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Death in Ancient Egypt

             The Egyptians have left us with what is perhaps the most detailed legacy of any ancient civilization. They had strong beliefs about what would happen after death and spent much of their earthly lives preparing for the next world. The entire civilization of Ancient Egypt was based on religion, and their beliefs were important to them. Their belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices. The Egyptians believed that death was simply a temporary interruption, rather than complete cessation, of life, and that eternal life could be ensured by means like piety to the gods, preservation of the physical form through Mummification, and the provision of statuary and other funerary equipment.
             Burying the dead was of religious concern in Egypt, and Egyptian funerary rituals and equipment eventually became the most elaborate the world has ever known. The Egyptians believed that the vital life-force was composed of several psychical elements; the Ka (individuality) remained inside the tomb with the body and occupied a "Ka statue" that was made in the likeness of the deceased; the Ba (soul) could take on any form and leave the tomb at will; and the Akhu (spirit) that could dwell among the stars and be one with the universe. The ka accompanied the body throughout life and, after death, departed from the body to take its place in the kingdom of the dead. The ka, however, could not exist without the body. Therefore, bodies were embalmed and mummified according to a traditional method begun by Isis, who mummified her husband Osiris. .
             D. Pemberton, (1992).
             After the death of an Egyptian, the embalmers where called by family members and the body was taken to the ibu, "the tent of purification." In this tent, which was located ont he west bank of the Nile, the body would go through a process that lasted seventy days, no longer. Once brought to the ibu, the carcass was cleaned with water containing the purifying agent natron.

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