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Lecture 8

NMC101H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Funerary Cult, Mastaba, Pyramid Texts


Department
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Course Code
NMC101H1
Professor
Katja Goebs
Lecture
8

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Summary Notes: Pyramids and Their Temples – Audran Labrousse
Introduction
- 4th-6th dyn. most kings and many queens interred in pyramids tombs
- evolution (predyn. to 3rd dyn): mound marked with stones  mastaba 
Djoser’s Step Pyramid
Tomb as Image of Terrestrial World
- necropolises away from setttlements (separation between dead and
living)
- separation between world of dead and living expressed in funerary
architecture: subterranean chamber for mortal remains, superstructure
with clearly visible temple evokes house frequented by living
- monuments of officials and royal relatives grouped around pharaoh’s
tomb
- social hierarchy persisted beyond death
ohaving tomb in royal necropolis offered nonroyals hope of
achieving survival and retention of offices after death
Tomb as Locus of Remembrance
- funerary cult testifies to obligation of living to remember but also hope of
survival in beyond
- only deceased immortal but remembrance must be sustained
- pyramid commemorates past of dead king and glorifies mummy’s resting
place
- tomb is monument where eternal past looks toward future through
continuous present
- transition from mud brick to hewed stone shows more towards
immortality (also increasing size of monuments)
- subterranean royal funerary apartment standardized by 5th dyn.
Tomb as Framer of Eternity
- beginning in Unis’ reign (final king 5th dyn.) Pyramid Texts inscribed on
walls of royal funerary apartments
ohelped pharaoh in passage through underworld to eternal bliss
- Egyptians believed rebirth could be achieved through 3 primary avenues
oOsirian eschatology – deceased reaches world of dead ruled by
Osiris and never returns
oSolar cosmology – pharaoh reborn every morning and
accompanies sun across sky, disappearing with it but reemerging
at dawn
oPharaoh rises north at night to rejoin stars that circle pole, giving
undying light
- Once king interred, no one entered pyramid, rituals due to sovereign held
only in temple and precincts
- Pyramids allowed Egyptians to conquer time, triumph forgetfulness
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