Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead
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Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

Prayers, Incantations, and Other Texts from the Book of the Dead

E. A. Wallis Budge, Epiphanius Wilson

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eBook - ePub

Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

Prayers, Incantations, and Other Texts from the Book of the Dead

E. A. Wallis Budge, Epiphanius Wilson

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About This Book

Presented in easy-to-understand sections, with this book you willdiscover the magic of ancient Egypt in this comprehensive translation of the real Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead is a compendium of classic texts by one of the greatest translators and historians of ancient Egypt, as well as one of the most renowned Egyptologists of all time, E.A. Wallis Budge. In Part I, using plain, simple, easy-to-understand language, Budge delves into the history, instructions, motifs, themes, spells, incantations, and charms written for the dead that ancient Egyptians would need to employ to pass from this world into the next. Throughout centuries, these "books of the dead man" were often found buried alongside mummies and inside tombs, which locals and grave robbers would collect. In Part II, Budge's classic translation of the Book of the Dead from the Papyrus of Ani (and others) is presented in its original format and contains the prayers, incantations, and ancient text used to help guide the dead during their journey. Finally, in Part III, a list of Egyptian deities is provided. Illustrated throughout with great care, including photos, fine art, and other illustrations, this edition will bring the historic afterlife guide back to life.

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Translations of the Prayers, Incantations, and Other Texts from the Book of the Dead According to the Theban Recension




The ancient Egyptian hymns and religious texts printed in the following pages form a representative collection of the various compositions which the Egyptians inscribed upon the walls of tombs, sarcophagi, coffins, funeral stelae, papyri, amulets, etc. to ensure the well-being of their dead in the world beyond the grave. They have been edited from papyri and other documents which were found chiefly at Thebes; and, taken together, they are generally known as the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, that is to say, the Recension of the great, national, funeral work, which was copied by the scribes for themselves and for Egyptian men and women of high rank and position from about 1600 B.C. Many of the ideas and beliefs embodied in these texts are coeval with Egyptian civilization, and the actual forms of some of the most interesting of these are identical with those which we now know to have existed in the Vth and Vlth dynasties, about 3500 B.C. The greater number of the texts here given belong to the group to which the Egyptians gave the name “Chapters of Coming Forth by Day”; the remainder are introductory hymns, supplementary extracts from ancient cognate works, rubrics [printed in capital letters in this edition], etc., which were believed to increase the well-being and happiness of the dead, to give them greater strength to resist the attacks of foes, and to withstand the powers of darkness and of the grave.
A mummy of a pharaoh.
The papyri selected as authorities are the best now known, and they have been chosen with the view of illustrating the development of the Theban Recension and the changes which took place in it during the various periods of its history. Since (1) no papyrus contains all the Chapters of this Recension, (2) no two papyri agree either in respect of contents or arrangement of the Chapters, and (3) the critical value of every text in a papyrus is not always the same, it follows that a complete edition of all the known Chapters of the Theban Recension would be impossible unless recourse were had to several papyri. I have, therefore, made use of several; and among them worthy of special mention is the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus. No. 10,477). Wherever it has seemed advisable, I have given the text of a Chapter from more than one papyrus, and, where lines have been omitted accidentally by the scribe, I have generally supplied them from papyri of about the same period, telling the reader at the same time the sources of them. Like [Henri Édouard] Naville [author of Das aegyptische Todtenbuch der XVIII. bis XX. Dynastie, published in 1886], I have adopted the system of numbering the Chapters employed by [Dr. Karl Richard] Lepsius [author of Das Todtenbuch der Ägypter] in his edition of the Saïte, or last Recension, of the Book of the Dead, from the Turin Papyrus, which was published so far back as 1842.
[Most of the Chapters of the Book of the Dead, hymns, etc., printed in this volume are edited from the following papyri. Some chapters are also taken from the Papyrus of Mes-em-neter; the Papyrus of Amen-hetep; the Tomb of Ramses IV; the Papyrus of Ptah-mes; the Papyrus of Paqrer; and the Papyrus of Ra.]


This papyrus was obtained by Burton at Memphis and was acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum at the sale of his collection in 1836. It measures 77 ft. 7 1/2 in. by 1 ft. 1 1/2 in. It is mounted under glass in thirty-three sheets, and bears the number 9,900. It is probably the oldest known papyrus inscribed with the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, and we cannot be far wrong in ascribing it to the first half of the period of the rule of the kings of the XVIIIth dynasty over Egypt, i. e., about 1600 B.C. The vignettes and text are in black ink throughout, and only the titles of the Chapters are given in red. The whole papyrus is most carefully written and is, it would seem, the work of Nebseni himself. As an authority for the text of the Theban Recension it takes very high rank, and the Chapters which Naville selected from it for his edition of the Book of the Dead form one third of the entire number which he has printed. The deceased Nebseni was by profession a scribe, and he held various offices connected with the architect and surveyor’s department attached to the Temple of Ptah at Memphis, and he was in the immediate service of “the lord of the two lands,” his king. His father and mother were called Thena and Mutrestha respectively; his wife’s name was Seneb or Senseneb. His two sons were called Amsu-mes and Ptah-mes, and his daughter Thent-Men-nefer. The Papyrus of Nebseni contains 77 Chapters, not reckoning duplicates and triplicates.
A colossus of Rameses II in Abu Simbel, Egypt.
The ruins of Kadesh.


This papyrus was found at Kurna, Thebes, and was acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum in 1890. It measures 65 ft. 3 1/2 in. by 1 ft. 1 1/2 in. It is mounted under glass in thirty sheets, and bears the number 10,477. It is, I believe, the oldest of the painted papyri inscribed with the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, and it may, with little doubt, be considered a product of the first half of the period of the rule of the kings of the XVIIIth dynasty—it is very little later than that of Nebseni. The papyrus begins with a colored scene in which the deceased is standing in adoration before Osiris, who is seated in a shrine, and only a few of the Chapters—i e., those of the Transformations, Arits, Pylons, Aats, and one or two others—have vignettes. The text is in black throughout, and only the titles of the Chapters and the rubrics are given in red. The whole papyrus is most carefully written, and it is probably the work of Nu himself. It must rank as one of the chief authorities for the text of the Theban Recension, for it is no mere copy hastily written for sale by a scribe, but a piece of work which bears upon every line of it the impress of care and knowledge; it is, moreover, the work of one man. Here and there the scribe has omitted lines, and two copies of one short Chapter (No. 132) occur. This papyrus follows that of Nebseni in omitting the introductory hymns to Ra and Osiris and the great Judgment Scene, which are characteristic of the illustrated papyri of the last half of the XVIIIth dynasty and subsequent periods, and like most of the old papyri it ends with Chapters 149 and 150. It contains a considerable number of Chapters which have not hitherto been found in papyri of the Theban Recension, and also a large number of others which have only hitherto been known from a single document. It contains both versions of the 64th Chapter, and the various groups of Chapters relating to special subjects are singularly complete. The deceased Nu held the office of “overseer of the palace,” and he is described to which we may either render as “belonging to the office of chancellor” or “the tongue of the chancery.” I have rendered it freely by the words “chancellor-in-chief.” The name of his father was Amen-hetep, and he had held the same offices as his son Nu; his mother’s name was Senseneb. The name Amen-hetep is common enough in the XVIIIth dynasty, but the na...

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