The Book of the Dead | Ancient Egyptian Funerary Text

The Book of the Dead is placed with the dead to ensure their journey to the afterlife. It is a collection of religious documents and funerary texts that were used in ancient Egypt and were used from the beginning of the modern era of the ancient Egyptian state until about 1550 BC.

The Book of the Dead 

Inside, there were funerary texts of various kinds, both magic-religious formulas and stories with which the deceased could have overcome the innumerable tests he would have encountered on the long and tortuous path that would have brought him into the presence of Osiris. The texts, therefore, would have helped him both to reach the god of death without too many problems and to prepare the so-called testimony of his earthly life, whose judgment belonged to Osiris.

The book of the dead has taken many forms over time. Initially, in fact, the formulas and stories were engraved on the walls of the sepulchral chamber, to then be engraved directly on the sarcophagus. Over time and reaching the eighteenth dynasty (1543-1292 B.C) the book of the dead changed shape again: the funeral texts were transferred to a papyrus, then closed in the sarcophagus together with the deceased and all those objects that would have been useful in his last trip.

Ancient Egyptian Funerary Text

These magic formulas were placed in tombs and believed to protect and help the deceased in the underworld and they included hymns to God Amun Re, the sun god. We can see its spells described on passages and tomb walls, mummy wrappings, and even inside King Tutankhamun's golden mask.

The Book of the Dead first appeared in the New Kingdom, but the text developed from a long story of magical funerary writing. The oldest of these writings, the Pyramid Texts, were available only to Egyptians. Then developed the Coffin Text a modified version of the Pyramid Texts - which were written on coffins and included in the tombs of non-royals, such as wealthy Egyptians and elites.

Osiris was the god of resurrection, and Re, was the sun god, star in the Book of the Dead. Then we have 42 extra gods look to a judge. Although the text itself varies in content and order, the story is generally divided into four main sections: the deceased enters the underworld and regains the physical powers of the living, the deceased is resurrected and joins Re to rise as the sun each day, he travels across the sky before judgment in the underworld by gods and, finally finding the soul.


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