Question Description

  • On the papyrus scroll known as “The Weighing of the Heart and Judgement of Osiris,” from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer, different gods and goddesses are depicted as part animal, part human. Some are even combinations of many animals.
  • Anubis is the jackal faced guardian of the underworld. He leads the dead into the underworld and weighs his heart against the ostrich feather of Maat.Anubis is the jackal faced guardian of the underworld.
  • Maat is the goddess of truth and justice. Maat is the goddess of truth and justice.
  • Thoth is the ibis headed scribe who records the results of the weighing.Thoth is the ibis headed scribe who records the results of the weighing.
  • Ammut is the devourer of those whose evil deeds made them unworthy of an after-life. She is part crocodile, part lion and part hippopotamus.Ammut, part crocodile, part lion and part hippopotamus, is the devourer of those unworthy of an after-life.
  • Horus, the son of Osiris, has a hawk’s head and presents the worthy dead to Osiris.
    Horus, the son of Osiris, has a hawk?s head and presents the worthy dead to Osiris.
  • Why do you think these animals were chosen as part of the gods and goddesses qualities?
  • Do you think these forms of their deities were created by the culture and the artists, or did these deities actually exist and presented themselves to be worshipped by the Egyptian people? (Do people create the gods or do the gods create the people?)
  • What animals or combination of animals would you choose to symbolize:
  • Devourer of souls
  • Messenger of god(s)/Goddess(es)
  • Weigher of good and evil souls
  • What animal forms and qualities have been associated with belief systems of other cultures such as the Native Americans, Christianity, modern America?

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