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Egyptian View of the Afterlife

analytical Essay
1690 words
1690 words
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The Egyptians believed very much in life after death. As Taylor states in Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, “It is often observed that they appear to have devoted greater efforts and resources to preparing for the afterlife than to creating a convenient environment for living” (Taylor, 2001:12). The Egyptians viewed life on earth as one stage and death as the beginning of another. They believed that, “human existence did not end with death and that survival of the body played a part in the new life” (Taylor, 2001:12). One of the key elements in the Egyptian culture and religion was the preservation of the body. The body was the most important aspect because it was like a portal through which an individual could continue to live after death (Taylor, 2001:46). The Egyptians began building tombs for these bodies to keep them from decaying.

The elements that will be focused on are the multiple functions of the tomb and rituals, specifically the mummification of bodies. Ancient Egyptian tombs had many functions; the main function being to hold the bodies of the dead. Tombs were typically built during a person’s lifetime and were ready by their time of death (Olson, 2009). Before bodies were put in the tombs, they underwent a process called mummification to help preserve the body and keep it intact. The tomb was also a place where family members could come and visit the deceased. In the early years, tomb structures were very simple; they consisted only of one chamber (Grajetzki, 2003: 3-4). Later on, façade tombs were built— which consisted of two parts; an “underground chamber for the dead and the superstructure built above the ground, over the shaft and the burial chamber” (Grajetzki, 2003: 8). Next, the Egyptian tombs and ...

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...ki, 2003: 63).

It is clear that tombs and burial rituals were a key element in the Egyptian society and their way of life as it ties into almost all things they did on a daily basis. Whatever a person’s status was when they were alive followed them into the afterlife. Food and luxury goods were buried with a person so that they could have it in the afterlife. The tombs became a person’s new house after they died. Therefore, making it as nice as possible was really important. Art work and clay models were added to a person’s tomb as material goods needed for the afterlife. They were also seen as decorations that kept the tombs looking nice. Throughout the years, Egyptian artworks on the inner parts of the tombs and on the coffins show a development in the Egyptian customs. Each new development was created to better preserve the bodies and comfort of the dead.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the egyptians believed in life after death and that survival of the body played a part in the new life.
  • Explains the multiple functions of the tomb and rituals, specifically the mummification of bodies. the egyptian tombs were built during a person's lifetime and were ready by their time of death.
  • Explains that tombs provided an eternal resting place and a place where cults and ritual acts could be performed to ensure eternal life.
  • Explains how egyptian architecture evolved over many years to meet the physical, religious, and artistic needs of the people.
  • Explains how egyptian tomb decoration changed from painted scenes of daily life to scenes from the ‘book of the dead’ which stressed the fate of deceased and showed the confrontation with the gods.
  • Analyzes how egyptian tombs have changed over time. the standard coffin was a rectangular wooden one used during the intermediate period and in the middle kingdom.
  • Explains that tombs and burial rituals were a key element in the egyptian society and their way of life.
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