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The Evils of Ancient Egypt


The Evils of Ancient Egypt

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Jefferson Monet

Passing into the afterlife in ancient Egypt was no insignificant matter, for as early as the Pyramid Texts, one would be judged by an entire tribunal of gods after death. These references become clear by the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts, and in the Book of the Dead, the judgment of the Dead by this tribunal became the most important focal point in the deceased's entrance to the afterlife.


Furthermore, once an evil was committed, there is no evidence until the Late Period that the individual could be cleansed of such a sin, though certain spells were created to perhaps help the deceased overcome his transgressions and there was also the heart, that could be weighed, perhaps allowing the deceased's good deeds help overcome any evil that he had participated in.

Judgment of the deceased in the Hall of Justice from the 19th Dynasty Book of the Dead of Hunefer

Judgment of the deceased in the Hall of Justice from the 19th Dynasty Book of the Dead of Hunefer

Spell 125 in the Book of the Dead provides what Egyptologist refer to as the "negative confession" or "declaration of innocence" so that the deceased could announce his innocence before the forty-two who were the assessors that judged the dead in the netherworld Hall of Justice, also known as the "Hall of the Two Truths". Hence, this spell takes the form of an address to each of these "judgment gods", who is named along with the specific plea before each god. These names of these gods were listed, together with an identification that was either a geographical region or some other identifying characteristic.

The tribunal of assessor gods is frequently depicted in the illustrations accompanying Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, though only occasionally are all forty-two gods represented at once. More commonly, a representative selection of the gods is made, normally in the squatting position common to "seated god" hieroglyph, or standing. Sometimes they may hold knives, and at other times the feathers of ma'at as symbols of their judicial power.

Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead in the Papyrus of Ani...continued in next graphic

Above and Below, from Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead in the Papyrus of Ani


Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead in the Papyrus of Ani...continued from previous graphic

These forty-two gods apparently were believed to judge all forms of evil, though some might overlap to some extent. For example, two gods represented robbery and stealing, respectively, but apparently stealing offerings, food and bread specifically each deserved the attention of an individual member of the tribunal.

However, it should probably be noted that these evils did not include all taboos specifically, which might include anything that upset ma'at. Ma'at has generally been described as "world order" or truth, but which also implied plenty and abundance of food. As an example, fairly early in Egyptian history it was considered to be an affront to ma'at, to enter a temple unless having abstained from sexual activity, observed certain rules of cleanliness and avoided various foods. Of course, all such acts could have come under general classifications of evil such as misbehavior or transgression.

The Judges and Evils of Ancient Egypt


Name of God

Identification

Crime Judged

Far-strider

Heliopolis

falsehood

Fire-embracer

Kherara

robbery

Nosey

Hermopolis

rapaciousness

Swallower of shades

the cavern

stealing

Dangerous One

Rosetau

murder

Double lion

the sky

destruction of food

Fiery eyes

Letopolis

crookedness

Flame

Came forth backwards

stealing offerings

Bone Breaker

Herakleopolis

lying

Green of flame

Memphis

taking food

You of the cavern

the West

sullenness

White of teeth

Fayoum

transgression

Blood-eater

the shambles

killing a sacred bull

Eater of entrails

House of Thirty

perjury

Lord of truth

Maaty

stealing bread

Wanderer

Bubastis

eavesdropping

Pale One

Heliopolis

babbling

Doubly evil

Andjet

disputing

Wememty-snake

place of execution

homosexuality

See whom you bring

House of Min

misbehavior

Over the Old One

mau

terrorizing

Demolisher

Chois

transgressing

Disturber

Weryt

being hot-tempered

Youth

heliopolitan nome

unhearing of truth

Foreteller

Wenes

making disturbance

You of the altar

the secret place

hoodwinking

Face behind him

cavern of wrong

copulating with a boy

Hot-foot

the dusk

neglect

You of the darkness

the darkness

quarrelling

Bringer of your offering

Sais

unduly active

Owner of aces

Nedjefet

impatience

Accuser

Wetjenet

damaging a god's image

Owner of horns

Asyut

volubility of speech

Nefertem

Memphis

wrongdoing, beholding evil

Temsep

Busiris

conjuration against the King

You who acted willfully

Tjebu

wading in water

Water-smiter

the abyss

being loud voiced

Commander of mankind

your house

reviling God

Bestower of good

the Harpoon nome

doing...?

Bestower of powers

the city

making distinctions for self

Serpent with raised head

the cavern

dishonest wealth

Serpent who brings and gives

the silent land

blasphemy

See Also:


References:

Title

Author

Date

Publisher

Reference Number

Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, The

Wilkinson, Richard H.

2003

Thames & Hudson, LTD

ISBN 0-500-05120-8

Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, A

Hart, George

1986

Routledge

ISBN 0-415-05909-7

Egyptian Religion

Morenz, Siegfried

1973

Cornell University Press

ISBN 0-8014-8029-9

Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt

Armour, Robert A.

1986

American University in Cairo Press, The

ISBN 977 424 669 1

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