Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Death in Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians often died before the age of thirty, and they wanted to continue living. So it's not surprising that they believed in an afterlife. The most important parts of your spirit, the Egyptians believed, were your ka and your ba. Your ka was a spirit who looked like you. Your ba was your life force. If you ever see a ba, let me know, and get a picture if you can. I'd love to see it. It's a bird with a man's head so you can be sure if you've seen one. Don't forget to take a picture! And if you didn't have a name, it was as if you had never exsisted. (One wonders about babies who died while being born. What about them?)

The early mummies weren't embalmed: they were buried in the desert sands. This preserved them well. A museum wanted a mummy like this and a clever antique dealer provided one. The mummy had red hair and was nicknamed Ginger. But the dealer was known for providing fakes when he couldn't get the real thing. And the dealer's brother vanished around the same time the mummy appeared. Surely he didn't- I hope.

I think I'll skip over the mummifying process because that stuff was just plain gross. I'll bet grown men faint after seeing brains being forced out through the nostrils. I would. I'll skip over it to a part about tombs, which are, along with pyraminds, the sphinx, mummies and King Tut, a famous part of Ancient Egypt. The rich would have their mummies placed inside a coffin. The very rich would have several coffins. The coffins would be placed in tombs, which were only for the rich. They had burial chambers, and sometimes other chambers, such as chapels where food could be left for the dead person's ka.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that the next life would be like this life. They were buried with food, clothes, and furniture. The pictures on the sides of the walls, actually, served a purpose. They were supposed to be part of what the dead would need in the afterlife. A picture of someone riding, for example, was drawn to ensure that the dead would be able to ride during the afterlife. Also, since the Egyptians believed they would have to work in the afterlife, they were buried with ushabtis, who would do all the work for them.

Well, now you know more about the Ancient Egyptian burial stuff than you thought you'd ever know. But you don't know it all, now, do you? If you find this stuff interesting, you always could look it up. Or, when you die, you can find out whether they were right or not. (I'm leaning toward the "not" side.)

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