For years, every time I heard about the Book of the Dead in Egypt, I always thought it meant one book.
One book of the dead!
Little did I know that every rich person, pharaoh, or queen that died got their own version of the book of the dead, a vignette to help them take their place amongst the gods. Most of these were either created as hieroglyphs on the walls, tombs, or painted on rolls of papyrus called coffin texts, or pyramid texts… Hymns to Re, the sun god.
With numerous authors and sources, through different times and places, these smaller versions were simply bits and pieces of the real book, and chosen for their special meaning to the dearly departed, like a spell, or an incantation, something to guide them through the afterlife and protect them.
So, depending on who wrote the book, and who it was for, varied.
Not to mention the fact that the book has been through many translations and updates.
So how big are these books?
The dimensions of the longest book found was about 130 feet, and some of the smaller books were just 3 feet in length.
So will you be getting your own book of the dead?
A colorful illustration? Charlie Brown maybe?
If it were me, I’m sure I’d get a joke book! 🙂