Ma’atis described as a concept commonly practiced and applied by theancient Egyptians which is representative of truth, justice,morality, balance of order and the law (Toby 73). It is also apersonification of a goddess that regulates the seasons, stars andthe actions of both deities and mortals who at the moment and time ofcreation set the order of the universe. It was generally consideredas the order and norm for nature and society by the ancient Egyptians(Toby 157). Egyptian mythology illustrates that after Maat’s rolein creation and continuously helping prevent the eruption of chaos inthe world, her other role became that of weighing souls to seewhether they merit to enter paradise or not by use and measure of herfeather.
Notso much literature is available to help represent the true practiceof the Egyptian law in very fine details which was actually the basisof justice dispensation. Justice was all through applied by the useof the Maat rather than the ordinary day complicated legalisticdocumentations that strive to entail all concepts through whichjustice can be applied effectively. Through this literature, justicewas to be dispensed by the process of upholding the normal and basicvalues in the spirit of truth and fairness. Wisdom literature whichis a representation of sayings of wisdom guided the application ofthe Maat as its teachings effectively help maintain proper individualconduct as well as the general operations of the society. Severalsocial or professional situations and complications that arose wereall solved in the spirit of Maat as it was very practical advice andgreatly case-based that most general common rules got derived fromthem. The Maat even provided for women representation and recognitionas women in Egypt were allowed to own property unlike the customs ofother societies then, which is a practiced embraced even in today’sera of modernity hence making the Maat to stand out as one of themost conspicuous sources of modern literature.
Inthe line of responsibility, Maat emphasized on the morality andethical principles and people were expected to behave and conductthemselves with truth in the matters as pertains families, thecommunity, environment, god and nation. All individuals in thesociety were expected to undertake their duties with dignity anddecorum, with high levels of commitment and truthfulness to help keepthe society moving without chaos. Men, women and children were allexpected to undertake their duties as stipulated in the Maat withoutswaying wayward. Maat is considered as a literature of wisdom becauseit accumulatively attempts to accommodate all basic aspects ofexistence which revolves around attaining the equilibrium of theuniverse, the inter-relationship between constituent parts, religiousobserves, honesty, fair dealings and also truthfulness in a varietyof various social interactions. The king on the other hand couldbring about a curse to all individuals that by any means attempted todivert from the set norms and responsibilities of the society as setout in the concept Maat. The concept of Isfetwason the other hand contrary to the teachings of the Maat and activelyadvocated for lies, chaos and violence.
Thisconcept of the Maat is considered as a literature of wisdom as ithelps outline the day to day operations especially in the Egyptiansociety. It is a concept that helped bring order and justice to thesociety outlining the sole responsibilities of all the people in thesociety and with close monitoring of all their conduct. The Maat’swisdom has traversed through the ages as it became a source of otherlaw legislations upon the change of times and seasons to the presentday modernity. It was therefore a strong literature that encompases alarge pool of wisdom that is practically recognized to present daylives as its doctrines and teachings are still some of the leadingguiding principles in the present day Egypt and the world at large.
Ma’atis described as a concept commonly practiced and applied by theancient Egyptians which is representative of truth, justice,morality, balance of order and the law (Toby 73). It is also areference to the personification of a goddess that regulates theseasons, stars and the actions of both deities and mortals who at themoment and time of creation set the order of the universe. The Maatwas generally considered as the concept that outlined the order andnorm for nature and society by and for the ancient Egyptians.
Narmerpalette is a term used to refer to great Egyptian archeologicalfindings that date back to the 31stcentury BC. This find does contain what is currently considered assome of the very earliest findings of hieroglyphic inscriptions. TheNarmer Palette equally referred to as the Great Hierakonpolis Palette(Toby 19).
Manethowas a great Egyptian priest that lived around 3c BC and is documentedto have written more than one book in Greek to help familiarize theMediterranean world of the historical progress and civilizationlevels in his country. Most of his original works are considered lostbut the little existing that survived has been transmitted infragments to the current generations by other ancient authors likeJosephus. Manetho’s works though mangled have actually survivedthrough the centuries though not complete as other hieroglyphicwritings got lost with time.
Thisrefers to graphic symbols that help bring out a representation ofconcepts or ideas that often happen to be independent of any specificlanguages or phrases. Some of these so called ideograms get to beunderstood by only familiarity with no prior convention. Otherideograms actually help bring out meaning only through pictorialresemblance to known physical objects hence making them suitable forother references like the pictograms.
Theprimarily Egyptian calendar had 10 days in a week and their month had3 weeks or 30 days. In addition, there were three season in a yeareach containing 120 days, equaling 360 days, which were then followedby five epagomenal that were unnamed, and they were mainly referredas “outside the calendar,” thus making a total of 365 days peryear. The starting season of the year was the one that was referredas Akhit.
