Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Pyramid of Pepi I
at South Saqqara

Pepi I was the second ruler of ancient Egypt's 6th Dynasty, and his pyramid at South Saqqara, though no more then a twelve meter high ruin today, has actually had a significant effect on Egyptology. From the fragments of Khamuaset's restoration text, we do know that the pyramid was in good shape during the 19th Dynasty, with few improvements. This pyramid was first investigated by Perring in the 1830s, but in 1881, Maspero entered the subterranean section of the pyramid and there for the first time discovered pyramid texts. This pyramid continues to be scrutinized by the French archaeological mission in Saqqara, originally lead by Lauer and Sainte Fare Garnot, but since 1963 by Leclant and Labrousse. Among other finds, they have discovered the small pyramid complexes of Pepi's consorts.

There was apparently a valley temple and causeway, though we have no information on these structures.

The Ground Plan of The Pyramid of Pepi I at South Saqqara in Egypt

The mortuary complex is almost a duplicate of that in Teti's complex. It is fairly symmetrical and as usual, consisted of inner and outer sections. The causeway leads in from the northeast, leading into first an entrance corridor which in turn leads to a columned courtyard. A transverse corridor splits the outer and inner sections. An doorway in the middle of the back wall of this corridor leads into a five niche chapel, which then leads to the offering hall with its false door on the wall adjacent to the pyramid.

While stone thieves seriously damaged the complex, important discovered were nevertheless made. These included limestone statues of kneeling enemies of Egypt with their hands tied behind their backs. They once stood in the open courtyard, and may also adorned the entrance corridor. These types of statues have been found in several pyramids and perhaps had the function of frightening away anyone who might wish to damage the structure. They symbolized conquered evil.

On the foundation of the pyramid was also found a small cult pyramid.

Pepi I's pyramid has a core of six steps and was constructed in much the same way as Djedkare's pyramid, which used small blocks of limestone bound with a clay mortar. Interestingly, blocks from Teti's mother, queen Sesheshet, were discovered within the core of this pyramid. This was Pepi's grandmother, and may have been removed from a destroyed building. The pyramid was, as usual, cased with fine white limestone, though it remains intact only at the lowest levels.

The pyramid's entrance is in its courtyard pavement next to its north face. There was probably a chapel here, but nothing of it remains today. The subterranean levels are similar to earlier pyramids of the 5th and 6th Dynasties, beginning with a descending limestone corridor that that leads to a vestibule. After the vestibule, the next corridor is level but is reinforced at three places with pink granite. Located about in the middle of this second corridor is the barrier made of three portcullis blocks also of pink granite. This corridor leads to an antechamber on the pyramid's vertical axis. West of the antechamber is the burial chamber, and to its east is a serdab with three niches.

The gabled ceilings of the antechamber and burial chamber consists of three layers of blocks, each layer having sixteen blocks. All together, these ceilings weighed some five thousand tons. The ceiling is astronomical, but with white stars on a black background.

Some burial equipment was found within the pyramid. fragments of a sarcophagus that stood on the west wall of the burial chamber suggest that it was probably a substitute, the original having broken in transportation or perhaps developed flaws. A fragment of a mummy was found that could have been that of Pepi I, but is uncertain, along with some fine linen wrappings. Fourteen shards of yellow alabaster canopic vessels were discovered, together with a small flint knife, a piece of pleated linen and a left sandal of reddish wood, possibly made of sycamore.

Perhaps the reconstruction has been too obvious, yet the noble graves south of the Pyramid of Pepi 1 are among the most descriptive for any pyramid.

Pyramid text not only cover the walls of the antechamber and burial chamber, but also the corridors. Some of these texts remain in place, while others parts are in fragments (about three thousand fragments). In piecing this all together, the French team has discovered that about two thirds of the inscriptions were altered by reducing the size of the glyphs.

Near the pyramid, archaeologists expected to find several queen's pyramids, but instead discovered six. They include the pyramid of Nebuunet and Inenek-Inti, who may also have been wives of Pepi I. Recently, another of these pyramids has been identified as that of Ankhnesmerire II, though in this report she is referred to as Ankhes-en Pepi.


Height: 52m
Base : 78m
Slope : 53o 13'


Monday, August 13, 2007

The Coffin Texts

The Coffin Texts, which basically superseded the Pyramid Text as magical funerary spells at the end of the Old Kingdom, are principally a Middle Kingdom phenomenon, though we may begin to find examples as early as the late Old Kingdom. In effect, they democratized the afterlife, eliminating the royal exclusivity of the Pyramid Text.

