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The methods of embalming, or treating the dead body, that the ancient Egyptians used is called mummification. Using special processes, the Egyptians removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay.
It was important in their religion to preserve the dead body in as life-like a manner as possible. So successful were they that today we can view the mummified body of an Egyptian and have a good idea of what he or she looked like in life, years ago. Mummification was practiced throughout most of early Egyptian history. The earliest mummies from prehistoric times probably were accidental. By chance, dry sand and air since Egypt has almost no measurable rainfall preserved some bodies buried in shallow pits dug into the sand.
About B. The practice continued and developed for well over 2, years, into the Roman Period ca. Within any one period the quality of the mummification varied, depending on the price paid for it. The best prepared and preserved mummies are from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Dynasties of the New Kingdom ca. It is the general process of this period that shall be described here.
The mummification process took seventy days. Special priests worked as embalmers, treating and wrapping the body. Beyond knowing the correct rituals and prayers to be performed at various stages, the priests also needed a detailed knowledge of human anatomy. The first step in the process was the removal of all internal parts that might decay rapidly.
The brain was removed by carefully inserting special hooked instruments up through the nostrils in order to pull out bits of brain tissue. It was a delicate operation, one which could easily disfigure the face.
The embalmers then removed the organs of the abdomen and chest through a cut usually made on the left side of the abdomen. They left only the heart in place, believing it to be the center of a person's being and intelligence.
The other organs were preserved separately, with the stomach, liver, lungs, and intestines placed in special boxes or jars today called canopic jars. These were buried with the mummy. In later mummies, the organs were treated, wrapped, and replaced within the body. Even so, unused canopic jars continued to be part of the burial ritual.
The embalmers next removed all moisture from the body. This they did by covering the body with natron, a type of salt which has great drying properties, and by placing additional natron packets inside the body. When the body had dried out completely, embalmers removed the internal packets and lightly washed the natron off the body.
The result was a very dried-out but recognizable human form. To make the mummy seem even more life-like, sunken areas of the body were filled out with linen and other materials and false eyes were added. Next the wrapping began. Each mummy needed hundreds of yards of linen.
The priests carefully wound the long strips of linen around the body, sometimes even wrapping each finger and toe separately before wrapping the entire hand or foot. In order to protect the dead from mishap, amulets were placed among the wrappings and prayers and magical words written on some of the linen strips. Often the priests placed a mask of the person's face between the layers of head bandages. At several stages the form was coated with warm resin and the wrapping resumed once again.
At last the priests wrapped the final cloth or shroud in place and secured it with linen strips. The mummy was complete. The priests preparing the mummy were not the only ones busy during this time. Although the tomb preparation usually had begun long before the person's actual death, now there was a deadline, and craftsmen, workers, and artists worked quickly.
There was much to be placed in the tomb that a person would need in the Afterlife. Furniture and statuettes were readied; wall paintings of religious or daily scenes were prepared; and lists of food or prayers finished. Through a magical process, these models, pictures, and lists would become the real thing when needed in the Afterlife. Everything was now ready for the funeral. As part of the funeral, priests performed special religious rites at the tomb's entrance.
The most important part of the ceremony was called the "Opening of the Mouth". A priest touched various parts of the mummy with a special instrument to "open" those parts of the body to the senses enjoyed in life and needed in the Afterlife. By touching the instrument to the mouth, the dead person could now speak and eat. He was now ready for his journey to the Afterlife. The mummy was placed in his coffin, or coffins, in the burial chamber and the entrance sealed up. Such elaborate burial practices might suggest that the Egyptians were preoccupied with thoughts of death.
On the contrary, they began early to make plans for their death because of their great love of life. They could think of no life better than the present, and they wanted to be sure it would continue after death. But why preserve the body? The Egyptians believed that the mummified body was the home for this soul or spirit. If the body was destroyed, the spirit might be lost. The ka, a "double" of the person, would remain in the tomb and needed the offerings and objects there.
