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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Classical Studies
P Ferguson

Lecture 9: The Egyptian Gods and the Afterlife Egyptian Souls: the Ba, the Ka, and the Akh Ka (plural Kau): a person’s double, created together at birth - Represents the person’s personality and life force - Believed to inhabit the tomb  tomb called “house of the ka” - In the tomb, it needed to be sustained with offerings of food and drink - Symbolized by 2 upraised arms, sometimes on the ka’s head Ba (plural Bau): “spirit” that could leave tomb by day but needed the ka and the body to be preserved in order to come back; symbolized as human-headed bird Akh (plural Akhu): Spirit of the dead that ascends to the sky as a star - Akhu of dead can influence the living as good or bad spirits - Acts as go-between with living ad dead - Some can die and were reborn (like sun and moon) but circumpolar stars never set so they were immortal Selections from the Pyramid Texts - Found in last royal pyramids of 5 (King Unis) and 6 Dynasties, and the rd later 3 millennium BCE - Texts are rich in varied mythological traditions of the Old Kingdoms as they were constructed from a number of originally separate strains used during and after the burial rituals of the king - Constitute oldest collection of Egyptian religious and mythological texts, consisting of mortuary rituals which had developed over centuries - General theme is burial and rebirth of deceased king - Purpose is to ensure immortality of deceased king in the afterlife - Not intended to be a systematic exposition of Egyptian myth and theology but do serve as a basis of reconstruction of Old Kingdom religious thought - Show combination of religious speculation and royal political ideology and meanings are often symbolic rather than literal Utterance 214: A Spell for Ascension - “Unis” is the name of the pharaoh but it varies, depending on the source - Unis is in the company of the sun god Re and takes up the power of Horus (cobra uraeus is symbol of royalty and div
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