The AMDUAT (literally "That Which Is In the Afterworld", also
translated as "Text of the Hidden Chamber Which is in the Underworld"
Book of What is in the Underworld") is an important Ancient
Egyptian funerary text of the
New Kingdom . Like many funerary texts,
it was found written on the inside of the pharaoh's tomb for
reference. Unlike other funerary texts, however, it was reserved only
for pharaohs (until the 21st Dynasty almost exclusively) or very
favored nobility .
It tells the story of Ra , the Egyptian sun god who travels through
the underworld, from the time when the sun sets in the west and rises
again in the east. It is said that the dead
Pharaoh is taking this
same journey, ultimately to become one with Ra and live forever.
The underworld is divided into twelve hours of the night, each
representing different allies and enemies for the Pharaoh/sun god to
Amduat names all of these gods and monsters. The main
purpose of the
Amduat is to give the names of these gods and monsters
to the spirit of the dead Pharaoh, so he can call upon them for help
or use their name to defeat them.
As well as enumerating and naming the inhabitants of the
Dwat) both good and bad, the illustrations of the 'book' show clearly
the topography of the underworld. The earliest complete version of the
Amduat is found in
KV34 , the tomb of
Thutmose III in the Valley of
the Kings .
* 1 The hours
* 2 Notes
* 3 References
* 4 External links
In hour 1 the sun god enters the western horizon (akhet ) which is a
transition between day and night. In hours 2 and 3 he passes through
an abundant watery world called 'Wernes' and the 'Waters of Osiris'.
In hour 4 he reaches the difficult sandy realm of Sokar , the
underworld hawk deity, where he encounters dark zig zag pathways which
he has to negotiate, being dragged on a snake-boat. In hour 5 he
discovers the tomb of
Osiris which is an enclosure beneath which is
hidden a lake of fire, the tomb is covered by a pyramid like mound
(identified with the goddess
Isis ) and on top of which
Nephthys have alighted in the form of two kites (birds of prey).
In the sixth hour the most significant event in the underworld
occurs. The ba (or soul) of Ra unites with his own body, or
alternatively with the ba of
Osiris within the circle formed by the
mehen serpent. This event is the point at which the sun begins its
regeneration; it is a moment of great significance, but also danger,
as beyond it in hour 7 the adversary
Apep (Apophis) lies in wait and
has to be subdued by the magic of Isis, and the strength of Set
Serqet . Once this has been done the sun god opens the
doors of the tomb in hour 8 and then leaves the sandy island of Sokar
by rowing vigorously back into the waters in hour 9. In hour 10 the
regeneration process continues through immersion in the waters until
in hour 11 the god's eyes (a symbol for his health and well being) are
fully regenerated. In hour 12 he enters the eastern horizon ready to
rise again as the new day's sun.
* ^ Forman and Quirke (1996), p. 117.
* ^ Hornung (1999), p.27
* Forman, Werner and Stephen Quirke. (1996). Hieroglyphs and the
Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN
Erik Hornung trans. David Lorton (1999). The Ancient Egyptian
Books of the Afterlife. Cornell University Press.
* Knowledge for the Afterlife - the Egyptian
Amduat - a quest for
immortality (1963), Theodore Abt and Erik Hornung, Living