Coffintexts is a term used to refer to texts derived from the Egyptianpyramid texts that were reserved for royal use in addition to use forordinary desires and represent a collection of ancient Egyptianfunerary spells that were written on coffin at the start of the firstintermediary period. The spells make emphasis on the afterlife withthe major intention of allowing the deceased get protection againstany dangers that may befall them after death that could make them endup dying a second death. They are majorly measured throughabbreviations and limit of number of words due to space limit.
Encirclementis a term used to refer to situations where a target is isolated andsurrounded by the enemy. It is a term used by various militaries allthrough the centuries to refer dangerous situations when militarybases are encircled by the enemy forces and under serious danger andattack. These situations can only be avoided by counter attack todeath or victory or by mere surrender. The danger of encirclement canbe measured by the knowledge of the number, experience and weaponrycapacity of the enemy forces. The enemy can also measure their extentof encirclement by the level to which all escape routes are sealed.
Khnumhotepis believed to have been an Egyptian royal servant who lived and diedas a royal confidant. khnumhotep is believed to have had a maleservant companion with whom they served the royal dynasty at around2400 BC. They happen to have actually been the first recorded samesex couple in history. This is specifically supported by the factthat they are depicted standing nose to nose with each other. Thesetwo individuals are believed to have been buried in the same tomb inEgypt (Toby 544).
Thisis a term used to refer to the chieftains of the city states in whichmigrant mari people had established in Canaan. The term was mainlyused by Egyptians. As documented, even some of the Israelites rose tobe chieftains in the cities.
Theimage numberone is that of Hapi.This was the god of the Nile River which could represent thefertility to the North and South. This is believed to be one of thesons Horus, helping in the protection of Osiris throne in theunderworld. Hapi is further believed to have personified the Nile andis recognized as its protector and went further to occasionally makethe Nile flood and deposit nutrients to the Egyptian soil, hencemaking it very productive. Hence, this made him very important to thepeople and hence he got worshiped throughout Egypt.
Theimage numbertworepresentscosmology.It is an image of the air god Shu holding up the sky with the help ofother gods as Geb, the earth lies down. The Egyptians believed in theMaat with conviction that the cosmic level was under constant threatof disorder and this meant that all forces of nature especially thegods should continue to function in balance. All the society wasexpected to perform rituals that help stave off disorder that getsperpetuated by the forces of disorder.
Theimagenumber three is that of the celestial nurse.This is the goddess of love, music, dance and beauty. This isrecognized as the mother of all mothers and helped preside overfertility, women, children and childbirth. She is a goddess worshipedand greatly respected though she possesses some qualities that makeher more human.
Theimagenumber fouristhat of the goddess Isis.This was the mother of infant god Horus and was both wife and sisterof Osiris. She laid the foundation of mummifying the dead in theEgyptian culture she was able to bind and bandage the body pieces ofher dead husband until he regained life. Her importance goes beyondborders as she was able to introduce the concept of resurrection tothe Egyptian community by bringing Osiris back to life and thisconcept is upheld to date even in the doctrine of Christianity.
Theimage number six is the sphinx. Thisis a representative of the Greek tradition with a human head and alion haunch. The sphinx is mythicised as treacherous and merciless.Those who could not answer its riddle were killed and eaten by thisravenous monster. The Egyptian sphinx was considered benevolent andhelped guard entrances of tombs and temples.
Theimage numbersixrepresentsthe cult of Isis. This was an Egyptian cult that was attractive to Roman women. Thecult involved a ten day initiation ceremony that acted more about thedeath and rebirth of Osiris. This emphasized on the miraculous natureof Osiris’ resurrection out of grief and faithfulness of Isis. Thiscult is very important as it convinced the followers to believe inthe immortality of life through resurrection.
Evolutionof writing in Egypt
Egypthas gone through various cycles of writing through a sequence ofevolutions. It is widely believed that writing originated from Egyptin the early centuries. The Egyptians introduced the art of wring tothe world and as time moved, writing grew in popularity and keptgetting improved through a number of evolutions to the current dayform of writing.
Thefirst form of writing was documented Egyptian hieroglyphics and inHieratic form in the Egyptian Protodynastic period. The cursivehieroglyphs became popular in the ramesside period and wereessentially and mostly used for religious documents on papyrus ashighlighted in various multi-authored booksof the dead. Thisscript was an advanced form of the stone-curved hieroglyphs and didlack some expansive use of ligatures. As Egypt became part of Greece,the Greek Coptic alphabet replaced the older forms of writing. TheGreek and Roman alphabet was first used in the writing of magical andChristian manuscripts. Some other characters were added to help makea representation of the Egyptian pronunciations. The hieroglyphs areactually believed to have been introduced at around 3200 BC with acomposition of about 500 symbols. The hieroglyphs used to be writtenon stone monuments as well as tombs and detailed as individualexpressions of art and the last datable hieroglyphic textretrievable was documented at around 394 AD.
