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On a later example we have a full-face figure of Osiris within the shrine of "living uraei," the weighing of the heart and the Judgment Scene, and the deceased sowing and reaping, and drawing water by means of the shâdûf (Arab. 3) 1 from a well (B.M. 30092).



IT has been the custom of many peoples in primitive times to kill a number of slaves and others when a king died, and to bury their bodies with him in his tomb, their idea being that the spirits of the murdered people would accompany the spirit of their dead king and minister to him in Dead Land. When an Egyptian governor died in Nubia as many as 1,000 oxen were slain for the funeral feast, and when his body had been placed in the chamber provided for it, the sacrificial victims, who were all local Nubians, were laid outside on the floor of the corridor; whether they were drugged or not before they were strangled cannot be said, but it is probable that they were. The corridor was then filled in with earth, stones, etc., much in the same way as the pits in which African kings were buried in the Sûdân during the last century. In the tombs of Dafûfah and Karmân the members of the Harvard-Boston Expedition (1913-15) found in one royal grave the remains of from 200 to 300 men, women and children (see the Bulletin, Boston, December, 1915, p. 71). The evidence available shows that the chiefs of the pre-dynastic Egyptians, and probably some of the kings of the Archaic Period, were surrounded in their graves by the bodies of many murdered subjects, slaves and others, and the contents of several tombs of the dynastic Egyptians show that funeral murders were common even under the New Kingdom.2 The walls of mastabahs and other early tombs are covered with scenes in which slaves are seen ploughing and sowing and reaping, and performing works of all kinds for their lords, and their presence is usually explained by saying that they were painted or cut on the walls to gratify the pride of the owner of the tomb. But I think that these pictures or reliefs were painted and cut on the walls because it was believed that the deceased by means of words of power could endow all these simulacra with life and motion, and make them provide for his wants and minister to him in the Other World. Without a suitable retinue of slaves and workmen and women the spirit of a dead nobleman would command no respect among the inhabitants of Amenti, and would starve.

1 The water-raising machine is well described by Lane, Modern Egyptians, Vol. II, p. 30.

2 I have summarized the facts in my Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection. Vol. I, p. 197 ff.

Under the XIIth dynasty the kinsmen of the dead were not content to entrust the well-being of their beloved ones to paintings and sculptures on the walls of the tombs alone, so they placed in the tombs groups of painted wooden figures of slaves, male and female, butchers, bakers, handicraftsmen and others. Some groups are engaged in killing the sacrificial bull and dismembering him, others are grinding grain and making the flour into cakes and loaves, others are baking the bread-cakes, others are bringing offerings and preparing beer, and others are ploughing and working at their trades. The utterance of the necessary words of power would set all these figures in motion and turn the wooden models of oxen and loaves, etc., into food for the KAU of the dead. Models of granaries1 provided with several bins, each filled with a special kind of grain, were also placed in the tombs at this period, and models of pleasure boats and war boats. Feasting, boating and fighting were, apparently, supposed to be the most congenial pursuits of the denizens of the Other World. The largest and most representative collection of such models was found by Garstang in the XIIth dynasty tombs at Bani Hasan and is well described in his work.2


THE mummy label is a thin strip of hard or soft wood which varies in length from 3 to 6 inches, and in breadth from 2 to 4 inches, and is pierced at one end with a hole large enough to permit the passage of the thick papyrus string by which it was attached to the mummy. Usually the label is rectangular, but many examples of it have the ends either rounded or in the form of a truncated pyramid. All are inscribed, some in Greek, some in demotic (i.e., Egyptian), and some in both languages, the Greek being on one side and the demotic on the other. The greater number of these objects actually served as labels and nothing else, for they were tied to mummies that were being transported from one part of Egypt to another, and served for purposes of identification only. Mummies must have been despatched to specially sacred sites, such as Abydos, in all periods of Egyptian history, but curiously enough no labels of the Dynastic Period appear to be known. Those that are now to be seen in the great collections in Cairo, London and Berlin, all belong to the first four centuries of the Christian Era, and they seem to owe their existence to some regulation or law introduced into the administration of Egypt by the Romans. But, if such a law existed, it must have concerned one part of Upper Egypt only, for all the labels now known were found in the district that lies between Sûhâk and Gîrgâ, and chiefly in and about the town of Akhmîm (Panopolis). Some of the labels now in the British Museum were found attached

1 For a model of a granary of the VIth dynasty see B.M. 21804.
2 Funeral Customs, London, 1907.

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Coptic letter from Papnoute to Apa Victor concerning his property.
B.M. No. 20004.

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I Wooden mummy label for Bêsis inscribed in
Demotic. B.M. No. 24533.

2 Wooden mummy label for Psaïs, inscribed in Greek. B.M. No. 20797.

3 Receipt in Greek for dock dues paid by Harpaesis to Antonios Malcaio in the reign of Trajan.


B.M. No. 5970.

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