Egyptian Book of the Dead

(ca. 1569–1315 BCE)

The compilation of texts and figures that the world knows as the Book of the Dead was known to the ancient Egyptians as the “Spells for Going Forth by Day.” The original title is descriptive of its purpose. The texts and images constituting the Book of the Dead were intended to enable the deceased Egyptian to make a successful transition to the next life at death and to return to the world of the living—“go forth by day”—when he so desired. By being buried with a copy of the Book of the Dead, the deceased was assured of having the knowledge needed to successfully overcome the dangers encountered in the afterlife. The Book of the Dead first appeared during the Eighteenth Dynasty (ca. 1569–1315 BCE) of the New Kingdom and remained in almost continuous use for the next seventeen hundred years.

Image for: Egyptian Book of the Dead

Osiris (Yale University Art Gallery)

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