TheCoptic alphabet then came in for use in Egypt at around the firstcentury AD when the Coptic alphabet started being used alongside thedemotic scripts which are some representations of the ancienthieroglyphs. This Coptic form of alphabet underwent remodeling toincorporate some Egyptian pronunciations. The use of the formalhieroglyphs kept fading and at around the 4thcentury AD, very few priests were able to read them. The hieroglyphswere used to represent ideograms and phonetic values in the Egyptiansociety (William 2003).
Islamthen came in to Egypt in the later stages and majority of the knownalphabets in Egypt got converted to the ancient Arabic forms ofwring. However, change and evolution to writing came in so first withthe onset of the pen and advancement of technology. This technologyhas seen through the development to the present day of differentforms of writing by use of the printing press, the computers and themobile phones. The nature of this written word has kept evolving overa large span of time to give way for informal colloquial writingstyles in Egypt and beyond that have facilitated present daycommunications through the use of the emails and SMS services.
Thus,the evolution of writing in Egypt has been a very progressive processthat has kept mutating and developing through the ages to the presentday systems. This has been greatly affected by the change of times,seasons, periods and technology. This writing has kept evolving fromthe original hieroglyphic forms, the papyrus forms and finally to thepresent day computerized forms of writing (William 2003).
Roleof magic in Egypt
Accordingto certain Egyptian myths, magic was one of the ways and forcesthrough which the creator made the world. The term magic on a broaderscale is used to provide an illustration about the use of variousrituals, actions, symbols, gestures and language to help exploitsupernatural forces. Magic has been in practice all through thecenturies from the ancient times across different societies andcommunities especially across Egypt.
InEgypt for instance, magic was used for various purposes and waspracticed by various people but the most common were the priests. The lector priests were considered strong guardians of the secretsgiven by the gods and were able to read ancient books of magic keptin the temple library. Magic in Egypt was used for various purposesamong them was protection. Illnesses, accidents, poverty, andinfertility were believed to have been caused by angry deities,foreign demons, sorcerers and jealous gods. The use of magic helpedprevent these misfortunes from taking lace and therefore magic wasused for protection. This was done by the use of drums, loud noiseswith rattles in addition to the use of tambourines as all these werebelieved to help has off these impeding calamities in time (William2003).
Healingwas another use of magic in Egypt. Some supernatural beings werebelieved to be causing diseases to people and when the magicianthrough the power of magic knew the specific beings causing diseasetrouble. The magicians could use dung or honey to lure he demons outof a patient in addition to drawing images of deities on patient’sskin such that when the patient licked, they got well. The story ofinfant god Horus and how he was cured from poisoning and how heovercame rampant wild animals and reptiles is so amazing to healersand patients and once they recited this chorus and the healer calledout the name of Thoth, the god who healed Horus, healing was believedto be on the way (William 2003).
Magicwas not only used to heal and protect in the Egyptian culture butinstead was also used to decree curses in a manner that isessentially considered destructive. Names of Egyptian traitors andenemies were inscribed on clay pots and tablets and the objects wereburnt, broken and buried in cemeteries as this was believed to be acurse to help break or weaken the enemy.
Inthe afterlife, the Egyptian culture believed that magic was necessaryto help preserve the bodies and souls of the deceased. Through magic,the dead’ body was believed to have been protected by amuletsbelieved to be hidden under its wrappings and collections of funeraryspells inscribed on tombs are further believed to play key roles inprotecting the dead in the underworld afterlife. The soul was alsoexpected to overcome demons that could come its way by use of avariety of magic words, hence ensure that magic power protected theliving even in the afterlife. These magic words were expected to beuttered even in judgment as they could help the soul be declaredinnocent and once this happened, they became a soul with superiorpower,akhand with superior magic that was believed to be of great benefit tothe living relatives.
Muchof this Egyptian magic is interesting to hear and comprehend but thesmearing of patients with dung or honey in an effort bring out orrepel evil spirits from causing illness to the living baffles me.Magic in this ancient Egypt is really interesting especially in themanner in which the people just got convinced and believed in it.Therefore, magic was real in ancient Egypt and was a strongcomposition of their daily life
TobyWilkinson, TheRise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. RandomHouse. 2010. Print.
WilliamSimpson, TheLiterature of Ancient Egypt,3rd edition. Yale University Press. 2003. Print.