Give a detailed account of mummification in Egypt. What was it used for and how was it practiced? What was its mythological significance?

Essay by medium1985University, Bachelor's April 2004

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Death and the afterlife, as in any early civilization, played a hugely significant role in Egyptian culture. However it has proven to be the defining factor of Egyptian culture thanks to the fact that, because the mummies, tombs and pyramids have been so well preserved, there has been an incredible amount of archeological evidence to explore. This has led many to believe that the Egyptians were in fact obsessed with death. Not so, the fact that all that remains of their culture is preserved through burial is just testament to the skills of the Egyptian people and the mummification process.

The Egyptians believed that mummification was essential to the safe passage from the living to the afterlife. It was believed that what the modern world would call a "spirit", was comprised of three immortal spiritual forces, the Ka, the Ba, and the Akh. The Ka was generally believed to be the persons personality and being born with it, it followed the person during their life as a sort of double and served to protect them.

The Ba was more closely related to what we could call a soul and represents the animating force. Finally the Akh is the supernatural power of the person which is only attained after death. It was of uppermost concern to the Egyptians that these forces had a tangible form in which to dwell after death. This place preferably being the body of the deceased, and so it was deemed necessary to preserve it. Not only that but it required sustenance and equipment just as in its former life. Because of this, regular deposits of food were made in the tomb, however this rarely lasted for more than one or two generations after the monarch dies. The ideology that the deceased person would require the...