Funerary Texts

Figure 15. The Opening of the Mouth ceremony put the power of spoken magic at the command of the deceased.

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 4 — Preparing for Eternity

Ultimately everybody has to deal with the final fact of life: death. How the Egyptians dealt with it was so profound in its cultural breadth and depth that it gives rise to the biggest misconception about them: that they were fixated on death. It was just the opposite: they were fixated on life. But we have to understand that for them, death was neither final nor fact.  [more…]

Osiris with Nephthys and Isis. Photograph by on Bodsworth

Deities of the underworld in the New Kingdom

This article looks at the most important scene in a funerary text that the Egyptians called the Book of Going Forth by Day, better known today as the Book of the Dead. It consists of a series of spells to help the deceased tackle the challenges of the Afterlife. The subject of this article is the vignette (illustration) accompanying Spell 125, the scene in the Court of Judgment [more…]

Edition - July, 2011

Notes on the Osireion at Abydos

Notes on the Osireion at Abydos

The Osireion was first excavated by Sir William Flinders Petrie, Margaret Murray and Petrie’s wife in the early 1900s. They found the tunnel and excavated towards what they called the “hypogeum.” It was full of sand and Roman filling when they began to clear it. Even before the full excavation of the site Murray speculated, convincingly, that “this was the building for the special worship of Osiris and the celebration of the Mysteries” [more…]

Shabtis in Croatian Private Collections and Museums


Approximately 5,000 Egyptian artefacts are housed in the more than twenty museum and known private collections in Croatia (4,042 in museums and circa 1,000 in private collections) dating from the 4th millennium BC to AD 641. There are 375 shabtis in nine museums and the known private collections in Croatia. Most (346) came from the Pharaonic periods of Ancient Egypt, but an additional 26 shabtis and 3 pseudoshabtis were unearthed during excavations in the territory of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia (today in Croatia). These shabtis were usually connected with the diffusion of the Egyptian cults during Graeco-Roman periods (c. 4th century BC to the 3rd century AD). The largest collection of shabtis is held in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb (312). These shabtis were collected over a long period of time, from 1865 to today, and from various sources, but most are of unknown provenance. My analysis showed that all shabtis are genuine. They were crafted between the Middle Kingdom (AMZ, inv. no. E-310) and the 3rd c. AD. The following analysis of the shabtis showed that almost all known types and forms of shabtis can be found in Croatian collections. [more…]

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 1. The Conceptual Foundations

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 1. The Conceptual Foundations


This article, the first of a five-part series on Ancient Egyptian religion, will lay these conceptual foundations for all that follows: cosmic order, maat; duality, the balance of binary aspects of a whole; and magic, heqa, which makes everything possible. Subsequent articles will cover the major theologies, Creation myths and associated deities, resurrection and eternity, and the religion as it is expressed in temple and tomb architecture, ritual, art and writing. [more…]

Edition - April, 2011

Book Review: The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife

The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung (Translated by David Lorton) Cornell University Press ISBN-13: 978-0801485152 Originally written in German, this book is such a valuable source of information about ancient Egytian funerary texts that it was translated into English by David Lorton for publication by Cornell University Press. The funerary texts […] [more…]