Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gates of the Underworld (Cont.)

     In the Book of Two Ways there are seven gates that the deceased must pass. These gates are divided into two groups (four in the first group and three in the second group). Each gate is guarded by a demon (for the lack of a better term) that must be passed. Each of these demons has a (to us) rather odd name. For instance, in Coffin Text #1100 the guardian is called "The One who Stretches Out the Prow-Rope". The deceased tells the guardian that he is " of the striking force (of god), which has no opposition" and then lists all the bad  things that will happen if the demon opposes his passage.

     The spells describing each of the remaining gates are very similar. We are told the name of the gate's guardian and the deceased then passes by using the spells in the Coffin Text to intimidate these fearsome creatures. The names of the vile demons manning the remaining gates are:

Group 1:
Gate 2 - "The One who Cuts them Down" (CT #1101)
Gate 3 - "The One who Eats the Excrement of his Rear" (!!!) (CT #1102)
Gate 4 - "Opposed Face, Noisy" (CT #1103)

Group 2:
Gate 1 - "Upside Down Face, Numerous of Forms" (CT #1108)
Gate 2 - "One Who Lives on Worms" (CT #1109)
Gate 3 - "Ikenty, Who Raises his Voice in Flame" (CT #1110)

     In the next post I will take a look at the gates mentioned in the Book of the Dead. If you are interested in the Coffin Texts, there are two translations that can be recommended:

1) Lesko, Leonard. The Ancient Egyptian Book of Two Ways, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1972 . This work only covers the Book of Two Ways. The next volume translates all of the Coffin Texts.

2) Faulkner, Raymond. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, in three volumes, Warminster: Aris and Phillips, Ltd., 1973, 1977 and 1978.

I would also mention Aadrian de Buck's collation of the original texts which is now available in an electronic form. This series of books contains only the Egyptian texts, for English translations, see Faulkner's book listed above.

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