How did the Nubians affect ancient Egypt?

The world of the dead

In many religions the idea prevails that after death or a later resurrection the deceased will be judged. This is also the case in Egypt: the deceased had to confirm through an examination of his life and character that he was lawfully staying in the realm of the dead.

Many religions believe that after death or a later resurrection, the deceased will be judged to evaluate their life and character. According to Egyptian ideas, the deceased had to undergo such a test: It was necessary to confirm that he was lawfully staying in the realm of the dead. The elementary character of the judgment of the dead for the Egyptian concept of the afterlife is underlined by the frequency of its depiction. No motif is more common in books of the dead than this scene.

In earlier times this dish was by no means always brought together. Only he had to defend himself and justify himself before him against whom someone had brought charges; otherwise the process was dropped. In the Middle Kingdom the idea was already so widespread that at least the king had to answer to a court in principle. But only since the New Kingdom did this apply to all people (this type of development, in which an idea initially limited to the king is gradually carried over to society as a whole, is what scientists call democratization).

The image of the court of the dead is usually structured in the same way: the deceased is led into the court hall by a companion, usually the jackal-headed god Anubis. Opposite him sits Osiris, the ruler of the realm of the dead, on his throne. He heads a 42-member college of judges, which is lined up at the top and supports Osiris in the trial. To testify that he led his life properly, the deceased presented a list of pledges of innocence. Due to its structure, based on the Christian worship liturgy, it is usually called "negative confession of sin". The deceased emphasizes that he has complied with generally applicable rules of life and taboo regulations and assures that he is performing correctly. The explanations are canonically established and numerous have been handed down:

“I have done no wrong against people. I have not harassed any group of people. I have done nothing crooked in the place of the mate. I don't know about sins. I have not done any bad evil. I didn't blaspheme. I was not weak ... I did not deceive a servant in front of his superior. I didn't hit. "

While the deceased is making this statement, his heart is placed on a scale. An ostrich feather serves as a counterweight in the other weighing pan. It symbolizes basic values ​​such as truth, justice and the right world order (Egyptian maat). Witnesses to the weighing include gods such as Anubis and the falcon-headed Horus. A baboon monitors the plumb line of the scales, which in the truest sense of the word is decisive for the further course. The result is recorded by the ibis-headed Thoth, who acts as the clerk of the court ...

Further exhibitions on the topic

How did you manage it all? The admiration for the craftsmanship of the Egyptians forms the starting point for the exhibition “From Pharaoh's workshop. Handicrafts and Material in Ancient Egypt ”, which will be shown in the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich until November 18, 2007. She explores many practical questions, such as: Where were the quarries? Where did the gold come from? And how was metal processed? The approximately 600 objects in the exhibition were put together according to material groups and techniques.

In the branch museum of the Schlossmuseum Seefeld (Starnberg district) you can see “sound artist. Admire masterpieces of ancient Egyptian ceramics from 5 millennia. A cultural history of Egypt is presented using the example of around 600 objects made of clay and faience.

It is immortal and has a brilliant shine: gold was mined in Egypt, where it was considered the “flesh of the gods”, especially in the eastern and Nubian deserts. In the Burgdorf Cultural Palace / Helvetic Gold Museum (Canton Bern), the exhibition “The Pharaohs' Gold Diggers” will be devoted to the question of the technology of gold extraction and its processing until March 8, 2008.

“Grasping ancient Egypt. 40 points of contact for the sighted and the blind ”is offered by an exhibition of the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich in the Bavarian School Museum Ichenhausen (district of Günzburg) until September 9, 2007. Here, touching the objects - the placement of which also meets the needs of wheelchair users - is expressly permitted .

The exhibition developed by the Egyptian Museum of the University of Leipzig is moving from Ichenhausen to the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer; Blind and visually impaired people can also use their sense of touch to explore originals and replicas without barriers. An exhibition designed for the whole family and especially for children from six to twelve years of age, which works with many stagings, complements the special exhibition "Ancient Egypt with all the senses" (23 September 2007 - May 2008).

Marcus Müller

July 19, 2007