Dirty Doubles- Bred and The Passion of Osiris

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This Book of the Dead was no doubt based upon the beliefs of the followers of the religion of Osiris, which began in the Delta and spread southwards into Upper Egypt. Its doctrines must have differed in many important particulars from those of the worshippers of the Sun-god of Heliopolis, whose priests preached the existence of a heaven of a solar character, and taught their followers to believe in the Sun-god Ra, and not in Temu, the ancient native god of Heliopolis, and not in the divine man Osiris.

The exposition of the Heliopolitan creed is found in the Pyramid Texts, which also contain the proofs that before the close of the sixth dynasty the cult of Osiris had vanquished the cult of Ra, and that the religion of Osiris had triumphed. Of the Book of the Dead that was in use under the fifth and sixth dynasties we have no copies, but many Chapters of the Recension in use under the eleventh and twelfth dynasties are found written in cursive hieroglyphs upon wooden sarcophagi, many of which may be seen in the British Museum. With the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty the Book of the Dead enters a new phase of its existence, and it became the custom to write it on rolls of papyrus, which were laid with the dead in their coffins, instead of on the coffins themselves.

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As the greater number of such rolls have been found in the tombs of priests and others at Thebes, the Recension that was in use from the eighteenth to the twenty-first dynasty B. This Recension, in its earliest form, is usually written with black ink in vertical columns of hieroglyphs, which are separated by black lines; the titles of the Chapters, the opening words of each section, and the Rubrics are written with red ink.

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Under the twentieth and twenty-first dynasties the writing of copies of the Book of the Dead in hieroglyphs went out of fashion, and copies written in the hieratic, or cursive, character took their place. These were ornamented with vignettes drawn in outline with black ink, and although the scribes who made them wrote certain sections in hieroglyphs, it is clear that they did not possess the skill of the great scribes who flourished between and B. At a still later period even more abbreviated texts came into use, and the Book of the Dead ended its existence in the form of a series of almost illegible scrawls traced upon scraps of papyrus only a few inches square.


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Rolls of papyrus containing the Book of the Dead were placed: 1 In a niche in the wall of the mummy chamber; 2 in the coffin by the side of the deceased, or laid between the thighs or just above the ankles; 3 in hollow wooden figures of the god Osiris, or Ptah-Seker-Osiris, or in the hollow pedestals on which such figures stood.

The Egyptians believed that the souls of the dead on leaving this world had to traverse a vast and difficult region called the Tuat, which was inhabited by gods, devils, fiends, demons, good spirits, bad spirits, and the souls of the wicked, to say nothing of snakes, serpents, savage animals, and monsters, before they could reach the Elysian Fields, and appear in the presence of Osiris. In primitive times the Egyptians thought that only those souls that were provided with spells, incantations, prayers, charms, words of power, and amulets could ever hope to reach the Kingdom of Osiris.


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  • The spells and incantations were needed for the bewitchment of hostile beings of every kind; the prayers, charms, and words of power were necessary for making other kinds of beings that possessed great powers to help the soul on its journey, and to deliver it from foes; and the amulets gave the soul that was equipped with them strength, power, will, and knowledge to employ successfully every means of assistance that presented itself. In religion the Egyptian forgot nothing and abandoned nothing; what was good enough for his ancestors was good enough for him, and he was content to go into the next world relying for his salvation on the texts which he thought had procured their salvation.

    Thus the Book of the Dead as a whole is a work that reflects all the religious beliefs of the Egyptians from the time when they were half savages to the period of the final downfall of their power. The Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead contains about one hundred and ninety Chapters, many of which have Rubrics stating what effects will be produced by their recital, and describing ceremonies that must be performed whilst they are being recited.

    It is impossible to describe following brief summary the most important are enumerated. The reason for including it in the Book of the Dead is not quite clear, but that it was a most important Chapter is beyond all doubt. Two of these Chapters 29 and 30B were cut upon amulets made in the form of a human heart.

    The remaining Chapters perfected the spirit-soul, and gave it celestial powers, and enabled it to enjoy intercourse with the gods as an equal, and enabled it to participate in all their occupations and pleasures. We may now give a few extracts that will give an idea of the contents of some of the most important passages. Eldest son of the womb of Nut,[1] begotten by Keb,[2] the Erpat,[3] lord of the crowns of the South and North, lord of the lofty white crown, prince of gods and men: he hath received the sceptre, and the whip, and the rank of his divine fathers. Let thy heart in Semt-Ament[4] be content, for thy son Horus is established on thy throne.

    Thou art crowned lord of Tatu[5] and ruler in Abydos. O thou god An of millions of years, whose body pervadeth all things, whose face is beautiful in Ta-Tchesert,[10] grant thou to the Ka of the Osiris the scribe Ani splendour in heaven, power upon earth, and triumph in the Other World. Grant that I may sail down to Tatu in the form of a living soul, and sail up to Abydos in the form of the Benu bird;[11] that I may go in and come out without being stopped at the pylons of the Lords of the Other World.

    May there be given unto me bread-cakes in the house of coolness, and offerings of food in Anu Heliopolis , and a homestead for ever in Sekhet Aru,[12] with wheat and barley therefor. They withdraw and depart when they see thee endued with the terror of Ra, and the victory of Thy Majesty is over their hearts.

    Life is with thee, and offerings of meat and drink follow thee, and that which is thy due is offered before thy face. I have come unto thee holding in my hands truth, and my heart hath in it no cunning or deceit. I offer unto thee that which is thy due, and I know that whereon thou livest. I have not committed any kind of sin in the land; I have defrauded no man of what is his. I am Thoth, the perfect scribe, whose hands are pure. I am the lord of purity, the destroyer of evil, the scribe of truth; what I abominate is sin. Here is an address, followed by a short Litany, which forms a kind of introduction to Chapter 15 in the Papyrus of Ani:.

