Book of the Dead


Book of the Dead
   The name given to a type of papyrus often buried with the dead from the New Kingdom onward. The papyrus contained a number of magical spells that would enable the deceased to successfully reach the next world. The most important spell concerned the ritual of the weighing of the heart against the feather of maat to determine the deceased’s worthiness to enter the afterlife, and the spell was supposed to fix the balance in the deceased’s favor. Some books of the dead were decorated with elaborate vignettes and scenes depicting funerals and rituals. Some were obviously produced as special commissions, but there were stock examples available for purchase in which the name of the deceased could be filled in blank spaces or in some cases not filled in at all.
   See also Religion.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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  • Book of the dead —     The best known of the funerary books of the New Kingdom. These were written on papyrus or leather rolls and placed in the tombs of the wealthy, providing them with a series of spells to ensure their safe passage into the next world. The… …   Ancient Egypt

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  • Book of the Dead — a collection of ancient Egyptian papyrus books, many with elaborate illustrations, each containing prayers, hymns, incantations, and formulas for the behavior of the souls of the dead. * * * Book of the Dead, a collection of ancient Egyptian… …   Useful english dictionary

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  • BOOK OF THE DEAD —    in Egyptian and Tibetan religious traditions a book of MAGICAL texts which was placed in the grave alongside the corpse to secure blessing in the afterlife …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Book of the Dead — noun The ancient Egyptian funerary text …   Wiktionary

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