishers in the present day offer Print on Demand books or self-published works, the scribes offered different "packages" to clients to choose from. They could have as few or as many spells in their books as they could afford. Bunson writes, "The individual could decide the number of chapters to be included, the types of illustrations, and the quality of the papyrus used. The individual was limited only by his or her financial resources"). From the New Kingdom through the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323 - 30 B.C.) The Book of the Dead was produced this way. It continued to vary in form and size until circa 650 B.C. when it was fixed at 190 uniform spells but, still, people could add or subtract what they wanted to from the text. A Book of the Dead from the Ptolemaic Dynasty which belonged to a woman named Tentruty had the text of The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys attached to it which was never included as part of the Book of the Dead. Other copies of the book continued to be produced with more or less spells depending on what the buyer could afford. The one spell which every copy seems to have had, however, was Spell 125. Spell 125 is the best known of all the texts of the Book of the Dead. People who are unacquainted with the book, but who have even the slightest acquaintance with Egyptian mythology, know the spell without even realizing it. Spell 125 describes the judging of the heart of the deceased by the god Osiris in the Hall of Truth, one of the best known images from ancient Egypt, even though the god with his scales is never actually described in the text. As it was vital that the soul pass the test of the weighing of the heart in order to gain paradise, knowing what to say and how to act before Osiris, Thoth, Anubis, and the Forty-Two Judges was considered the most important information the deceased could arrive with. When a person died, they were guided by Anubis to the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where they would make the Negative Confession (also known as The Declaration of Innocence). This was a list of 42 sins the person could honestly say they had never indulged in. Once the Negative Confession was made, Osiris, Thoth, Anubis, and the Forty-Two Judges would confer and, if the confession was accepted, the heart of the deceased was then weighed in the balance against the white feather of Ma'at, the feather of truth. If the heart was found to be lighter than the feather, the soul passed on toward paradise; if the heart was heavier, it was thrown onto the floor where it was devoured by the monster goddess Ammut and the soul would cease to exist. Spell 125 begins with an introduction to the reader (the soul): "What should be said when arriving at this Hall of Justice, purging _____[person's name] of all the evil which he has done and beholding the faces of the gods." The spell then begins very clearly telling the soul exactly what to say when meeting Osiris: "Hail to you, great god, Lord of Justice! I have come to you, my lord, that you may bring me so that I may see your beauty for I know you and I know your name and I know the names of the forty-two gods of those who are with you in this Hall of Justice, who live on those who cherish evil and who gulp down their blood on that day of the reckoning of characters in the presence of Wennefer [another name for Osiris]. Behold the double son of the Songstresses; Lord of Truth is your name. Behold, I have come to you, I have brought you truth, I have repelled falsehood for you. I have not done falsehood against men, I have not impoverished my associates, I have done no wrong in the Place of Truth, I have not learnt that which is not..." After this prologue the soul then speaks the Negative Confession and is questioned by the gods and the Forty-Two Judges. At this point certain very specific information was required in order to be justified by the gods. One needed to know the different gods' names and what they were responsible for but one also needed to know such details as the names of the doors in the room and the floor one needed to walk across; one even needed to know the names of one's own feet. As the soul answered each deity and object with the correct response, they would hear the reply, "You know us; pass by us" and could continue. At one point, the soul must answer the floor about the soul's feet: "I will not let you tread on me," says the floor of this Hall of Justice. "Why not? I am pure." "Because I do not know the names of your feet with which you would tread on me. Tell them to me." "'Secret image of Ha' is the name of my right foot; `Flower of Hathor' is the name of my left foot." "You know us; enter by us." The spell concludes with what the soul should be wearing when it meets judgment and how one should recite the spell: "The correct procedure in this Hall of Justice: One shall utter this spell pure and clean and clad in white garments and sandals, painted with black eye-paint and annointed with myrrh. There shall be offered to him meat and poultry, incense, bread, beer, and herbs when you have put this written procedure on a clean floor of ochre overlaid with earth upon which no swine or small cattle have trodden." Following this, the scribe who wrote the spell congratulates himself on a job well done and assures the reader that he, the scribe, will flourish as will his children for his part in providing the spell. He will do well, he says, when he himself comes to judgment and will "be ushered in with the kings of Upper Egypt and the kings of Lower Egypt and he shall be in the suite of Osiris. A matter a million times true." For providing the spell, the scribe was considered part of the inner-workings of the afterlife and so was assured of a favorable welcome in the underworld and passage on to paradise. For the average person, even the king, the whole experience was much less certain. If one answered all of these questions correctly, and had a heart lighter than the feather of truth, and if one managed to be kind to the surly Divine Ferryman who would row the souls across Lily Lake, one would find one's self in paradise. The Egyptian Field of Reeds (sometimes called the Field of Offerings) was exactly what one had left behind in life. Once there, the soul was reunited with lost loved ones and even beloved pets. The soul would live in an image of the home they had always known with the exact same yard, same trees, same birds singing at evening or morning, and this would be enjoyed for eternity in the presence of the gods. There were quite a number of slips the soul might make, however, between arrival at the Hall of Truth and the boat ride to paradise. The Book of the Dead includes spells for any kind of circumstance but it does not seem one was guaranteed to survive these twists and turns. Egypt has a long history and, as with any culture, beliefs changed in time, changed back, and changed again. Not every detail described above was included in the vision of every era of Egyptian history. In some periods the modifications are minor while, in others, the afterlife is seen as a perilous journey toward a paradise that is only temporary. At some points in the culture the way to paradise was very straightforward after the soul was justified by Osiris while, in others, crocodiles might thwart the soul or bends in the road prove dangerous or demons appear to trick or even attack. In these cases, the soul needed spells to survive and reach paradise. Spells included in the book include titles such as "For Repelling A Crocodile Which Comes To Take Away", "For Driving Off A Snake", "For Not Being Eaten By A Snake In The Realm Of The Dead", "For Not Dying Again In The Realm Of The Dead", "For Being Transformed Into A Divine Falcon", "For Being Transformed Into A Lotus""For Being Transformed Into A Phoenix" and so on. The spells of transformation have become known through popular allusions to the book in television and film productions which has resulted in the misguided understanding that The Book of the Dead is some kind of magical Harry Potter type of work which ancient Egyptians once used for mystical rites. The Book of the Dead, as noted, was never used for magical transformations on earth; the spells only worked in the afterlife. The claim that The Book of the Dead was some kind of sorceror's text is as wrong and unfounded as the comparison with the Bible. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is also nothing like The Tibetan Book of the Dead, although these two works are often equated as well. The Tibetan Book of the Dead (actual name, Bardo Thodol, "Great Liberation Through Hearing") is a collection of texts to be read to a person who is dying or has recently died and lets the soul know what is happening step-by-step. The similarity it shares with the Egyptian work is that it is intended to comfort the soul and lead it out of the body and on to the afterlife. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, of course, deals with an entirely different cosmology and belief system but the most significant difference is that it is designed to be read by the living to the dead; it is not a manual for the dead to recite themselves. Both works have suffered from the labels "Book of the Dead" which either attracts the attention of those who believe them to be keys to enlightened knowledge or works of the devil to be avoided; they are actually neither. Both books are cultural constructs designed to make death a more manageable experience. The spells throughout the Book of the Dead, no matter what era the texts were written or collected in, promised a continuation of one's existence after death. Just as in life, there were trials and there were unexpected turns in the path, areas and experiences to be avoided, friends and allies to cultivate, but eventually the soul could expect to be rewarded for living a good and virtuous life. For those left behind in life, the spells would have been interpreted the way people in the present day read horoscopes. Horoscopes are not written to emphasize a person's bad points nor are they read to feel badly about one's self; in the same way, the spells were constructed so that someone still living could read them, think of their loved one in the afterlife, and feel assured that they had made their way safely through to the Field of Reeds. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Forty-Two Judges were the divine beings of the Egyptian after-life who presided over the Hall of Truth where the great god Osiris judged the dead. The soul of the deceased was called upon to render up confession of deeds done while in life and to have the heart weighed in the balance of the scales of justice against the white feather of Ma’at, of truth and harmonious balance. If the deceased person’s heart were lighter than the feather, they were admitted to eternal life in the Field of Reeds; if the heart were found heavier than the feather it was thrown to the floor where it was eaten by the monster Amemait (also known as Ammut, `the gobbler', part lion, part hippopotamus and part crocodile) and the soul of the person would then cease to exist. Non-existence, rather than an after-world of torment, was the greatest fear of the ancient Egyptian. Although Osiris was the principal judge of the dead, the Forty-Two Judges sat in council with him to determine the worthiness of the soul to enjoy continued existence. They represented the forty-two provinces of Upper and Lower Egypt, and each judge was responsible for considering a particular aspect of the deceased’s conscience. Of these, there were nine great judges, Ra (in his other form of Atum) Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Isis, Nephthys, Horus, and Hathor. Of the other judges, they were depicted as awe-inspiring and terrible beings bearing names such as Crusher of Bones, Eater of Entrails, Double Lion, Stinking Face and Eater of Shades, among others (Bunson). The Forty-Two Judges were not all horrifying and terrible of aspect, however, but would appear to be so to that soul who faced condemnation rather than reward for a life well-lived. The soul was expected to be able to recite the Negative Confession (also known as the Declaration of Innocence) in defense of one's life in order to be considered worthy to pass on to The Field of Reeds. The Negative Confession included statements such as: "I have not stolen. I have not slain people. I have not stolen the property of a god. I have not said lies. I have not led anyone astray. I have not caused terror. I have not made anyone hungry." The Egyptian Book of the Dead (the most famous funerary text of ancient Egypt, composed circa 1550 B.C.) provides the most comprehensive picture of the Forty-Two Judges as well as spells and the incantation of the Negative Confession. According to the scholar Ikram, "As with the earlier funerary texts, the Book of the Dead served to provision, protect and guide the deceased to the Afterworld, which was largely located in the Field of Reeds, an idealized Egypt. Chapter 125 was an innovation, and perhaps one of the most important spells to be added as it seems to reflect a change in morality. This chapter, accompanied by a vignette, shows the deceased before Osiris and forty-two judges, each representing a different aspect of ma'at. A part of the ritual was to name each judge correctly and give a negative confession." Once the Negative Confession had been made by the soul of the deceased (aided by the spells in the Book of the Dead) and the heart had been weighed in the balance, the Forty-Two Judges met in conference with Osiris, presided over by the god of wisdom, Thoth, to render final judgement. If the soul were considered worthy then, by some accounts, it was directed out of the hall to the creature known as Hraf-haf (meaning He-Who-Looks-Behind-Him) who was an ill-tempered and insulting ferryman whom the deceased had to find some way to be kind and cordial to in order to be rowed to the shores of the Field of Reeds and eternal life. Having passed through the Hall of Truth and, finally, proven themselves worthy through kindness to the un-kind Hraf-Haf, souls would, at last, find peace and enjoy an eternity in bliss. The Field of Reeds perfectly reflected the world one had enjoyed in one's earthly existence, right down to the trees and flowers one had planted, one's home and loved ones. All an ancient Egyptian needed to do to attain this eternal happiness was to have lived a life worthy of approval by Osiris and the Forty-Two Judges. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Pyramid Texts: Guide to the Afterlife. The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious writings in the world and make up the principal funerary literature of ancient Egypt. They comprise the texts which were inscribed on the sarcophogi and walls of the pyramids at Saqqara in the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (2613-2181 B.C.). The texts were reserved for the soul of the deceased pharaoh by his scribes and priests and were a series of spells and incantations designed to free the soul of the pharaoh from the body and help it ascend toward the heavens. These texts are considered primary sources on the lives of the pharaohs they were written for and have provided Egyptologists with information on the role the pharaoh played in the life of Egyptian civilization, specific accomplishments of a ruler, and even details on the individual's personality. The inscriptions also relate mythical allusions, the names of the gods, and instructions for the deceased regarding the after-life and the journey of the ka (the soul) from the body to eternal life among "the imperishable stars" where he would live with the gods. Over two hundred gods and goddesses are mentioned in the Pyramid Texts from the most famous (such as Osiris and Isis) to lesser known deities. These allusions, as with all of the inscriptions, were intended to help the soul of the pharaoh in his transition from earthly life to the afterlife (known as the Field of Reeds) where he would live eternally. The Field of Reeds was a mirror image of one's life on earth but without sickness, disappointment, or - of course - death. One would live eternally the life one enjoyed on earth but, first, one had to elude dark spirits which could lead one astray and pass through the judgment of Osiris and the Forty-Two Judges in the Hall of Truth. The gods were clearly on the side of the king in his struggle to free himself from the former home of his body and find his way to eternal joy. They are invoked as his allies against the forces of darkness and chaos (evil spirits or demons) and as guides in the unfamiliar realm which followed life on earth. These inscriptions do not relate the myths of Egypt in full but only allude to events in the mythology or iconic moments which would symbolize concepts such as harmony, restoration, stability, and order. Potent gods such as Thoth (god of wisdom and writing) or Horus (restorer of order) are invoked to help the king and the allusions to the myths (such as The Contentions Between Horus and Set in which order overcomes chaos) would remind the king of the presence of the gods and their good will. The pyramid texts provide the first written reference to the great god Osiris, king of the dead, and the concept of the judgement of the soul in the Hall of Truth and, in doing so, try to assure the king that he will pass through this judgment safely. The pyramid texts provide the first written reference to the great god Osiris, king of the dead. The so-called "utterances" are inscriptions meant to be spoken out loud (hence their designation) and, by the way in which they are written, most likely chanted. According to the scholar Geraldine Pinch, "Many were composed in the first person and would have been highly drmatic when spoken or chanted aloud". In the utterance which details the deceased pharaoh's journey into the sky, for example, verbs like "flieth", "rusheth", "kissed" and "leapt" are written to be emphasized: "He that flieth, flieth! He flieth away from you, ye men. He is no longer in the earth. He is in the sky. He rusheth at the sky as a heron. He hath kissed the sky as a hawk. He hath leapt skyward as a grasshopper". Each utterance corresponds to a chapter in a book; a book to be read aloud to the soul of the deceased. This `book', however, was no doubt originally an oral tradition which in time came to be written on the walls of tombs. The priests of the Old Kingdom are credited with the creation of these works and inter-textual evidence strongly suggests that they did so in order to provide the pharaoh's soul with detailed knowledge of the after-life and how to arrive there safely. Some utterances, which call upon the gods to help and guide, also comfort the soul and assure it that this passage from the body is natural and not to be feared. Other utterances seem to assure those living (and chanting the words) that the soul has arrived safely: "He hath gone up into the sky and hath found Ra, who standeth up when he draweth nigh unto him. He sitteth down beside him, for Ra suffereth him not to seat himself on the ground, knowing that he is greater than Ra. He hath taken his stand with Ra". Geraldine Pinch notes: "The main purpose of assembling these texts and inscribing them inside pyramids was to help the body of the deceased king to escape the horror of putrefaction and his spirit to ascend to the celestial realm where he would take his place among the gods. Some of the texts were probably recited during the king's funeral or as part of the mortuary cult that continued after his death. Others may have been intended to be spoken by the deceased king as he entered the afterlife". The soul of the deceased could fly or run or walk or even row to the Field of Reeds in a ship as this passage indicates: "A ramp to the sky is built for him that he may go up to the sky thereon. He goeth up upon the smoke of the great exhalation. He flieth as a bird and he settleth as a beetle on an empty seat on the ship of Ra… He roweth in the sky in thy ship, O Ra! And he cometh to the land in thy ship, O Ra!" The soul's flight, of course, could only take place after the deceased had passed through the judgement of Osiris in the Hall of Truth and had the heart weighed in the golden balances against the white feather of Truth (the feather of Ma'at, goddess of harmony and balance). While the Pyramid Texts are the first to mention the Judgement of Osiris, the concept would be fully developed in writing later in the Book of Coming Forth By Day, better known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead which drew on the Pyramid Texts. The ship of Ra was closely associated with the sun and the texts indicate that the soul, having passed through the judgement, would travel with the ship of Ra through the dark underworld but, always, would rise toward the zenith of heaven with the morning and proceed on to the Field of Reeds where one would enjoy eternal life in a land very like that which the spirit knew on earth, ever in the benevolent presence of the great gods and goddesses like Osiris, Ra, Isis, and Ma'at. This boat, known as the Ship of a Million Souls, was the sun barge which the justified dead would help Ra to defend from the serpent Apep (also known as Apophis) who tried to destroy it each night. This is only one version of the vision of the afterlife the texts present with another being the better known judgment in the Hall of Truth followed by a journey across the water rowed by the boatman Hraf-haf ("He Who Looks Behind Him") who brought the justified souls to the Field of Reeds. The Egyptians believed that their earthly journey was only a part of an eternal life lived in the presence of the gods. The gods imbued their daily lives with meaning and the promise that death was not the end. All of Egypt was alive with the presence of these gods and the people held the land so dearly that they feared shunned extensive travel or military campaigns which would take them beyond its borders because of their belief that, should they die outside Egypt, they would have a harder time reaching the Field of Reeds - or may never reach it at all. Even for those who died within the country's borders, however, it was recognized that the transition to the afterlife would be a frightening change from what one was used to. The Pyramid Texts served as assurances that, in the end, all would be well because the gods were there in death as they had been in life, and would guide the soul safely to its eternal home. