8 Things You Should Know About the Pyramid Texts, The World’s Oldest Religious Literature

One of the pyramids houses a very peculiar piece of text, which is called the Cannibal Hymn.

The ancient Egyptians were mysterious people. None have been able to comprehend their thinking process as some of their actions were quite peculiar. For example, they had strange concepts about death. They used to lay a wide variety of meals for their deceased kings and queens so they could devour them in the afterlife. Multiple texts have been found on the Egyptian structures, monuments, coffins, etc. Some of them depict a haunting tale, while others are simply protection spells.

The pyramid texts
The pyramid texts found in the Pyramid of Unas. Source: thegreatcoursesdaily.com

Following are some interesting facts about the ancient literature of Egypt:

1) Some of the fifth dynasty structures had mortuary prayers, cannibal hymns, and spells designed to protect a dead king or queen and ensure life and sustenance in the hereafter.

2) The most famous and detailed inscriptions of all were discovered on the walls of the pyramids built by King Unas, the last Pharoah of the fifth dynasty of Egypt.

3) A German Egyptologist, Karl Richard Lepsius, complied all the mortuary texts he discovered in Egypt and published a book called the Book of the Dead. The book was published in 1842; it mainly has mortuary texts that were found on the walls of pyramids, burial chambers, and coffins.

4) The Egyptian book of the dead also contains magical formulas and spells to help the departed souls in the afterlife. These mortuary texts are engraved on the walls of pyramids and various other structures. According to several egyptologists, the coffin texts date back to 2000 BCE.

5) One of the pyramids houses a very peculiar piece of text, which is called the Cannibal Hymn. The experts believe that it represents Unas devouring the entrails of his enemies, and also eating parts of the Gods. It is said that he must have eaten one of his enemies in the past. That is why the tale is inscribed on the walls of his pyramid.

6) The Cannibal Hymn sparked multiple questions. The experts wondered if the Egyptians were indeed involved in cannibalism or not.

7) The book of the dead also discussed the legend of Osiris, and how he was the first to be resurrected after being chopped to pieces. The legend suggests that the Egyptians believed in the resurrection.

8) The Pyramid Texts were found on the inner walls of the pyramids and the sarcophagi of the fifth and sixth dynasty pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Most of the ancient texts were discovered in Saqqara.

As I have stated before, the Egyptians were mysterious people, but the Pharaoh of the fifth dynasty contributed a lot to the history. The pyramid of King Unas was insignificant in size but featured thousands of hieroglyphics on the inner walls.

The hieroglyphics were organised in neat columns starting from the floor to the ceiling. Different spells were inscribed in different columns. It is said that the hieroglyphics were inscribed individually and not stencilled on for efficiency or accuracy.

The modern-day Egyptologists were successfully able to decipher the old texts of Egypt. It shed light on the culture and customs of ancient people residing in Egypt.

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