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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 8696 times)
Josie Linde
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« on: December 21, 2008, 09:54:08 pm »

The four great Versions of the Book of the Dead.

THE history of the great body of religious compositions which form the Book of Dead of the ancient Egyptians may conveniently be divided into four[1] of the periods, which are represented by four versions:--

1. The version which was edited by the priests of the college of Annu (the On of the Bible, and the Heliopolis of the Greeks), and which was based upon a series of texts now lost, but which there is evidence to prove had passed through a series of revisions or editions as early as the period of the Vth dynasty. This version was, so far as we know, always written in hieroglyphics, and may be called the Heliopolitan version. It is known from five copies which are inscribed upon the walls of the chambers and passages in the pyramids[2] of kings of the Vth and VIth dynasties at Sakkâra;[3] and sections of it are found inscribed upon tombs, sarcophagi, coffins, stelæ and papyri from the XIth dynasty to about A.D. 200.[4]

[1. See Naville, Todtenbuch (Einleitung), p. 39.

2. Hence known as the "pyramid texts."

3. I.e., Unâs, Tetâ, Pepi I., Mentu-em-sa-f, and Pepi II. Their pyramids were cleared out by MM. Mariette and Maspero during the years 1890-84, and the hieroglyphic texts were published, with a French translation, in Recueil de Travaux, t. iii-xiv., Paris, 1882-93.

4. In the XIth, XIIth, and XIIIth dynasties many monuments are inscribed with sections of the Unâs text. Thus lines 206-69 are found in hieroglyphics upon the coffin of Amamu (British Museum, No. 6654. See Birch, Egyptian Texts of the Earliest Period from the Coffin of Amamu, 1886. Plates XVII.-XX.); Il. 206-14 and 268-84 on the coffin of Apa-ankh, from Sakkâra (see Lepsius, Denkmäler, ii., Bl. 99 b; Maspero, Recueil, t. iii., pp. 200 and 214 ff.); Il. 206-10 {footnote page x.} and 268-89 on the coffin of Antef (see Lepsius, Denkmäler, ii., Bl. 145; Maspero, Recueil, t. iii., pp. 200, 214); line 206 on a coffin of Menthu-hetep at Berlin (see Lepsius, Aelteste Texte, Bl. 5); lines 269-94 on the sarcophagus of Heru-hetep (see Maspero, Mémoires, t, i., p. 144). A section is found on the walls of the tomb of Queen Neferu (see Maspero, Recueil, t. iii., p. 201 ff.; Mémoires, t. i., p. 134); other sections are found on the sarcophagus of Taka (see Lepsius, Denkmäler, ii., Bll. 147, 148; Maspero, Guide au Visiteur, p. 224, No. 1053; Mémoires, t. i., p. 134); lines 5-8 occur on the stele of Apa (see Ledrain, Monuments Égyptiens de la Bibl. Nationale, Paris, 1879, foll. 14, 15); lines 166 ff. are found on the stele of Nehi (see Mariette, Notice des Mon. à Boulaq, p. 190; Maspero, Recueil, t. iii., p. 195); and lines 576-83 on the coffin of Sebek-Aa (see Lepsius, Aelteste Texte, Bl. 37; Maspero, Recueil, t. iv., p. 68). In the XVIIIth dynasty line 169 was copied on a wall in the temple of Hatshepset at Dêr el-baharî (see Dümichen, Hist. Inschriften, Bll. 25-37; Maspero, Recueil, t. i., p. 195 ff.); and copies of lines 379-99 occur in the papyri of Mut-hetep (British Museum, No. 10,010) and Nefer-uten-f (Paris, No. 3092, See Naville, Todtenbuch, Bd. I., Bl. 197; Aeg. Zeitschrift, Bd. XXXII., p. 3; and Naville, Einleitung, pp. 39, 97). In the XXVIth dynasty we find texts of the Vth dynasty repeated on the walls of the tomb of Peta-Amen-apt, the chief kher-heb at Thebes (see Dümichen, Der Grabpalast des Patuamenap in der Thebanischen Nekropolis, Leipzig, 1884-85); and also upon the papyrus written for the lady Sais ###, about A.D. 200 (see Devéria, Catalogue des MSS. Égyptiens, Paris, 1874, p. 170 No. 3155). Signor Schiaparelli's words are:--"Esso è scritto in ieratico, di un tipo paleografico speciale: l' enorme abbondanza di segni espletivi, la frequenza di segni o quasi demotici o quasi geroglifici, la sottigliezza di tutti, e l'incertezza con cui sono tracciati, che rivela una mano più abituata a scrivere in greco che in egiziano, sono altrettanti caratteri del tipo ieratico del periodo esclusivamente romano, a cui il nostro papiro appartiene senza alcun dubbio." Il Libro dei Funerali, p. 19. On Devéria's work in connection with this MS., see Maspero, Le Rituel du sacrifice Funéraire (in Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, t. xv., p. 161).]

{p. x}

II. The Theban version, which was commonly written on papyri in hieroglyphics and was divided into sections or chapters, each of which had its distinct title but no definite place in the series. The version was much used from the XVIIIth to the XXth dynasty.

III. A version closely allied to the preceding version, which is found written on papyri in the hieratic character and also in hieroglyphics. In this version, which came into use about the XXth dynasty, the chapters have no fixed order.

IV. The so-called Saïte version, in which, at some period anterior probably to the XXVIth dynasty, the chapters were arranged in a definite order. It is commonly written in hieroglyphics and in hieratic, and it was much used from the XXVIth dynasty to the end of the Ptolemaic period.

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