Page images

ten upon

published by Lepsius? and Birch.? At this period Books

of the Dead were also written upon papyrus. S Texts writ. After the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt by the papyri.

kings of Thebes, copies of the Book of the Dead were usually written upon papyri, and these papyri are of various lengths and widths. The roll of papyrus was often placed in a rectangular niche in the wall of the tombs, or in the coffin by the

side of the mummy; sometimes it was placed between the legs, * and sometimes it was fastened under the bandages. The length

and style of execution of the work depended entirely upon the fancy of the relatives of the dead man. Books of the Dead, illuminated and plain, formed part of the stock in trade of the Egyptian undertaker. If the purchaser were rich he would probably select the best copy he could buy; if poor he would be content with a simple undecorated text. In these "stock" copies blank spaces were left to receive the names of the deceased for whom they were purchased. Copies are extant in which, through omission or neglect, no name whatever has been inserted. The numerous badly-written and incorrect copies which are so common in the museums of Europe are

probably the result of cheap work; careless work, however, Vignettes exists in the most beautiful papyri, and some of the finest mentation known contain blunders which show not only that the scribe of papyri. was careless, but also that he did not understand what he was

writing. Books of the Dead are written in the hieroglyphic and hieratic characters, and are ornamented with pictures of the gods, sacred animals and birds, mythological scenes, representations of the funeral procession, etc., etc., painted, at tiines, in as many as thirteen colours. The titles of the chapters, catch-words, and certain passages are written in red, and the text in black. Hieroglyphic texts are usually written in perpendicular lines, and those in hieratic in horizontal lines. The vignettes and scenes were probably executed by one class of men, and the text by another, and it seems sometimes as if the relatives of the dead spent nearly all the

and orna

| Aelteste Texte des Todtenbuchs, Berlin, 1867, 4to.
· The Coffin of Amamu, London, 1886, fol.

3 For the fragments found with the mummy of An-Antes, see B.M. First Egyptian Room, Case D.

money which they could afford to spend upon a copy of the Book of the Dead on the artists' work for pictures, while they left the execution of the text to an inferior scribe. Although many of the faulty readings which occur in the Book of the Dead are to be attributed to the carelessness of the scribe, it is quite certain that a very large number were the result of his ignorance, and that, at times, he did not know which was the beginning or end of the text which he was about to copy. In proof of this M. Naville' has reproduced from a papyrus the 77th chapter copied from the wrong end, and on the opposite page he gives the restored text in the right order. An examination of papyri shows that frequently more than one artist and scribe were employed in making a single copy of the Book of the Dead; but it is also evident that in some instances both the vignettes and the text were the work of one man.

According to M. Naville the Book of the Dead is known to us in four recensions :1. That of the Old and Middle Empires, which is usually The recenwritten in hieroglyphics.

Buok of 2. The Theban recension, which was much used from the Dead.

the XVIIIth-XXth dynasty, also written in

3. The redaction closely resembling that of Thebes

which obtained after the XXth dynasty, and
which was written in hieratic ; in it the chapters

have no fixed order.
4. A text of the Saïte and Ptolemaïc periods written

both in hieroglyphic and hieratic characters; this
text shows that the Book of the Dead at this
epoch had undergone a thorough revision, and

in it the chapters have a fixed order.
The texts of the earliest recension are, for the most part,
written in hieroglyphics upon tombs and sarcophagi, but texts
written upon papyrus in hieroglyphic and hieratic characters
took their place, probably because they cost less money, and

sions of the

· In his Einleitung, pp. 42, 43.


because the relatives of the deceased could make them as long or as short as they pleased. It is probable that Books of the Dead were not written in hieratic during the XVIIIth

dynasty. A com

In September, 1874, at a special meeting of the second plete edi.

International Congress of Orientalists, a resolution was passed tion of the Book of to the effect that for the furtherance of Egyptian studies an the Dead

edition of the Book of the Dead, or the “Bible of the Old plated. · Egyptians,” as critical and complete as possible, should be

steadily kept in view. It was further resolved that such an edition should contain the text of the Book of the Dead in three forms :- 1. Under the Old Empire ; 2. Under the Theban dynasties of the New Empire ; 3. Under the Psammetici (XXVIth dynasty).' A Committee was formed which was

composed of Messrs. Birch, Lepsius, Chabas and Naville, and M. Naville M. Naville undertook the labour of this work. At the instance undertakes of Lepsius the Berlin Academy voted a sum of 3,000 the edition. marks for preliminary expenses, and the Prussian Govern

ment voted 4,800 thalers for its publication. When M. Naville began to collect materials for his edition, he found that the texts of the Old Empire were so few while those of the XXVIth dynasty were so many, and had so few actual variants in them, that he abandoned the idea of making an edition of the texts of the first and third recensions, and at the Fourth International Congress of Orientalists held at

Florence, in September, 1878, he asked the Committee to Change allow him to alter the original plan, and he stated his intenof plan.

tion of confining himself to collecting caresully all the necessary texts for a critical edition of the Theban recension of the Book of the Dead. He believed that in order to obtain a correct text of this recension, accurate copies of carefully written papyri must be published, from which, by comparison, the text may be emended. In 1886 M. Naville gave to the world the two volumes which contained the results of his twelve years' labour, under the title of Das Aegyptische Todtenbuch der XVIII. bis XX. Dynastie, Berlin, fol. The first

| Transactions of the Second Session of the International Congress of Orientalists, held in London, in September, 1874, London, 1876, p. 442.