If the dating of examples in the Dakhla Oasis at the Balat necropolis is correct (Old Kingdom), these would be the oldest known coffin texts, though we can be certain of the text found in the First Intermediate Period pyramid of Ibi (8th Dynasty) at South Saqqara. While examples of the text have been discovered from the Delta south to Aswan, our major sources of the text are found in the later necropolises, especially of regional governors (nomarchs), of the 12th Dynasty, particularly at Asyut, Beni Hasan, Deir el-Bersha, el-Lisht and Meir. The necropolis which probably yielded the largest number of coffin text spells was Deir el-Bersha, the necropolis of the ancient city of Hermopolis. By the end of Egypt's Middle Kingdom, the coffin texts were refined into the corpus of the Book of the Dead (Book of Coming Forth by Day), though we may continue to find the spells in burial chambers of the New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period and early Late Period. Spells 151, 607 and 625 were particularly popular during these later times.

Mostly, as the modern name of this collection of spells implies, the text was found on Middle Kingdom coffins of officials and their subordinates. However, we may also find the spells inscribed on tomb walls, stelae, canopic chests, papyri and even mummy masks.

The earliest known research on the coffin text was done by C. R. Lepsius, who in 1867, published the first copies from coffins that had been removed to Berlin. Afterwards, there were several publications made of the text from individual coffins, but between 1904 and 1906, Pierre Lacau published many of the Middle Kingdom coffins as part of the Cairo Museum's Catalogue generale. Based on this work, he set out individual spells of the coffin text in a series of articles entitled, "Texts religieux" in a publication called Receuil de travaux between 1904 and 1915.

Early on, one part of the coffin text known as the Book of the Two Ways, received special attention. Found on the floor of the coffin of Sen, Hans Schack-Schackenburg published this text in 1903 and in 1926, Kees detailed it in a publication.

Using Lacau's work from the Textes religieux, James Henry Breated (1912) and Hermann Kees (1926) both made early evaluations of the coffin text, but the first (relatively) complete publication of the coffin texts was supplied by Adriaan de Buck in seven volumes that were produced between 1935 and 1961. This work was based on the earlier research done by James Henry Breasted and Alan H. Gardiner just after World War I. Though new spells have been added since then, most present day divisions of the spells relies on de Buck's work.

Adriaan de Buck's work was used by Louis Speleers, who translated de Buck's first two volumes into French in 1947, and between 1973 and 1978, Raymond O. Faulkner produced the first complete translation into English. He used de Buck's order of spells, while a later translation in French by Paul Barguet produced in 1986, divided them into thematic groups.

Today we face many of the same problems in dealing with the coffin text that de Buck faced, which mostly concerns their order. He had no established chronological order and the beginnings or ending of the text were not consistent from one source to the next. Furthermore, the text could be written on all six surfaces in the interior of the coffin, and their progression within any given coffin could vary.

Though many are unique to individual coffins, de Buck divided the coffin text into 1,185 spells, with some being assigned to larger compositions such as the Book of the Two Ways. These spells, which always refer to the deceased in the first person singular, attempt to imitate the language of the Old Kingdom, though they are actually produced in the classical language of Middle Egypt. They are inscribed using hieroglyphs, or occasionally early hieratic. Unlike the Pyramid text, they are almost always titled, though at times the title may come at the end of the text.

Usually written in vertical columns, the columns are sometimes split in order to save space. Red ink is utilized for emphasis and as divisions between the spells. However, some important spells are completely written using a red pigment.

For the first time in funerary literature, the coffin text use graphic depictions, though very infrequently. In both the Book of the Two Ways and in spell 464 known as the Field of Offerings, we find detailed plans. At other times (spells 81 and 100) there are textual descriptions of figures that were meant to strengthen the magical results of the text.

Yet the ancient Egyptians were cautious of graphic depictions. One holdover from the Pyramid Texts that we find at least in the early Coffin Text is the mutilation of most of the hieroglyphic signs representing animate objects. Sometimes the glyphs are actually carved as two separate pieces divided by a blank space. At other times, snakes, other animals and various other creatures are inscribed with knives in their backs. This was all intended to ensure that the intact figure would not be able to somehow threaten the deceased person interred nearby.

Within the coffin text, the composition that today we refer to as the Book of the Two Ways is the most comprehensive. Usually placed on the inside bottom of coffins examined at Deir el-Bersha, various Egyptologists have divided it into four, or nine sections which can consist of a long version (spells 1,029 through 1,130) or a short version consisting of spells 1,131 through 1,185 but which also includes spells 513 and 577.