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Coffin Texts (circa 2134-2040 B.C.) are 1,185 spells, incantations, and other forms of religious writing inscribed on coffins to help the deceased navigate the afterlife. They include the text known as the Book of Two Ways which is the first example of cosmography in ancient Egypt, providing maps of the afterlife and the best way to avoid dangers on one's way to paradise. Egyptologist Geraldine Pinch notes how "these maps, which were usually painted on the floor of the coffins, are the earliest known maps from any culture" and that the Book of Two Ways "was nothing less than an illustrated guidebook to the afterlife" (15). The Book of Two Ways was not a separate work, nor even a book, but detailed maps which corresponded to the rest of the text painted inside the coffin. The texts were derived, in part, from the earlier Pyramid Texts (circa 2400-2300 B.C.) and inspired the later work known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead (circa 1550-1070 B.C.). They were written primarily during the First Intermediate Period of Egypt (2181-2040 B.C.) although there is evidence they began to be composed toward the end of the Old Kingdom (circa 2613-2181 B.C.) and would continue through the early Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 B.C.). In the time of the New Kingdom (circa 1570-1069 B.C.), they would be replaced by the Book of the Dead which would sometimes be included among one's grave goods. The Coffin Texts are significant on a number of levels but, primarily, because they illustrate the cultural and religious shift between the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period of Egypt and clarify the development of the religious beliefs of the people. The Old Kingdom of Egypt is well known as the 'Age of the Pyramid Builders.' King Sneferu (circa 2613-2589 B.C.) perfected the art of pyramid building and his son, Khufu (2589-2566 B.C.), created the grandest of these with his Great Pyramid at Giza. Khufu was followed by Khafre (2558-2532 B.C.) and then Menkaure (2532-2503 B.C.), both of whom also erected pyramids at the site. All three of these monuments were surrounded by complexes which included temples staffed by clergy and, additionally, there was housing for the state workers who labored at the site. Although the pyramids are universally admired in the present day, few are aware of the enormous cost of these monuments. Throughout the period of the Old Kingdom, the rulers not only needed to build their own grand tombs but also maintain those of their predecessors. Giza was the royal necropolis of the Old Kingdom monarchs but there was also the pyramid complex at Saqqara, another at Abusir, and others in between. All of these had to be staffed by priests who performed the rituals to honor the dead kings and aid them in their journey in the afterlife. The priests were given endowments by the king to recite the spells and perform the rituals but, further, were exempt from paying taxes. As the priests owned a great amount of land, this was a significant loss in revenue to the king. During the 5th Dynasty, the king Djedkare Isesi (2414-2375 B.C.) decentralized the government and gave more power to the regional governors (nomarchs), who were now able to enrich themselves at the central government's expense. These factors contributed to the collapse of the Old Kingdom toward the end of the 6th Dynasty and initiated the First Intermediate Period. The Coffin Texts were developed to meet the need of a new understanding of the afterlife and the common people's place in it. During this era, the old paradigm of a strong king heading a stable central government was replaced by individual nomarchs ruling over their separate provinces. The king still was respected and taxes sent to the capital at Memphis, but there was greater autonomy for the nomarchs, and the people generally, than before. This change in the model of government allowed for more freedom of expression in art, architecture, and crafts because there was no longer a state-mandated ideal of how the gods or kings or animals should be represented; each region was free to create any kind of art they pleased. The change also resulted in a democratization of goods and services. Whereas before only the king could afford certain luxuries, now they were available to lesser nobility, court officials, bureaucrats, and ordinary people. Mass production of goods such as statuary and ceramics began and those who could not have afforded the luxury of a fine tomb with inscriptions during the Old Kingdom now found they could. Just as the king once had his tomb adorned with the Pyramid Texts, now anyone could have the same through the Coffin Texts. The Coffin Texts were developed to meet the need of a new understanding of the afterlife and the common people's place in it. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick explains their purpose: "The texts, a collection of ritual texts, hymns, prayers, and magic spells, which were meant to help the deceased in his journey to the afterlife, originated from the Pyramid Texts, a sequence of mainly obscure spells carved on the internal walls of the pyramids of the Old Kingdom. The Pyramid Texts were exclusively for the king and his family, but the Coffin Texts were used mainly by the nobility and high-ranking officials, and by ordinary people who could afford to have them copied. The Coffin Texts meant that anyone, regardless of rank and with the help of various spells, could now have access to the afterlife. During the Old Kingdom, only the king was guaranteed continued existence in the next world. Beginning in the First Intermediate Period, however, ordinary individuals were now thought just as worthy of eternal life as royalty. This era has consistently been misrepresented as a time of chaos and strife, but actually, it was a period of enormous cultural and artistic growth. Scholars who claim it was a 'dark age' following a monumental collapse of the government often cite the lack of impressive building projects and the poorer quality of the arts and crafts as proof. Actually, there were no great pyramids and temples raised simply because there was no money to build them and no strong central government to commission and organize them, and the difference in the quality of crafts is due to the practice of mass production of goods. There is ample evidence during this time of elaborate tombs and beautiful works of art which show how those who were once thought 'common people' now could afford the luxuries of royalty and could also journey on to paradise just as the king was able to. The democratization of the afterlife was due largely to the popularity of the myth of Osiris. Osiris was the first-born of the gods after the act of creation, and with his sister-wife Isis he was the first king of Egypt until his murder by his jealous brother Set. Isis was able to bring Osiris back to life, but he was incomplete and so descended to rule in the underworld as Lord and Judge of the Dead. The cult of Osiris became increasingly popular during the First Intermediate Period as he was seen as the 'First of the Westerners,' the foremost among the dead, who promised eternal life to those who believed in him. When Isis brought him back from the dead, she enlisted the help of her sister, Nephthys, to chant the magical incantations, and this part of the myth was re-enacted during the festivals of Osiris (and also at funerals) through The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys, a call-and-response performance of two women playing the parts of the deities to call Osiris to the event. The festival was a ritual re-enactment of the resurrection and anyone attending would spiritually be taking part in this rebirth. The Coffin Text spells and incantations reference many gods (most notably Amun-Ra, Shu, Tefnut, and Thoth) but draw on the Osiris Myth consistently. Spell 74 (A Spell for the Revival of Osiris) re-creates the part of the story in which Isis and Nephthys bring Osiris back to life: "Ah Helpless One! Ah Helpless One Asleep! Ah Helpless One in this place which you know not; yet I know it! Behold, I have found you lying on your side the great Listless One. 'Ah, Sister!' says Isis to Nephthys, 'This is our brother, Come, let us lift up his head, Come, let us rejoin his bones, Come, let us reassemble his limbs, Come, let us put an end to all his woe, that, as far as we can help, he will weary no more." Although the words are spoken to Osiris, they were now thought to equally apply to the soul of the deceased. Just as Osiris returned to life through the incantations of the sisters, so would the soul awake after death and continue on to, hopefully, be justified and allowed entrance to paradise. The soul of the dead participated in Osiris' resurrection because Osiris had been a part of the soul's journey on earth, infused the soul with life, and was also part of the ground, the crops, the river, the home which the person knew in life. Spell 330 states, "Whether I live or die I am Osiris. I enter in and reappear through you. I decay in you. I grow in you...I cover the earth...I am not destroyed". Empowered by Osiris, the soul could begin its journey through the afterlife. As on any trip to a land one has never visited, however, a map and directions were considered helpful. The Book of Two Ways (so called because it gave two routes, by land and water, to the afterlife) showed maps, rivers, canals, and the best ways to take to avoid the Lake of Fire and other pitfalls in the journey. The path through the underworld was perilous and it would be difficult for a soul, newly arrived, to recognize where to go. The Coffin Texts assured the soul that it could reach its destination safely. Strudwick writes, "Knowledge of the spells and possession of the map meant that the deceased, like the pharaohs in times past, could negotiate the dangers of the underworld and achieve eternal life". The soul was expected to have lived a life worthy of continuance, without sin, and to be justified by Osiris. Directions throughout the text assume that the soul will be judged worthy and that it will recognize friends as well as threats. Spell 404 reads: "He (the soul) will arrive at another doorway. He will find the sisterly companions standing there and they will say to him, "Come, we wish to kiss you." And they will cut off the nose and lips of whoever does not know their names." If the soul failed to recognize Isis and Nephthys, then it clearly had not been justified and so would meet one of a number of possible punishments. Spell 404 references the soul arriving at a doorway and there would be many of these along one's path as well as various deities one would want to avoid or appease. Just as the texts themselves represent the democratization of the afterlife, so do the canvases they were painted on. The large sarcophagi of the Old Kingdom were generally replaced by simpler coffins during the First Intermediate Period. These would be more or less elaborate depending on the wealth and status of the deceased. Egyptologist Rosalie David notes: "The earliest body coffins were made of cartonnage (a kind of papier-mache made from papyrus and gum) or wood but, by the Middle Kingdom, wooden coffins became increasingly commonplace. Later, some body coffins were made of stone or pottery and even (usually for royalty) of gold or silver." Scribes would carefully paint these coffins with the text, including illustrations of the person's life on earth. One of the primary functions of the Pyramid Texts was to remind the king of who he had been while alive and what he had achieved. When his soul woke in the tomb, he would see these images and the accompanying text and be able to recognize himself; this same paradigm was adhered to in the Coffin Texts. Every available space of the coffin was used for the texts but what was written differed from person to person. There were usually, but not always, the illustrations depicting one's life, horizontal friezes of various offerings, vertical text describing the objects needed in the afterlife, and the instructions on how the soul should travel. The texts were written in black ink, but red was used for emphasis or in describing demonic and dangerous forces. Geraldine Pinch describes a part of this journey: "The deceased had to pass through the mysterious region of Rosetau where the body of Osiris lay surrounded by walls of flame. If the deceased man or woman proved worthy, he or she might be granted a new life in paradise." In later eras, this new life would be granted if one were justified in the Hall of Truth, but when the Coffin Texts were written, it seems one passed through a redeeming fire around Osiris' body. The cult of Osiris became the cult of Isis by the time of the New Kingdom of Egypt and her role as the power behind his resurrection was emphasized. The Egyptian Book of the Dead then replaced the Coffin Texts as the guide to the afterlife. Although tombs and coffins were still inscribed with spells, The Egyptian Book of the Dead would serve to direct the soul to paradise for the rest of Egypt's history. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: The Negative Confession (also known as The Declaration of Innocence) is a list of 42 sins which the soul of the deceased can honestly say it has never committed when it stands in judgment in the afterlife. The most famous list comes from The Papyrus of Ani, a text of The Egyptian Book of the Dead, prepared for the priest Ani of Thebes (circa 1250 B.C.) and included among the grave goods of his tomb. It includes a number of chapters from the Book of the Dead but not all of them. These omissions are not a mistake, nor have sections of the manuscript been lost, but are the result of a common practice of creating a funerary text specifically for a certain person's use in the afterlife. The Negative Confession included in this text follows this same paradigm as it would have been written for Ani, not for anyone else. Although The Egyptian Book of the Dead is often described as 'the ancient Egyptian Bible' or a scary 'book of the occult,' it is actually neither; it is a funerary text providing instruction to the soul in the afterlife. The actual translation of the work's title is The Book of Coming Forth by Day. Since the ancient Egyptians believed that the soul was eternal and one's life on earth was only a brief aspect of an eternal journey, it was considered vital that the soul have some kind of guidebook to navigate the next phase of existence. On earth, it was understood, if one did not know where one was going, one could not arrive at the desired destination. The Egyptians, being eminently practical, believed one would need a guide in the afterlife just as one did on earth. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is such a guide and was provided for anyone who could afford to have one made. The poor had to make do without a text or a rudimentary work but anyone who could afford it would pay for a scribe to create a personalized guidebook. The Confession is significant for modern-day Egyptologists in understanding ancient Egyptian cultural values in the New Kingdom. The Negative Confession appears in Spell 125 which is easily the most famous as it includes the accompanying vignette of the weighing of the heart on the scale against the white feather of ma'at. Although the spell does not describe the judgment in the Hall of Two Truths, the illustration is meant to show what the soul could expect once it arrived there and the text provided that soul with what to say and how to behave. The Confession is significant for modern-day Egyptologists in understanding ancient Egyptian cultural values in the New Kingdom (circa 1570-1069 B.C.), but at the time it was written, it would have been considered necessary in order for one to pass through judgment before Osiris and the divine tribunal. The Confession is thought to have developed from an initiation ritual for the priesthood. The priests, it is claimed, would need to recite some kind of formulaic list in order to prove themselves ritually pure and worthy of their vocation. Although some evidence exists to support this claim, the Negative Confession as it stands seems to have developed in the New Kingdom of Egypt, when the cult of Osiris was fully integrated into Egyptian culture, as the way for the deceased to justify themselves as worthy of paradise in the afterlife. Funerary texts had been written in Egypt since the time of the Old Kingdom (circa 2613-2181 B.C.) when the Pyramid Texts were inscribed on tomb walls. The Coffin Texts followed later in the First Intermediate Period (2181-2040 B.C.) and these were developed for The Egyptian Book of the Dead in the New Kingdom. The purpose of these texts was to orient and reassure the soul of the deceased once it awoke in its tomb following the funeral. The soul would be unused to the world outside of the body and would need to be reminded of who it had been, what it had done, and what it should do next. In most depictions, the soul would be led from the tomb by Anubis to stand in judgment before Osiris, Thoth, and the 42 Judges. Depictions of this process show the souls of the dead standing in a line, administered to by various deities such as Qebhet, Nephthys, Isis, and Serket, while they wait their turn to come before Osiris and his golden scales. When one's turn came, one would stand before the gods and recite the Negative Confession - each one addressed to a specific judge - and then hand over one's heart to be weighed in the balances. The physical heart was always left in the body of the corpse during the embalming and mummification process for this very reason. It was thought that the heart contained one's character, one's personality, and intellect, and would need to be surrendered to the gods in the afterlife for judgment. The heart was placed on the scale in balance against the white feather of truth and, if it was found to be lighter, one went on toward paradise; if it was heavier it was dropped onto the floor where it was eaten by the monster Amut and the soul then ceased to exist. Prior to this final judgment and one's reward or punishment, Osiris, Thoth, and Anubis would confer with the 42 Judges. This would be the point at which allowances might be made. The 42 Judges represented the spiritual aspects of the 42 nomes (districts) of ancient Egypt and it is thought that each of the confessions addressed a certain kind of sin which would have been particularly offensive in a specific nome. If the judges felt that one had been more virtuous than not, it was recommended that the soul be justified and allowed to pass on. The details of what happened next vary from era to era. In some periods, the soul would have to navigate certain dangers and traps to reach paradise while, in others, one simply walked on to Lily Lake after judgment and, after a final test, was taken across to paradise. Once there, the soul would enjoy an eternity in a world which perfectly reflected one's life on earth. Everything one thought had been lost would be returned, and souls would live in peace with each other and the gods, enjoying all of the best aspects of life for eternity. Before one could reach this paradise, however, the Negative Confession had to be accepted by the gods and this meant one had to be able to sincerely mean what was said. There is no standard Negative Confession. The confession from The Papyrus of Ani is the best known only because that text is so famous and so often reproduced. As noted, scribes would tailor a text to the individual, and so while there was a standard number of 42 confessions, the sins which are listed varied from text to text. For example, in The Papyrus of Ani confession number 15 is "I am not a man of deceit," while elsewhere it is "I have not commanded to kill," and in another, "I have not been contentious in affairs." An officer in the military would not be able to honestly claim "I have not commanded to kill" nor would a judge or a king, and so that 'sin' would be left off their confession. The soul was provided with a list it could speak truthfully in front of the gods instead of a standard inventory of sins everyone would have to recite. This was not weighing the confession in the deceased's favor so much as ensuring one did not condemn one's self by speaking falsely. The heart would still be weighed in the balances, after all, and any deceit would be known. The soul was therefore provided with a list it could speak truthfully in front of the gods instead of a standard inventory of sins everyone would have to recite. Still, there are standard sins in every list such as "I have not stolen," "I have not slandered," "I have not caused pain," and other similar claims. It is also thought that these statements carried unspoken stipulations in many cases. Confession 10 in some texts reads "I have not caused anyone to weep," but this is a very difficult claim to make since one often has no idea how one's actions have affected others. It is therefore thought that the intent of the claim is "I have not intentionally caused anyone to weep." The same could be said for a claim such as "I have not made suffering for anyone" and for the same reason. The point of the confession was to be able to honestly claim innocence of actions which were contrary to the principle of ma'at, and so, no matter what specific sins were included, one needed to be able to say one was innocent of willfully challenging the governing principle of harmony and balance in life. Ma'at was the central cultural value of ancient Egypt which allowed the universe to function as it did. In making the confession, the soul was stating that it had adhered to this principle and that any failings were unintentional. In the following confession, Ani addresses himself to each of the 42 Judges in the hope that they will recognize his intentions in life, even if he may not always have chosen the right action at the right moment. One was not supposed to consider 'sins of omission' but only 'sins of commission' which were pursued intentionally. The following translation is by E. A. Wallis Budge from his original work on The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Each confession is preceded by a salutation to a specific judge and the region they come from. Some of these regions, however, are not on earth but in the afterlife. Hraf-Haf, for example, who is hailed in number 12, is the divine ferryman in the afterlife. In Ani's case, then, the 42 nomes are not fully represented (some, in fact, are mentioned twice) but the standard number of 42 is still adhered to. Prior to beginning the Confession, the soul would greet Osiris, make an assertion that it knew the names of the 42 Judges, and proclaim its innocence of wrong-doing, ending with the statement "I have not learnt that which is not." This means the person never lost faith or entertained a belief contrary to the truth of ma'at and the will of the gods. 1. Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comest forth from Anu, I have not committed sin. 2. Hail, Hept-khet, who comest forth from Kher-aha, I have not committed robbery with violence. 3. Hail, Fenti, who comest forth from Khemenu, I have not stolen. 4. Hail, Am-khaibit, who comest forth from Qernet, I have not slain men and women. 5. Hail, Neha-her, who comest forth from Rasta, I have not stolen grain. 6. Hail, Ruruti, who comest forth from Heaven, I have not purloined offerings. 7. Hail, Arfi-em-khet, who comest forth from Suat, I have not stolen the property of God. 8. Hail, Neba, who comest and goest, I have not uttered lies. 9. Hail, Set-qesu, who comest forth from Hensu, I have not carried away food. 10. Hail, Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses. 11. Hail, Qerrti, who comest forth from Amentet, I have not committed adultery. 12. Hail, Hraf-haf, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep. 13. Hail, Basti, who comest forth from Bast, I have not eaten the heart. 14. Hail, Ta-retiu, who comest forth from the night, I have not attacked any man. 15. Hail, Unem-snef, who comest forth from the execution chamber, I am not a man of deceit. 16. Hail, Unem-besek, who comest forth from Mabit, I have not stolen cultivated land. 17. Hail, Neb-Maat, who comest forth from Maati, I have not been an eavesdropper. 18. Hail, Tenemiu, who comest forth from Bast, I have not slandered anyone. 19. Hail, Sertiu, who comest forth from Anu, I have not been angry without just cause. 20. Hail, Tutu, who comest forth from Ati, I have not debauched the wife of any man. 21. Hail, Uamenti, who comest forth from the Khebt chamber, I have not debauched the wives of other men. 22. Hail, Maa-antuf, who comest forth from Per-Menu, I have not polluted myself. 23. Hail, Her-uru, who comest forth from Nehatu, I have terrorized none. 24. Hail, Khemiu, who comest forth from Kaui, I have not transgressed the law. 25. Hail, Shet-kheru, who comest forth from Urit, I have not been angry. 26. Hail, Nekhenu, who comest forth from Heqat, I have not shut my ears to the words of truth. 27. Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed. 28. Hail, An-hetep-f, who comest forth from Sau, I am not a man of violence. 29. Hail, Sera-kheru, who comest forth from Unaset, I have not been a stirrer up of strife. 30. Hail, Neb-heru, who comest forth from Netchfet, I have not acted with undue haste. 