Lepsius unfortunately died before the work was issued. Egyptologists are indebted to Dr. Dillmann of Berlin for the issue of this valuable work.

volume contains the text? and vignettes which were ably drawn by Madame Naville, and the second contains the variants. In a small quarto volume published a few months later, we have four chapters in which are discussed the Theban edition of the Book of the Dead, its history, its importance and the manner in which it was written ; the description of the texts used by M. Naville, remarks on each chapter of the Book of the Dead, and a list of the chapters in hieroglyphics. The texts of the Theban recension contain many corrupt readings, but it is of the greatest importance to have the material at hand from which a critical edition may one day be made, and M. Naville has rendered invaluable service to the science of Egyptology by bringing it together.?

Among the most valuable publications of texts of the Recent Theban recension of the Book of the Dead must be mentioned,


copies of Photographs of the Papyrus of Nebseniin the British Museum, texts. 1876, fol.; Facsimile of the Papyrus of Ani (published by the Trustees of the British Museum, 1890, fol.); Papyrus Funéraire de Nebset, ed. Pierret, 1872; and the papyrus of Shuti-Qenna, by Leemans, Papyrus Egyptien Funéraire Hiéroglyphique du Musée à Leide, 1882, Livraison 5, Part III.

A useful example of a hieroglyphic text of the Book of the Dead not earlier than the XXVIth dynasty, is that which Lepsius published in 1842 from a papyrus in Turin; the text is full of blunders and difficulties but, notwithstanding this fact, the work is a standard one for reference, and is of considerable value. Of hieratic texts belonging to a period subsequent to the XXVIth dynasty, the copy published by De Rougé is an excellent example.* An English translation of the Book of the Dead was Transla

tions of the published by Birch in the English edition of Bunsen's Egypt's Book of Place in Universal History, Vol. V, pp. 161–333, and a French the Dead. translation by Pierret, entitled Le Livre des Morts des Anciens

M. Naville bases his text chiefly upon British Museum Papyrus 9,900, and the papyri which he calls Ca and Pb.

2 See the review of this work by Maspero in Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, Paris, 1887, pp. 263-315.

3 B.M. No. 9900.
* Rituel Funéraire des Anciens Egyptiens, Paris, 1861, sol.

Egyptiens, appeared in Paris, in 1882 ; both these were, however, made from the text of the Turin papyrus. A German translation of the first fifteen chapters was published by Brugsch in Aeg. Zeitschrift, 1872, pp. 65–72, 129–134, and specially interesting chapters have been discussed by Birch, Maspero, Lefébure, Guieysse, Pierret, and others. A number of "supplementary” chapters were published by Pleyte (Chapitres supplémentaires du Livre des Morts, 162, 162*, 164-174) with translation and commentary, at Leyden in 1881, and Schiaparelli has translated and commented upon a large portion of one of the Books of the Dead in Il libro dei funerali

degli antichi Egiziani.? Antiquity The age of the Book of the Dead is unknown, but it is Book of

certain that parts of it are as old as the beginning of Egyptian the Dead. civilization, and Theban tradition in Egypt asserted that the

Ivana fifth king of the Ist dynasty; the 64th chapter is variously stated to belong to the time of this king and to that of Men-kau-Rā (Mycerinus) of the IVth dynasty.8 The 178th chapter must also be at least as old as the time of this last king, because it is inscribed on the cover of his wooden coffin, which is now preserved in the British Museum (ist Egyptian Room, No. 6647). The oldest chapters appear to have been composed at Heliopolis, the great sanctuary and home of religious learning in Egypt, which was to the

of the

· A complete list of the words in this papyrus is to be found in Lieblein, Index Alphabétique, Paris, 1875.

4 Les

9 The Chapter of the Pillow, Aeg. Zeit., 1868, p. 52; the Chapter of the Heart, ibid., 1880, p. 56 ; and the Chapter of the Tie, ibid.

3 Le Chapitre de la Boucle, in Mémoire sur quelques Papyrus du Louvre, Paris, 1875.

yeux ď Horus, Paris, 1874. 6 Rituel funéraire Egyptien, Paris, 1876. 6 Etudes Egyptologiques, p. 85.

i Estratto dal Volume VIII delle Memorie della R. Accademia dei Lincei, Torino, 1882 and 1890.

8 Naville, Einleitung, p. 31.

9 I am aware that doubts have been thrown upon the age of this cover by a French writer, but it seems to me that the appearance and condition of the wood preclude any possibility of the theory that this cover was “restored ” at a later period of Egyptian history being correct.

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