While the coffin text were available as a tool for the afterlife to all Egyptians, the spells were primarily employed by the local governors and their families of Middle Egypt. The content of the coffin text spells basically continued the tradition of the Pyramid Text, though the afterlife is better defined, and its dangers are portrayed more dramatically. They were intended to aid the deceased during his afterlife. The spells providing protection against supernatural beings and other dangers and helped assure the deceased admission into the cyclical course of the sun, and thus, eternal life. Other spells, such as number 472, were used to activate ushabti figures so that they could perform various labor related duties for the deceased during the afterlife.

However, we also find interesting new components not found within the older Pyramid Text. Now, we find spells (268-295), meant to allow the deceased king ascent to the sky in the form of a bird, but which may also be used to transform the deceased into anyone of a number of different deities. For example, spell 290 reads: "into every god into which one might desire to transform". However, with other spells the deceased could become fire, air, grain, a child or perhaps even a crocodile. This may explain why, during the Middle Kingdom, the scarab beetle, representing transformation, was one of the most popular amulets. Other newly created spells also allowed the deceased to be reunited with his loved ones and family during the afterlife.

Significantly, for the first time we also find within the coffin texts spells to deal with Apophis, a huge serpent who had to be combated as the enemy of the sun. Apophis would continue to play a major role in the refined funerary books of Egypt's New Kingdom.

In the coffin text, we now find that all of the deceased must be subjected to the "Judgement of the Dead", based on the actions during his or life, rather than on a person by person indictment.

Many of the coffin text spells play on the concepts of creation, so we find the deceased portrayed as a primeval god and creator and once series of spells references the creator god and his children, Shu and Tefnut, who were given the responsibility of creation. At other times the deceased takes on the form of Osiris, or that gods helper, while he may also be portrayed as his devoted son, Horus, who rushes to his fathers aid as in spell 312.

One reason that the composition within the coffin text known as the Book of the Two Ways, perhaps originally composed at Hermopolis, has received so much attention is that, for the first time, it describes a cosmography. It was perhaps originally titled, the "Guide to the Ways of Rosetau" and the ancient Egyptians believed the composition was discovered "under the flanks of Thoth". Rosetau is a term regularly translated by Egyptologists as the Underworld or Netherworld, which would be misleading in this case. Here, the journey is made through the sky. It takes the deceased on a journey to the Kingdom of Osiris on a route with the sun god, first from east to west along a waterway through the inner sky and then back again from west to east by land through the outer sky (the two ways). Between the two ways was a Lake of Flames, where the ambivalent fire could consume (the damned) but also serve the purpose of regeneration (to those blessed followers of the sun god, Re).

Above: Coffin Text and the Book of the Two Ways;

Below: A rendering of the Book of the Two Ways

Though not nearly as elaborate as later New Kingdom books of the netherworld, it was meant to depart to the deceased the necessary knowledge needed to navigate their way to the afterlife while avoiding the many dangers of their journey. While this guide was not as systematic as, for example, the later Book of Gates, it nevertheless provided warnings and a schematic plan making it the first real guide to the afterlife.

Amduat (Called by the Egyptians, the Book of the Secret Chamber)

Book of Gates

Book of Caverns

Unlike the later funerary books, the Book of the Two Ways does not begin with the sunset, but rather with the sunrise in the eastern sky. Hence, the journey takes place in the sky rather than the underworld. The deceased is faced with many obstacles, such as the threatening guardians at the very gates of the hereafter that must be dealt with before the entering. Other dangers include the "fiery court", which is the circle of fire about the sun. At other times, total darkness followed by walls of flame seem to continuously block the deceased path. In fact, within the very middle of this composition we find a region known a Rosetau, which is "at the boundary of the sky". According to spell 1,080, it is here that the corpse of Osiris resides and the region is locked in complete darkness, as well as surrounded by fire. If the deceased can reach this region and gaze upon Osiris, he cannot die. Consistently there are regions that the deceased wishes to reach, but must overcome dangers to do so. Another of these is the Field of Offerings (peace, or Hetep), a paradise of abundance, but again the path is full of obstacles. By the end of the book, the deceased encounters confusing paths that cross each other, many leading nowhere.