31. Hail, Sekhriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have not pried into other's matters. 32. Hail, Neb-abui, who comest forth from Sauti, I have not multiplied my words in speaking. 33. Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have wronged none, I have done no evil. 34. Hail, Tem-Sepu, who comest forth from Tetu, I have not worked witchcraft against the king. 35. Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comest forth from Tebu, I have never stopped the flow of water of a neighbor. 36. Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice. 37. Hail, Uatch-rekhit, who comest forth from Sau, I have not cursed God. 38. Hail, Neheb-ka, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not acted with arrogance. 39. Hail, Neheb-nefert, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not stolen the bread of the gods. 40. Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comest forth from the shrine, I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead. 41. Hail, An-af, who comest forth from Maati, I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city. 42. Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comest forth from Ta-she, I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god. As noted, many of these would carry the stipulation of intention - such as "I have never raised my voice" - in that one may have actually raised one's voice but not in unjustified anger. This same could be said for "I have not multiplied my words in speaking" which does not refer to verbosity necessarily but duplicity. Ani is saying he has not tried to obscure his meaning through wordplay. This same consideration should be used with claims like number 14 - "I have not attacked any man" - in that self-defense was justified. Claims such as 13 and 22 ("I have not eaten the heart" and "I have not polluted myself") refer to ritual purity in that one has not participated in any activity proscribed by the gods. Number 13 could also be intended, however, as claiming one has not hidden one's feelings or pretended to be something one was not. Number 22 is sometimes translated as "I have not polluted myself, I have not lain with a man" just as number 11, dealing with adultery, sometimes adds the same line. These lines have been cited as a condemnation of homosexuality in ancient Egypt, but such claims ignore the central focus of the Negative Confession on the individual. It might be wrong for Ani to have sexual relations with a man but not for someone else to do the same. Drunkenness was approved of in ancient Egypt, as was premarital sex, but only under certain conditions: one could get as drunk as one wished at a festival or party but not at work, and one could have as much premarital sex as one wanted but not with a person who was already married. This same may have held true for homosexual relationships. Nowhere in Egyptian literature or religious texts is homosexuality condemned. The Egyptians valued individuality. Their mortuary rituals and vision of the afterlife were predicated on this very concept. Tomb inscriptions, monuments, autobiographies, the Great Pyramid itself, were all expressions of an individual's life and accomplishments. The Negative Confession followed this same model as it was shaped to each person's character, lifestyle, and vocation. It was hoped that everyone who was deserving would be justified in the afterlife and that it would be recognized, whatever their personal failings, that they should be allowed to continue their journey to paradise. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Shabti Dolls (Ushabti): The Workforce in the Afterlife. The Egyptians believed the afterlife was a mirror-image of life on earth. When a person died their individual journey did not end but was merely translated from the earthly plane to the eternal. The soul stood in judgement in the Hall of Truth before the great god Osiris and the Forty-Two Judges and, in the weighing of the heart, if one's life on earth was found worthy, that soul passed on to the paradise of the Field of Reeds. The soul was rowed with others who had also been justified across Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) to a land where one regained all which had been thought lost. There one would find one's home, just as one had left it, and any loved ones who had passed on earlier. Every detail one enjoyed during one's earthly travel, right down to one's favorite tree or most loved pet, would greet the soul upon arrival. There was food and beer, gatherings with friends and family, and one could pursue whatever hobbies one had enjoyed in life. In keeping with this concept of the mirror-image, there was also work in the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians were very industrious and one's work was highly valued by the community. People, naturally, held jobs to support themselves and their family but also worked for the community. Community service was compulsory in `giving back' to the society which provided one with everything. The religious and cultural value of ma'at (harmony) dictated that one should think of others as highly as one's self and everyone should contribute to the benefit of the whole. The great building projects of the kings, such as the pyramids, were constructed by skilled craftsmen, not slaves, who were either paid for their skills or volunteered their time for the greater good. If, whether from sickness, personal obligation or simply lack of desire to comply, one could not fulfill this obligation, one could send someone else to work in one’s place - but could only do so once. On earth, one's place was filled by a friend, relative, or a person one paid to take one's place; in the afterlife, however, one's place was taken by a shabti doll. Shabti dolls (also known as shawbti and ushabti) were funerary figures in ancient Egypt who accompanied the deceased to the after-life. Their name is derived from the Egyptian swb for stick but also corresponds to the word for `answer’ (wsb) and so the shabtis were known as `The Answerers’. The figures, shaped as adult male or female mummies, appear in tombs where they represented the deceased and were made of stone, wood or faience. The figures, shaped as adult male or female mummies, appear in tombs early on (when they represented the deceased) and, by the time of the New Kingdom (1570-1069 B.C.) were made of stone or wood (in the Late Period they were composed of faience) and represented an anonymous `worker’. Each doll was inscribed with a `spell’ (known as the shabti formula) which specified the function of that particular figure. The most famous of these spells is Spell 472 from the Coffin Texts which date from circa 2143-2040 B.C. Citizens were obligated to devote part of their time each year to labor for the state on the many public works projects the pharaoh had decreed according to their particular skill and a shabti would reflect that skill or, if it was a general `worker doll', a skill considered important. As the Egyptians considered the after-life a continuation of one’s earthly existence (only better in that it included neither sickness nor, of course, death) it was thought that the god of the dead, Osiris, would have his own public works projects underway and the purpose of the shabti, then, was to `answer’ for the deceased when called upon for work. Their function is made clear in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (also known as The Book of Coming Forth By Day) which is a kind of manual (dated to circa 1550-1070 B.C.) for the deceased providing guidance in the unfamiliar realm of the afterlife. The Book of the Dead contains spells which are to be spoken by the soul at different times and for different purposes in the afterlife. There are spells to invoke protection, to move from one area to another, to justify one's actions in life, and even a spell "for removing foolish speech from the mouth" (Spell 90). Among these verses is Spell Six which is known as "Spell for causing a shabti to do work for a man in the realm of the dead". This spell is a re-worded version of Spell 472 from the Coffin Texts. When the soul was called upon in the afterlife to labor for Osiris, it would recite this spell and the shabti would come to life and perform one's duty as a replacement. The spell reads: "O shabti, alloted to me, if I be summoned of if I be detailed to do any work which has to be done in the realm of the dead; if indeed obstacles are implnated for you therewith as a man at his duties, you shall detail yourself for me on every occasion of making arable the fields, of flooding the banks or of conveying sand from east to west; `Here am I', you shall say." The shabti would then be imbued with life and take one's place at the task. Just as on earth, this would enable the soul to go on about its business. If one were out walking one's dog by the river or enjoying one's time under a favorite tree with a good book and some fine bread and beer, one could continue to do so; the shabti would take care of the duties Osiris called on to be performed. Each of these shabtis was created according to a formula so, for example, when the spell above references "making arable the fields" the shabti responsible would be fashioned with a farming implement. Every shabti doll was hand-carved to express the task the shabti formula described and so there were dolls with baskets in their hands or hoes or mattocks, chisels, depending on what job was to be done. The dolls were purchased from temple workshops and the more shabti dolls one could afford corresponded to one’s personal wealth. In modern times, therefore, the number of dolls found in excavated tombs has helped archaeologists determine the status of the tomb’s owner. The poorest of tombs contain no shabtis but even those of modest size contain one or two and there have been tombs containing a shabti for every day of the year. In the Third Intermediate Period (circa1069-747 B.C.) there appeared a special shabti with one hand at the side and the other holding a whip; this was the overseer doll. During this period the shabti seem to have been regarded less as replacement workers or servants for the deceased and more as slaves. The overseer was in charge of keeping ten shabtis at work and, in the most elaborate tombs, there were thirty-six overseer figures for the 365 worker dolls. In the Late Period (circa 737-332 B.C.) the shabtis continued to be placed in tombs but the overseer figure no longer appeared. It is not known exactly what shift took place to render the overseer figure obsolete but, whatever it was, shabti dolls regained their former status as workers and continued to be placed in tombs to carry out their owner’s duties in the after-life. These shabtis were fashioned as the earlier ones with specific tools in their hands or at their sides for whatever task they were called upon to perform. Shabti dolls are the most numerous type of artifact to survive from ancient Egypt (besides scarabs). As noted, they were found in the tombs of people from all classes of society, poorest to most wealthy and commoner to king. The shabti dolls from Tutankamun's tomb were intricately carved and wonderfully ornate while a shabti from the grave of a poor farmer was much simpler. It did not matter whether one had ruled over all of Egypt or tilled a small plot of land, however, as everyone was equal in death; or, almost so. The king and the farmer were both equally answerable to Osiris but the amount of time and effort they were responsible for was dictated by how many shabtis they had been able to afford before their death. In the same way that the people had served the ruler of Egypt in their lives, the souls were expected to serve Osiris, Lord of the Dead, in the afterlife. This would not necessarily mean that a king would do the work of a mason but royalty was expected to serve in their best capacity just as they had been on earth. The more shabti dolls one had at one's disposal, however, the more leisure time one could expect to enjoy in the Field of Reeds. This meant that, if one had been wealthy enough on earth to afford a small army of shabti dolls, one could look forward to quite a comfortable afterlife; and so one's earthly status was reflected in the eternal order in keeping with the Egyptian concept of the afterlife as a direct reflection of one's time on earth. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Grave Goods in Ancient Egypt. The concept of the afterlife changed in different eras of Egypt's very long history, but for the most part, it was imagined as a paradise where one lived eternally. To the Egyptians, their country was the most perfect place which had been created by the gods for human happiness. The afterlife, therefore, was a mirror image of the life one had lived on earth - down to the last detail - with the only difference being an absence of all those aspects of existence one found unpleasant or sorrowful. One inscription about the afterlife talks about the soul being able to eternally walk beside its favorite stream and sit under its favorite sycamore tree, others show husbands and wives meeting again in paradise and doing all the things they did on earth such as plowing the fields, harvesting the grain, eating and drinking. In order to enjoy this paradise, however, one would need the same items one had during one's life. Tombs and even simple graves included personal belongings as well as food and drink for the soul in the afterlife. These items are known as 'grave goods' and have become an important resource for modern-day archaeologists in identifying the owners of tombs, dating them, and understanding Egyptian history. Although some people object to this practice as 'grave robbing,' the archaeologists who professionally excavate tombs are assuring the deceased of their primary objective: to live forever and have their name remembered eternally. According to the ancient Egyptians' own beliefs, the grave goods placed in the tomb would have performed their function many centuries ago. Grave goods, in greater or lesser number and varying worth, have been found in almost every Egyptian grave or tomb which was not looted in antiquity. The articles one would find in a wealthy person's tomb would be similar to those considered valuable today: ornately crafted objects of gold and silver, board games of fine wood and precious stone, carefully wrought beds, chests, chairs, statuary, and clothing. The finest example of a pharaoh's tomb, of course, is King Tutankhamun's from the 14th century B.C. discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 A.D., but there have been many tombs excavated throughout ancient Egypt which make clear the social status of the individual buried there. Even those of modest means included some grave goods with the deceased. The primary purpose of grave goods was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife. The primary purpose of grave goods, though, was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife. A wealthy person's tomb, therefore, would have more grave goods - of whatever that person favored in life - than a poorer person. Favorite foods were left in the tomb such as bread and cake, but food and drink offerings were expected to be made by one's survivors daily. In the tombs of the upper-class nobles and royalty an offerings chapel was included which featured the offerings table. One's family would bring food and drink to the chapel and leave it on the table. The soul of the deceased would supernaturally absorb the nutrients from the offerings and then return to the afterlife. This ensured one's continual remembrance by the living and so one's immortality in the next life. If a family was too busy to tend to the daily offerings and could afford it, a priest (known as the ka-priest or water-pourer) would be hired to perform the rituals. However the offerings were made, though, they had to be taken care of on a daily basis. The famous story of Khonsemhab and the Ghost (dated to the New Kingdom of Egypt circa 1570-1069 B.C.) deals with this precise situation. In the story, the ghost of Nebusemekh returns to complain to Khonsemhab, high priest of Amun, that his tomb has fallen into disrepair and he has been forgotten so that offerings are no longer brought. Khonsemhab finds and repairs the tomb and also promises that he will make sure offerings are provided from then on. The end of the manuscript is lost, but it is presumed the story ends happily for the ghost of Nebusemekh. If a family should forget their duties to the soul of the deceased, then they, like Khonsemhab, could expect to be haunted until this wrong was righted and regular food and drink offerings reinstated. Beer was the drink commonly provided with grave goods. In Egypt, beer was the most popular beverage - considered the drink of the gods and one of their greatest gifts - and was a staple of the Egyptian diet. A wealthy person (such as Tutankhamun) was buried with jugs of freshly brewed beer whereas a poorer person would not be able to afford that kind of luxury. People were often paid in beer so to bury a jug of it with a loved one would be comparable to someone today burying their paycheck. Beer was sometimes brewed specifically for a funeral, since it would be ready, from inception to finish, by the time the corpse had gone through the mummification process. After the funeral, once the tomb had been closed, the mourners would have a banquet in honor of the dead person's passing from time to eternity, and the same brew which had been made for the deceased would be enjoyed by the guests; thus providing communion between the living and the dead. Among the most important grave goods was the shabti doll. Shabti were made of wood, stone, or faience and often were sculpted in the likeness of the deceased. In life, people were often called upon to perform tasks for the king, such as supervising or laboring on great monuments, and could only avoid this duty if they found someone willing to take their place. Even so, one could not expect to shirk one's duties year after year, and so a person would need a good excuse as well as a replacement worker. Since the afterlife was simply a continuation of the present one, people expected to be called on to do work for Osiris in the afterlife just as they had labored for the king. The shabti doll could be animated, once one had passed into the Field of Reeds, to assume one's responsibilities. The soul of the deceased could continue to enjoy a good book or go fishing while the shabti took care of whatever work needed to be done. Just as one could not avoid one's obligations on earth, though, the shabti could not be used perpetually. A shabti doll was good for only one use per year. People would commission as many shabti as they could afford in order to provide them with more leisure in the afterlife. Shabti dolls are included in graves throughout the length of Egypt's history. In the First Intermediate Period (2181-2040 B.C.) they were mass-produced, as many items were, and more are included in tombs and graves of every social class from then on. The poorest people, of course, could not even afford a generic shabti doll, but anyone who could, would pay to have as many as possible. A collection of shabtis, one for each day of the year, would be placed in the tomb in a special shabti box which was usually painted and sometimes ornamented. Instructions on how one would animate a shabti in the next life, as well as how to navigate the realm which waited after death, was provided through the texts inscribed on tomb walls and, later, written on papyrus scrolls. These are the works known today as the Pyramid Texts (circa 2400-2300 B.C.), the Coffin Texts (circa 2134-2040 B.C.), and The Egyptian Book of the Dead (circa 1550-1070 B.C.). The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious texts and were written on the walls of the tomb to provide the deceased with assurance and direction. When a person's body finally failed them, the soul would at first feel trapped and confused. The rituals involved in mummification prepared the soul for the transition from life to death, but the soul could not depart until a proper funeral ceremony was observed. When the soul woke in the tomb and rose from its body, it would have no idea where it was or what had happened. In order to reassure and guide the deceased, the Pyramid Texts and, later, Coffin Texts were inscribed and painted on the inside of tombs so that when the soul awoke in the dead body it would know where it was and where it now had to go. These texts eventually turned into The Egyptian Book of the Dead (whose actual title is The Book of Coming Forth by Day), which is a series of spells the dead person would need in order to navigate through the afterlife. Spell 6 from the Book of the Dead is a rewording of Spell 472 of the Coffin Texts, instructing the soul in how to animate the shabti. Once the person died and then the soul awoke in the tomb, that soul was led - usually by the god Anubis but sometimes by others - to the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where it was judged by the great god Osiris. The soul would then speak the Negative Confession (a list of 'sins' they could honestly say they had not committed such as 'I have not lied, I have not stolen, I have not purposefully made another cry'), and then the heart of the soul would be weighed on a scale against the white feather of ma'at, the principle of harmony and balance. If the heart was found to be lighter than the feather, then the soul was considered justified; if the heart was heavier than the feather, it was dropped onto the floor where it was eaten up by the monster Amut, and the soul would then cease to exist. There was no 'hell' for eternal punishment of the soul in ancient Egypt; their greatest fear was non-existence, and that was the fate of someone who had done evil or had purposefully failed to do good. If the soul was justified by Osiris then it went on its way. In some eras of Egypt, it was believed the soul then encountered various traps and difficulties which they would need the spells from The Book of the Dead to get through. In most eras, though, the soul left the Hall of Truth and traveled to the shores of Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) where they would encounter the perpetually unpleasant ferryman known as Hraf-hef ("He Who Looks Behind Himself") who would row the soul across the lake to the paradise of the Field of Reeds. Hraf-hef was the 'final test' because the soul had to find some way to be polite, forgiving, and pleasant to this very unpleasant person in order to cross. Once across the lake, the soul would find itself in a paradise which was the mirror image of life on earth, except lacking any disappointment, sickness, loss, or - of course - death. In The Field of Reeds the soul would find the spirits of those they had loved and had died before them, their favorite pet, their favorite house, tree, stream they used to walk beside - everything one thought one had lost was returned, and, further, one lived on eternally in the direct presence of the gods. Reuniting with loved ones and living eternally with the gods was the hope of the afterlife but equally so was being met by one's favorite pets in paradise. Pets were sometimes buried in their own tombs but, usually, with their master or mistress. If one had enough money, one could have one's pet cat, dog, gazelle, bird, fish, or baboon mummified and buried alongside one's corpse. The two best examples of this are High Priestess Maatkare Mutemhat (circa 1077-943 B.C.) who was buried with her mummified pet monkey and the Queen Isiemkheb (circa 1069-943 B.C.) who was buried with her pet gazelle. Mummification was expensive, however, and especially the kind practiced on these two animals. They received top treatment in their mummification and this, of course, represented the wealth of their owners. There were three levels of mummification available: