February 28, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Religion and Afterlife Part 2/2

Ancient Egyptian Afterlife Facts and Secrets
Among the popular cults at Deir el-Medina, and one which spread throughout the West Bank and later the whole of Egypt, was that of the deified Pharaoh Amenophis I and his mother Ahmes-Nefertari. The reason fir the spread of his worship beyond his official mortuary temple was initially that he was the first ruler to be buried how in the Vally of the Kings and had formed the group of artisans who were later to live at Deir El-Medina. He became the patron dirty of the craftsmen and was seen as an intermediary between men and the gods. His main shrine was in the village, but there were at least five others scattered round the West Bank. Each of these had its own statue of the king, which differed slightly from the others in type and dress, These developed into different forms of the god, each with its own epithet, such as 'Amenophis of the Forecourt' and 'Amenophis Favorite(of Amun). Other deceased rulers were the object of similar cults in various locations, but none of them had the success of Amenophis I.

Afterlife Egypt
On of the main functions of the various forms of Amenophis I was the provision of oracles. In this he was not unique, for many gods provided oracular reposes, but Amenophis I is one of the best attested and provides a good example of the procedures involved. The custom of seeking an oracle developed only in the New Kingdom, as part of the growing belief in a personal relationship with the gods, who, it was thought, might be willing to show an active interest i human affairs. The evidence indicates that most oracular response were sought and received when the image of the god was carried out in procession. The statue of the deity was carried on the shoulders of specially purified laymen, while priests walked alongside on attendance. In many cases the statue of the god was not visible but hidden in its shrine, although Amenophis I was carried openly for the people to see.

The applicant approached the god with his question, either spoken or offered in writing on papyrus us an Ostracon the. The range of questions varied enormously. Enquirers about health, job opportunities and absent relatives and friends were common. The god was also frequently asked to settle disputes, which more properly belonged on a court of law, but these instances may have been ones which a court was not able to settle. An example appears on an Ostracon dating to the reign of Ramses IV. A workman named Kenna had rebuilt for him self a ruined house, but when he had completed the work a certain Mersekhmet appeared and claimed that the god Amenophis had decreed that he was to share the house with Kenna, although he had had no part in the rebuilding. Kenna therefore presented his case Amenophis via the scribe Horisheri and the god affirmed his claim to sole occupation of the dwelling.

Amenophis I
The questions put to the oracle were usually phrased in a manner which required a simple yest or no answer. Alternatively, if seeking a guilty party in a crime, a list of names was read out until the god reacted to one of them. The method by which the god gave his response seems to have been that the men carrying the statue were forced by the will of the deity or move forwards or backwards, meaning yes and no respectively.

Another aspect of personal piety which is strongly attested throughout Egypt was ancestor worship. It was the duty of the family to maintain the tombs of its relations, but there were also special festivals for the dead, such as the occasion when the statue of Amun visited the West Bank. Mortuary images were carried in the procession of the god and later returned in the grave, where the family held a private feast . The purpose of these festivals was to renew the spirits of the deceased,, so that they could appear again, like the sun god Ra , every day. For this reason they are called the 'excellent spirits of Ra'. Ancestor worship, however, did not cease at the tomb, for busts of departed relations were kept in the him, in a niche in the main room of the house.

Rooms in the home contained a number of ancestral busts, but also images and stelae of the household deities. These could be any food, with which the inhabitants felt an affinity, but the general deities of him were Bes and Taweret, the pregnant hippopotamus goddess, was largely connected with fertility and childbearing. Bes was a bandy-legged dwarf god with a wide mouth and protruding tongue. He was part lion, for his beard resembled a lion's mane and he had a lion's ears and tail. His role was to bring happiness to the home and to protect it from evil.

Related Web Search :
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  • Ancient Egyptian Afterlife
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  • Ancient Egyptian Religion Facts
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  • Ancient Egyptian Religion Beliefs
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  • Daily life in Ancient Egypt

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