Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Egyptian afterlife

From last week's TLS [14 Jan 2011], John Ray's account of the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
The ancient Egyptian afterlife is full of perils. The deceased may be compelled to walk upside down through fire and subsist on excrement, and the innumerable gateways in the underworld have their guardians, often hideous, who interrogate the wanderer and demand to be told their exact names ... there are paradises after death as well: the Elysian Fields (the name is Egyptian), where harvests are limitless, and where the deceased can turn into a swallow, or play board games they cannot lose. [17]
Some mistake, surely? Excrement eating aside, the first portion of this sounds stimulating and fun; the second, Elysian portion (playing a boardcgame you cannot lose? For eternity?) rather Hellish and horrible. But maybe that a de gustibus matter.

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