top-of-the-line where one was treated as a king (and received a burial in keeping with the glory of the god Osiris); middle-grade where one was treated well but not that well; and the cheapest where one received minimal service in mummification and burial. Still, everyone - rich or poor - provided their dead with some kind of preparation of the corpse and grave goods for the afterlife. Pets were treated very well in ancient Egypt and were represented in tomb paintings and grave goods such as dog collars. The tomb of Tutankhamun contained dog collars of gold and paintings of his hunting hounds. Although modern day writers often claim that Tutankhamun's favorite dog was named Abuwtiyuw, who was buried with him, this is not correct. Abuwtiyuw is the name of a dog from the Old Kingdom of Egypt who so pleased the king that he was given private burial and all the rites due a person of noble birth. The identity of the king who loved the dog is unknown, but the dog of king Khufu (2589-2566 B.C.), Akbaru, was greatly admired by his master and buried with him. The collars of dogs, which frequently gave their name, often were included as grave goods. The tomb of the noble Maiherpre, a warrior who lived under the reign of Thutmose III (1458-1425 B.C.) contained two ornamented dog collars of leather. These were dyed pink and decorated with images. One of them has horses and lotus flowers punctuated by brass studs while the other depicts hunting scenes and has the dog's name, Tantanuit, engraved on it. These are two of the best examples of the kind of ornate work which went into dog collars in ancient Egypt. By the time of the New Kingdom, in fact, the dog collar was its own type of artwork and worthy to be worn in the afterlife in the presence of the gods. During the period of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 B.C.) there was a significant philosophical shift where people questioned the reality of this paradise and emphasized making the most of life because nothing existed after death. Some scholars have speculated that this belief came about because of the turmoil of the First Intermediate Period which came before the Middle Kingdom, but there is no convincing evidence of this. Such theories are always based on the claim that the First Intermediate Period of Egypt was a dark time of chaos and confusion which it most certainly was not. The Egyptians always emphasized living life to its fullest - their entire culture is based on gratitude for life, enjoying life, loving every moment of life - so an emphasis on this was nothing new. What makes the Middle Kingdom belief so interesting, however, is its denial of immortality in an effort to make one's present life even more precious. The literature of the Middle Kingdom expresses a lack of belief in the traditional view of paradise because people in the Middle Kingdom were more 'cosmopolitan' than in earlier times and were most likely attempting to distance themselves from what they saw as 'superstition'. The First Intermediate Period had elevated the different districts of Egypt, made their individual artistic expressions as valuable as the state-mandated art and literature of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and people felt freer to express their personal opinions rather than just repeat what they had been told. This skepticism disappears during the time of the New Kingdom, and - for the most part - the belief in the paradise of the Field of Reeds was constant throughout Egypt's history. A component of this belief was the importance of grave goods which would serve the deceased in the afterlife just as well as they had on the earthly plane. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other side. If they wanted eternal life, they would have to fight for it. The souls of dead Egyptians had to battle their way through the twelve chambers of hell, overcoming demons and monsters, crossing over lakes of fire, and finding their way past gates guarded by fire-breathing serpents. The path through the afterlife was violent, brutal, and dangerous. They could be killed in hell, and a death there meant an eternity in oblivion. If they made it through unscathed, they would meet their judgement day. They would stand trial before the gods, who weigh their hearts against the weight of a feather. The worthy might go on to paradise, or even become a god – but the unworthy would have their hearts cast to the demons, torn to shreds, and devoured. The Egyptian vision of the afterlife was incredibly complex. We’ve seen the decaying remains of their fixation on death: the massive pyramid tombs that dwarfed their cities and the mummified bodies buried inside. But these were more than just monuments to the vanity of kings – they were gateways that got them ready for the afterlife, where priests prepared their souls for an incredible journey unlike anything they’d experienced in life. When the body died, the Egyptians believed, two parts of the soul would split apart. The life essence that made up a man’s spark and energy would get up and move, free to roam around its tomb and to make its journey up into the afterlife. But the other part of the soul, the part that carried the personality, was left behind, trapped in the lifeless and motionless body that stayed on the earth. The dead’s only hope for eternal life and a reunited soul was to travel through hell and face judgement. If the essence of their soul could make its way through Duat, the Egyptian netherworld, and pass judgement before the gods, their souls would be reunited – but this was no simple journey, and the clock was ticking. If the body crumbled into decay before their essence made it through the netherworld, the part of the soul trapped inside would die. It would all be for nothing. Egyptians were mummified to keep their souls alive. Their bodies needed to stay preserved or else their chance at eternal life would be lost. And so Egyptian embalmers would pull out their vital organs and their brains, leaving only the heart, the home of the soul, inside. They would drain their liquids until their bodies were completely dry, leaving them in a state that could be preserved for thousands of years. Even after death, though, the soul trapped inside the body needed to eat. It could still starve – and so a sorcerer would have to call on the gods to open its own mouth. After the body was buried, priests would perform a long and complicated ritual, pulling open the mouth on the statue made in the image of the dead, begging the gods to let them eat, and leaving sacrificed animals at its foot so that the soul could feed. The rituals gave them a fighting chance at eternal life, but this procedure was expensive. The pharaohs and the wealthy could get a tomb and an embalmer to help them earn their second life, but there was no protection offered to the souls of the poor. Their only option was to carry their dead out into the desert and bury them in a shallow grave in the hopes that the dry air would dehydrate their bodies long enough to reach paradise. While one part of the soul stayed behind in the decaying body, the essence of the soul had to make its journey through the netherworld. But this wouldn’t be an easy trip. Between earth and the netherworld, the Egyptians believed, there was a great river in the sky that even the gods couldn’t pass. The only person who could pass it was the ferryman of the gods, a creature with eyes on the back of his head. The ferryman, though, wouldn’t always help. Sometimes, he had to be persuaded. And sometimes, he had to be threatened. When a pharaoh died, sorcerers would spend days casting magic spells to help his soul make it into the netherworld. These would be please to the divine – and sometimes threats. When the Pharaoh Unas died, his sorcerers ordered the ferryman to take him across, threatening, “If you fail to ferry Unas, he will leap and sit on the wing of Thoth,” warning him that, if he did no obey, he would face the wrath of a god. The ferry, though, would take them through Duat, a land full of gods, demons, and monsters, many of which were out to kill the soul that tried to pass through. These creatures would prey on the souls of the dead, who had to fight them off with magic and weapons, and so the dead Egyptians were often buried with spells and amulets to help them stay in the netherworlds. To make their way through Duat, they would pass through twelve impenetrable gates lined with sharp spears and guarded by snakes who breathed venom and fire. The only way to pass through was to say the names of the guardians. Many kings would be buried with these names, lest they forget. Some were even buried with a map of hell. It would show a world not unlike Egypt, but dotted with supernatural wonders. Alongside caverns and deserts, a voyager travelling through Duat was promised to see forests of turquoise trees and lakes of fire. For all the terrors of Duat, though, the pharaohs themselves were often the most horrifying things there. During the Old Kingdom of Egypt, many kings would threaten the gods before their deaths, warning them that they were coming into their domain – and promising to butcher them and cannibalize their bodies. Some pharaohs left messages in their tombs, warning the gods that a king is coming who “feeds on gods.” One promised that three Egyptian gods were going to tie their brothers down and tear out their entrails so the pharaoh could cook them and eat them. Eating a god would give the pharaohs the strength to make it through the netherworld. They could steal a gods’ divine powers and knowledge by taking a bite out of a minor deity – or, as one pharaoh promised, by devouring their heart, smashing their bones and sucking out their marrow. If souls could make it through the twelve gates, they would arrive at the Kingdom of Osiris, the god the dead. Here they would have to plead that they had lived good and just lives by denying having committed a set of 42 sins. Then their hearts would be weighed against the feather of Ma’at, a symbol of goodness, to see if they were truly pure. The innocent were reunited with the part of the soul left behind in the body. They would be granted eternal life and passage into paradise, where they would live with the gods in a land where the fields grew in an endless abundance. Even here, though, a soul could meet its end. If the gods ruled you were wicked, your heart would be thrown to The Devourer, a creature that was part lion, part hippo and part crocodile. Then their souls would be cast into a pit of fire and they would be erased into oblivion. The journey to paradise, for the Egyptians, was no easy path, but it was far easier for a pharaoh than a common man. There was no equality in the afterlife. Even in paradise, a king would become a god, while a servant’s only reward would be to till a slightly higher grade of wheat. This was actually a step up, though. In the early days of the Old Kingdom, Egyptian priests taught that only the pharaoh could enter paradise, while the rest had to stay in Duat forever, struggling to survive. Even for the pharaoh, though, the path was never easy. Theirs was one of the most terrifying and challenging afterlives a culture could face. It was something a man might spend his whole life preparing to face. And, as the massive pyramids they left behind make clear, it was a fate the Egyptians truly believed awaited them on the other side. [Ancient Origins]. REVIEW: Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. It is one of six historic civilizations to arise independently. Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3150 B.C. (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes (often identified with Narmer). The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, during the Ramesside period, where it rivalled the Hittite Empire, Assyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was invaded or conquered by a succession of foreign powers, such as the Canaanites/Hyksos, Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, Babylonians, the Achaemenid Persians, and the Macedonians in the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period of Egypt. In the aftermath of Alexander the Great's death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new ruler of Egypt. This Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled Egypt until 30 B.C., when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province. The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs. The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites. Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy. The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region. In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is also the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 B.C., small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, and identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs, bracelets, and beads. The largest of these early cultures in upper (Southern) Egypt was the Badari, which probably originated in the Western Desert; it was known for its high quality ceramics, stone tools, and its use of copper. The Badari was followed by the Amratian (Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada II) cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements. As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast. Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and later at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile. They also traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east. Royal Nubian burials at Qustul produced artifacts bearing the oldest-known examples of Egyptian dynastic symbols, such as the white crown of Egypt and falcon. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language. The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian-Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia and of ancient Elam. The third-century B.C. Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of pharaohs from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today. He chose to begin his official history with the king named "Meni" (or Menes in Greek) who was believed to have united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt (around 3100 B.C.). The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have been the pharaoh Narmer, who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette, in a symbolic act of unification. In the Early Dynastic Period about 3150 B.C., the first of the Dynastic pharaohs solidified control over lower Egypt by establishing a capital at Memphis, from which he could control the labour force and agriculture of the fertile delta region, as well as the lucrative and critical trade routes to the Levant. The increasing power and wealth of the pharaohs during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified pharaoh after his death. The strong institution of kingship developed by the pharaohs served to legitimize state control over the land, labour, and resources that were essential to the survival and growth of ancient Egyptian civilization. Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom, fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. Some of ancient Egypt's crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx, were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier, state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. Along with the rising importance of a central administration arose a new class of educated scribes and officials who were granted estates by the pharaoh in payment for their services. Pharaohs also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples, to ensure that these institutions had the resources to worship the pharaoh after his death. Scholars believe that five centuries of these practices slowly eroded the economic power of the pharaoh, and that the economy could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration. As the power of the pharaoh diminished, regional governors called nomarchs began to challenge the supremacy of the pharaoh. This, coupled with severe droughts between 2200 and 2150 B.C., is assumed to have caused the country to enter the 140-year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period. After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period. Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 B.C., rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 B.C. the northern Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands. They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom. The pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's prosperity and stability, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects. Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I, upon assuming kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 B.C., shifted the nation's capital to the city of Itjtawy, located in Faiyum. From Itjtawy, the pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a far-sighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the "Walls-of-the-Ruler", to defend against foreign attack. With the pharaohs' having secured military and political security and vast agricultural and mineral wealth, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom experienced an increase in expressions of personal piety and what could be called a democratization of the afterlife, in which all people possessed a soul and could be welcomed into the company of the gods after death. Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style. The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical perfection. The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III, allowed Semitic-speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties. During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to seize control of the delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos. Around 1785 B.C., as the power of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs weakened, a Western Asian people called the Hyksos had already settled in the Eastern Delta town of Avaris, seized control of Egypt, and forced the central government to retreat to Thebes. The pharaoh was treated as a vassal and expected to pay tribute. The Hyksos ("foreign rulers") retained Egyptian models of government and identified as pharaohs, thus integrating Egyptian elements into their culture. They and other invaders introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot. After their retreat, the native Theban kings found themselves trapped between the Canaanite Hyksos ruling the north and the Hyksos' Nubian allies, the Kushites, to the south of Egypt. After years of vassalage, Thebes gathered enough strength to challenge the Hyksos in a conflict that lasted more than 30 years, until 1555 B.C. The pharaohs Seqenenre Tao II and Kamose were ultimately able to defeat the Nubians to the south of Egypt, but failed to defeat the Hyksos. That task fell to Kamose's successor, Ahmose I, who successfully waged a series of campaigns that permanently eradicated the Hyksos' presence in Egypt. He established a new dynasty. In the New Kingdom that followed, the military became a central priority for the pharaohs seeking to expand Egypt's borders and attempting to gain mastery of the Near East. The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria, and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Between their reigns, Hatshepsut generally promoted peace and restored trade routes lost during the Hyksos occupation, as well as expanding to new regions. When Tuthmosis III died in 1425 B.C., Egypt had an empire extending from Niya in north west Syria to the fourth waterfall of the Nile in Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood. The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built. The pharaoh Hatshepsut used such hyperbole and grandeur during her reign of almost twenty-two years. Her reign was very successful, marked by an extended period of peace and wealth-building, trading expeditions to Punt, restoration of foreign trade networks, and great building projects, including an elegant mortuary temple that rivaled the Greek architecture of a thousand years later, a colossal pair of obelisks, and a chapel at Karnak. Despite her achievements, Amenhotep II, the heir to Hatshepsut's nephew-stepson Tuthmosis III, sought to erase her legacy near the end of his father's reign and throughout his, touting many of her accomplishments as his. He also tried to change many established traditions that had developed over the centuries, which some suggest was a futile attempt to prevent other women from becoming pharaoh and to curb their influence in the kingdom. Around 1350 B.C., the stability of the New Kingdom seemed threatened further when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of most other deities, and attacked the power of the temple that had become dominated by the priests of Amun in Thebes, whom he saw as corrupt. Moving the capital to the new city of Akhetaten (modern-day Amarna), Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to events in the Near East (where the Hittites, Mitanni, and Assyrians were vying for control). He was devoted to his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned, the priests of Amun soon regained power and returned the capital to Thebes. Under their influence the subsequent pharaohs Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period. Around 1279 B.C., Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history. A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in modern Syria) and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty, around 1258 B.C. With both the Egyptians and Hittite Empire proving unable to gain the upper hand over one another, and both powers also fearful of the expanding Middle Assyrian Empire, Egypt withdrew from much of the Near East. The Hittites were thus left to compete unsuccessfully with the powerful Assyrians and the newly arrived Phrygians. Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples, a conjectured confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea. Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of its remaining territories in southern Canaan, much of it falling to the Assyrians. The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period. Following the death of Ramesses XI in 1078 B.C., Smendes assumed authority over the northern part of Egypt, ruling from the city of Tanis. The south was effectively controlled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes, who recognized Smendes in name only. During this time, Berber tribes from what was later to be called Libya had been settling in the western delta, and the chieftains of these settlers began increasing their autonomy. Libyan princes took control of the delta under Shoshenq I in 945 B.C., founding the Libyan Berber, or Bubastite, dynasty that ruled for some 200 years. Shoshenq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. In the mid-ninth century B.C., Egypt made a failed attempt to once more gain a foothold in Western Asia. Osorkon II of Egypt, along with a large alliance of nations and peoples, including Persia, Israel, Hamath, Phoenicia/Canaan, the Arabs, Arameans, and neo Hittites among others, engaged in the Battle of Karkar against the powerful Assyrian king Shalmaneser III in 853 B.C. However, this coalition of powers failed and the Neo Assyrian Empire continued to dominate Western Asia. Libyan Berber control began to erode as a rival native dynasty in the delta arose under Leontopolis. Also, the Nubians of the Kushites threatened Egypt from the lands to the south. Around 730 B.C. Libyans from the west fractured the political unity of the country Drawing on millennia of interaction (trade, acculturation, occupation, assimilation, and war) with Egypt, the Kushite king Piye left his Nubian capital of Napata and invaded Egypt around 727 B.C. Piye easily seized control of Thebes and eventually the Nile Delta. He recorded the episode on his stela of victory. Piye set the stage for subsequent Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs, such as Taharqa, to reunite the "Two lands" of Northern and Southern Egypt. The Nile valley empire was as large as it had been since the New Kingdom. The Twenty-fifth dynasty ushered in a renaissance period for ancient Egypt. Religion, the arts, and architecture were restored to their glorious Old, Middle, and New Kingdom forms. Pharaohs, such as Taharqa, built or restored temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley, including at Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, Jebel Barkal, etc. It was during the Twenty-fifth dynasty that there was the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) in the Nile Valley since the Middle Kingdom. Piye made various unsuccessful attempts to extend Egyptian influence in the Near East, then controlled by Assyria. In 720 B.C., he sent an army in support of a rebellion against Assyria, which was taking place in Philistia and Gaza. However, Piye was defeated by Sargon II and the rebellion failed. In 711 B.C., Piye again supported a revolt against Assyria by the Israelites of Ashdod and was once again defeated by the Assyrian king Sargon II. Subsequently, Piye was forced from the Near East. From the 10th century B.C. onwards, Assyria fought for control of the southern Levant. Frequently, cities and kingdoms of the southern Levant appealed to Egypt for aid in their struggles against the powerful Assyrian army. Taharqa enjoyed some initial success in his attempts to regain a foothold in the Near East. Taharqa aided the Judean King Hezekiah when Hezekiah and Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Scholars disagree on the primary reason for Assyria's abandonment of their siege on Jerusalem. Reasons for the Assyrian withdrawal range from conflict with the Egyptian/Kushite army to divine intervention to surrender to disease. Henry Aubin argues that the Kushite/Egyptian army saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians and prevented the Assyrians from returning to capture Jerusalem for the remainder of Sennacherib's life (20 years). Some argue that disease was the primary reason for failing to actually take the city; however, Senacherib's annals claim Judah was forced into tribute regardless. Sennacherib had been murdered by his own sons for destroying the rebellious city of Babylon, a city sacred to all Mesopotamians, the Assyrians included. In 674 B.C. Esarhaddon launched a preliminary incursion into Egypt; however, this attempt was repelled by Taharqa. However, in 671 B.C., Esarhaddon launched a full-scale invasion. Part of his army stayed behind to deal with rebellions in Phoenicia, and Israel. The remainder went south to Rapihu, then crossed the Sinai, and entered Egypt. Esarhaddon decisively defeated Taharqa, took Memphis, Thebes and all the major cities of Egypt, and Taharqa was chased back to his Nubian homeland. Esarhaddon now called himself "king of Egypt, Patros, and Kush", and returned with rich booty from the cities of the delta; he erected a victory stele at this time, and paraded the captive Prince Ushankhuru, the son of Taharqa in Nineveh. Esarhaddon stationed a small army in northern Egypt and describes how "All Ethiopians (read Nubians/Kushites) I deported from Egypt, leaving not one left to do homage to me". He installed native Egyptian princes throughout the land to rule on his behalf. The conquest by Esarhaddon effectively marked the end of the short lived Kushite Empire. However, the native Egyptian rulers installed by Esarhaddon were unable to retain full control of the whole country for long. Two years later, Taharqa returned from Nubia and seized control of a section of southern Egypt as far north as Memphis. Esarhaddon prepared to return to Egypt and once more eject Taharqa; however, he fell ill and died in his capital, Nineveh, before he left Assyria. His successor, Ashurbanipal, sent an Assyrian general named Sha-Nabu-shu with a small, but well trained army, which conclusively defeated Taharqa at Memphis and once more drove him from Egypt. Taharqa died in Nubia two years later. His successor, Tanutamun, also made a failed attempt to regain Egypt for Nubia. He successfully defeated Necho, the native Egyptian puppet ruler installed by Ashurbanipal, taking Thebes in the process. The Assyrians then sent a large army southwards. Tantamani (Tanutamun) was heavily routed and fled back to Nubia. The Assyrian army sacked Thebes to such an extent it never truly recovered. A native ruler, Psammetichus I was placed on the throne, as a vassal of Ashurbanipal, and the Nubians were never again to pose a threat to either Assyria or Egypt. With no permanent plans for conquest, the Assyrians left control of Egypt to a series of vassals who became known as the Saite kings of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. By 653 B.C., the Saite king Psamtik I (taking advantage of the fact that Assyria was involved in a fierce war conquering Elam and that few Assyrian troops were stationed in Egypt) was able to free Egypt relatively peacefully from Assyrian vassalage with the help of Lydian and Greek mercenaries, the latter of whom were recruited to form Egypt's first navy. Psamtik and his successors however were careful to maintain peaceful relations with Assyria. Greek influence expanded greatly as the city of Naukratis became the home of Greeks in the delta. In 609 B.C. Necho II went to war with Babylonia, the Chaldeans, the Medians and the Scythians in an attempt to save Assyria, which after a brutal civil war was being overrun by this coalition of powers. However, the attempt to save Egypt's former masters failed. The Egyptians delayed intervening too long, and Nineveh had already fallen and King Sin-shar-ishkun was dead by the time Necho II sent his armies northwards. However, Necho easily brushed aside the Israelite army under King Josiah but he and the Assyrians then lost a battle at Harran to the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians. Necho II and Ashur-uballit II of Assyria were finally defeated at Carchemish in Aramea (modern Syria) in 605 B.C. The Egyptians remained in the area for some decades, struggling with the Babylonian kings Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II for control of portions of the former Assyrian Empire in The Levant. However, they were eventually driven back into Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar II even briefly invaded Egypt itself in 567 B.C. The Saite kings based in the new capital of Sais witnessed a brief but spirited resurgence in the economy and culture, but in 525 B.C., the powerful Persians, led by Cambyses II, began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from his home of Susa in Persia (modern Iran), leaving Egypt under the control of a satrapy. A few temporarily successful revolts against the Persians marked the fifth century B.C., but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians. Following its annexation by Persia, Egypt was joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) in the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. This first period of Persian rule over Egypt, also known as the Twenty-seventh dynasty, ended after more than one-hundred years in 402 B.C., and from 380 to 343 B.C. the Thirtieth Dynasty ruled as the last native royal house of dynastic Egypt, which ended with the kingship of Nectanebo II. A brief restoration of Persian rule, sometimes known as the Thirty-first Dynasty, began in 343 B.C., but shortly after, in 332 B.C., the Persian ruler Mazaces handed Egypt over to the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great without a fight. In 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander's successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic Kingdom, was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria. The Lighthouse of Alexandria lit the way for the many ships that kept trade flowing through the city—as the Ptolemies made commerce and revenue-generating enterprises, such as papyrus manufacturing, their top priority. Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style, supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs. Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized into composite deities, such as Serapis, and classical Greek forms of sculpture influenced traditional Egyptian motifs. Despite their efforts to appease the Egyptians, the Ptolemies were challenged by native rebellion, bitter family rivalries, and the powerful mob of Alexandria that formed after the death of Ptolemy IV. In addition, as Rome relied more heavily on imports of grain from Egypt, the Romans took great interest in the political situation in the country. Continued Egyptian revolts, ambitious politicians, and powerful Syriac opponents from the Near East made this situation unstable, leading Rome to send forces to secure the country as a province of its empire. The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 B.C., following the defeat of Marc Antony and Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) in the Battle of Actium. The Romans relied heavily on grain shipments from Egypt, and the Roman army, under the control of a prefect appointed by the Emperor, quelled rebellions, strictly enforced the collection of heavy taxes, and prevented attacks by bandits, which had become a notorious problem during the period. Alexandria became an increasingly important center on the trade route with the orient, as exotic luxuries were in high demand in Rome. Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and worship of the traditional gods continued. The art of mummy portraiture flourished, and some Roman emperors had themselves depicted as pharaohs, though not to the extent that the Ptolemies had. The former lived outside Egypt and did not perform the ceremonial functions of Egyptian kingship. Local administration became Roman in style and closed to native Egyptians. From the mid-first century AD, Christianity took root in Egypt and it was originally seen as another cult that could be accepted. However, it was an uncompromising religion that sought to win converts from Egyptian Religion and Greco-Roman religion and threatened popular religious traditions. This led to the persecution of converts to Christianity, culminating in the great purges of Diocletian starting in 303, but eventually Christianity won out. In 391 the Christian Emperor Theodosius introduced legislation that banned pagan rites and closed temples. Alexandria became the scene of great anti-pagan riots with public and private religious imagery destroyed. As a consequence, Egypt's native religious culture was continually in decline. While the native population certainly continued to speak their language, the ability to read hieroglyphic writing slowly disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses diminished. The temples themselves were sometimes converted to churches or abandoned to the desert. The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs. In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier, who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives. At a regional level, the country was divided into as many as 42 administrative regions called nomes each governed by a nomarch, who was accountable to the vizier for his jurisdiction. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they houses of worship, but were also responsible for collecting and storing the nation's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers, who redistributed grain and goods. Much of the economy was centrally organized and strictly controlled. Although the ancient Egyptians did not use coinage until the Late period, they did use a type of money-barter system, with standard sacks of grain and the deben, a weight of roughly 91 grams (3 oz) of copper or silver, forming a common denominator. Workers were paid in grain; a simple laborer might earn 5½ sacks (200 kg or 400 lb) of grain per month, while a foreman might earn 7½ sacks (250 kg or 550 lb). Prices were fixed across the country and recorded in lists to facilitate trading; for example a shirt cost five copper deben, while a cow cost 140 deben. Grain could be traded for other goods, according to the fixed price list. During the fifth century B.C. coined money was introduced into Egypt from abroad. At first the coins were used as standardized pieces of precious metal rather than true money, but in the following centuries international traders came to rely on coinage. Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble family that owned the land. Farmers were also subject to a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a corvée system. Artists and craftsmen were of higher status than farmers, but they were also under state control, working in the shops attached to the temples and paid directly from the state treasury. Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments that served as a mark of their rank. The upper class prominently displayed their social status in art and literature. Below the nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized training in their field. Slavery was known in ancient Egypt, but the extent and prevalence of its practice are unclear. The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes except slaves, as essentially equal under the law, and even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his court for redress. Although slaves were mostly used as indentured servants, they were able to buy and sell their servitude, work their way to freedom or nobility, and were usually treated by doctors in the workplace. Both men and women had the right to own and sell property, make contracts, marry and divorce, receive inheritance, and pursue legal disputes in court. Married couples could own property jointly and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts, which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife and children should the marriage end. Compared with their counterparts in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world, ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices and opportunities for achievement. Women such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra VII even became pharaohs, while others wielded power as Divine Wives of Amun. Despite these freedoms, ancient Egyptian women did not often take part in official roles in the administration, served only secondary roles in the temples, and were not as likely to be as educated as men. The head of the legal system was officially the pharaoh, who was responsible for enacting laws, delivering justice, and maintaining law and order, a concept the ancient Egyptians referred to as Ma'at. Although no legal codes from ancient Egypt survive, court documents show that Egyptian law was based on a common-sense view of right and wrong that emphasized reaching agreements and resolving conflicts rather than strictly adhering to a complicated set of statutes. Local councils of elders, known as Kenbet in the New Kingdom, were responsible for ruling in court cases involving small claims and minor disputes. More serious cases involving murder, major land transactions, and tomb robbery were referred to the Great Kenbet, over which the vizier or pharaoh presided. Plaintiffs and defendants were expected to represent themselves and were required to swear an oath that they had told the truth. In some cases, the state took on both the role of prosecutor and judge, and it could torture the accused with beatings to obtain a confession and the names of any co-conspirators. Whether the charges were trivial or serious, court scribes documented the complaint, testimony, and verdict of the case for future reference. Punishment for minor crimes involved either imposition of fines, beatings, facial mutilation, or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes such as murder and tomb robbery were punished by execution, carried out by decapitation, drowning, or impaling the criminal on a stake. Punishment could also be extended to the criminal's family. Beginning in the New Kingdom, oracles played a major role in the legal system, dispensing justice in both civil and criminal cases. The procedure was to ask the god a "yes" or "no" question concerning the right or wrong of an issue. The god, carried by a number of priests, rendered judgment by choosing one or the other, moving forward or backward, or pointing to one of the answers written on a piece of papyrus or an ostracon. A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits. Land management was crucial in ancient Egypt because taxes were assessed based on the amount of land a person owned. Farming in Egypt was dependent on the cycle of the Nile River. The Egyptians recognized three seasons: Akhet (flooding), Peret (planting), and Shemu (harvesting). The flooding season lasted from June to September, depositing on the river's banks a layer of mineral-rich silt ideal for growing crops. After the floodwaters had receded, the growing season lasted from October to February. Farmers plowed and planted seeds in the fields, which were irrigated with ditches and canals. Egypt received little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile to water their crops. From March to May, farmers used sickles to harvest their crops, which were then threshed with a flail to separate the straw from the grain. Winnowing removed the chaff from the grain, and the grain was then ground into flour, brewed to make beer, or stored for later use. The ancient Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley, and several other cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food staples of bread and beer. Flax plants, uprooted before they started flowering, were grown for the fibers of their stems. These fibers were split along their length and spun into thread, which was used to weave sheets of linen and to make clothing. Papyrus growing on the banks of the Nile River was used to make paper. Vegetables and fruits were grown in garden plots, close to habitations and on higher ground, and had to be watered by hand. Vegetables included leeks, garlic, melons, squashes, pulses, lettuce, and other crops, in addition to grapes that were made into wine. The Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order; thus humans, animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole. Animals, both domesticated and wild, were therefore a critical source of spirituality, companionship, and sustenance to the ancient Egyptians. Cattle were the most important livestock; the administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses, and the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs. Poultry, such as ducks, geese, and pigeons, were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them. The Nile provided a plentiful source of fish. Bees were also domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, and provided both honey and wax. The ancient Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden, and they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an offering ritual. Horses were introduced by the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period. Camels, although known from the New Kingdom, were not used as beasts of burden until the Late Period. There is also evidence to suggest that elephants were briefly utilized in the Late Period but largely abandoned due to lack of grazing land. Dogs, cats, and monkeys were common family pets, while more exotic pets imported from the heart of Africa, such as Sub-Saharan African lions, were reserved for royalty. Herodotus observed that the Egyptians were the only people to keep their animals with them in their houses. During the Predynastic and Late periods, the worship of the gods in their animal form was extremely popular, such as the cat goddess Bastet and the ibis god Thoth, and these animals were bred in large numbers on farms for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. Egypt is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones. These natural resources allowed the ancient Egyptians to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry. Embalmers used salts from the Wadi Natrun for mummification, which also provided the gypsum needed to make plaster. Ore-bearing rock formations were found in distant, inhospitable wadis in the eastern desert and the Sinai, requiring large, state-controlled expeditions to obtain natural resources found there. There were extensive gold mines in Nubia, and one of the first maps known is of a gold mine in this region. The Wadi Hammamat was a notable source of granite, greywacke, and gold. Flint was the first mineral collected and used to make tools, and flint handaxes are the earliest pieces of evidence of habitation in the Nile valley. Nodules of the mineral were carefully flaked to make blades and arrowheads of moderate hardness and durability even after copper was adopted for this purpose. Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use minerals such as sulfur as cosmetic substances. The Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the most important metal for toolmaking in ancient Egypt and was smelted in furnaces from malachite ore mined in the Sinai. Workers collected gold by washing the nuggets out of sediment in alluvial deposits, or by the more labor-intensive process of grinding and washing gold-bearing quartzite. Iron deposits found in upper Egypt were utilized in the Late Period. High-quality building stones were abundant in Egypt; the ancient Egyptians quarried limestone all along the Nile valley, granite from Aswan, and basalt and sandstone from the wadis of the eastern desert. Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry, greywacke, alabaster, and carnelian dotted the eastern desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, miners worked deposits of emeralds in Wadi Sikait and amethyst in Wadi el-Hudi. The ancient Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt. In the Predynastic Period, they established trade with Nubia to obtain gold and incense. They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty pharaohs. An Egyptian colony stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty. Narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt. By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons. Egypt relied on trade with Anatolia for essential quantities of tin as well as supplementary supplies of copper, both metals being necessary for the manufacture of bronze. The ancient Egyptians prized the blue stone lapis lazuli, which had to be imported from far-away Afghanistan. Egypt's Mediterranean trade partners also included Greece and Crete, which provided, among other goods, supplies of olive oil. In exchange for its luxury imports and raw materials, Egypt mainly exported grain, gold, linen, and papyrus, in addition to other finished goods including glass and stone objects. The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages. It has the second longest history of any language (after Sumerian), having been written from circa 3200 B.C. to the Middle Ages and remaining as a spoken language for longer. The phases of ancient Egyptian are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian (Classical Egyptian), Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. Egyptian writings do not show dialect differences before Coptic, but it was probably spoken in regional dialects around Memphis and later Thebes. Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language, but it became more analytic later on. Late Egyptian developed prefixal definite and indefinite articles, which replaced the older inflectional suffixes. There was a change from the older verb–subject–object word order to subject–verb–object. The Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts were eventually replaced by the more phonetic Coptic alphabet. Coptic is still used in the liturgy of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, and traces of it are found in modern Egyptian Arabic. Hieroglyphic writing dates from circa 3000 B.C., and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic, which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic, became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone. Around the first century AD, the Coptic alphabet started to be used alongside the Demotic script. Coptic is a modified Greek alphabet with the addition of some Demotic signs. Although formal hieroglyphs were used in a ceremonial role until the fourth century, towards the end only a small handful of priests could still read them. As the traditional religious establishments were disbanded, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was mostly lost. Attempts to decipher them date to the Byzantine and Islamic periods in Egypt, but only in 1822, after the discovery of the Rosetta stone and years of research by Thomas Young and Jean-François Champollion, were hieroglyphs almost fully deciphered. Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries (called House of Books), laboratories and observatories. Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and Coffin Texts, were written in Classical Egyptian, which continued to be the language of writing until about 1300 B.C. Later Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni. The genre known as Sebayt ("instructions") was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; the Ipuwer papyrus, a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example. The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian literature. Also written at this time was the Westcar Papyrus, a set of stories told to Khufu by his sons relating the marvels performed by priests. The Instruction of Amenemope is considered a masterpiece of near-eastern literature. Towards the end of the New Kingdom, the vernacular language was more often employed to write popular pieces like the Story of Wenamun and the Instruction of Any. The former tells the story of a noble who is robbed on his way to buy cedar from Lebanon and of his struggle to return to Egypt. From about 700 B.C., narrative stories and instructions, such as the popular Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, as well as personal and business documents were written in the demotic script and phase of Egyptian. Many stories written in demotic during the Greco-Roman period were set in previous historical eras, when Egypt was an independent nation ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramesses II. Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mud-brick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread. Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture. The ancient Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance. Most bathed in the Nile and used a pasty soap made from animal fat and chalk. Men shaved their entire bodies for cleanliness; perfumes and aromatic ointments covered bad odors and soothed skin. Clothing was made from simple linen sheets that were bleached white, and both men and women of the upper classes wore wigs, jewelry, and cosmetics. Children went without clothing until maturity, at about age 12, and at this age males were circumcised and had their heads shaved. Mothers were responsible for taking care of the children, while the father provided the family's income. Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular. In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia. The sistrum was a rattle-like musical instrument that was especially important in religious ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet, a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times; another similar game was mehen, which had a circular gaming board. Juggling and ball games were popular with children, and wrestling is also documented in a tomb at Beni Hasan. The wealthy members of ancient Egyptian society enjoyed hunting and boating as well. The excavation of the workers' village of Deir el-Madinah has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world that spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organization, social interactions, working and living conditions of a community were studied in such detail. Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time; indeed, the cuisine of modern Egypt retains some striking similarities to the cuisine of the ancients. The staple diet consisted of bread and beer, supplemented with vegetables such as onions and garlic, and fruit such as dates and figs. Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Fish, meat, and fowl could be salted or dried, and could be cooked in stews or roasted on a grill. The architecture of ancient Egypt includes some of the most famous structures in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the temples at Thebes. Building projects were organized and funded by the state for religious and commemorative purposes, but also to reinforce the wide-ranging power of the pharaoh. The ancient Egyptians were skilled builders; using only simple but effective tools and sighting instruments, architects could build large stone structures with great accuracy and precision that is still envied today. The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary Egyptians alike were constructed from perishable materials such as mud bricks and wood, and have not survived. Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces of the elite and the pharaoh were more elaborate structures. A few surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in Malkata and Amarna, show richly decorated walls and floors with scenes of people, birds, water pools, deities and geometric designs. Important structures such as temples and tombs that were intended to last forever were constructed of stone instead of mud bricks. The architectural elements used in the world's first large-scale stone building, Djoser's mortuary complex, include post and lintel supports in the papyrus and lotus motif. The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples, such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns. In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon, the open courtyard, and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Greco-Roman period. The earliest and most popular tomb architecture in the Old Kingdom was the mastaba, a flat-roofed rectangular structure of mudbrick or stone built over an underground burial chamber. The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other. Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs. The Twenty-fifth dynasty was a notable exception, as all Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs constructed pyramids. The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over 3500 years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change. These artistic standards—simple lines, shapes, and flat areas of color combined with the characteristic flat projection of figures with no indication of spatial depth—created a sense of order and balance within a composition. Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette, for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs. Because of the rigid rules that governed its highly stylized and symbolic appearance, ancient Egyptian art served its political and religious purposes with precision and clarity. Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone to carve statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute. Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores (red and yellow ochres), copper ores (blue and green), soot or charcoal (black), and limestone (white). Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed. Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art, such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife. During the Middle Kingdom, wooden or clay models depicting scenes from everyday life became popular additions to the tomb. In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife. Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or political attitudes. After the invasion of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period, Minoan-style frescoes were found in Avaris. The most striking example of a politically driven change in artistic forms comes from the Amarna period, where figures were radically altered to conform to Akhenaten's revolutionary religious ideas. This style, known as Amarna art, was quickly and thoroughly erased after Akhenaten's death and replaced by the traditional forms. Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception; pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system. These various conceptions of divinity were not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality. Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials. Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos. After the New Kingdom, the pharaoh's role as a spiritual intermediary was de-emphasized as religious customs shifted to direct worship of the gods. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people. The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. In addition to the body, each person had a šwt (shadow), a ba (personality or soul), a ka (life-force), and a name. The heart, rather than the brain, was considered the seat of thoughts and emotions. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh, or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a "feather of truth". If deemed worthy, the deceased could continue their existence on earth in spiritual form. The ancient Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death. These customs involved preserving the body by mummification, performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the deceased would use in the afterlife. Before the Old Kingdom, bodies buried in desert pits were naturally preserved by desiccation. The arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the elaborate burial preparations available to the elite. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs and use artificial mummification, which involved removing the internal organs, wrapping the body in linen, and burying it in a rectangular stone sarcophagus or wooden coffin. Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, some parts were preserved separately in canopic jars. By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification; the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron. The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Beginning in the New Kingdom, books of the dead were included in the grave, along with shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife. Rituals in which the deceased was magically re-animated accompanied burials. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased. The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in the ancient Near East. The military protected mining expeditions to the Sinai during the Old Kingdom and fought civil wars during the First and Second Intermediate Periods. The military was responsible for maintaining fortifications along important trade routes, such as those found at the city of Buhen on the way to Nubia. Forts also were constructed to serve as military bases, such as the fortress at Sile, which was a base of operations for expeditions to the Levant. In the New Kingdom, a series of pharaohs used the standing Egyptian army to attack and conquer Kush and parts of the Levant. Typical military equipment included bows and arrows, spears, and round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had earlier been introduced by the Hyksos invaders. Weapons and armor continued to improve after the adoption of bronze: shields were now made from solid wood with a bronze buckle, spears were tipped with a bronze point, and the Khopesh was adopted from Asiatic soldiers. The pharaoh was usually depicted in art and literature riding at the head of the army; it has been suggested that at least a few pharaohs, such as Seqenenre Tao II and his sons, did do so. However, it has also been argued that "kings of this period did not personally act as frontline war leaders, fighting alongside their troops." Soldiers were recruited from the general population, but during, and especially after, the New Kingdom, mercenaries from Nubia, Kush, and Libya were hired to fight for Egypt. In technology, medicine, and mathematics, ancient Egypt achieved a relatively high standard of productivity and sophistication. Traditional empiricism, as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri (circa 1600 B.C.), is first credited to Egypt. The Egyptians created their own alphabet and decimal system. Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience, which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone. Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica, small amounts of lime and soda, and a colorant, typically copper. The material was used to make beads, tiles, figurines, and small wares. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian Blue, also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing (or sintering) silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment. The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently. It is also unclear whether they made their own raw glass or merely imported pre-made ingots, which they melted and finished. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque. The medical problems of the ancient Egyptians stemmed directly from their environment. Living and working close to the Nile brought hazards from malaria and debilitating schistosomiasis parasites, which caused liver and intestinal damage. Dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos were also a common threat. The lifelong labors of farming and building put stress on the spine and joints, and traumatic injuries from construction and warfare all took a significant toll on the body. The grit and sand from stone-ground flour abraded teeth, leaving them susceptible to abscesses. The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease. Despite the flattering physiques portrayed on tomb walls, the overweight mummies of many of the upper class show the effects of a life of overindulgence. Adult life expectancy was about 35 for men and 30 for women, but reaching adulthood was difficult as about one-third of the population died in infancy. Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East for their healing skills, and some, such as Imhotep, remained famous long after their deaths. Herodotus remarked that there was a high degree of specialization among Egyptian physicians, with some treating only the head or the stomach, while others were eye-doctors and dentists. Training of physicians took place at the Per Ankh or "House of Life" institution, most notably those headquartered in Per-Bastet during the New Kingdom and at Abydos and Saïs in the Late period. Medical papyri show empirical knowledge of anatomy, injuries, and practical treatments. Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures, nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection, while opium thyme and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess Isis. Moldy bread, honey and copper salts were also used to prevent infection from dirt in burns. Garlic and onions were used regularly to promote good health and were thought to relieve asthma symptoms. Ancient Egyptian surgeons stitched wounds, set broken bones, and amputated diseased limbs, but they recognized that some injuries were so serious that they could only make the patient comfortable until death occurred. Early Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull and had mastered advanced forms of shipbuilding as early as 3000 B.C. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that the oldest planked ships known are the Abydos boats. A group of 14 discovered ships in Abydos were constructed of wooden planks "sewn" together. Discovered by Egyptologist David O'Connor of New York University, woven straps were found to have been used to lash the planks together, and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams. Because the ships are all buried together and near a mortuary belonging to Pharaoh Khasekhemwy, originally they were all thought to have belonged to him, but one of the 14 ships dates to 3000 B.C., and the associated pottery jars buried with the vessels also suggest earlier dating. The ship dating to 3000 B.C. was 75 feet long and is now thought to perhaps have belonged to an earlier pharaoh. According to professor O'Connor, the 5,000-year-old ship may have even belonged to Pharaoh Aha. Early Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams. The "Khufu ship", a 143 foot vessel sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500 B.C., is a full-size surviving example that may have filled the symbolic function of a solar barque. Early Egyptians also knew how to fasten the planks of this ship together with mortise and tenon joints. Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern Mediterranean, especially Byblos (on the coast of modern-day Lebanon), and in several expeditions down the Red Sea to the Land of Punt. In fact one of the earliest Egyptian words for a seagoing ship is a "Byblos Ship", which originally defined a class of Egyptian seagoing ships used on the Byblos run; however, by the end of the Old Kingdom, the term had come to include large seagoing ships, whatever their destination. In 2011 archaeologists from Italy, the United States, and Egypt excavating a dried-up lagoon known as Mersa Gawasis have unearthed traces of an ancient harbor that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut's Punt expedition onto the open ocean. Some of the site's most evocative evidence for the ancient Egyptians' seafaring prowess include large ship timbers and hundreds of feet of ropes, made from papyrus, coiled in huge bundles. And in 2013 a team of Franco-Egyptian archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world's oldest port, dating back about 4500 years, from the time of King Cheops on the Red Sea coast near Wadi el-Jarf (about 110 miles south of Suez). In 1977, an ancient north-south canal dating to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt was discovered extending from Lake Timsah to the Ballah Lakes. It was dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt by extrapolating dates of ancient sites constructed along its course. The earliest attested examples of mathematical calculations date to the predynastic Naqada period, and show a fully developed numeral system. The importance of mathematics to an educated Egyptian is suggested by a New Kingdom fictional letter in which the writer proposes a scholarly competition between himself and another scribe regarding everyday calculation tasks such as accounting of land, labor, and grain. Texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus show that the ancient Egyptians could perform the four basic mathematical operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—use fractions, compute the volumes of boxes and pyramids, and calculate the surface areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles. They understood basic concepts of algebra and geometry, and could solve simple sets of simultaneous equations. Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million. Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number; so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively. Because their methods of calculation could not handle most fractions with a numerator greater than one, they had to write fractions as the sum of several fractions. For example, they resolved the fraction two-fifths into the sum of one-third + one-fifteenth. Standard tables of values facilitated this. Some common fractions, however, were written with a special glyph—the equivalent of the modern two-thirds is shown on the right. Ancient Egyptian mathematicians had a grasp of the principles underlying the Pythagorean theorem, knowing, for example, that a triangle had a right angle opposite the hypotenuse when its sides were in a 3–4–5 ratio. They were able to estimate the area of a circle by subtracting one-ninth from its diameter and squaring the result. The golden ratio seems to be reflected in many Egyptian constructions, including the pyramids, but its use may have been an unintended consequence of the ancient Egyptian practice of combining the use of knotted ropes with an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony. A team lead by Johannes Krause managed the first reliable sequencing of the genomes of 90 mummified individuals in 2017. Whilst not conclusive, because of the non-exhaustive time frame and restricted location that the mummies represent, their study nevertheless showed that these Ancient Egyptians "closely resembled ancient and modern Near Eastern populations, especially those in the Levant, and had almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa. What's more, the genetics of the mummies remained remarkably consistent even as different powers—including Nubians, Greeks, and Romans—conquered the empire." Later, however, something did alter the genomes of Egyptians. Although the mummies contain almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa, some 15% to 20% of modern Egyptians’ DNA reflects sub-Saharan ancestry. The culture and monuments of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world. The cult of the goddess Isis, for example, became popular in the Roman Empire, as obelisks and other relics were transported back to Rome. The Romans also imported building materials from Egypt to erect Egyptian-style structures. Early historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus studied and wrote about the land, which Romans came to view as a place of mystery. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Egyptian pagan culture was in decline after the rise of Christianity and later Islam, but interest in Egyptian antiquity continued in the writings of medieval scholars such as Dhul-Nun al-Misri and al-Maqrizi. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European travelers and tourists brought back antiquities and wrote stories of their journeys, leading to a wave of Egyptomania across Europe. This renewed interest sent collectors to Egypt, who took, purchased, or were given many important antiquities. Although the European colonial occupation of Egypt destroyed a significant portion of the country's historical legacy, some foreigners left more positive marks. Napoleon, for example, arranged the first studies in Egyptology when he brought some 150 scientists and artists to study and document Egypt's natural history, which was published in the Description de l'Égypte. In the 20th century, the Egyptian Government and archaeologists alike recognized the importance of cultural respect and integrity in excavations. The Supreme Council of Antiquities now approves and oversees all excavations, which are aimed at finding information rather than treasure. The council also supervises museums and monument reconstruction programs designed to preserve the historical legacy of Egypt. