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Burial Rituals of Ancient Egypt

We are fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians, those people who came so many thousands of years before us and lived lives that were both exotically different from us in some respects and yet intimately the same in others. It is no doubt this combination of the familiar and the strange (in addition to the simple age of Egyptian civilization and artifacts) that makes them so compelling to us, and the Egyptian process of preparing the dead for the journey to the next life is one of those arenas in which the familiar and the exotic come together. For while few people today would even consider having themselves prepared for eternity with the particular elaborate skills used by the Egyptians, we still treat our dead with much the same respect as did the Egyptians. Moreover, many Americans (as do those in other cultures) embalm their dead very much as the Egyptians themselves once did, although they too must have known that the arts of the embalmer are no sure defense against the natural processes of decay, and that even the best-preserved corpse is no substitute for the continuance of life. And yet the Egyptians sought to do everything possible to maintain the appearance of life in the dead so that when the soul of the deceased met with the gods of the dead across that portal that we must universally cross, he or she would do so in a body that was as resplendent as it had been in life. Ironically, the very chemicals that the Egyptian embalmers would use to this end often caused a substantial amount of destruction; the bodies would have been better preserved in many cases by simply being left to the naturally preserving processes of the heat and dryness of the Egyptian climate.

This paper examines the burial rituals of ancient Egypt, looking at the processes of embalming and mummification in that countryƆs classical past as part of a fully elaborated and coherent set of rituals designed to help each individual make the transition from the ...

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Burial Rituals of Ancient Egypt. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:40, November 30, 2021, from