An important concept found within the Book of the Two Ways (spells 1,100 through 1,110) is that of seven gates, each with three guardians. Though primitive, this is obviously an early text that would later evolve into the New Kingdom Books of the Netherworld such as the Amduat. At these boundaries, the deceased must display his knowledge to the guardians in order to establish their legitimacy to proceed in the afterlife.

www.touregypt.net www.crystalinks.comT.N.P

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Book of Gates

The Book of Gates is the principal guidebook to the netherworld found in 19th and part of the 20th Dynasty tombs of the New Kingdom, though it makes its first appearance to us with the last king of the 18th Dynasty. It was meant to allow the dead pharaoh to navigate his way along the netherworld route together with the sun god, so that his resurrection could be affected. It emphasizes gates with guardian deities who's names must be known in order to pass them. This is actually a very old tradition dating to at least the Book of the Two Ways in the Coffin Texts, where there are seven gates with three keepers at each.

The middle register in the third hour of the Book of the Dead from the burial chamber of Ramesses I

Sources of the Book of Gates:

We are not sure exactly when the Egyptian afterlife text known as the Book of Gates was composed. While some authorities, such as Hartwig Altenmuller, believe that, because of its similarity to the Amduat, it sprang from a time prior to Egypt's New Kingdom, others think it may better be attributable to the Amarna period. Irregardless, the first example Egyptologists are aware of is that incomplete version in the tomb of the last pharaoh of Egypt's 18th Dynasty, Haremhab, who had the text placed in the sarcophagus chamber where, until then, the Amduat had been customary. The founders of the 19th Dynasty also employed the Book of Gates.

Ramesses I included it alone in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Ancient Thebes (Modern Luxor), while his successor, Seti I', decorated the sarcophagus chamber of his tomb with the Amduat, reserving the Book of Gates for his two great pillared halls. This version includes only the first half of the book. However, Seti I's alabaster sarcophagus is adorned with the earliest complete and continuous version of the book. The famous Ramesses II also used the text in the upper pillared halls, sarcophagus chambers and subsidiary rooms of his tomb and his son, Merneptah, decorated the right wall of the corridor of his grandfather, Seti I's cenotaph at Abydos with a complete Book of Gates. There, he also placed the Book of Caverns on the left wall.

From Merneptah, the following kings until the reign of Ramesses IV had the text recorded on the walls of their sarcophagus chambers. A number of kings, such as Ramesses III also had selected text from the book placed on their sarcophagus, and some commoners, such as Tjanefer, a priest of Amun under Ramesses III, were also allowed to use a selection of the scenes. Ramesses VI broke from this tradition, replacing the text with the Book of the Earth in the sarcophagus chamber, but included a complete Book of Gates in the upper part of his tomb. However, Ramesses VII was actually the last pharaoh to include any of the Book of Gates, using the first and second hours in a single corridor. By Ramesses IX, it disappeared entirely from royal tombs.

After the New Kingdom, portions of the book continued to show up only sporadically, perhaps because the composition is so oriented to the specific person of the king. We find the concluding representations in the Book of the Dead of Anhai, which may date to the 20th Dynasty, as well as in the mythological papyrus of Khonsumes that dates from the 21st Dynasty and in the 26th Dynasty tomb of Mutirdis. Other extracts from the text are also found in the tombs of Petamenophis at Thebes and Horiraa at Saqqara, while the first hour and judgement hall occur often on late, non-royal sarcophagi.

Research on the Book of Gates:

Because, in the tomb of Seti I and the Judgement of the Dead in the tomb of Ramesses VI, the Book of Gates depicted foreigners, it aroused the interest of scholars at an early date. These particular text were frequently copied. However, it was Jean-Francois Champollion who provided the first description of the Book of Gates, along with some translations in his 13th letter from Egypt, dated May 26, 1829. He mostly relied on the tomb of Ramesses VI for this translation. Yet the standard publication for many years was from an 1864 documentation of the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I by Bonomi and Sharpe. In the ancient Egyptian text, the book is not named, so it was Gaston Maspero who originally designated it Livre de Portes (Book of Gates). He also referred to it as the Livre des Pylones, or "Book of Pylons, and Eugene Lefebure called it Livre de l'Enfer, or "Book of the Netherworld". Lefebure also provided a brief survey of its contents for an essay in 1888. Previously, he had already published the first translation of the text on from the Seti I sarcophagus in 1878 and 1881. In 1905, Budge described and translated the sarcophagus version and made a comparison between its hours of the night and those in the Amduat. However, because by this time the lid of the sarcophagus had been destroyed, his analysis was erroneous. The incomplete version of the Book found in the tomb of Horemhab was published in 1912 (after having only been discovered in 1908). More recent editions of the Book of Gates include that published by Charles Maystre and Alexandre Piankoff, who created a broader textual basis with their work of 1939-1962. However, this version was replaced by that of Erik Hornung in 1979. Today, the complete English version of the text by Pankoff has been available since 1954, while the German translation created by Hornung has been around since 1972.

