The ancient Egyptian burial practices are fundamental to the beliefs of ancient Egyptians. There are many different forms of burial practices; however the main form of practice of ancient Egyptians was the mummification process as seen in source B. Through the use of source B along with other sources, the following response will analyse the ancient Egyptian burial practices. The most common ancient Egyptian burial practice is the mummification process as depicted in source B. Mummification is a ritual that embalmers performed when a pharaoh died. Source B is a photograph of the canoptic jars which are a main component of the mummification process.
One of the most obvious examples of this is in Egyptian burial. Burial and the preservation of the body was a very important aspect of the culture. It was due to the fact that they believed that the better your body was preserved the happier you were in the afterlife. Even the embalmers had to shave all their body hairs so they would not contaminate the dead person. The person had their major organs removed and preserved in canopic jars, which were watched by the designated gods.
It is historically important how an ancient society chooses to honor, remember and protect their dead. By studying ancient societies burial rituals historians can better understand any society and how that society functioned. Most societies have very specific rules for burials, so each person knows exactly what to do to guarantee a clear path to the better than now afterlife. The Egyptian and Etruscan peoples were two very different societies with very different ideas about burial rituals and protection. Every Egyptian or Etruscan citizen knew with full faith that there was a safe path to heaven waiting for them.
Archaeological evidence of funerary customs show that religion was an integral part of Egyptian culture. The Pyramid Texts indicated that the Egyptians believed an individual’s soul had many aspects that continued after death, which consisted of the ba, akh and ka. The ba represents the individual’s alter ego which would travel outside the tomb, whereas the akh reflects the ‘intermediary between the living and the dead’. The ka was believed to be the individual’s twin in which their personality is represented. This strongly implicates that the ancient Egyptian civilisation believed in a spiral realm.
Thus, the art and architecture of Ancient Egypt stemmed directly from their religion. Egyptian theology, with its deified pharaohs and strange animal-headed gods, was complicated, but the most important belief was that survival after death depended upon the preservation of the body. This belief would influence the architectural design of the tomb, where the corpse was ultimately sealed (Silverman:142, 1997). Immortality was only for privileged royal and priestly beings (Stierlin:54, 1983).This implies that their tombs would be somewhat prestigious and not just and ordinary burial site. At the day of resurrection the Ka or soul would re-enter the dead body; this meant that it must be there, intact, ready for that moment.
Everything Egyptians did, including mummification had to do with their religious beliefs. They followed rituals to please the gods and therefore received something in exchange. Moreover, they believed that mummifying a body was preparing a person for their afterlife. The process of mummification changed depending on the person’s socioeconomic status.
The Egyptians are largely known for their appreciation for the afterlife. For the most part Egyptians’ live their daily lives in hope for divination in the next world. Only the wealthy were guaranteed the luxury of possessing every possible necessity that would ensure a happy afterlife. This symbolism is represented on the Mummy Case Lid of a man named Nebnetcheru, a priest with the title of the God’s Father of Amun at Karnak Temple. This Egyptian case lid dates back to 1075-945 BCE.
The time period for Egyptian mummification is from their Predynastic Period (4650-3050 BC) until after the New Kingdom (1069 BC-395 AD). The Egyptians believed in Polytheism, which the religion of worshiping more than one god. Since they believed in more than one god, they believed in Osiris, the earthbound god of the dead, and Re, the sun god. These two gods were critical to the Egyptians, because they counted on those two gods to lead people into the afterlife. In order to achieve the afterlife, a proper burial had to take place for the dead.
They believed it had been gifted from the god Horus himself, and to be used with care. The Pharaoh himself (and rarely, herself) were seen as gods. The Egyptians had vast beliefs in the idea of an afterlife, they took care to ensure proper measures were made to lead the dead to the afterlife in a sacred and organized manner. They would build pyramids out of stone blocks, placed in the form of a point, often to lead the spirit of the Pharaoh to the gods or afterlife. Eventually, the Egyptians began to use Hieroglyphics instead to ensure that the Pharaoh’s soul would make its way smoothly to the afterlife.
'In ancient societies preparations for death were as important to people as planning for life' How important was preparation for death during the lifetimes of the people of ancient society? What do an ancient society's beliefs in the afterlife tell us about that society? Discuss the view that ancient society was preoccupied with death. Ancient Egyptians spent a lot of time and money for the preparations for death but what was even more important than that was the next life, the after life. Ancient Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife and preparing for it, they took care of their dead as if there were people by burying their possessions with them, believing that it would go with them to the afterlife.