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THE AFTERLIFE IN ANCIENT EGYPTS RELIGION AND LITERATURE Ancient Egypt is often identified by its enormous pyramids in particular the Great Pyramid at Giza which was built during the middle of the third millennium BC Pyramids are massive monuments built over or around a crypt or tomb The Egyptian pyramids served as royal tombs Not only do these colossal constructions depict the Egyptians advanced architectural abilities but they also give us an insight into their belief system Ancient Egypts beliefs were based on their view of life as a process which began on earth but continued in the afterlife or continued existence after death Egyptians believed that proper burial ensured the deceased entrance into the afterlife Their belief was that in order for the soul to pass into the next life the body must remain intact therefore to preserve it they developed the procedures of mummification or embalming the art of preserving bodies after death generally by the use of chemical substances The preservation was essential to resurrecting or moving on to the afterlife The preserved body would then be placed in the pyramid which was considered a vessel that transported the deceased into the afterlife Ancient Egypts religious beliefs were the dominating influence in the development of their culture Egyptian religion gave reason for their belief in an afterlife and their literature demonstrated how important that belief was to Ancient Egyptians The religious beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians were based on a combination of the belief in spiritual beings existence of many gods or divine beings and the depiction of these gods in either human or animal form Egyptians religious beliefs about the afterlife are depicted in their hymns to their gods and in an extensive collection of mortuary texts which demonstrate their religious beliefs Some examples of these pieces of literature are The Hymn to the Nile Middle Kingdom 1938-1600 BC The Story of Sinuhe Middle Kingdom and the Egyptian Book
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