Example research essay topic: The Beliefs And Process Of Mumification In Egypt – 1,945 words

In ancient Egypt, life after death was an enormous
part of the Egyptian life. The Egyptians believed
that life after death was the greatest
accomplishment of all, and with this belief the
people of Egypt would spend most of there time
preparing for the cross-over between life and
death. In preparation for the cross over people
would spend hours of time and large amounts of
money to ensure that they will have a good
mummification process and funeral. The more money
you had or were willing to spend the better
mummification and funeral there would be. People
with more money were able to pay for better oils
and perfumes, which their bodies would be covered
in, and they could afford a better coffin or tomb
that would ensure their crossing over. People
would also have a portrait done of themselves
during their life.

This portrait was then placed
over the head of the mummy. The quality of
mummification the more of a chance they would have
to go to the afterlife. The amount of people that
attended your funeral or mourned over your death
would also help with the crossing over. This was
to prove that you were well liked or loved while
you were living, showing that you were a good
person. To guarantee a large amount of people were
going to mourn over the death. A messenger would
be paid in order to announce the death of someone
allowing everyone to get ready for the mourning
period.

The cost of preparing for life after death
is outrageous, and because of the amount of money
that is spent in preparing for life after death,
Pharaoh’s were the only ones at first to get
mummified. The Egyptians believed that the Pharaoh
would become a God after death. In order to ensure
that, the Pharaoh’s tombs would be placed in
pyramids. The pyramids were meant to help with
them becoming a god after their death. After a
period of time the courtiers and servants were
also preserved to provide a retinue in the after
life. Mummification was a set of methods;
embalming and treating a dead body after death in
ancient Egypt.

The Egyptians were able to remove
all moisture from the body so; there could be life
after their death, in the underworld. It was a
continuous process that lasted seventy days and
included odd steps. Steps where you would remove
internal organs and then place them in jars, or
they would have a salty bath. The process started
after an Egyptians death, they would be taken to a
tent know as “ibu” or the “tent of purification”,
here is where the mummification process was
performed by embalmers. Embalmers were special
priests that performed the correct rituals,
prayers and different stages to the dehydration
process of mummification. The first step to the
process was to cleanse and wash the Egyptians life
away with water from the Nile.

From here the
internal organs were removed from an incision on
the left side of the body. This incision was
considered to be extremely disrespectful to the
recent deceased; therefore the other embalmers
would throw pebbles at the embalmer who made the
incision. It was a superstition and who ever made
this cut was instilled to protect the eternal
peace of their client. After the removal of the
lungs, liver, intestines and stomach these organs
were placed in jars known as “canopic jars” after
being individually washed, and dried out with
natron salt. Each jar had a head of four animals,
which protected the organs into the afterlife. The
heads were those of Horus four sons, Imset the
head of a human who protected the liver, Ha’py the
head of a baboon who protected the lungs, Duamutef
the head of a jackal protected the stomach and
Qebehsenuef the head of a falcon who protected the
intestines.

The heart and the kidneys were the
only two soft organs that were left in the body
after death. The kidneys had no importance to the
Egyptians and were left in place. The heart was
seen as the most important organ and for an
Egyptian to enter the underworld it must be
intact. This was because it was the place of
wisdom, and intelligence in the body. and also was
needed later in the weighing of the heart
ceremony. The brain was the last soft organ to be
removed and was done by a hook that the embalmers
inserted in the nose.

The brain to the Egyptian
was much like the kidneys had no real purpose,
they thought it was a waste of space and once
removed was thrown away or dissolved in water. The
body know empty of organs was covered and stuffed
with natron salt, which helped the body dry out
for forty days. The body was then washed with
water from the Nile and covered with oils to help
the skin of the body stay elastic. The body was
then stuffed with linen; sawdust or leaves so it
would allow the body to look more life like and
covered once again with oils. The incision on the
left side was then covered with either wax, or
with a metal plate. The metal plate was used for
protection for the underworld and was decorated
with magical symbols.

Instead of the internal
organs being placed in canoic jars they could be
placed back into the body at this point. The final
step that was done in the tent of purification was
the wrapping of the body that lasted fifteen days.
The body was wrapped with linen, beginning with
the head and neck and the fingers and toes
followed after. Each finger and toe was
individually wrapped and the arms and legs were
wrapped separately. Between the layers of
wrapping, the embalmers place amulets to protect
the body for its journey to the underworld. Two
important amulets were the Iris knot, which
protected the body and the Plummet amulet that
will keep the person balanced in the next life.
While the mummy is being wrapped the priests read
out spells. These spells help ward off evil and
protected them on their journey to the afterlife.
A papyrus scroll with spells from the Book of the
Dead is placed between the wrapped hands.

