The Info List - Book Of Caverns

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The Book
of Caverns is an important Ancient Egyptian netherworld book of the New Kingdom.[1] Like all other netherworld books, it is also attested on the inside of kings’ tombs for the benefit of the deceased. It describes the journey of the sun god Ra through the six caverns of the underworld, focusing on the interaction between the sun god and the inhabitants of the netherworld, including rewards for the righteous and punishments for the enemies of the worldly order, those who fail their judgment in the afterlife. The Book
of Caverns is one of the best sources of information about the Egyptian concept of hell.[2] The Book
of Caverns originated in the 13th century BC in the Ramesside Period.[3] The earliest known version of this work is on the left hand wall of the Osireion
in Abydos.[1] Later it appears in the tomb of Ramesses IV
Ramesses IV
in the Valley of the Kings. This appearance was already recorded by the founding father of Egyptology Jean François Champollion in his letters from Egypt.


1 Content 2 Structure 3 History 4 Translation 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links

Content[edit] Like the two earlier Great Netherworld Books, the Book
of Caverns first of all describes the journey of the sun god (Ra) from the western horizon to the eastern horizon through the underworld, the divine creatures that he meets, and his interaction with them. Important landmarks on his journey are

the caverns of the "justified" deceased, now divine creatures (1st and 2nd tableau); the cavern of Osiris’s corpse and the sun god's own two divine bodies (3rd tableau); and the exit of the underworld for the sunrise (final tableau).

During his journey, the sun god passes over the caverns of Hell, in which the enemies of the world order (the enemies of Ra and Osiris) are being destroyed. The Book
of Caverns also gives some hints on the imagined topographical structure of the underworld.[4] Structure[edit] The Book
of Caverns has no ancient title. It is not divided into hours of the night as other netherworld books are.[5] Instead, the book contains seven great scene tableaus with altogether approximately 80 different scenes. It is divided into two parts with three tableaus each, plus a final tableau.[6]

Schema of the Book
of Caverns

The Book
of Caverns is much more literary that other funerary books from the New Kingdom, such as the Amduat
or the Book
of Gates. It does not have as many pictures as the other books, but it contains much more text.[7] History[edit] Today we know of 13 text witnesses of the Book
of Caverns:[8]

Text witness Location Coverage Dating

of the Osiris
temple in Abydos Corridor Complete Late 13th century BCE

Tomb of king Ramesses IV (KV 2)[9] 3rd corridor; annex 1st and 2nd tableau Mid-12th century BCE

Tomb of king Ramesses VI (KV 9)[10] Upper part of the tomb Nearly complete Mid-12th century BCE

Tomb of king Ramesses VII (KV 1)[11] (1st) corridor 1st tableau 2nd half of 12th century BCE

Tomb of king Ramesses IX (KV 6)[12] 1st and 2nd corridor; Sarcophagus chamber 1st-5th tableau (parts) Late 12th century BCE

Funerary papyrus of queen Nodjmet
(pBM EA 10490)

1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th tableau (parts) Mid-11th century BCE

Papyrus amulet of Butehamun (pTurin 1858)

One scene Mid-11th century BCE

Mummy cartonage (Louvre [location unknown])

One scene probably 1st millennium BCE

Tomb of maior Montuemhat (TT 34)

Probably complete (now largely destroyed) 2nd half of 7th century BCE

Tomb of the lector priest Petamenophis (TT 33) Rooms and corridor XVII–XIX Complete 2nd half of 7th century BCE

Blocks from Rhoda

At least 1st and 2nd tableau Probably 1st millennium BCE

Sarcophagus of general Petiëse (Berlin No. 29)[13] Lid One scene. c. 4th century BCE

Sarcophagus of Tjihorpto (Cairo CG 29306) Outer surface; lid 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th tableau (parts) 4th century BCE

The first known almost complete version of The Book
of Caverns that only has its upper register damaged was located in the Osireion. It was discovered by archaeologists Flinders Petrie
Flinders Petrie
and Margaret Murray who were excavating the site in 1902 through 1903. The Book
of Caverns was found directly across from the Book of Gates
Book of Gates
within the entrance passage on the left wall.[2] Ramesses IV
Ramesses IV
was the first to use Book
of Caverns in his tomb. The first (and last) almost complete copy in the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
is the version in the tomb of Ramesses VI. Here it appears opposite the Book of Gates
Book of Gates
in the front of the tomb, similar to the layout in the Osireion. The passages of the book were written all over the walls of the tomb completely covering it in text.[2][14] Translation[edit] The first translation of some sentences of the Book
of Caverns from the tomb of Ramesses VI were given by Ippolito Rosellini
Ippolito Rosellini
in 1836. Not much later, Jean François Champollion
Jean François Champollion
wrote about the Book
of Caverns from this tomb providing some translations.[14] Scholars, however, were not greatly interested in the book until about a century later when the second complete version of the text was discovered in the Osireion. In 1933 Henri Frankfort
Henri Frankfort
published the first complete translation of the book with the help of Adriaan de Buck based on this version.[2] Between 1942 and 1945, Alexandre Piankoff published a French translation of the book, followed by a translation into German by Erik Hornung in 1972. A second English translation is a translation of Hornung’s book from German into English.[15] The latest translation was published by the German scholar Daniel Werning, based on a new text critical edition.[16] References[edit]