The ba, or "soul", was free to fly out of the tomb and return to it. And it was the akh, perhaps translated as "spirit", which had to travel through the Underworld to the Final Judgment and entrance to the Afterlife. To the Egyptian, all three were essential. After death, the pharaohs of Egypt usually were mummified and buried in elaborate tombs. Members of the nobility and officials also often received the same treatment, and occasionally, common people.
However, the process was an expensive one, beyond the means of many. For religious reasons, some animals were also mummified. The sacred bulls from the early dynasties had their own cemetery at Sakkara. Baboons, cats, birds, and crocodiles, which also had great religious significance, were sometimes mummified, especially in the later dynasties.
Ancient writers, modern scientists, and the mummies themselves all help us better understand the Egyptian mummification process and the culture in which it existed. Much of what we know about the actual process is based on the writings of early historians such as Herodotus who carefully recorded the process during his travels to Egypt around B.
Present-day archaeologists and other specialists are adding to this knowledge. The development of x-rays now makes it possible to x-ray mummies without destroying the elaborate outer wrappings. By studying the x-rays or performing autopsies on unwrapped bodies, experts are learning more about diseases suffered by the Egyptians and their medical treatment. A better idea of average height and life span comes from studying the bones. By learning their age at death, the order and dates of the Egyptian kings becomes a little clearer.
Even ties of kinship in the royal line can be suggested by the striking similarities or dissimilarities in the skulls of pharaohs that followed one another.
Dead now for thousands of years, the mummy continues to speak to us. Ancient Egypt Egyptian Mummies. Process The mummification process took seventy days. Who Was Mummified After death, the pharaohs of Egypt usually were mummified and buried in elaborate tombs. The Study of Mummies Today Ancient writers, modern scientists, and the mummies themselves all help us better understand the Egyptian mummification process and the culture in which it existed.
Mummy Mask. Mummy Of Cat. Smithsonian American Art Museum Mask. Fragment Of Mummy Coffin Cartonnage. Mummy Coffin Model Of Wood. Wood Mummy Mask. Piece Of Mummy Cartonnage. Shabti, Mummy Model Of Alabaster. Of Mummy Mask. Head Of Mummified Cat. Mummy Of Cat, Wrapped Linen. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Inlay of mummy figure with human head. Mummy Of "Kitten".
Mummified Cat. Mummied Ibis. Mummy, Baboon. Wrapped Mummy Of A Kestrel. Back to Top.
The methods of embalming, or treating the dead body, that the ancient Egyptians used is called mummification. Using special processes, the Egyptians removed all moisture from the body, leaving only a dried form that would not easily decay. It was important in their religion to preserve the dead body in as life-like a manner as possible. So successful were they that today we can view the mummified body of an Egyptian and have a good idea of what he or she looked like in life, years ago. Mummification was practiced throughout most of early Egyptian history. The earliest mummies from prehistoric times probably were accidental. By chance, dry sand and air since Egypt has almost no measurable rainfall preserved some bodies buried in shallow pits dug into the sand.
African philosophy is the philosophical discourse produced by indigenous Africans and their descendants, including African Americans. African philosophers may be found in the various academic fields of philosophy, such as metaphysics , epistemology , moral philosophy , and political philosophy. One particular subject that many African philosophers have written about is that on the subject of freedom and what it means to be free or to experience wholeness. In the early and mid-twentieth century, anti-colonial movements had a tremendous effect on the development of a distinct African political philosophy that had resonance on both the continent and in the African diaspora. One well-known example of the economic philosophical works emerging from this period was the African socialist philosophy of Ujamaa propounded in Tanzania and other parts of Southeast Africa. These African political and economic philosophical developments also had a notable impact on the anti-colonial movements of many non-African peoples around the world. There is some debate in defining the ethnophilosophical parameters of African philosophy and identifying what differentiates it from other philosophical traditions.
