Quest for Immortality
recent exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science provided
a fascinating glimpse into ancient Egyptian beliefs about
exhibit revealed treasures
- from from the period of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 B.C.) through the
Late Period (664-332 B.C.) - that date back 3,000 years
It represented the largest collection of sacred Egyptian artifacts ever
displayed in North America.
exhibit included: massive stone carvings, intricately painted sarcophagi
and coffins, gold death masks, exquisite jewelry, stunning reliefs,
and artwork from Egypt's golden age, many items of which have never
before been displayed outside of Egypt.
Ancient Egyptian Beliefs About
of the legend of Osiris, the Egyptian god of Death and the Afterworld,
Egyptians believed they would be transformed and live in the afterlife.
According to myth, Osiris was killed by his brother, Seth, the god of
strength, war and storms. Osiris was brought back to life by his wife
and sister, Isis, the
goddess of fertility. He was then embalmed by the jackal-headed god,
Anubis and remained in the underworld to judge the souls of the dead.
Egyptians believed the body must be preserved intact in order for the
spirit to gain immortality. To achieve this, they developed elaborate
mummification processes that allowed bodies of the dead to survive for
thousands of years.
tombs became the eternal home for the spirits, which they believed dwelt
in the west, where the sun set. The tombs of Egyptian royalty were filled
with treasures and nourishment, so the deceased could enjoy eternity
Egyptians believed the soul of the dead accompanied the sun god Re (or
Ra) on his eternal journey through the Upper Waters (the heavens) around
the world. Therefore, a boat or a model of a boat, which they believed
would magically transform into a solar boat, was buried in every pharaoh's
tomb. The solar boat carried Re and the deceased pharaoh through the
12 hours of night. At dawn, the sun god would be reborn—and the
pharaoh’s spirit along with it.
discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799, near the town of Rosetta (now
called Rashid) located in the Nile Delta about 40 miles northeast of
Alexandria, allowed scholars the opportunity to understand Egyptian
writing. The French linguist and Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion
(1790-1832) was the one who finally decoded hieroglyphics in the 1820's.