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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, 11:14:53 pm »

[1. De Iside et Osiride, § 14.

2. See Lanzone, op. cit., p. 65.

3 Pyramid of Unas, l. 187.

4 See Le Nom antique de la Grande-Oasis (in Journal Asiatique, IXe Série, to i., pp. 233-40).

6 ###. Pyramid of Unas, l. 439.]

{p. cxviii}

they appear among the company of the gods who are present when the soul of the deceased is being weighed in the balance.

Tehuti or Thoth represented the divine intelligence which at creation uttered the words that were carried into effect by Ptah and Khnemu. He was self produced, and was the great god of the earth, air, sea and sky; and he united in himself the attributes of many gods. He was the scribe of the gods, and, as such, he was regarded as the inventor of all the arts and sciences known to the Egyptians; some of his titles are "lord of writing," "master of papyrus," "maker of the palette and the ink-jar," "the mighty speaker," "the sweet tongued"; and the words and compositions which he recited on behalf of the deceased preserved the latter from the influence of hostile powers and made him invincible in the "other world." He was the god of right and truth, wherein he lived, and whereby he established the world and all that is in it. As the chronologer of heaven and earth, he became the god of the moon; and as the reckoner of time, he obtained his name Tehuti, i.e., "the measurer"; in these capacities he had the power to grant life for millions of years to the deceased. When the great combat took place between Horus, the son of Isis, and Set, Thoth was present as judge, and he gave to Isis the cow's head in the place of her own which was cut off by Horus in his rage at her interference; having reference to this fact he is called Ap-rehui, "The judge of the two combatants." One of the Egyptian names for the ibis was Tekh, and the similarity of the sound of this word to that of Tehu, the name of the moon as a measurer of time, probably led the Egyptians to depict the god in the form of an ibis, notwithstanding the fact that the dog-headed ape was generally considered to be the animal sacred to him. It has been thought that there were two gods called Thoth, one being a form of Shu; but the attributes belonging to each have not yet been satisfactorily defined. In the monuments and papyri Thoth appears in the form of a man with the head of an ibis, which is sometimes surmounted by the crown ###, or ###, or ###, or by disk and horns ###, or ###, and he holds in his left hand the sceptre ### and in the right {the ankh} ###; sometimes he is depicted holding his ink-jar and the crescent moon, and sometimes he appears in the form of an ape holding a palette full of writing-reeds.' Thoth is mentioned in the pyramid texts[2] as the brother of Osiris, but whether he is the

[1. See Lanzone, op. cit., tav. 304, No. 1.

2. Pyramid of Unas, l. 236.]

{p. cxix}

same Thoth who is called the "Lord of Khemennu" and the "Scribe of the gods" is doubtful.

Maat, the wife of Thoth, was the daughter of Ra, and a very ancient goddess; she seems to have assisted Ptah and Khnemu in carrying out rightly the work of creation ordered by Thoth. There is no one word which will exactly describe the Egyptian conception of Maat both from a physical and from a moral point of view; but the fundamental idea of the word is " straight," and from the Egyptian texts it is clear that maat meant right, true, truth, real, genuine, upright, righteous, just, steadfast, unalterable, etc. Thus already in the Prisse papyrus it is said, "Great is maat, the mighty and unalterable, and it hath never been broken since the time of Osiris,"[1] and Ptah-hetep counsels his listener to "make maat, or right and truth, to germinate."[2] The just, upright, and straight man is maat and in a book of moral precepts it is said, "God will judge the right (maa)[3] ###[4]. Maat, the goddess of the unalterable laws of heaven, and the daughter of Ra, is depicted in female form, with the feather emblematic of maat, on her head, or with the feather alone for a head, and the sceptre in one hand, and {an ankh} in the other.[5] In the judgment scene two Maat goddesses appear; one probably is the personification of physical law, and the other of moral rectitude.

Het-heru, or Hathor the "house of Horus," was the goddess of the sky wherein Horus the sun-god rose and set. Subsequently a great number of goddesses of the same name were developed from her, and these were identified with Isis, Neith, Iusaset, and many other goddesses whose attributes they absorbed. A group of seven Hathors is also mentioned, and these appear to have partaken of the nature of good fairies. In one form Hathor was the goddess of love, beauty,

[1. Page 17, 1. 5, ###.

2 Page 18, l. 1, ###.

3. Amélineau, la Morale, p. 138.

4. The various meanings of maat are illustrated by abundant passages from Egyptian texts by Brugsch, Wörterbuch (Suppl.), p. 329.

5. See Lanzone, op. cit. tav. 109.]

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