The Papyrus of Ani, which was acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum in the year 1888, is the largest, the most perfect, the best preserved, and the best illuminated of all the papyri which date from the second half of the XVIIIth dynasty (about B.C. 1500 to 1400). Its rare vignettes, and hymns, and chapters, and its descriptive and introductory rubrics render it of unique importance for the study of the Book of the Dead, and it takes a high place among the authoritative texts of the Theban version of that remarkable work. Although it contains less than one-half of the chapters which are commonly assigned to that version, we may conclude that Ani's exalted official position as Chancellor of the ecclesiastical revenues and endowments of Abydos and Thebes would have ensured a selection of such chapters as would suffice for his spiritual welfare in the future life. We may therefore regard the Papyrus of Ani as typical of the funeral book in vogue among the Theban nobles of his time.
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The welcome which has been accorded to the volumes of this Series, and the fact that some of them have passed into second and third editions, suggest that these little books have been found useful by beginners in Egyptology and Others. Hitherto the object of them has been to supply information about the Religion, Magic, Language, and History of…
The first edition of the Facsimile of the Papyrus was issued in 1890, and was accompanied by a valuable Introduction by Mr. Le Page Renouf, then Keeper of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities. But, in order to satisfy a widely expressed demand for a translation of the text, the present volume has been prepared to be issued with the second edition of the Facsimile. It contains the hieroglyphic text of the Papyrus with interlinear transliteration and word for word translation, a full description of the vignettes, and a running translation; and in the Introduction an attempt has been made to illustrate from native Egyptian sources the religious views of the wonderful people who more than five thousand years ago proclaimed the resurrection of a spiritual body and the immortality of the soul.
When men in Egypt began to lay amulets on their dead cannot be said, and it is equally impossible to say when the belief in the efficacy of such and such an amulet sprang into being; it seems clear, however, that certain amulets represent beliefs and superstitions so old that even the Egyptians were, at times, doubtful about their origin and meaning.
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