^ a b Hornung (1999) p.83 ^ a b c d "The Book
of Caverns". www.touregypt.net (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-03-17.  ^ Werning (2011), vol. I, ch. V, with English summary on p. 262. ^ The theology of the Book
of Caverns and the imagined topography of the underworld are currently researched by Daniel Werning in a projects at the Excellence Cluster Topoi. The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations, Berlin (Germany). ^ Hornung (1999), p.84 ^ Werning (2011), vol. I, pp. 5-8. ^ "The Book
of Gates". www.touregypt.net (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-03-17.  ^ Werning (2011), vol. I, ch. II ^ KV 2 (Rameses IV) — Theban Mapping Project ^ KV 9 (Rameses V and Rameses VI) — Theban Mapping Project ^ KV 1 (Rameses VII) — Theban Mapping Project ^ KV 6 (Rameses IX) — Theban Mapping Project ^ Galerie Photos : Sarcophage du général Padi-Iset — Neues Museum, Berlin (Allemagne) ^ a b Werning (2011), vol. I, p. 29. ^ Hornung (2005). ^ Werning (2011), vol. II.


Hornung, Erik (1999). The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife (in English and translation from the German). David Lorton (translator). Cornell University Press. pp. 83–94. CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link) Werning, Daniel A. (2011). Das Höhlenbuch: Textkritische Edition und Textgrammatik, I: Überlieferungsgeschichte und Textgrammatik, II: Textkritische Edition und Übersetzung [The Book
of Caverns: Text critical edition and text grammar, I: Textual history and text grammar, II: Text critical edition and translation]. Göttinger Orientforschungen 48 (in German). 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-06635-8.  Hornung, Erik (2005). The Ancient Egyptians Books of the Underworld: the Amduat, The Book
of Gates, The Book
of Caverns, the Litany of Ra (in English and translation from the German). Irmela Stevens (translator). Intef Institute. CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link) Piankoff, Alexandre (1946). Le Livre des Quererts: Extraits du Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale, T. XLI, XLII, XLIII, XLV (in French). Cairo: Institut français d’Archéologie orientale.  (combining separate articles in the journal Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale Nr. XLI, XLII, XLIII und XLV.' (online)).

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Book
of Caverns.

Taylor Ray Ellison, The Book
of Caverns (with many pictures and detailed information on the individual tableaus) Research project on the content of Book
of Caverns and the topography of the ancient Egyptian underworld at the Excellence Cluster Topoi. The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations, Berlin (Germany) [in English]. Pictures of text witnesses in the kings' tombs: Theban Mapping Project (online). List of deities in the Book
of Caverns, from the website Comparative Religion of Shamanism / Shamanhood / Shamanship

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Ancient Egyptian religion


Emanationism Isfet Maat Maa Kheru Mythology Numerology Paganism Pantheism Philosophy Polytheism Soul


Funerals Heku Mortuary temples Offering formula Temples Veneration of the dead



Amun Amunet Heh Hauhet Kek Kauket Nu Naunet


Atum Shu Tefnut Geb Nut Osiris Isis Set Nephthys

Aker Akhty Ammit Am-heh Anat Andjety Anhur Anput Anubis Anuket Apedemak Apep Apis Apt Aqen Arensnuphis Ash Astarte Aten Astennu Babi Banebdjedet Bastet Bat Bata Ba-Pef Bes Buchis Dedun Four sons of Horus

Duamutef Hapi Imset Qebehsenuef

Ha Hapi Hathor Hatmehit Hedetet Hedjhotep Heka Hemen Hemsut Heqet Hermanubis Hesat Horus Heryshaf Hu Iabet Iah Iat Ihy Imentet Imhotep Iunit Iusaaset Kebechet Khensit Khenti-Amentiu Khenti-kheti Khepri Kherty Khnum Khonsu Kothar-wa-Khasis Maahes Ma'at Mandulis Matit Medjed Mafdet Mehen Mehet-Weret Mehit Menhit Meret Meretseger Meskhenet Min Mnevis Montu Mut Nebethetepet Nebtuwi Nefertem Nehebkau Nehmetawy Neith Nemty Nekhbet Neper Pakhet Petbe Ptah Qebui Qetesh Ra Raet-Tawy Rem Renenutet Renpet Repyt Resheph Sah Satis Sekhmet Seker Serapis Serket Seshat Shai Shed Shesmetet Shezmu Sia Sobek Sopdet Sopdu Souls of Pe and Nekhen Tatenen Taweret Tayt Ta-Bitjet Tenenet Thoth

Hermes Trismegistus

Tjenenyet Tutu Unut Wadjet Wadj-wer Weneg Wepset Wepwawet Werethekau Wosret


Aani Abtu Bennu Griffin Hieracosphinx Medjed Serpopard Sha Sphinx Uraeus


Dedi Djadjaemankh Rededjet Ubaoner


Neter-khertet Aaru Benben Duat Land of Manu The Indestructibles

Symbols and Objects

Ankh Atef Atet Book
of Thoth Cartouche Crook and flail Deshret Djed Egyptian obelisk Egyptian pool Eye of Horus Eye of Ra Hedjet Hemhem crown Hennu Imiut fetish Khepresh Kneph Matet boat Menat Nebu Nemes Neshmet Ouroboros Pschent Scarab Seqtet boat Serekh Shen ring Tyet Ushabti Was-sceptre Winged sun


Amduat Books of Breathing Book
of Caverns Book
of the Dead Book
of the Earth Book
of Gates Book
of the Heavenly Cow Book
of Traversing Eternity Coffin Texts The Contendings of Horus
and Seth Enigmatic Book
of the Netherworld Great Hymn to the Aten Litany of the Eye of Horus Litany of Re Pyramid Texts

Related religions

Atenism Gnosticism Hermeticism Kemetism Temple of Set

Book An