Intermittent outbreaks of infectious diseases have had profound and lasting effects on societies throughout history. Those events have powerfully shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of human civilization, with their effects often lasting for centuries. Epidemic outbreaks have defined some of the basic tenets of modern medicine, pushing the scientific community to develop principles of epidemiology, prevention, immunization, and antimicrobial treatments. This chapter outlines some of the most notable outbreaks that took place in human history and are relevant for a better understanding of the rest of the material. Starting with religious texts, which heavily reference plagues, this chapter establishes the fundamentals for our understanding of the scope, social, medical, and psychological impact that some pandemics effected on civilization, including the Black Death a plague outbreak from the fourteenth century , the Spanish Flu of , and the more recent outbreaks in the twenty-first century, including SARS, Ebola, and Zika.
The tetragrammaton occurs in the following texts: Papyrus Rylands — contains fragments of Deuteronomy. It has been dated to 2nd century BCE. The earliest written language according to modern scholars is the Proto-Sinaitic script, which the Biblical Hebrew language directly descends from. One of the major differences between the Modern Western mind and the Ancient Hebrew's is that their mind related all words and their meanings to a concrete concept.
The timeline below represents a brief history of cosmetics, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians in 10, BCE through modern developments in the United States. You can use the following navigation to jump to specific points in time. Men and women in Egypt use scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin and mask body odor. Oils and creams are used for protection against the hot Egyptian sun and dry winds. Myrrh, thyme, marjoram, chamomile, lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, cedar, rose, aloe, olive oil, sesame oil, and almond oil provide the basic ingredients of most perfumes Egyptians use in religious rituals.
African literature , the body of traditional oral and written literatures in Afro-Asiatic and African languages together with works written by Africans in European languages. Traditional written literature, which is limited to a smaller geographic area than is oral literature , is most characteristic of those sub-Saharan cultures that have participated in the cultures of the Mediterranean. In particular, there are written literatures in both Hausa and Arabic, created by the scholars of what is now northern Nigeria , and the Somali people have produced a traditional written literature. Works written in European languages date primarily from the 20th century onward. The literature of South Africa in English and Afrikaans is also covered in a separate article, South African literature.
Adventurously sailing the Indian Ocean in the early s CE, Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese naval officer, was confident that he was helping to forge a new, enduring era of Portuguese dominance. In the conflict that followed, the Portuguese plundered the Swahili city-states, burning buildings and enslaving African men and women. However, less than years later, Portuguese influences were noticeably absent in most of East Africa and their power in the Indian Ocean was fading rapidly. Barbosa, himself, had traveled with his brother-in-law, Ferdinand Magellan, and met an untimely end in his early 40s in the Philippines. Writing about the coast of East Africa, Barbosa paid little heed to the hundreds of years of Swahili history that preceded his visit. Therefore, his narrative gives us minimal information about Swahili civilization. Since information readily available in the U.
Afrocentrism , also called Africentrism , cultural and political movement whose mainly African American adherents regard themselves and all other Blacks as syncretic Africans and believe that their worldview should positively reflect traditional African values. The terms Afrocentrism, Afrocology, and Afrocentricity were coined in the s by the African American scholar and activist Molefi Asante. Afrocentrism argues that for centuries Africans and other nonwhites have been dominated, through slavery and colonization, by Europeans, and that European culture is at best irrelevant—and at worst diametrically opposed—to efforts by non-Europeans to achieve self-determination. For this reason, according to Afrocentrism, people of African descent need to develop an appreciation of the achievements of traditional African civilizations; indeed, they need to articulate their own history and their own system of values. According to Afrocentrism, African history and culture began in ancient Egypt , which was the birthplace of world civilization. Egypt presided over a unified Black Africa until its ideas and technologies were stolen and its record of accomplishments obscured by Europeans. Renewed attention to this culture, they argue, can benefit African Americans psychologically by reminding them that their own culture, which was long devalued by Americans of European descent , has a rich and ancient heritage.
Afrocentrism also Afrocentricity is an approach to the study of world history that focuses on the history of people of recent African descent. Afrocentrism is a scholarly movement that seeks to conduct research and education on global history subjects, from the perspective of historical African peoples and polities. It takes a critical stance on Eurocentric assumptions and myths about world history, in order to pursue methodological studies of the latter.