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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 7992 times)
Josie Linde
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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2008, 11:13:18 pm »

Shu, the second member of the company of the gods of Annu, was the firstborn son of Ra, Ra-Tmu, or Tum, by the goddess Hathor, the sky, and was the twin brother of Tefnut. He typified the light, he lifted up the sky, Nut, from the earth, Seb, and placed it upon the steps which were in Khemennu.

[1. See Lanzone, op. cit., tav. 398.

2. Ibid., p. 1255-

3. Ibid., tav. 78.

4. Pyramid of Unas, l. 253.]

{p. cxii}

He is usually depicted in the form of a man, who wears upon his head a feather or feathers and holds in his hand the sceptre. At other times he appears in the form of a man with upraised arms; on his head he has the emblem ###, and he is often accompanied by the four pillars of heaven, i.e., the cardinal points.[1] Among the many faïence amulets which are found in tombs are two which have reference to Shu: the little models of steps typify the steps upon which Shu rested the sky in Khemennu; and the crouching figure of a god supporting the sun's disk symbolizes his act of raising the sun's disk into the space between sky and earth at the time when he separated Nut from Seb.

Tefnut, the third member of the company of the gods of Annu, was the daughter of Ra, Ra-Tmu, or Tmu, and twin-sister of Shu; she represented in one form moisture, and in another aspect she seems to personify the power of sunlight. She is depicted in the form of a woman, usually with the head of a lioness surmounted by a disk or uræus, or both;[2] in faïence, however, the twin brother and sister have each a lion's head. In the pyramid texts they play a curious part, Shu being supposed to carry away hunger from the deceased, and Tefnut his thirst.[3]

Seb or Qeb, the fourth member of the company of the gods of Annu, was the son of Shu, husband of Nut, and by her father of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Originally he was the god of the earth, and is called both the father of the gods, and the "erpa (i.e., the tribal, hereditary head) of the gods." He is depicted in human form, sometimes with a crown upon his head and sceptre I in his right hand; and sometimes he has upon his head a goose,[4] which bird was sacred to him. In many places he is called the "great cackler" and he was supposed to have laid the egg from which the world sprang. Already in the pyramid texts he has become a god of the dead by virtue of representing the earth wherein the deceased was laid.

[1. See Lanzone, op. cit., tav. 385.

2. See Lanzone, op. cit., tav. 395.

3. Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 10 (l. 61).

4 See Lanzone op. cit. tav 346.]

{p. cxiii}

Ausar or Osiris, the sixth member of the company of the gods of Annu, was the son of Seb and Nut, and the husband of his sister Isis, the father of "Horus, the son of Isis," and the brother of Set and Nephthys. The version of his sufferings and death by Plutarch has been already described (see p. xlviii.). Whatever may have been the foundation of the legend, it is pretty certain that his character as a god of the dead was well defined long before the versions of the pyramid texts known to us were written, and the only important change which took place in the views of the Egyptians concerning him in later days was the ascription to him of the attributes which in the early dynasties were regarded as belonging only to Ra or to Ra-Tmu. Originally Osiris was a form of the sun-god, and, speaking generally, he may be said to have represented the sun after he had set, and as such was the emblem of the motionless dead; later texts identify him with the moon. The Egyptians asserted that he was the father of the gods who had given him birth, and, as he was the god both of yesterday and of to-day, he became the type of eternal existence and the symbol of immortality; as such he usurped not only the attributes of Ra, but those of every other god, and at length he was both the god of the dead and the god of the living. As judge of the dead he was believed to exercise functions similar to those attributed to God. Alone among all the many gods of Egypt, Osiris was chosen as the type of what the deceased hoped to become when, his body having been mummified in the prescribed way, and ceremonies proper to the occasion having been performed and the prayers said, his glorified body should enter into his presence in heaven; to him as "lord of eternity," by which title as judge of the dead he was commonly addressed, the deceased appealed to make his flesh to germinate and to save his body from decay.[1] The various forms in which Osiris is depicted are too numerous to be described here, but generally speaking he is represented in the form of a mummy wearing a crown and holding in his hands the emblems of sovereignty and power. A very complete series of illustrations of the forms of Osiris is given by Lanzone in his Dizionario, tavv. 258-299. The ceremonies connected with the celebration of the events of the sufferings, the death and the resurrection of Osiris occupied a very prominent part in the religious observances of the Egyptians, and it seems as if in the month of Choiak a representation of

[1. Compare ###. Naville, Todtenbuch, Bd. I., Bl. 179.]

{p. cxiv}

them took place in various temples in Egypt; the text of a minute description of them has been published by M. Loret in Recueil de Travaux, tom. iii., p. 43 ff, and succeeding volumes. A perusal of this work explains the signification of many of the ceremonies connected with the burial of the dead, the use of amulets, and certain parts of the funeral ritual; and the work in this form being of a late date proves that the doctrine of immortality, gained through the god who was "lord of the heavens and of the earth, of the underworld and of the waters, of the mountains, and of all which the sun goeth round in his course,"[1] had remained unchanged for at least four thousand years of its existence.

Auset or Isis, the seventh member of the company of the gods of Annu, was the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus; her woes have been described both by Egyptian and Greek writers.[2] Her commonest names are "the great goddess, the divine mother, the mistress of charms or enchantments"; in later times she is called the "mother of the gods," and the "living one." She is usually depicted in the form of a woman, with a head-dress in the shape of a seat, the hieroglyphic for which forms her name. The animal sacred to her was the cow, hence she sometimes wears upon her head the horns of that animal accompanied by plumes and feathers. In one aspect she is identified with the goddess Selk or Serq, and she then has upon her head a scorpion, the emblem of that goddess;[3] in another aspect she is united to the star Sothis, and then a star is added to her crown. She is, however, most commonly represented as the mother suckling her child Horus, and figures of her in this aspect, in bronze and faïence, exist in thousands. As a nature goddess she is seen standing in the boat of the sun, and she was probably the deity of the dawn.

Heru or Horus, the sun-god, was originally a totally distinct god from Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, but from the earliest times it seems that the two gods were confounded, and that the attributes of the one were ascribed to the other; the fight which Horus the sun-god waged against night and darkness was also at a very early period identified with the combat between Horus, the son of

[1. ###.

2. Chabas, Un Hymne à Osiris (in Revue Archéologique, t. xiv., p. 65 ff.); Horrack, Les Lamentations d'Isis et de Nephthys, Paris, 1866; The Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys (in Archæologia, vol. lii., London, 1891), etc.

3 See Lanzone, op. cit., tav. 306 ff.]

{p. cxv}

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