An Image of an ancient Egyptian mummy. Shutterstock.

A Cannibalism Hymn From The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts

"The King is one who eats men and lives on the gods,  a processor of porters who dispatches messages..."


The ancient texts are the oldest collection of religious inscriptions of Ancient Egypt. Although some might confuse the pyramid texts for blueprints of how the magnificent ancient structures were built, these are far from that. Instead, they deal with the deceased and his life in the beyond. Despite this, they do not represent a coherent self-enclosed body of thought about the deceased’s transition into the otherworld, do not deal with his next existence in the beyond, and do not speak of relationships with specific places and gods. What they do is compile a series of conceptions of the afterlife, and these are, in turn, drawn from various ancient periods. The Ancient Egyptian pyramid texts refer to various elements, including the dog, stars, and the sun, but also the Osiris cults. After all, it was believed that, after death, the deceased would become one of the eternal stars near the Northern Star. However, simultaneously, he was on a boat cruising the sea with the sun god, crossing the celestial ocean between day and night.

A kind of formula

As explained by Lehner, the pyramid texts are composed of maxim-like formulas. However, they also include recitations, as well as divine utterings. The pyramid texts are unique; some also contain litanies, hymns, and dramatic passages. They are, in essence, a combination of different inclusions, and most pyramid texts are different. Within the pyramid texts, there are several ceremonial descriptions, such as the burial ceremony and the sacrificial ceremony but also, one of the most important, the mouth-opening rituals. One particularly interesting example of pyramid texts can be found in the pyramid of Unas and is the so-called Cannibal Hymn. It does not point towards a cannibalistic ritual during the time on Unas, but it is rather a relation text whose meaning is understood in the symbolic and magical world.


The Cannibalism Hymn

The King is the Bull of the Sky, 

Who conquers (?) at will,

Who lives on the being of every god,

Who eats their entrails (?),

Even of those who come with their bodies full of magic,

From the Island of Fire


The King is one who eats men and lives on the gods, 

A processor of porters who dispatches messages,

It is king who eats their magic

And gulps down their spirits,

The big ones are for his morning meal,

The medium-sized for his evening meal,


The little ones are for his night meal,

Their old men and their old women are for his incense burning,

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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