Anubis god and guide of the underworld would weigh each dead persons heart To

Anubis god and guide of the underworld would weigh

This preview shows page 46 - 52 out of 284 pages.

Anubis , god and guide of the underworld, would weigh each dead person’s heart. To win eternal life, the heart could be no heavier than a feather. If the heart tipped the scale, showing that it was heavy with sin, a fierce beast known as the Devourer of Souls would pounce on the impure heart and eat it . But if the soul passed this test for purity and truth, it would live forever in the beautiful Other World.
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Egyptian Culture: Afterlife People of all classes planned for their burials, so that they might safely reach the Other World. Kings and queens built great tombs, such as the pyramids, and other Egyptians built smaller tombs. Royal and elite Egyptians’ bodies were preserved by mummification , which involves embalming and drying the corpse to prevent it from decaying. Scholars still accept Herodotus’s description of the process of mummification as one of the methods used by Egyptians. Attendants placed the mummy in a coffin inside a tomb. Then they filled the tomb with items the dead person could use in the afterlife, such as clothing, food, cosmetics, and jewelry. Many Egyptians purchased scrolls that contained hymns, prayers, and magic spells intended to guide the soul in the afterlife.
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Life in Egyptian Society Like the grand monuments to the kings, Egyptian society formed a pyramid. The king, queen, and royal family stood at the top. Below them were the other members of the upper class, which included wealthy landowners, government officials, priests, and army commanders. The next tier of the pyramid was the middle class, which included merchants and artisans. At the base of the pyramid was the lower class, by far the largest class. It consisted of peasant farmers and laborers. In the later periods of Egyptian history, slavery became a widespread source of labor. Slaves, usually captives from foreign wars, served in the homes of the rich or toiled endlessly in the gold mines of Upper Egypt.
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Egyptian Writing As in Mesopotamia, the development of writing was one of the keys to the growth of Egyptian civilization. Simple pictographs were the earliest form of writing in Egypt, but scribes quickly developed a more flexible writing system called hieroglyphics . This term comes from the Greek words hieros and gluph, meaning “sacred carving.” As with Sumerian cuneiform writing, in the earliest form of hieroglyphic writing, a picture stood for an idea. For instance, a picture of a man stood for the idea of a man. In time, the system changed so that pictures stood for sounds as well as ideas. The owl, for example, stood for an m sound or for the bird itself. Hieroglyphs could be used almost like letters of the alphabet.
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Egyptian Writing Although hieroglyphs were first written on stone and clay, as in Mesopotamia, the Egyptians soon invented a better writing surface— papyrus reeds.
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