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Ancient Egyptian Belief in the Afterlife

The ancient Egyptians had an elaborate belief in the afterlife. "Much of Egyptian life appears to have been oriented toward preparing for the hereafter" (Benton and Diyanni 40). The truth of this statement is demonstrated by the pyramids of the Old Kingdom. The premise of this essay is that life in ancient Egypt was nearly completely focused on preparation for death and the afterlife as indicated by the royal burials that took place in pyramids during the Old Kingdom during the Third through Sixth Dynasties, 2658 B.C. to 2135 B.C.

A major undertaking of Egyptian culture during the Old Kingdom was to attempt to pass beyond the limits of death. Immortality was the most important goal in life, especially the immortality of the pharaoh. The pharaohs dedicated enormous amounts of time and resources to the construction of the pyramids in preparation for their ascension into the afterlife. In fact, the pyramid and its associated industries accounted for the single largest sector of the ancient Egyptian economy, and a significant number of people were employed in the operation of funerary cults (Andreu 149). Funerary cults were responsible for carrying out the numerous daily activities in the pyramid temples for the purpose of ensuring that the dead pharaoh led a well-appointed existence in the afterlife.

The building of the pyramid itself was an enormous undertaking. For example, the Great Pyramid at Giza, covering 13.1 acres, is made up of more than two million blocks of stone, and a huge number of people and time were needed to transport the stones as well as complete building the pyramid (Lehner 108). This documentation, along with the scale of the pyramids themselves, indicates the ancient Egyptians' concern and belief in the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that the afterlife was not totally a separate entity, but a parallel world to the one in which they lived, one in which their rulers continued to live on after death. The ...

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Ancient Egyptian Belief in the Afterlife. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 16:44, August 09, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1703666.html