Ancient Afterlife: Perceptions and Rituals

This paper describes the afterlife rituals and the perceptions during life as to what the afterlife will be for Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece.

This paper provides an examination as to how these people imagined the afterlife through daily prayers and customs. For each civilization, the writer presents rituals, festivals and writings from the time in order to help the reader understand the type of lifestyle each civilization lead. In addition there are detailed descriptions of the burial processes and practices for preserving their dead.
“In Egypt, death was just a right of passage to the next domain, however in order to die properly, the right spells and incantations must have been performed. As shown in The Book of the Dead, written around 2400 B.C. there were very serious rituals that must be performed in order to pass on properly. These spells and incantations reflected how much the Egyptians expected from their society. For example when an Egyptian dies they must face the gods and must repeat lines from the spell “The Protestation of Guiltlessness”. A few lines from this poem are as follows: “I have not committed evil against men; I am pure! My purity is the purity of the great benu-bird”; I have not told lies; I have not trespassed” (as on another’s land). These are just a few of the many lines that tell of a persons character in hopes of being accepted into their afterlife. The Egyptians were well known for having a mixture of human and animal characteristic in their gods. For example Seth (desert god) was depicted with a dog-like body, long neck, upright tail, and squared ears. The vulture goddess Nekhbet was tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt, while her counterpart in Lower Egypt was cobra goddess Wadjet (Nagle, 28).”