Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs

With the meaning of the handbook that led the dead to heaven, Egyptian mail was buried in the process of mummification telling much about the faith of the ancients.

Egypt is home to one of the most brilliant civilizations in the ancient world. They leave a lot of evidence on their lives from mysterious pyramids to religious texts. Their massive tombs are not only filled with jewels, but also texts that speak of their beliefs.

The Egyptians believed that the souls of the dead must go on a dangerous journey to another world. After death, the soul wanders in the afterlife until judged by the gods. Good people will be rewarded with an eternal life, while the bad people will be eaten by the devil Ammit, crocodile head, lion hippos.

Books guide the dead to heaven

Therefore, right from the time of the Ancient Kingdom (2686-2181 BC), the Egyptians had a custom of using documents as a guide to guide the dead in the afterlife. At that time, mourning texts were written on the tomb wall. In the early Middle Kingdom (2134-1690 BC), most of them were written in coffins. The Pyramids and the coffin script later became death letters.

Picture 1 of Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs

Photo Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs


Images in a letter of death. (Photo: Natgeo).

Books History changing books : 'Egyptian death books are funeral texts that have been used for nearly 1,500 years. These include sutras, mantras, and drawings written on a scroll of the papyrus in the tomb of the deceased. It is believed that these mantras give the souls of the dead the knowledge and power they need to lead them safely through the uncertain realm to the next life. '

Each book of death is divided into chapters, the content is selected and combined from 192 texts to describe the life of the dead. Therefore, each book is unique, no two books are exactly the same. Originally, the death certificate was only for the upper class. By the New Kingdom period (1570-1069 BC), death was more common in society.

Creating these death books are skilled artisans. A text is usually made by several scribes. They use black and red ink to write hieroglyphics and the word priest (the type used by the priests). Paper for writing a letter from the papyrus tree (a plant of the papyrus family is abundant in Egypt). To date, papyrus is considered the oldest writing material in the world. The dry climate of Egypt is a condition that helps many ancient documents remain.

People often return the letter to a statue or tucked into the cloth wrapped around the body of the deceased while mummified. People also buried the other necessary items for the journey in the underworld like food, talisman. They believe that the sutras in the death book guide the dead to use them to find their way to heaven in the afterlife.

The 37m long letter and the belief about rebirth

The most sophisticated and complete letter of surviving from ancient Egypt is Nestanebetisheru. The owner of the letter was originally the daughter of a high priest and a member of the royal family. The death of Nestanebetisheru dates from 950-930 BC. The letter of death is often referred to as Greenfield. The strokes that describe the creation with the goddess of the sky Nut curled up covering Geb, the land god in a half lying position.

Picture 2 of Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs

Photo 2 Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs


A painting on a 37m-long papyrus papyrus - a letter from Nestanebetisheru.

Nestanebetisheru's scroll is 37m long. By the early 20th century, the scroll was divided into 96 parts for easy research, display and storage.

One of the best manuscripts to be found is Hunefer's death note . This is also the most beautiful letter of death possible by Hunefer himself - a copywriter for the Egyptian royal family (about 1280 BC) - made. The letter of the alphabet has pictograms written in red ink, black ink with alternating vertical black lines.

In the letter Hunefer there are many unique details such as the 15th sutta describing the hymn to the sunrise. Horus - the god of the sky and one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt - is represented as a hawk. The sun disc on the head represents the relationship between the sun and the sun, the blue curve is said to symbolize the sky.

Picture 3 of Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs Photo 3 Letters of death - mysterious books buried in Egyptian tombs
The funeral rites of ancient Egypt are also described in the death book.

The funeral rites of ancient Egypt are also described in the Hunefer letter of death. One of the paintings depicts the Hunefer revival scene with an 'open mouth' ritual , which helps the dead to open their senses and speak in the underworld. Hunefer is blessed by a monk wearing a mask of dog head symbolizing Anubis - the god of mummification. Ahead, Huneger's wife is mourning. On their heads were hieroglyphics with the words of the ceremony.

The first person to call these guides to the dead was Book of the Dead, the Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius. As it is called in the Egyptian language, this is a 'Book leading to the light'. These rich-looking handbooks are not only for the deceased, but also provide us today with information about the beliefs in the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians, revealing an ancient civilization. .

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