The passion about the ancient time, especially Ancient Egypt, is one that is most cherished by many.
The mysteries surrounding an old civilization capable of building tombs that reaches to the sky in perfect geometrical shapes placed to match the orion belt… but what about the mummies of Ancient Egypt?
New in the Old
When the interest in Egypt grew, many archeologists became specialists in the field and formed Egyptology. So many artifacts, hidden history and mysteries waiting to be discovered under the sand of a mystical country.
Pyramids, gardens, statues, the Sphinx, hieroglyphs, mythology, treasures, sarcophagus… and mummies. It took many years to archeologists and historians to finally understand what the purpose of pyramids were and even the reason for mummification was a long debate.
Many activities on their part were unique to the ancient Egyptian civilization and so it made them the centre of attention for many scientists, authors, artists and horror fans.
Secrets Buried In Sand
Well before Dynasties, it is said that mummification was already part of the Egypt itself. However, because there are no hieroglyphs or drawings depicting the exact procedure concerning how the body itself was treated and kept intact, it is a mystery to this day.
The mummification being a ceremony in itself, only allowed people were in the room of embalming. Prayers, chants and routines were of course part of the mummification. As shown in drawings of stages in life that were found as well as hieroglyphs of certain aspects of the ceremonial activity is also depicted.
The treatment of the body might not be shown due to the fact that people back then might have thought of it as inappropriate and impolite. Therefore, no texts were kept about it.
The leader of the embalmers wore a mask of the representation of Anubis, supervising the work as the character was close to the mummification itself.
It is no secret that the procedure of mummification took a long time to accomplish. It was done with meticulous work and much attention. It involved the removal of organs, the brain being extracted through the nostrils.
Following, was the removal of each internal organs through a small incision on the left side of the body. The organs would then be left out to dry before the heart was placed back inside. Other organs were kept in Canopic jars placed in a chest beside the body.
Four Canopic jars were prepared. One was a head to guard the liver. The second was a falcon to watch over the intestines. Third was a baboon to protect the lungs and fourth, a jackal to look after the stomach. Those were the four sons of Horus.
Then, the embalmers would rinse the inside of the body with wine and spices. The body was then covered in natron — salt for a total of seventy days. Following forty days, the body was stuffed with either linen or sand to give its human shape back.
Once the seventy days were completed, the body would finally be wrapped in bandaged before being placed in its forever resting chamber. If a pharaoh or queen, then they would of course be placed in their respectful sarcophagus and placed in their tomb surrounded by their treasure.
When embalming was done with lesser rich people, the organs would not be removed and instead, the body would simply be cleansed with introduction of oils from cedar through the anus. The cheapest form having the body washed with a purge before giving the body back to the family.
What wouldn’t change either the body was one of a pharaoh, queen, modest or poor, was the seventy-day period. Some believe that it is associated with the Sothic Cycle of the Old Kingdom. Back then, people would believe that the mummified bodies would return as a star.
Wrap It Up!
I have been a fan of Ancient Egypt since an early age. My fascination surrounding the idea of building larger than life monuments was so intense that I would go to the library and read everything I could find about it. Then, I found the beauty of the pharaohs and queens to be the greatest and I developed a “girl crush” on Nefertiti. Then, came in the mummies and their place in classical horror.
At an early age I understood that what people didn’t know, they were most likely to be scared of. After all, it was only in the early twentieth century that people from Europe and North America went to Egypt to study the ancestry of Egyptians.
What they discovered back then might have startled them because of the difference in beliefs and treatment of the bodies. What they were able to understand and compare with might have proven to be quite different than what other people expected thus creating those horror movies, novels and attractions to mummies coming back to life.
See you next week with another mummy history lesson! Haha!
Until next time!
The OCD Vampire