Structure of the Book:

The Book of Gates portrays the gates of the netherworld far more visibly and systematically than other similar compositions. It compares most readily with the gates in the Book of the Dead, spells 144 and 145, which the Ramesside Period Egyptians considered a substitute for the Book of Gates in tombs that did not belong to pharaohs, such as that of Nefertari and others in the Valley of the Queens. In fact, gates in the Book of the Dead spells and elsewhere have caused some confusion with the Book of Gates even among some scholars. The concept of gates in the afterlife was a reoccurring theme amongst many of the books of the afterlife.

On the sarcophagus of Seti I, the hours are in a continuous sequence resulting in the concluding scene occurring directly behind the head of the deceased. The Osireion and the tomb of Ramesses VI also provide a continuous text, though in other tombs the hours are distributed over various walls and rooms.

The Book of Gates encompasses a total of one hundred scenes, many of which fill an entire register, though the last two hours contain a number of brief individual scenes. The Middle Egyptian of dialect of the text displays hardly any influences from the Late Egyptian written language, though it has been established that this composition contains an especially rich vocabulary.

The structure of the Book of Gates is very similar to that of the Amduat, with twelve nocturnal hours each divided into three registers. As in the Amduat, the first hour of the night has a special position with a structure that differs from the remainder of the composition.

However, in the last three hours, the main figure (Atum or Horus) is omitted from the lower registers, which show only deities and not the blessed dead. Also absent are long concluding texts. Instead, we find depictions of the Judgment of the Dead and the course of the sun, not divided into registers, in the middle and at the end of he composition. Also absent are notations concerning the use of the Book, but are replaced by remarks about offerings, which as a rule are located at the end of a scene (though not in the final three hours).

The Book of Gates also differs from the Amduat by the means of the gates depicted at the end of each hour. In the Book of Gates, each gate has a guardian in the form of a serpent on its door, as well as two further guardians with scary names and fire spitting uraei. Also, in the solar barque, only two gods, Sia and Heka are found depicted together with the sun god, while there are many crew members in the Amdaut. In the Book of Gates, the cabin of the barque in each hour is protected by a mehen-serpent and four male figures are portrayed like hieroglyphs towing the barque. In the sarcophagus chambers of Haremhab, Ramesses I and Seti I, the clothing and beards of these figures clearly mark them as human, rather than divine beings.

The judgement hall of Osiris is given a special, central position inserted into the fifth gateway of the Book of gates. Situated just prior to the union with the sun's corpse in the sixth hour, the texts are specifically cryptic. However, beginning with the tomb of Seti I, this judgment scene is replaced by one depicting the king before the enthroned (and later standing) Osiris, so that no longer are the dead judged, but rather the king is identified with the ruler of the dead.

More than a thousand deities and deceased persons, representing many more than in the Amduat, are depicted within the Book of Gates. However, they are more regularly combined into groups, and they bear fewer individual names. Many of these groups represent deceased persons rather than deities.


This text, like other netherworld compositions, is concerned with the nocturnal journey of the sun. Compared to the Amduat, the hours are somewhat displaced. For example, in the Book of Gates, the drowned appear in the ninth rather than the tenth hour. Also, because of the grouping of deities and deceased persons, they are more clearly distinguished from each other then in the Amduat, and the dead appear bound to their respective regions in the hours of the night. Here also, the dead king's special status is more clearly defined, as he accompanies the sun god to his rebirth in the morning. In fact, most versions contain additions to the texts and representations that refer directly to the king.

Hour One:

As the sun god inters the ream of the dead, he is greeted by the collective dead, who are assigned the title of "gods of the west:", rather than individual deities. Actually, as in the Amduat, this first hour is an interstitial place that precedes the actual netherworld after the first gate. Here, there are two steaks surmounted by a ram's head and a jackal's head that both punish and reward those who dwell here.

Hour Two:

In the second hour, the dead are clearly separated between those in the upper register of the composition, who have followed Ma'at and who are now blessed, and those in the bottom register who have not, and are now reprimanded by Atum. The four Weary Ones are depicted, along with the "enemies". In the middle register separating these extremes is the barque, which encounters the "gods in the entrance",

Hour Three:

The third hour of the Book of Gates appears to emphasis a few motifs that are central to the nightly journey, including mummies in the upper register, which are awakened from the dead and reanimated in their shrines. Here also is the ambivalent Lake of Fire, where the damned will meet flame. However, the blessed dead are provisioned from the same flames. The middle register depicts the sun god being towed along in the "barque of the earth"., a symbolic condensation of his entire journey through the depths of the earth. At the end of the register he is dressed in sparkling white linens which is also symbolic of renewal. However, Aphophis the snake makes his first appearance in front of Atum as well. Atum must be assisted by two Enneads in order to overcome this archenemy.