    Isis embraceth thee contentedly, and she driveth away the fiends from the mouth of thy paths. Thou turnest thy face towards Amentet,[1] and thou makest the earth to shine like refined copper. The dead rise up to look upon thee, they breathe the air, and they behold thy face when [thy] disk riseth on the horizon.

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    Their hearts are at peace, inasmuch as they behold thee, O thou who art Eternity and Everlastingness. Homage to thee, O [Lord of] the Dekans[1] in Heliopolis and of the heavenly beings in Kheraha,[2] thou god Unti, who art the most glorious of the gods hidden in Heliopolis. Homage to thee in thy rule over Tatu. The Urrt Crown is fixed upon thy head. Thou art One, thou createst thy protection, thou dwellest in peace in Tatu.

    Homage to thee, O Lord of the Acacia. The Seker Boat[7] is on its sledge; thou turnest back the Fiend, the worker of evil; thou makest the Eye of the Sun-god to rest upon its throne. Homage to thee, mighty one in thine hour, Prince great and mighty, dweller in Anrutef,[8] lord of eternity, creator of everlastingness. Thou art the lord of Hensu. Homage to thee, O thou who restest upon Truth. Thou art the Lord of Abydos; thy body is joined to Ta-Tchesert.

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    Thou art he to whom fraud and deceit are abominable. Homage to thee, O dweller in thy boat. Thou leadest the Nile from his source, the light shineth upon thy body; thou art the dweller in Nekhen. Thou art the Lord of the heaven of Egypt Atebui. Thou risest, thou shinest, thou illuminest thy mother [the sky]. Thou art crowned King of the Gods. Mother Nut[1] welcometh thee with bowings. The Land of Sunset Manu receiveth thee with satisfaction, and the goddess Maat[2] embraceth thee at morn and at eve. And hail, Tatunen,[3] One, Creator of man, Maker of the gods of the south and of the north, of the west and of the east!

    Come ye and acclaim Ra, the Lord of heaven, the Prince—life, health, strength be to him! Thoth and the goddess Maat have laid down thy course for thee daily for ever. Thine Enemy the Serpent hath been cast into the fire, the fiend hath fallen down into it headlong. His arms have been bound in chains, and Ra hath hacked off his legs; the Mesu Betshet[4] shall never more rise up. The gods shout for joy when they see Ra rising, and when his beams are filling the world with light.

    He maketh bright the earth at his birth daily, he journeyeth to the place where he was yesterday. O be thou at peace with me, and let me behold thy beauties! Let me appear on the earth. Let me smite [the Eater of] the Ass. Let me see the Abtu Fish in its season and the Ant Fish[8] in its lake. Let me see Horus steering thy boat, with Thoth and Maat standing one on each side of him. Let me have hold of the bows of [thy] Evening Boat and the stern of thy Morning Boat.

    Let my soul come forth and walk hither and thither and whithersoever it pleaseth. Let my name be read from the list of those who are to receive offerings, and may offerings be set before me, even as they are set before the Followers of Horus. Let there be prepared for me a seat in the Boat of Ra on the day when the god goeth forth. Let me be received into the presence of Osiris, in the Land where Truth is spoken.

    The prayers of the Book of the Dead consist usually of a string of petitions for sepulchral offerings to be offered in the tombs of the petitioners, and the fundamental idea underlying them is that by their transmutation, which was effected by the words of the priests, the spirits of the offerings became available as the food of the dead. Many prayers contain requests for the things that tend to the comfort and general well-being of the dead, but here and there we find a prayer for forgiveness of sins committed in the body. Grant ye that I may make my way through the Amhet[1] chamber, let me enter into Rastau,[2] and let me pass through the secret places of Amentet.

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    Grant that cakes, and ale, and sweetmeats may be given to me as they are given to the spirit-souls, and grant that I may enter in and come forth from Rastau. Enter, therefore, into Rastau, and pass in through the secret gates of Amentet, and cakes, and ale, and sweetmeats shall be given unto thee, and thou shalt go in and come out at thy desire, even as do those whose spirit-souls are praised [by the god], and [thy name] shall be proclaimed each day in the horizon. This is put into the mouth of the deceased when he is standing in the Hall of Judgment watching the weighing of his heart in the Great Scales by Anubis and Thoth, in the presence of the Great Company of the gods and Osiris.

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    My heart, my mother. My heart whereby I came into being. Let none stand up to oppose me at my judgment. May there be no opposition to me in the presence of the Tchatchau. Mayest thou come forth into the place of happiness whither we go. May the Shenit officers who decide the destinies of the lives of men not cause my name to stink [before Osiris]. Verily thou shalt be great when thou risest up [having been declared] a speaker of the truth. A tradition which is as old as the twelfth dynasty says that the Chapter was discovered in the town of Khemenu Hermopolis Magna by Herutataf, the son of Khufu, in the reign of Menkaura, a king of the fourth dynasty.

    It was cut in hieroglyphs, inlaid with lapis-lazuli on a block of alabaster, which was set under the feet of Thoth, and was therefore believed to be a most powerful prayer. We know that this prayer was recited by the Egyptians in the Ptolemaic Period, and thus it is clear that it was in common use for a period of nearly four thousand years. It may well be the oldest prayer in the world. Under the Middle and New Empires this prayer was cut upon hard green stone scarabs, but the versions of it found on scarabs are often incomplete and full of mistakes.

    Another remarkable composition in the Book of the Dead is the first part of Chapter CXXV, which well illustrates the lofty moral conceptions of the Egyptians of the eighteenth dynasty. He says:.