Žabkar, L. V., Correlation of the Transformation Spells of the Book of the Dead and the Amulets of Tutankhamun's Mummy, in: Mélanges offert à Jean Vercoutter . ILLÉS, O., Single Spell Book of the Dead Papyri as Amulets, in: BACKES, (-Nr. ) Tb HELCK, W., Das Bier im Alten Ägypten, Berlin , Book of the Dead Chapter Some Preliminary Remarks. 11 LOUISE GESTERMANN. Aufgelesen: Die Anfange des altägyptischen Totenbuchs.
There was no single or canonical Book of the Dead. The surviving papyri contain a varying selection of religious and magical texts and vary considerably in their illustration.
Some people seem to have commissioned their own copies of the Book of the Dead perhaps choosing the spells they thought most vital in their own progression to the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead was most commonly written in hieroglyphic or hieratic script on a papyrus scroll, and often illustrated with vignettes depicting the deceased and their journey into the afterlife.
Wallis Budge, and was brought to the London Museum to preserve it, and it is where the Papyrus Scroll of Ani remains unto this day. The Book of the Dead developed from a tradition of funerary manuscripts dating back to the Egyptian Old Kingdom.
The Pyramid Texts were written in an unusual hieroglyphic style; many of the hieroglyphs representing humans or animals were left incomplete or drawn mutilated, most likely to prevent them causing any harm to the dead pharaoh.
In the Middle Kingdom , a new funerary text emerged, the Coffin Texts. The Coffin Texts used a newer version of the language, new spells, and included illustrations for the first time.
The Coffin Texts were most commonly written on the inner surfaces of coffins, though they are occasionally found on tomb walls or on papyri.
The earliest known occurrence of the spells included in the Book of the Dead is from the coffin of Queen Mentuhotep , of the 13th dynasty , where the new spells were included amongst older texts known from the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts.
Some of the spells introduced at this time claim an older provenance; for instance the rubric to spell 30B states that it was discovered by the Prince Hordjedef in the reign of King Menkaure , many hundreds of years before it is attested in the archaeological record.
By the 17th dynasty , the Book of the Dead had become widespread not only for members of the royal family, but courtiers and other officials as well.
At this stage, the spells were typically inscribed on linen shrouds wrapped around the dead, though occasionally they are found written on coffins or on papyrus.
The New Kingdom saw the Book of the Dead develop and spread further. From this period onward the Book of the Dead was typically written on a papyrus scroll, and the text illustrated with vignettes.
During the 19th dynasty in particular, the vignettes tended to be lavish, sometimes at the expense of the surrounding text. In the Third Intermediate Period , the Book of the Dead started to appear in hieratic script, as well as in the traditional hieroglyphics.
The hieratic scrolls were a cheaper version, lacking illustration apart from a single vignette at the beginning, and were produced on smaller papyri.
At the same time, many burials used additional funerary texts, for instance the Amduat. During the 25th and 26th dynasties , the Book of the Dead was updated, revised and standardised.
Spells were consistently ordered and numbered for the first time. This standardised version is known today as the 'Saite recension', after the Saite 26th dynasty.
In the Late period and Ptolemaic period , the Book of the Dead remained based on the Saite recension, though increasingly abbreviated towards the end of the Ptolemaic period.
The last use of the Book of the Dead was in the 1st century BCE, though some artistic motifs drawn from it were still in use in Roman times.
The Book of the Dead is made up of a number of individual texts and their accompanying illustrations. Most sub-texts begin with the word ro, which can mean "mouth," "speech," "spell," "utterance," "incantation," or "a chapter of a book.
At present, some spells are known,  though no single manuscript contains them all. They served a range of purposes. Some are intended to give the deceased mystical knowledge in the afterlife, or perhaps to identify them with the gods: Still others protect the deceased from various hostile forces or guide him through the underworld past various obstacles.
Famously, two spells also deal with the judgement of the deceased in the Weighing of the Heart ritual. Such spells as 26—30, and sometimes spells 6 and , relate to the heart and were inscribed on scarabs.