Hour Four:

Perhaps variations of the Lake of Fire from the third register, two bodies of water dominate the top register in the fourth hour of the Book of Gates. They are called the Lake of Life, which is guarded by jackals, and the Lake of Uraei. In the middle register, shrines containing mummies of the dead, not yet risen, stand before the barque. The sun god causes their resurrection and provisioning. Their renewed life in the hereafter occupies an entire hour of the night. The passing of the hours is laid out in the following scene, with its many-coiled serpent representing time and its twelve goddesses embodying the hours. The enshrined Osiris is protected on all sides by the gods of his entourage in the lower register, while Horus cares for his deceased father. Osiris' enemies are punished in the fiery pits at the end of the register.

Hour Five:

Hour Five is one of the most complex hours within the composition. In the upper registers, the gods are portrayed with a surveying cord, because the deceased are allotted space (in the form of fields) within this hour. The deceased are also allotted time, and hence the gods also carry the body of a serpent and the hieroglyphs meaning "lifetime" in the lower register. In order to accomplish this, the Apophis fiend, known as "the Retreater, must once again be battled and fettered. Behind Apophis we notice the ba-souls of the blessed dead, and at the beginning of the lower register are found the four "races" of mankind, including Egyptians, Asiatics, Nubians and Libyans. Each race is represented by four individual figures, who are assured existence in the afterlife. They are placed in the care of Horus and Sakhmet. It should be noted that the Great Hymn of Akhenaten, Aten is said to care even for foreign people, and hence, they are sheltered in the realm of the dead, according to the Book of Gates.

The Judgment Hall:

Just before the sixth hour, we find the portrayal of the Judgment hall, empathized by its insertion as a special scene. This is the only representation of the Judgment of the dead in any of the Books of the Netherworld, and so it is distinguished by the use of cryptographic writing. In the earlier versions, Osiris is enthroned on a stepped dais while the personified scale in front of him, unlike that in the Book of the Dead, bears empty pans. Therefore, the blessed dead stand on the steps of the dais, while the enemies who are consigned to the "Place of Annihilation" lie beneath their feet. Here also, we see another mincing power in the form of a pig being driven off.

Hour Six:

The judgment of the Dead is therefore the prelude to the union of the Ba and the corpse of he sun god (like those of all the blessed deceased). The sixth hour of the night is the deepest part of the journey through the netherworld. In the middle register, the dead corpse of the sun god immediately in front of the barque and its towmen, is invisible. It is being carried by gods whose arms are also invisible because of their contact with the corpse. In the lower register, mummies of deceased persons lie on a long, serpent-shaped bed so that they may participate in the union with the ba and the resurrection that it effects. Gods holding forked poles in the upper register keep Apophis at bay while this critical event unfolds. From his head people who he has swallowed are now set free once more. There is also the depiction of a twisted double rope that represents time. It is being unwound from the pharynx of the god, Aqen. The lower register of this hour end with a scene depicting a circular Lake of Fire which is inhabited by a cobra that acts as a deterrent to all enemies.

Hour Seven:

In the seventh hour, the central motif is the elimination of all mincing forces that might interfere with the sun's renewal. In the middle register, just before the solar barque, appears the jackal headed "stakes of Geb", with two enemies of the god bound to each. Re, the sun god consents to their torment by two demons. However, in the upper register we find two groups of blessed dead, one with baskets filled with grain as a sign of their material provisioning, and the other with the feather of Ma'at as a symbol of their vindication in at the Judgment of the Dead. They will exist until the end while sheltered by Ma'at, while the damned below are consigned to the Place of Annihilation. The caption on this upper register speaks of Osiris welcoming his new followers. In the lower register, we again find the blessed who have followed Ma'at, who are here gathering huge ears of grain intended for their assured provisions. Others are provided with sickles for harvesting, while the rays of the revived sun effects abundant fertility.

Hour Eight:

We once again find the depiction of infinite time depicted as an endless rope spooled out hour by hour, and also as the towrope of the barque, which "produces mysteries." In the middle register, the "lords of provision in the west", who stand before the barque, are commissioned by Re to allocate provisions to the blessed while at the same time inflicting evil on the enemies. In the lower register are once again mummies. They have turned over on their biers and are therefore in the process of resurrection. Nearby, a council of judges protects them.