This
scroll allows them to have a safe and successful
trip to the underworld. The body was once more
wrapped with linen and then covered with a cloth
that had a picture of Orisis painted on the front.
Finally, a large cloth is wrapped around the
entire mummy. It is attached with strips of linen
that run from the top to the bottom of the bottom
of the mummy. After the body was wrapped, the head
and face were often covered by a mask decorated
with facial features similar to those of the
deceased. Facial features were often decorated
with gold or oil paint to imitate the flesh of the
gods. The embalming process was then finished with
one final step before the funeral and that was for
the mummy to be placed in a series of coffins.
There were usually two coffins with spells and
images that would allow his/her body to enter the
underworld.

The spells on the coffin were
protective spells that help and protected the
deceased on their journey to the underworld. The
coffins were completely covered in designs and
pictures and many of them were to resemble the
Egyptian. The collar on the coffin resembles their
jewellery and the wigs were to resemble an
important event. The sky goddess “Nut” was also
painted on the coffin. Nut was associated with
rebirth and the Egyptians believed he swallowed
the sun every evening and gave birth to the sun
each morning. The scarab beetle was another
important picture to be painted on because he also
was connected with rebirth.

Along with their
coffin an Egyptian had a decorated box filled with
shabtis. Shabtis were small figures that would
magically come to life and work for the deceased
in the afterlife. Money determined where a mummy
would be buried or placed after death. Many
pharaohs were placed in the pyramids, which was
also known as houses of eternity. This was
because. Pharaohs could also be placed in the
Valley of the Kings..

The first kingdom gods where
placed in mastabas, the earliest form of pyramids
and commoners were buried in The funeral was the
last but most important step. It was a time when
everyone who loved, cared, was a friend or who was
paid by the deceased would come. Two important
rituals were performed before they would enter the
afterlife. The opening of the mouth was the ritual
that was seen by people and was considered one of
the most important preparations. The priests and
the deceased family performed this ritual outside
the burial chamber. The family recited spells
while the priests used special tools to touch the
different parts of the mummies face.

This ritual
allowed the deceased to eat, talk, see, hear and
move in the afterlife. After this ritual the
coffin of the mummy was placed in a sarcophagus,
in their tomb. The deceased was among all their
belongs in his/her tomb. This included their
values from their life on earth; these valuables
usually carried significant meaning. Some of this
items consisted of paintings, mummified animals,
spells, prayers, which came from the book of the
dead, and the canoic jars. Food was also left in
the tomb so that the deceased would feed the soul.
The scrolls contained instructions on how to
achieve eternal life.

From there the tomb was
sealed leaving the last ritual to take place
before the deceased could enter the afterlife.
This was the weighing of the heart ceremony and
was not seen by anyone. It was the most important
task to achieve immortality. The heart was left
intact because of this ritual. It was seen as the
most powerful part of the body and considered the
centre of a person’s being. There were many gods
that attended this ceremony. Each had a special
purpose to help the mummies enter the underworld.
Each god judged the heart and then performed a
special ritual.

Maat, the goddess of truth,
brought out her scale; on one side was the mummies
heart on the other was the feather of truth. The
god of the underworld Annabis, made the final
decision and the scribe god Thoth recorded it all.
If the heart balanced with the feather, the mummy
was granted immortality. It the heart was heavier,
meaning that the heart was full of sins; the soul
of the mummy was doomed to a horrible fate. The
heavy heart would then be thrown to Ammit, the
devourer of the dead. The crossing over was when
the deceased traveled to the underworld or
afterlife. It is described as if it was a dream,
but not a good dream more like a nightmare, the
worst nightmare ever known.

It felt like you were
traveling down a dark tunnel with many objects
flying out at the person. It was much like a flume
ride and many historians and professors describe
this way.* This is a freighting journey but all
Egyptians wait for the day they cross over their
entire lives. An Egyptian believed that in order
for them to cross over into the afterlife they
must have the six elements that make up a human.
The physical body was an element that helped the
cross over; it must have been intact, and well
preserved in order to travel into the afterlife.
The shadow, it was essential to life, and without
it a person would not exist..

Research essay sample on The Beliefs And Process Of Mumification In Egypt