The texts and images of the Book of the Dead were magical as well as religious. Magic was as legitimate an activity as praying to the gods, even when the magic was aimed at controlling the gods themselves.
The act of speaking a ritual formula was an act of creation;  there is a sense in which action and speech were one and the same thing.
Hieroglyphic script was held to have been invented by the god Thoth , and the hieroglyphs themselves were powerful.
Written words conveyed the full force of a spell. The spells of the Book of the Dead made use of several magical techniques which can also be seen in other areas of Egyptian life.
A number of spells are for magical amulets , which would protect the deceased from harm. In addition to being represented on a Book of the Dead papyrus, these spells appeared on amulets wound into the wrappings of a mummy.
Other items in direct contact with the body in the tomb, such as headrests, were also considered to have amuletic value. Almost every Book of the Dead was unique, containing a different mixture of spells drawn from the corpus of texts available.
For most of the history of the Book of the Dead there was no defined order or structure. The spells in the Book of the Dead depict Egyptian beliefs about the nature of death and the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead is a vital source of information about Egyptian beliefs in this area. One aspect of death was the disintegration of the various kheperu , or modes of existence.
Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into sah , an idealised form with divine aspects;  the Book of the Dead contained spells aimed at preserving the body of the deceased, which may have been recited during the process of mummification.
The ka , or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and required sustenance from offerings of food, water and incense.
In case priests or relatives failed to provide these offerings, Spell ensured the ka was satisfied. It was the ba , depicted as a human-headed bird, which could "go forth by day" from the tomb into the world; spells 61 and 89 acted to preserve it.
An akh was a blessed spirit with magical powers who would dwell among the gods. The nature of the afterlife which the dead person enjoyed is difficult to define, because of the differing traditions within Ancient Egyptian religion.
In the Book of the Dead , the dead were taken into the presence of the god Osiris , who was confined to the subterranean Duat.
There are also spells to enable the ba or akh of the dead to join Ra as he travelled the sky in his sun-barque, and help him fight off Apep.
There are fields, crops, oxen, people and waterways. The deceased person is shown encountering the Great Ennead , a group of gods, as well as his or her own parents.
While the depiction of the Field of Reeds is pleasant and plentiful, it is also clear that manual labour is required. For this reason burials included a number of statuettes named shabti , or later ushebti.
These statuettes were inscribed with a spell, also included in the Book of the Dead , requiring them to undertake any manual labour that might be the owner's duty in the afterlife.
The path to the afterlife as laid out in the Book of the Dead was a difficult one. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds guarded by supernatural creatures.
Their names—for instance, "He who lives on snakes" or "He who dances in blood"—are equally grotesque. These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells included in the Book of the Dead ; once pacified they posed no further threat, and could even extend their protection to the dead person.
If all the obstacles of the Duat could be negotiated, the deceased would be judged in the "Weighing of the Heart" ritual, depicted in Spell The deceased was led by the god Anubis into the presence of Osiris.
These texts differ from the Pyramid Texts because they were often used by many members of the uppermost level of society. During this time, families were often buried in the same tombs but they showed social status by the size of different burials.
It continued in use until the end of the Ptolemaic Period. Wider portions of the population used these texts and included portions of the Pyramid and Coffin Texts.
The people standardized the order and number of the spells in the Book of the Dead. Almost chapters or spells exist today but no single compilation discovered to date contains all the spells.
Some spells provided information for the dead about the gods, so the dead could identify with the gods. Priests designed spells to protect the dead or to guide them through the Tuat, past the different obstacles on the journey.
Most of the extant copies of the Book of the Dead are unique in their choice of spells and order. Scribes organized the Saite compilations into four sections, each of which had a set theme and position.
This quote is a funerary spell that is supposed to be spoken by the living in order to help the dead triumph over their enemies:.
Thoth, the scribe of the gods and the god of wisdom, recorded the results of the tribunal. If the heart weighed more than the feather, Ammat the devourer snatched it off the scale and ate the heart.
The Egyptians considered the heart the most important organ in the body. They believed it was the center of emotion, memory and thought. Unlike some of the other organs, the heart remained in the body during its embalming.
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