Hour Nine:

In the middle register of the ninth hour, a theme is borrowed from the Amduat (tenth hour). Here, a rectangle of water contain the drowned. Four groups of deceased humans are found floating in the primeval waters of Nun. They are actually being refreshed by the waters and will therefore be resurrected. We find that their noses breath the air, and their ba-souls will not be destroyed so that they will share existence with the blessed. In these scenes, Re is the "one who is in Nun", and in the scene that concludes the book, he will be raised up out of Nun. The souls of the blessed appear in the upper register. Before them stand a group of figures who offer them bread and vegetables. By contract, in the lower register we find, once more, the condemned. Here are depicted twelve enemies who are each bound in one of three different manners. They are inflamed by the Fiery One, a huge serpent who has been called forth by Horus for the atrocities they have committed against his father, Osiris. The children of Horus stand in his coils of this great snake.

Hour Ten:

The middle register of the tenth hour is entirely filled with a representation of the battle against Apophis. Fourteen deities hold nets containing magical powers above their heads. This magic renders Apophis defenseless. Perhaps Geb, as the "Old One" ties fetters around the snakes body. In the upper and lower registers we find special manifestations of the sun god. In the upper register, he is depicted as a griffin and is followed by two serpents who help in the punishment of Apophis, as well as the other enemies. In the lower register the sun god is portrayed in the center as a falcon, though he is also referenced as Khepri ("scarab beetle"). He is connected to other figures by a continuous rope. The text that accompanies this scene talks of the "emergence" and stresses that the journey is proceeding now towards the sky.

Hour Eleven:

By the eleventh hour, we find a bound Apophis and other enemies in the upper register. He is dismembered, and hence rendered harmless. The rope that holds Apophis and his assistants is held by a giant fist emerging from the depths. In the middle register, the dead may gaze upon the continence of the God Re, who's face is making its way in the barque. n interesting aspect of this scene is the reversal of the barque, which may be an allusion to the reversal of time. Before the barque are the stars which will herald the reappearance of the sun god. We find in the lowest register oarsmen of the god, together with the goddesses of the hours; time and energy (rowing). They will propel the barque up into the eastern horizon. Here, the battle in the netherworld is obviously won, for some deities are already announcing he god in the horizon. There cries will be joined by the din of noise that will eventually accompany the rising sun.

Hour Twelve:

In the twelfth hour, the sun god finally arrives at the gate "with the mysterious entrance", through which he will the miracle of his rebirth will occur. In the upper register, gods "carry the blazing light". which is obvious from the sun disks in their hands. Stars precede the appearance of the sun, while goddesses seated upon serpents surround and protect the solar child. Before the god's barque lies Apophis, who is fettered. He is held in check by gods with knives and shepherd's crooks in order that he may not impede the sunrise. Just behind him are four baboons, their arms raised in jubilation, who announce the sun god in the eastern horizon. Several motif are represented in the lower register, including crowns that are to be worn as symbols of power when leaving the netherworld. Also, we find the nurses of the newborn sun, while at the same time, Osiris is mourned, for he must remain in the netherworld. This final gate, through which the sun god will emerge onto the horizon, is guarded by Isis and Nephthys, in the form of uraei.

Concluding Representation:

The final scenes are not divided into registers as elsewhere. Like many illustrations accompanying the solar hymns of the Amarna period, the entire course of the sun is condensed into a single picture. Half hidden by the primeval waters indicated by wavy lines, the god Nun raises the solar barque of its depths. In the Barque, Isis and Nephthys embrace the sun in the form of a souring scarab beetle, as he pushes the sun disk toward the sky goddess Nut. She is upside down, indicating the inversion of the sun's course, which will once again run in the opposite direction from its course through the netherworld which is here the embodiment of Osiris. He surrounds this dark world with his curved body. Therefore, all three areas of the cosmos are represented, including the primeval waters, the height of the heavens and the depths of the earth. From above and below, arms embrace the sun, holding it aloft as it moves through the day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Pyramid of
at Saqqara

The small hill in the main Saqqara pyramid field with a panoramic view of the whole necropolis is actually the pyramid of Teti, the first ruler of Egypt's 6th Dynasty, even though he was possibly the son of Unas, the last ruler of the 5th Dynasty. It is called "Teti's (cult) places are enduring", though this pyramid has not endured very well.