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: Egypt is a country in North Africa, on the Mediterranean Sea, and is home to one of the oldest civilizations on earth. The name 'Egypt' comes from the Greek Aegyptos which was the Greek pronunciation of the Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' ("Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"), originally the name of the city of Memphis. Memphis was the first capital of Egypt and a famous religious and trade centre; its high status is attested to by the Greeks alluding to the entire country by that name. To the Egyptians themselves, their country was simply known as Kemet which means 'Black Land' so named for the rich, dark soil along the Nile River where the first settlements began. Later, the country was known as Misr which means 'country', a name still in use by Egyptians for their nation in the present day. Egypt thrived for thousands of years (from circa 8000 B.C. to 30 B.C.) as an independent nation whose culture was famous for great cultural advances in every area of human knowledge, from the arts to science to technology and religion. The great monuments which Egypt is still celebrated for reflect the depth and grandeur of Egyptian culture which influenced so many ancient civilizations, among them Greece and Rome. One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of Egyptian culture is its emphasis on the grandeur of the human experience. Their great monuments, tombs, temples, and art work all celebrate life and stand as reminders of what once was and what human beings, at their best, are capable of achieving. Although Egypt in popular culture is often associated with death and mortuary rites, something even in these speaks to people across the ages of what it means to be a human being and the power and purpose of remembrance. To the Egyptians, life on earth was only one aspect of an eternal journey. The soul was immortal and was only inhabiting a body on this physical plane for a short time. At death, one would meet with judgment in the Hall of Truth and, if justified, would move on to an eternal paradise known as The Field of Reeds which was a mirror image of one's life on earth. Once one had reached paradise one could live peacefully in the company of those one had loved while on earth, including one's pets, in the same neighborhood by the same steam, beneath the very same trees one thought had been lost at death. This eternal life, however, was only available to those who had lived well and in accordance with the will of the gods in the most perfect place conducive to such a goal: the land of Egypt. Egypt has a long history which goes back far beyond the written word, the stories of the gods, or the monuments which have made the culture famous. Evidence of overgrazing of cattle, on the land which is now the Sahara Desert, has been dated to about 8000 B.C. This evidence, along with artifacts discovered, points to a thriving agricultural civilization in the region at that time. As the land was mostly arid even then, hunter-gathering nomads sought the cool of the water source of the Nile River Valley and began to settle there sometime prior to 6000 B.C. Organized farming began in the region circa 6000 B.C. and communities known as the Badarian Culture began to flourish alongside the river. Industry developed at about this same time as evidenced by faience workshops discovered at Abydos dating to circa 5500 B.C. The Badarian were followed by the Amratian, the Gerzean, and the Naqada cultures (also known as Naqada I, Naqada II, and Naqada III), all of which contributed significantly to the development of what became Egyptian civilization. The written history of the land begins at some point between 3400 and 3200 B.C. when hieroglyphic script is developed by the Naqada Culture III. By 3500 B.C. mummification of the dead was in practice at the city of Hierakonpolis and large stone tombs built at Abydos. The city of Xois is recorded as being already ancient by 3100-2181 B.C. as inscribed on the famous Palermo Stone. As in other cultures world-wide, the small agrarian communities became centralized and grew into larger urban centers. Prosperity led to, among other things, an increase in the brewing of beer, more leisure time for sports, and advances in medicine. The Early Dynastic Period (circa 3150-2613 B.C.) saw the unification of the north and south kingdoms of Egypt under the king Menes ( also known as Meni or Manes) of Upper Egypt who conquered Lower Egypt in circa 3118 B.C. or circa 3150 B.C. This version of the early history comes from the Aegyptica (History of Egypt) by the ancient historian Manetho who lived in the 3rd century B.C. under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 B.C.). Although his chronology has been disputed by later historians, it is still regularly consulted on dynastic succession and the early history of Egypt. Manetho’s work is the only source which cites Menes and the conquest and it is now thought that the man referred to by Manetho as `Menes’ was the king Narmer who peacefully united Upper and Lower Egypt under one rule. Identification of Menes with Narmer is far from universally accepted, however, and Menes has been as credibly linked to the king Hor-Aha (circa 3100-3050 B.C.)who succeeded him. An explanation for Menes' association with his predecessor and successor is that `Menes' is an honorific title meaning "he who endures" and not a personal name and so could have been used to refer to more than one king. The claim that the land was unified by military campaign is also disputed as the famous Narmer Palette, depicting a military victory, is considered by some scholars to be royal propaganda. The country may have first been united peacefully but this seems unlikely. Geographical designation in Egypt follows the direction of the Nile River and so Upper Egypt is the southern region and Lower Egypt the northern area closer to the Mediterranean Sea. Narmer ruled from the city of Heirakonopolis and then from Memphis and Abydos. Trade increased significantly under the rulers of the Early Dynastic Period and elaborate mastaba tombs, precursors to the later pyramids, developed in ritual burial practices which included increasingly elaborate mummification techniques. From the Pre-Dynastic Period (circa 6000-3150 B.C.) a belief in the gods defined the Egyptian culture. An early Egyptian creation myth tells of the god Atum who stood in the midst of swirling chaos before the beginning of time and spoke creation into existence. Atum was accompanied by the eternal force of heka (magic), personified in the god Heka and by other spiritual forces which would animate the world. Heka was the primal force which infused the universe and caused all things to operate as they did; it also allowed for the central value of the Egyptian culture: ma'at, harmony and balance. All of the gods and all of their responsibilties went back to ma'at and heka. The sun rose and set as it did and the moon traveled its course across the sky and the seasons came and went in accordance with balance and order which was possible because of these two agencies. Ma'at was also personified as a deity, the goddess of the ostrich feather, to whom every king promised his full abilities and devotion. The king was associated with the god Horus in life and Osiris in death based upon a myth which became the most popular in Egyptian history. Osiris and his sister-wife Isis were the original monarchs who governed the world and gave the people the gifts of civilization. Osiris' brother, Set, grew jealous of him and murdered him but he was brought back to life by Isis who then bore his son Horus. Osiris was incomplete, however, and so descended to rule the underworld while Horus, once he had matured, avenged his father and defeated Set. This myth illustrated how order triumphed over chaos and would become a persistent motif in mortuary rituals and religious texts and art. There was no period in which the gods did not play an integral role in the daily lives of the Egyptians and this is clearly seen from the earliest times in the country's history. During the period known as the Old Kingdom (circa 2613-2181 B.C.), architecture honoring the gods developed at an increased rate and some of the most famous monuments in Egypt, such as the pyramids and the Great Sphinx at Giza, were constructed. The king Djoser, who reigned circa 2670 B.C., built the first Step Pyramid at Saqqara circa 2670, designed by his chief architect and physician Imhotep (circa 2667-2600 B.C.) who also wrote one of the first medical texts describing the treatment of over 200 different diseases and arguing that the cause of disease could be natural, not the will of the gods. The Great Pyramid of Khufu (last of the seven wonders of the ancient world) was constructed during his reign (2589-2566 B.C.) with the pyramids of Khafre (2558-2532 B.C.) and Menkaure (2532-2503 B.C.) following. The grandeur of the pyramids on the Giza plateau, as they originally would have appeared, sheathed in gleaming white limestone, is a testament to the power and wealth of the rulers during this period. Many theories abound regarding how these monuments and tombs were constructed but modern architects and scholars are far from agreement on any single one. Considering the technology of the day, some have argued, a monument such as the Great Pyramid of Giza should not exist. Others claim, however, that the existence of such buildings and tombs suggest superior technology which has been lost to time. There is absolutely no evidence that the monuments of the Giza plateau - or any others in Egypt - were built by slave labor nor is there any evidence to support a historical reading of the biblical Book of Exodus. Most reputable scholars today reject the claim that the pyramids and other monuments were built by slave labor although slaves of different nationalities certainly did exist in Egypt and were employed regularly in the mines. Egyptian monuments were considered public works created for the state and used both skilled and unskilled Egyptian workers in construction, all of whom were paid for their labor. Workers at the Giza site, which was only one of many, were given a ration of beer three times a day and their housing, tools, and even their level of health care have all been clearly established. The era known as The First Intermediate Period (2181-2040 B.C.) saw a decline in the power of the central government following its collapse. Largely independent districts with their own governors developed throughout Egypt until two great centers emerged: Hierakonpolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These centers founded their own dynasties which ruled their regions independently and intermittently fought with each other for supreme control until circa 2040 B.C. when the Theban king Mentuhotep II (circa 2061-2010 B.C.) defeated the forces of Hierakonpolis and united Egypt under the rule of Thebes. The stability provided by Theban rule allowed for the flourishing of what is known as the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 B.C.). The Middle Kingdom is considered Egypt’s `Classical Age’ when art and culture reached great heights and Thebes became the most important and wealthiest city in the country. According to the historians Oakes and Gahlin, “the Twelfth Dynasty kings were strong rulers who established control not only over the whole of Egypt but also over Nubia to the south, where several fortresses were built to protect Egyptian trading interests”. The first standing army was created during the Middle Kingdom by the king Amenemhat I (circa 1991-1962 B.C.) the temple of Karnak was begun under Senruset I (circa 1971-1926 B.C.), and some of the greatest art and literature of the civilization was produced. The 13th Dynasty, however, was weaker than the 12th and distracted by internal problems which allowed for a foriegn people known as the Hyksos to gain power in Lower Egypt around the Nile Delta. The Hyksos are a mysterious people, most likely from the area of Syria/Palestine, who first appeared in Egypt circa 1800 and settled in the town of Avaris. While the names of the Hyksos kings are Semitic in origin, no definite ethnicity has been established for them. The Hyksos grew in power until they were able to take control of a significant portion of Lower Egypt by circa 1720 B.C., rendering the Theban Dynasty of Upper Egypt almsot a vassal state. This era is known as The Second Intermediate Period (circa 1782-1570 B.C.). While the Hyksos (whose name simply means `foreign rulers’) were hated by the Egyptians, they introduced a great many improvements to the culture such as the composite bow, the horse, and the chariot along with crop rotation and developments in bronze and ceramic works. At the same time the Hyksos controlled the ports of Lower Egypt, by 1700 B.C. the Kingdom of Kush had risen to the south of Thebes in Nubia and now held that border. The Egyptians mounted a number of campaigns to drive the Hyksos out and subdue the Nubians but all failed until prince Ahmose I of Thebes (circa 1570-1544 B.C.) succeeded and unified the country under Theban rule. Ahmose I initiated what is known as the period of the New Kingdom (circa 1570- circa 1069 B.C.) which again saw great prosperity in the land under a strong central government. The title of pharaoh for the ruler of Egypt comes from the period of the New Kingdom; earlier monarchs were simply known as kings. Many of the Egyptian sovereigns best known today ruled during this period and the majority of the great structures of antiquity such as the Ramesseum, Abu Simbel, the temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens were either created or greatly enhanced during this time. Between 1504-1492 B.C. the pharaoh Tuthmosis I consolidated his power and expanded the boundaries of Egypt to the Euphrates River in the north, Syria and Palestine to the west, and Nubia to the south. His reign was followed by Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 B.C.) who greatly expanded trade with other nations, most notably the Land of Punt. Her 22-year reign was one of peace and prosperity for Egypt. Her successor, Tuthmosis III, carried on her policies (although he tried to eradicate all memory of her as, it is thought, he did not want her to serve as a role model for other women since only males were considered worthy to rule) and, by the time of his death in 1425 B.C., Egypt was a great and powerful nation. The prosperity led to, among other things, an increase in the brewing of beer in many different varieties and more leisure time for sports. Advances in medicine led to improvements in health. Bathing had long been an important part of the daily Egyptian’s regimen as it was encouraged by their religion and modeled by their clergy. At this time, however, more elaborate baths were produced, presumably more for leisure than simply hygiene. The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, concerning women’s health and contraceptives, had been written circa 1800 B.C. and, during this period, seems to have been made extensive use of by doctors. Surgery and dentistry were both practiced widely and with great skill, and beer was prescribed by physicians for ease of symptoms of over 200 different maladies. In 1353 B.C. the pharaoh Amenhotep IV succeeded to the throne and, shortly after, changed his name to Akhenaten (`living spirit of Aten’) to reflect his belief in a single god, Aten. The Egyptians, as noted above, traditionally believed in many gods whose importance influenced every aspect of their daily lives. Among the most popular of these deities were Amun, Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. The cult of Amun, at this time, had grown so wealthy that the priests were almost as powerful as the pharaoh. Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti, renounced the traditional religious beliefs and customs of Egypt and instituted a new religion based upon the recognition of one god. His religious reforms effectively cut the power of the priests of Amun and placed it in his hands. He moved the capital from Thebes to Amarna to further distance his rule from that of his predecessors. This is known as The Amarna Period (1353-1336 B.C.) during which Amarna grew as the capital of the country and polytheistic religious customs were banned. Among his many accomplishments, Akhenaten was the first ruler to decree statuary and a temple in honor of his queen instead of only for himself or the gods and used the money which once went to the temples for public works and parks. The power of the clergy declined sharply as that of the central government grew, which seemed to be Akhenaten's goal, but he failed to use his power for the best interest of his people. The Amarna Letters make clear that he was more concerned with his religious reforms than with foreign policy or the needs of the people of Egypt. His reign was followed by his son, the most recognizable Egyptian ruler in the modern day, Tutankhamun, who reigned from circa 1336-1327 B.C. He was originally named `Tutankhaten’ to reflect the religious beliefs of his father but, upon assuming the throne, changed his name to `Tutankhamun’ to honor the ancient god Amun. He restored the ancient temples, removed all references to his father’s single deity, and returned the capital to Thebes. His reign was cut short by his death and, today, he is most famous for the intact grandeur of his tomb, discovered in 1922 CE, which became an international sensation at the time. The greatest ruler of the New Kingdom, however, was Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great, 1279-1213 B.C.) who commenced the most elaborate building projects of any Egyptian ruler and who reigned so efficiently that he had the means to do so. Although the famous Battle of Kadesh of 1274 (between Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II of the Hitties) is today regarded as a draw, Ramesses considered it a great Egyptian victory and celebrated himself as a champion of the people, and finally as a god, in his many public works. His temple of Abu Simbel (built for his queen Nefertari) depicts the battle of Kadesh and the smaller temple at the site, following Akhenaten’s example, is dedicated to Ramesses favorite queen Nefertari. Under the reign of Ramesses II the first peace treaty in the world (The Treaty of Kadesh) was signed in 1258 B.C. and Egypt enjoyed almost unprecedented affluence as evidenced by the number of monuments built or restored during his reign. Ramesses II's fourth son, Khaemweset (circa 1281-1225 B.C.), is known as the "First Egyptologist" for his efforts in preserving and recording old monuments, temples, and their original owner's names. It is largely due to Khaemweset's initiative that Ramesses II's name is so prominent at so many ancient sites in Egypt. Khaemweset left a record of his own efforts, the original builder/owner of the monument or temple, and his father's name as well. Ramesses II became known to later generations as `The Great Ancestor’ and reigned for so long that he out-lived most of his children and his wives. In time, all of his subjects had been born knowing only Ramesses II as their ruler and had no memory of another. He enjoyed an exceptionally long life of 96 years, over double the average life-span of an ancient Egyptian. Upon his death, it is recorded that many feared the end of the world had come as they had known no other pharaoh and no other kind of Egypt. One of his successors, Ramesses III (1186-1155 B.C.), followed his policies but, by this time, Egypt’s great wealth had attracted the attention of the Sea Peoples who began to make regular incursions along the coast. The Sea Peoples, like the Hyksos, are of unknown origin but are thought to have come from the southern Aegean area. Between 1276-1178 B.C. the Sea Peoples were a threat to Egyptian security. Ramesses II had defeated them in a naval battle early in his reign as had his successor Merenptah (1213-1203 B.C.). After Merenptah's death, however, they increased their efforts, sacking Kadesh, which was then under Egyptian control, and ravaging the coast. Between 1180-1178 B.C. Ramesses III fought them off, finally defeating them at the Battle of Xois in 1178 B.C. Following the reign of Ramesses III, his successors attempted to maintain his policies but increasingly met with resistance from the people of Egypt, those in the conquered territories, and, especially, the priestly class. In the years after Tutankhamun had restored the old religion of Amun, and especially during the great time of prosperity under Ramesses II, the priests of Amun had acquired large tracts of land and amassed great wealth which now threatened the central government and disrupted the unity of Egypt. By the time of Ramesses XI (1107-1077 B.C.), the end of the 20th Dynasty, the government had become so weakened by the power and corruption of the clergy that the country again fractured and central administration collapsed, initiating the so-called Third Intermediate Period of circa 1069-525 B.C. Under the Kushite King Piye (752-722 B.C.), Egypt was again unified and the culture flourished, but beginning in 671 B.C., the Assyrians under Esarhaddon began their invasion of Egypt, conquering it by 666 B.C. under his successor Ashurbanipal. Having made no long-term plans for control of the country, the Assyrians left it in ruin in the hands of local rulers and abandoned Egypt to its fate. Egypt rebuilt and re-fortified, however, and this is the state the country was in when Cambyses II of Persia struck at the city of Pelusium in 525 B.C. Knowing the reverence the Egyptians held for cats (who were thought living representations of the popular goddess Bastet) Cambyses II ordered his men to paint cats on their shields and to drive cats, and other animals sacred to the Egyptians, in front of the army toward Pelusium. The Egyptian forces surrendered and the country fell to the Persians. It would remain under Persian occupation until the coming of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. Alexander was welcomed as a liberator and conquered Egypt without a fight. He established the city of Alexandria and moved on to conquer Phoenicia and the rest of the Persian Empire. After his death in 323 B.C. his general, Ptolemy, brought his body back to Alexandria and founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 B.C.). The last of the Ptolemies was Cleopatra VII who committed suicide in 30 B.C. after the defeat of her forces (and those of her consort Mark Antony) by the Romans under Octavian Caesar at the Battle of Actium (31 B.C.). Egypt then became a province of Rome (30 B.C. - 476 A.D.) then of the Byzantine Empire (circa 527-646 A.D.) until it was conquered by the Arab Muslims under Caliph Umar in 646 CE and fell under Islamic Rule. The glory of Egypt's past, however, was re-discovered during the 18th and 19th centuries A.D. and has had a profound impact on the present day's understanding of ancient history and the world. Historian Will Durant expresses a sentiment felt by many: "The effect or remembrance of what Egypt accomplished at the very dawn of history has influence in every nation and every age. ‘It is even possible', as Faure has said, 'that Egypt, through the solidarity, the unity, and the disciplined variety of its artistic products, through the enormous duration and the sustained power of its effort, offers the spectacle of the greatest civilization that has yet appeared on the earth.' We shall do well to equal it." Egyptian Culture and history has long held a universal fascination for people; whether through the work of early archeologists in the 19th century CE (such as Champollion who deciphered the Rosetta Stone in 1822 A.D.) or the famous discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922 A.D. The ancient Egyptian belief in life as an eternal journey, created and maintained by divine magic, inspired later cultures and later religious beliefs. Much of the iconography and the beliefs of Egyptian religion found their way into the new religion of Christianity and many of their symbols are recognizable today with largely the same meaning. It is an important testimony to the power of the Egyptian civilization that so many works of the imagination, from films to books to paintings even to religious belief, have been and continue to be inspired by its elevating and profound vision of the universe and humanity's place in it. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: REVIEW: Ancient Egyptian culture flourished between circa 5500 B.C. with the rise of technology (as evidenced in the glass-work of faience) and 30 B.C. with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. It is famous today for the great monuments which celebrated the triumphs of the rulers and honored the gods of the land. The culture is often misunderstood as having been obsessed with death but, had this been so, it is unlikely it would have made the significant impression it did on other ancient cultures such as Greece and Rome. The Egyptian culture was, in fact, life affirming, as the scholar Salima Ikram writes: "Judging by the numbers of tombs and mummies that the ancient Egyptians left behind, one can be forgiven for thinking that they were obsessed by death. However, this is not so. The Egyptians were obsessed by life and its continuation rather than by a morbid fascination with death. The tombs, mortuary temples and mummies that they produced were a celebration of life and a means of continuing it for eternity…For the Egyptians, as for other cultures, death was part of the journey of life, with death marking a transition or transformation after which life continued in another form, the spiritual rather than the corporeal." This passion for life imbued in the ancient Egyptians a great love for their land as it was thought that there could be no better place on earth in which to enjoy existence. While the lower classes in Egypt, as elsewhere, subsisted on much less than the more affluent, they still seem to have appreciated life in the same way as the wealthier citizens. This is exemplified in the concept of gratitude and the ritual known as The Five Gifts of Hathor in which the poor labourers were encouraged to regard the fingers of their left hand (the hand they reached with daily to harvest field crops) and to consider the five things they were most grateful for in their lives. Ingratitude was considered a `gateway sin’ as it led to all other types of negative thinking and resultant behaviour. Once one felt ungrateful, it was observed, one then was apt to indulge oneself further in bad behaviour. The Cult of Hathor was very popular in Egypt, among all classes, and epitomizes the prime importance of gratitude in Egyptian culture. Religion was an integral part of the daily life of every Egyptian. As with the people of Mesopotamia, the Egyptians considered themselves co-labourers with the gods but with an important distinction: whereas the Mesopotamian peoples believed they needed to work with their gods to prevent the recurrence of the original state of chaos, the Egyptians understood their gods to have already completed that purpose and a human’s duty was to celebrate that fact and give thanks for it. So-called `Egyptian mythology’ was, in ancient times, as valid a belief structure as any accepted religion in the modern day. Egyptian religion taught the people that, in the beginning, there was nothing but chaotic swirling waters out of which rose a small hill known as the Ben-Ben. Atop this hill stood the great god Atum who spoke creation into being by drawing on the power of Heka, the god of magic. Heka was thought to pre-date creation and was the energy which allowed the gods to perform their duties. Magic informed the entire civilization and Heka was the source of this creative, sustaining, eternal power. In another version of the myth, Atum creates the world by first fashioning Ptah, the creator god who then does the actual work. Another variant on this story is that Ptah first appeared and created Atum. Another, more elaborate, version of the creation story has Atum mating with his shadow to create Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) who then go on to give birth to the world and the other gods. From this original act of creative energy came all of the known world and the universe. It was understood that human beings were an important aspect of the creation of the gods and that each human soul was as eternal as that of the deities they revered. Death was not an end to life but a re-joining of the individual soul with the eternal realm from which it had come. The Egyptian concept of the soul regarded it as being comprised of nine parts: the Khat was the physical body; the Ka one’s double-form; the Ba a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens; Shuyet was the shadow self; Akh the immortal, transformed self, Sahu and Sechem aspects of the Akh; Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil; Ren was one’s secret name. An individual’s name was considered of such importance that an Egyptian’s true name was kept secret throughout life and one was known by a nickname. Knowledge of a person’s true name gave one magical powers over that individual and this is among the reasons why the rulers of Egypt took another name upon ascending the throne; it was not only to link oneself symbolically to another successful pharaoh but also a form of protection to ensure one’s safety and help guarantee a trouble-free journey to eternity when one’s life on earth was completed. According to the historian Margaret Bunson: "Eternity was an endless period of existence that was not to be feared by any Egyptian. The term `Going to One’s Ka’ (astral being) was used in each age to express dying. The hieroglyph for a corpse was translated as `participating in eternal life’. The tomb was the `Mansion of Eternity’ and the dead was an Akh, a transformed spirit. The famous Egyptian mummy (whose name comes from the Persian and Arabic words for `wax’ and `bitumen’, muum and mumia) was created to preserve the individual’s physical body (Khat) without which the soul could not achieve immortality. As the Khat and the Ka were created at the same time, the Ka would be unable to journey to The Field of Reeds if it lacked the physical component on earth. The gods who had fashioned the soul and created the world consistently watched over the people of Egypt and heard and responded to, their petitions. A famous example of this is when Ramesses II was surrounded by his enemies at the Battle of Kadesh (1274 B.C.) and, calling upon the god Amun for aid, found the strength to fight his way through to safety. There are many far less dramatic examples, however, recorded on temple walls, stele, and on papyrus fragments. Papyrus (from which comes the English word `paper’) was only one of the technological advances of the ancient Egyptian culture. The Egyptians were also responsible for developing the ramp and lever and geometry for purposes of construction, advances in mathematics and astronomy (also used in construction as exemplified in the positions and locations of the pyramids and certain temples, such as Abu Simbel), improvements in irrigation and agriculture (perhaps learned from the Mesopotamians), ship building and aerodynamics (possibly introduced by the Phoenicians) the wheel (brought to Egypt by the Hyksos) and medicine. The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus (circa 1800 B.C.) is an early treatise on women’s health issues and contraception and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (circa 1600 B.C.) is the oldest work on surgical techniques. Dentistry was widely practised and the Egyptians are credited with inventing toothpaste, toothbrushes, the toothpick, and even breath mints. They created the sport of bowling and improved upon the brewing of beer as first practised in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians did not, however, invent beer. This popular fiction of Egyptians as the first brewers stems from the fact that Egyptian beer more closely resembled modern-day beer than that of the Mesopotamians. Glass working, metallurgy in both bronze and gold, and furniture were other advancements of Egyptian culture and their art and architecture are famous world-wide for precision and beauty. Personal hygiene and appearance was valued highly and the Egyptians bathed regularly, scented themselves with perfume and incense, and created cosmetics used by both men and women. The practice of shaving was invented by the Egyptians as was the wig and the hairbrush. By 1600 B.C. the water clock was in use in Egypt, as was the calendar. Some have even suggested that they understood the principle of electricity as evidenced in the famous Dendera Light engraving on the wall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera. The images on the wall have been interpreted by some to represent a light bulb and figures attaching said bulb to an energy source. This interpretation, however, has been largely discredited by the academic community. In daily life, the Egyptians seem little different from other ancient cultures. Like the people of Mesopotamia, India, China, and Greece, they lived, mostly, in modest homes, raised families, and enjoyed their leisure time. A significant difference between Egyptian culture and that of other lands, however, was that the Egyptians believed the land was intimately tied to their personal salvation and they had a deep fear of dying beyond the borders of Egypt. Those who served their country in the army, or those who travelled for their living, made provision for their bodies to be returned to Egypt should they be killed. It was thought that the fertile, dark earth of the Nile River Delta was the only area sanctified by the gods for the re-birth of the soul in the afterlife and to be buried anywhere else was to be condemned to non-existence. Because of this devotion to the homeland, Egyptians were not great world-travellers and there is no `Egyptian Herodotus’ to leave behind impressions of the ancient world beyond Egyptian borders. Even in negotiations and treaties with other countries, Egyptian preference for remaining in Egypt was dominant. The historian Nardo writes, "Though Amenophis III had joyfully added two Mitanni princesses to his harem, he refused to send an Egyptian princess to the sovereign of Mitanni, because, `from time immemorial a royal daughter from Egypt has been given to no one.’ This is not only an expression of the feeling of superiority of the Egyptians over the foreigners but at the same time and indication of the solicitude accorded female relatives, who could not be inconvenienced by living among `barbarians’." Further, within the confines of the country people did not travel far from their places of birth and most, except for times of war, famine or other upheaval, lived their lives and died in the same locale. As it was believed that one’s afterlife would be a continuation of one’s present (only better in that there was no sickness, disappointment or, of course, death), the place in which one spent one’s life would constitute one’s eternal landscape. The yard and tree and stream one saw every day outside one’s window would be replicated in the afterlife exactly. This being so, Egyptians were encouraged to rejoice in and deeply appreciate their immediate surroundings and to live gratefully within their means. The concept of ma’at (harmony and balance) governed Egyptian culture and, whether of upper or lower class, Egyptians endeavoured to live in peace with their surroundings and with each other. Among the lower classes, homes were built of mud bricks baked in the sun. The more affluent a citizen, the thicker the home; wealthier people had homes constructed of a double layer, or more, of brick while poorer people’s houses were only one brick wide. Wood was scarce and was only used for doorways and window sills (again, in wealthier homes) and the roof was considered another room in the house where gatherings were routinely held as the interior of the homes were often dimly lighted. Clothing was simple linen, un-dyed, with the men wearing a knee-length skirt (or loincloth) and the women in light, ankle-length dresses or robes which concealed or exposed their breasts depending on the fashion at a particular time. It would seem that a woman’s level of undress, however, was indicative of her social status throughout much of Egyptian history. Dancing girls, female musicians, and servants and slaves are routinely shown as naked or nearly naked while a lady of the house is fully clothed, even during those times when exposed breasts were a fashion statement. Even so, women were free to dress as they pleased and there was never a prohibition, at any time in Egyptian history, on female fashion. A woman’s exposed breasts were considered a natural, normal, fashion choice and was in no way deemed immodest or provocative. It was understood that the goddess Isis had given equal rights to both men and women and, therefore, men had no right to dictate how a woman, even one’s own wife, should attire herself. Children wore little or no clothing until puberty. Marriages were not arranged among the lower classes and there seems to have been no formal marriage ceremony. A man would carry gifts to the house of his intended bride and, if the gifts were accepted, she would take up residence with him. The average age of a bride was 13 and that of a groom 18-21. A contract would be drawn up portioning a man’s assets to his wife and children and this allotment could not be rescinded except on grounds of adultery (defined as sex with a married woman, not a married man). Egyptian women could own land, homes, run businesses, and preside over temples and could even be pharaohs (as in the example of Queen Hatshepsut, 1479-1458 B.C.) or, earlier, Queen Sobeknofru, circa 1767-1759 B.C.). The historian Thompson writes, "Egypt treated its women better than any of the other major civilizations of the ancient world. The Egyptians believed that joy and happiness were legitimate goals of life and regarded home and family as the major source of delight.” Because of this belief, women enjoyed a higher prestige in Egypt than in any other culture of the ancient world. While the man was considered the head of the house, the woman was head of the home. She raised the children of both sexes until, at the age or four or five, boys were taken under the care and tutelage of their fathers to learn their profession (or attend school if the father’s profession was that of a scribe, priest, or doctor). Girls remained under the care of their mothers, learning how to run a household, until they were married. Women could also be scribes, priests, or doctors but this was unusual because education was expensive and tradition held that the son should follow the father's profession, not the daughter. Marriage was the common state of Egyptians after puberty and a single man or woman was considered abnormal. The higher classes, or nobility, lived in more ornate homes with greater material wealth but seem to have followed the same precepts as those lower on the social hierarchy. All Egyptians enjoyed playing games, such as the game of Senet (a board game popular since the Pre-Dynastic Period, circa 5500-3150 B.C.) but only those of means could afford a quality playing board. This did not seem to stop poorer people from playing the game, however; they merely played with a less ornate set. Watching wrestling matches and races and engaging in other sporting events, such as hunting, archery, and sailing, were popular among the nobility and upper class but, again, were enjoyed by all Egyptians in as much as they could be afforded (save for large animal hunting which was the sole provenance of the ruler and those he designated). Feasting at banquets was a leisure activity only of the upper class although the lower classes were able to enjoy themselves in a similar (though less lavish) way at the many religious festivals held throughout the year. Swimming and rowing were extremely popular among all classes. The Roman writer Seneca observed common Egyptians at sport the Nile River and described the scene: "The people embark on small boats, two to a boat, and one rows while the other bails out water. Then they are violently tossed about in the raging rapids. At length, they reach the narrowest channels…and, swept along by the whole force of the river, they control the rushing boat by hand and plunge head downward to the great terror of the onlookers. You would believe sorrowfully that by now they were drowned and overwhelmed by such a mass of water when, far from the place where they fell, they shoot out as from a catapult, still sailing, and the subsiding wave does not submerge them, but carries them on to smooth waters." Swimming was an important part of Egyptian culture and children were taught to swim when very young. Water sports played a significant role in Egyptian entertainment as the Nile River was such a major aspect of their daily lives. The sport of water-jousting, in which two small boats, each with one or two rowers and one jouster, fought each other, seems to have been very popular. The rower (or rowers) in the boat sought to strategically maneuver while the fighter tried to knock his opponent out of the craft. They also enjoyed games having nothing to do with the river, however, which were similar to modern-day games of catch and handball. Gardens and simple home adornments were highly prized by the Egyptians. A home garden was important for sustenance but also provided pleasure in tending to one’s own crop. The labourers in the fields never worked their own crop and so their individual garden was a place of pride in producing something of their own, grown from their own soil. This soil, again, would be their eternal home after they left their bodies and so was greatly valued. A tomb inscription from 1400 B.C. reads, “May I walk every day on the banks of the water, may my soul rest on the branches of the trees which I planted, may I refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore” in referencing the eternal aspect of the daily surroundings of every Egyptian. After death, one would still enjoy one’s own particular sycamore tree, one’s own daily walk by the water, in an eternal land of peace granted to those of Egypt by the gods they gratefully revered. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: While many believe that mummies are strictly bound to Egypt's history, it is important to remember that the history of mummies can also be seen in other areas of Africa, China, South and North America, and Europe. Each culture does not treat mummies and the process of mummification in the exact same way, but they are all used in regards to death and trying to better preserve the body after the individual has passes. Depending on the country, or the intent of those mummifying, mummies can be classified into two categories; anthropogenic (bodies intentionally mummified) or spontaneous (Unintentionally created by natural forces). Most of the mummification in countries such as China, Europe, and the Americas were known for spontaneous burial of mummies, which is why they are not as recognized for their mummification history. Today, mummies from the time of Ancient Egypt are remembered for their religious and technological impact and are considered the most crucial part of the history of mummies. Mummies in Egypt are mostly importantly recognized for portraying the distinct use of religion and the purpose of preparing the body for the afterlife. Many have the preconceived notion that Egyptians were obsessed with the idea of death, when in fact; they were fantasied by the idea of life and life after death. The use of mummies in Egypt showed that all mummies were not accidental, that mummies were created with a purpose in mind. Egyptians were by far the most advanced in their mummification processes, creating embalming, removing organs, creation of tombs, and even burying the bodies of the dead with items that they could take with them in the afterlife. Throughout the three kingdoms most distinctly recognized during this time period, many advancements were made, not only in the way of actual mummification process, but religiously as well. Today, Egypt is thought to be a shining example of how death is influenced by many other factors rather than just simply passing away. Religion had come to play such a prominent role, displaying how Egyptians used mummies in more ways that just one. The Old Kingdom was the first of the kingdoms in Ancient Egypt. In the times of the Old Kingdom, any attempts to save the body of a mummy were evident, but did not yield any conclusive results. One of the most important discoveries of this time is that the Egyptians realized the importance of the desiccation process, which helped to delay decay of the body being buried. Mummies were fully wrapped in gauze type bandages, with imprints made around the face. It was during this period that mummies began to be wrapped with their arms alongside their body, hands placed against the outside of the thighs. As far as actual burial sites were concerned, stone construction became much more prevalent, and funerary architecture developed greatly during the old kingdom. These burial grounds did not contain decorations, but were buried in pyramids to help transport the sarcophagus to the tombs. Burial places of ordinary people did not reach the same standards of those higher up, seeing that most of the commoners were buried in pits in the ground covered by bricks. The Middle Kingdom was the second kingdom that evolved after the Old Kingdom. Like the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom shows that the Egyptians still had not found a very efficient way to use the mummification process but did show some improvements that helped to improve body preservation. The Egyptians created a chemical mixture that simply caused them to lose the fat on their body rather than other vital parts of the body. Another similarity between the kingdoms was the lack of furnishings within the burial sites. The burial sites, however, began to contain paintings mainly regarding pilgrimage to Abydos, where the tomb of Osiris was said to be located. Of course, all individuals who were buried were not treated equally; those who were lower on the social status level did not receive the same embalming treatment as those of more prominent social status. It was during this period that there began to be a regular use of funerary masks and canopic vases, which held human organs, protected by the heads of the four sons of Horus. The New Kingdom was the last of the kingdoms in Ancient Egypt, considered to be the most developed in regards to mummies. The New Kingdom was thought to be the most elaborate of the Kingdoms; many of the tombs have said to be found with fine artwork, vases, and other well-decorated relics. The coffins of this kingdom varied in decoration, some at the beginning of this time frame only having simple decorations and stripes, later era ones containing intricate scenes, texts, and decorative motifs. During the 1920's, "The Valley of Kings" was discovered, a valley filled with mummies of pharos specifically from the New Kingdom. The most important mummy found from this time period was Tutankhamun. He gave archeologists the most insight into how royal mummies were dealt with in the New Kingdom. Royal mummies often contained objects funerary in nature such as food, sculptures of animals, and model boats meant to represent the voyage into the afterlife. The New Kingdom also emphasized the importance of Osiris, god of the dead. Today, mummies can give us extremely important insight as to how past cultures and societies functioned. From how well mummies were buried, where they were buried, and what they were burred with, it has greatly helped archeologists uncover some of the great mysteries of the past. It can also give a clue as to the religion of a culture, and how that religion affected death, and the process associated with it. Today we view Ancient Egypt as one of the most prominent places to study mummies due to their rich history into the cultures and civilizations of the day. [CollegeHistory.Com]. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $12.99 to $33.99 for an insuredshipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). This book does barely fit into a flat rate envelope, but with NO padding, it will be highly susceptible to damage. We strongly recommend first class airmail, which although more expensive, would allow us to properly protect the book. There is a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: See detailed condition description below.