Ancient Egyptian Mummification
Ancient Egyptians did, in fact, mummify their bodies!! Everyone thinks they understand what mummification is, but have you ever considered why ancient Egyptians mummified themselves?. What did they think about life after death?. And why was Anubis (the jackal) regarded as the embalming deity by the ancient Egyptians?.
Ancient Egyptian Mummification in Culture and Civilization
Ancient Egypt was the very first human civilization, with a culture that dates back over 7,000 years.
The civilization began in the year 3100 BC when the king of the southern half of Egypt “King Menes” unified the two states of Egypt (Upper and Lower). He was the first king of Egypt and he is known as “the unifier of the two lands”. He developed the country’s organizational structure and was in charge of resolving some of the world’s oldest political and diplomatic disputes. However, religious structures existed in Egypt long before the pharaoh, or more accurately, far before ancient Egypt’s civilization. Before the unification, the ancient Egyptians worshipped several gods. Horus, the falcon deity of light and the sky, was one of the earliest gods. He is shown in scenes honoring the king’s triumph over the people of the north and unifying the two territories of Egypt – north, and south – on Narmers’ palette, which is on display in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.
Let’s first get a brief idea about the ancient Egyptian beliefs
The Holy Nine “The first nine gods”
Egypt is everlasting because of its past, which is transmitted via stories. The Egyptians believed that the very first deity, Atum, created himself. Then he made the other gods, beginning with Shu (air) and (moisture) (Tefnu). The deity of the soil (Geb) and the goddess of the sky (Nut) were created when air and moisture were mingled together. The heavens and the ground created four gods: Osirus, Isis, Seth, and Nyphtes. The Holy Nine gods, on the one hand, are extremely important since they are the principal and oldest gods. The sun god, on the other hand, was the preeminent divinity of ancient Egypt throughout its existence. He goes by several other names, including Ra, Amun, Amun Ra, and Aton (at the time of king Akhnaton).
The Holy Trinity:
There was a sacred triad (a family of gods) for every significant city in ancient Egypt, consisting of a father, mother, and son or daughter. The deity Ptah, his wife Sekhmet, and their son Nefertum, for example, were the holy trio in Memphis’ old, first capital city, while the god Amun, his wife Mut, and their son Khonso were the holy triad in Luxor.
There were around 700 gods in ancient Egypt in all. Some of them were nice and some of them were bad. It’s fascinating to note how the ancient Egyptians handled these inconsistencies with acceptance, serenity, and a sense of calm.
Anubis and Mummification:
What was the purpose of mummification in ancient Egypt? What evidence did they have that there was life after death? … And why did the ancient Egyptians believe Anubis (the jackal) was the embalming god? In the prehistoric period, to avoid the unpleasant odors of rotting corpses, Egyptians buried the bodies of their deceased in the desert far away from communities and homes before the entire development of this ancient civilization. They decided that the desert would be the best location for this. They selected a location that was close by and had soft sand to make it more convenient. They would frequently seek ready-made holes to bury the body and cover it with sand. Gradually this tradition became a religious law, and the Western desert of Egypt became the immortal land of the afterlife.
The Secret of Mummification
Once, they were transporting a deceased person to the desert to be buried when they came upon a ready-made hole, which, as previously said, made it easier for them to bury a body swiftly. However, when they began to prepare the hole, they discovered another body inside, which was in remarkably good shape!!! The thought came, “Why is this body in such wonderful shape?. Furthermore, “HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?”. They decided to wait and see what would happen, so they stuffed the recently deceased body into the hole and stood guard at the burial… Nothing happened for a few days, and nothing changed. “We’ll keep an eye on it,” they said. They noticed several animals assaulting the grave and digging in the hole in search of food after about a week. These carnivorous creatures were a gang of jackals who ate the dead and then ran away from the graveyard. The ancient humans had the foresight to wait until the animals had completed their delectable feast before returning to the grave to examine what was left of the body. The jackals ate only the inner organs, the viscera, and drained the blood from the body, rather than the complete flesh.
Natural Mummification in Ancient Egypt
The body was exposed to the tremendous energy and burning heat of the sun while laying in the desert for several days. This dried the body, resulting in a mummy, and thus the natural mummification process began. It was done by an animal before humans were aware of it. This animal was seen by the ancient Egyptians as a messenger who was sent to teach them the mummification procedure, but they had no idea why. The explanation was straightforward: he (the jackal) was dispatched to inform the populace that they needed to mummify their bodies to prepare for a new existence. They believed in the afterlife as a result of mummification, rather than mummification as a result of believing in the afterlife.
The Mummification deity “Anubis”
Anubis became known as the deity of mummification from this point on. They declared him a deity at the time and offered him sacrifices for him to stop digging graves. Because of him, they learned how to mummify, and the jackal (Anubis) ironically became the guardian of the tombs. If you want to learn more about mummification and the equipment used to mummify bodies in ancient Egypt, the mummification museum in Luxor has all the information, tools, and mummies you need. Or you may take one of our Egypt tour packages to enjoy and listen to an intriguing narrative about the ancient Egyptian mummies and discoveries as told by an expert tour guide.