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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 6018 times)
Josie Linde
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Posts: 4493

« Reply #45 on: December 21, 2008, 11:16:45 pm »

Beb, Bebti, Baba, or Babu, mentioned three times in the Book of the Dead, is the "firstborn son of Osiris," and seems to be one of the gods of generation.

Hapi is the name of the great god of the Nile who was worshipped in Egypt under two forms, i.e., "Hapi of the South," and "Hapi of the North,"; the papyrus was the emblem of the one, and the lotus of the other. From the earliest times the Nile was regarded by the Egyptians as the source of all the prosperity of Egypt, and it was honoured as being the type of the life-giving waters out of the midst of which sprang the gods and all created things. In turn it was identified with all the gods of Egypt, new or old, and its influence was so great upon the minds of the Egyptians that from the earliest days they depicted to themselves a material heaven wherein the Isles of the Blest were laved by the waters of the Nile, and the approach to which was by the way of its stream as it flowed to the north. Others again lived in imagination on the banks of the heavenly Nile, whereon they built cities; and it seems as if the Egyptians never succeeded in conceiving a heaven without a Nile and canals. The Nile is depicted in the form of a man, who wears upon his head a clump of papyrus or lotus flowers; his breasts are those of a woman, indicating fertility. Lanzone reproduces an interesting scene[1] in which the north and south Nile gods are tying a papyrus and a lotus stalk around the emblem of union to indicate the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt, and this emblem is found cut upon the thrones of the kings of Egypt to indicate their sovereignty over the regions traversed by the South and North Niles. It has already been said that Hapi was identified with all the gods in turn, and it follows as a matter of course that the attributes of each were ascribed to him; in one respect, however he is different from them all, for of him it is written

an mehu en aner tut her uah set sexet aarat

He cannot be sculptured in stone; in the images on which men place crowns and uræi

an qemuh entuf an baka an xerpu tuf an

he is not made manifest; service cannot be rendered nor offerings made to him; not

[1. Dizionario, tav. 198.]

{p. cxxiv}

seset-tu em setau an rex-tu bu entuf an

can he be drawn from [his] mystery; not can be known the place where he is; not

qem tephet anu.

is he found in the painted shrine.[1]

Here the scribe gave to the Nile the attributes of the great and unknown God its Maker.

In the pyramid texts we find a group of four gods with whom the deceased is closely connected in the "other world"; these are the four "children of Horus" whose names are given in the following order:--Hapi, Tua-mautef, Amset and Qebhsennuf.[2] The deceased is called their "father."[3] His two arms were identified with Hapi and Tuamautef, and his two legs with Amset and Qebhsennuf;[4] and when he entered into the Sekhet-Aaru they accompanied him as guides, and went in with him two on each side.[5] They took away all hunger and thirst from him,[6] they gave him life in heaven and protected it when given,[7] and they brought to him from the Lake of Khemta the boat of the Eye of Khnemu.[8] In one passage they are called the "four Khu's of Horus",[9] and originally they represented the four pillars which supported the sky or Horus. Each was supposed to be lord of one of the quarters of the world, and finally became the god of one of the cardinal points. Hapi represented the north, Tuamautef the east, Amset the south, and Qebhsennuf the west. In the XVIIIth dynasty the Egyptians originated the custom of embalming the intestines of the

[1. For the hieratic text from which this extract is taken see Birch, Select Papyri, pll. 20 ff. and 134 ff. see also Maspero, Hymne au Nil, publié et traduit d'après les deux textes A Musée Britannique, Paris, 1868. 4to.

2 Pyramid of Unas, l. 219; Pyramid of Teta, ll. 60, 286; Pyramid of Pepi I., ll. 444, 593, etc.

3. Pyramid of Pepi I., l. 593.

4. Recueil de Travaux, t. iii., p. 905 (l. 219 f.).

5. Ibid., t. vii., p. 150 (ll. 261-63).

6 Ibid., t. v., p. 10 (ll. 59 ff.).

7. ###. Ibid., t. viii., p. 91 (l. 593).

8. Ibid., t. vii., p. 167 (l. 444).

9. Ibid., t. vii., p. 150 (l. 261).]

{p. cxxv}

body separately, and they placed them in four jars, each of which was devoted to the protection of one of the children of Horus, i.e., to the care of one of the gods of the four cardinal points. The god of the north protected the small visceræ, the god of the east the heart and lungs, the god of the south the stomach and large intestines, and the god of the west the liver and gall-bladder. With these four gods four goddesses were associated, viz., Nephthys, Neith, Isis, and Selk or Serq.

Connected with the god Horus are a number of mythological beings called Heru shesu[1] (or shemsu, as some read it), who appear already in the pyramid of Unas in connection with Horus and Set in the ceremony of purifying and "opening the mouth"; and in the pyramid of Pepi I. it is they who wash the king and who recite for him the "Chapter of those who come forth," and the "[Chapter of] those who ascend."[2]

In the judgment scene in the Book of the Dead, grouped round the pan of the balance which contains the heart of the deceased (see Plate III.), are three beings in human form, who bear the names Shai, Renenet, and Meskhenet.

Shai is the personification of destiny, and Renenet fortune; these names are usually found coupled. Shai and Renenet are said to be in the hands of Thoth, the divine intelligence of the gods; and Rameses II. boasts that he himself is "lord of Shai and creator of Renenet."[3] Shai was originally the deity who "decreed" what should happen to a man, and Renenet, as may be seen from the pyramid texts,[4] was the goddess of plenty, good fortune, and the like; subsequently no distinction was made between these deities and the abstract ideas which they represented. In the papyrus of Ani, Shai stands by himself near the pillar of the Balance, and Renenet is accompanied by Meskhenet, who appears to be the personification of all the conceptions underlying Shai and Renenet and something else besides. In the story of the children of Ra, as related in the Westcar papyrus, we find the goddess Meskhenet mentioned with Isis, Nephthys, Heqet, and the god Khnemu as assisting at the birth of children.

[1. Recueil de Travaux, t. iii., p. 182 (l. 17).

2. ###, etc. Ibid., t. vii., p. 170 (l. 463).

3. See Maspero, Romans et Poésies du Papyrus Harris, No. 500, Paris, 1879, p. 27.

4 Pyramid of Unas, l. 564.]

{p. cxxvi}

Disguised in female forms, the four goddesses go to the house of Ra-user, and, professing to have a knowledge of the art of midwifery, they are admitted to the chamber where the child is about to be born; Isis stands before the woman, Nephthys behind her, and Heqet accelerates the birth. When the child is born Meskhenet comes and looking upon him says, "A king; he shall rule throughout this land. May Khnemu give health and strength to his body."[1] The word meskhenet is as old as the pyramid times, and seems then to have had the meaning of luck, destiny, etc.[2]

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