The original investigators on this monument are now familiar to us, beginning with Perry in 1839 followed by Lepsius in 1842 through 1843. Maspero, who was in search of pyramid text entered the pyramid in 1882, while the German, Emile Brugsch, the Frenchman, Urbain Bouriant and an American, Cahrles Wilbour, copied the inscriptions from inside the pyramid. Between 1905 and 1908 Quibell made a thorough investigation of the pyramid. Between 1920 and 1924, Firth uncovered major parts of the mortuary temple, and since the 1950s, Sainte Fare Garnot, Lauer and Leclant have continued excavations.
Teti's valley temple and the three hundred meter long causeway leading to the mortuary temple have not been archaeologically investigated, but are located not to the east but to the southwest of the pyramid. Part of the causeway is visible however, as it meets the mortuary temple.

Plan of Teti's Pyramid at Saqqara in Egypt

Though there are more storerooms, the basic components and layout of the mortuary temple are also very similar to those of Djedkare and Unas. However, there is a small courtyard along the southern part of the east facade that was connected to the causeway. The actual entrance to the mortuary was in the middle of this courtyard and had a heavy, single paneled wooden door over a quartzite doorstep. The entrance corridor had a high, vaulted ceiling decorated with stars and lighted by only a small opening in the east wall. It had an alabaster floor and the walls were also decorated, though little remains of these reliefs.

This corridor leads to the mortuary temple courtyard that had eighteen pink granite pillars, all of which were square except for those in the corners. As usual, the king's name and titles were inscribed in deep relief. The ambulatory over the pillars was originally inscribed and had scenes painted in polychrome on bas relief. in the middle of the courtyard once stood a low stone alter.

To either side of the entrance hall and courtyard are symmetrically arranged storage annexes, and just behind the courtyard is the transverse corridor that we so frequently find dividing the outer part of the mortuary temple from the inner sanctums. The walls of the corridor were originally decorated with scenes showing the king and gods, the sed festival and the smiting of Egypt's enemies. From here, the five niche chapel is accessed from a low stairway in the middle of the west wall.

Burial Chamber in Teti's Pyramid

Behind the chapel is the required offering hall with its false door on the west wall (the wall next to the main pyramid), but all that is left of the false door is the huge, monolithic, quartzite base. The false door's function was to allow the deceased king entrance into the offering hall for his symbolic meals. Originally, the offering hall was decorated with scenes of sacrifice, though only fragments remain. Like the outer part of the mortuary complex, storage annexes are found on either side of the chapel and offering hall.

The cult pyramid stand on the southeast corner of the main pyramid and has its own enclosure wall. As customary, there is an open courtyard around the main pyramid with its own enclosure wall. In the northwest part of this courtyard is a forty meter deep shaft that was probably used as a well by the original builders of this complex.

The royal sarcophagus

Inscriptions in the bottom of the sarcophagus

This main pyramid has a core of five steps, with subterranean corridors and chambers similar to those of Djedkare's and Una's pyramids. Rather than in the wall, the entrance was in the pavement of the courtyard of the mortuary temple dug into the pavement along the pyramid's north wall. The entrance corridor had a barrier made up of three granite plugging blocks in the middle of its level section, and both the beginning and the end of the corridor was sheathed with pink granite.

The corridor connects with an antechamber with a right 90 degree turn towards the burial chamber. Both of these rooms had gabled ceilings made from three layers of huge limestone blocks. The top of the lowest level of the three layers was slightly above the base of the pyramid. The walls of the burial chamber are covered with limestone. Both the walls of burial chamber and antechamber are inscribed with the pyramid text and have astronomical ceilings (with stars).

Pyramid Text from Teti's Pyramid

The sarcophagus stood on the west wall of the burial chamber along with the funerary equipment, but is now gone. On the southwest corner of the location where the sarcophagus stood is a small hole in the floor that must have once held a canopic chest. Though decorated with inscriptions, the sarcophagus was never finished. An arm and shoulder of a mummy who we presume to be Teti was found on the burial chamber floor. There was also fragmentary remains of an alabaster tablet with the names of the "seven sacred oils". To the east of the antechamber (left) is a serdab, with three deep niches.

Outside the main Teti complex are various other ruins from the necropolis of his family. These include the small pyramid complexes of Khuit and Iput I, Teti's consorts, as well as the tombs of Mereruka and Kagemni who were viziers. These latter tombs have beautiful reliefs that have been well preserved.

Height: 52.5m
Base: 78.5m
Slope: 53o 13'
Height of Cult Pyramid: 15.7m
Base of Cult Pyramid: 15.7m
Slope of Cult Pyramid: 63o