Ancient Egyptian literature takes a variety of forms and was written in hieratic, demotic and hieroglyphic text for different occassions and purposes. Stelae were inscribed with hieroglyphs and generally used for proclamations and for recording successes (or re-casting a defeat as a success). Similarly, the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the walls of their temples were a useful propaganda tool of the pharaoh and the priests. As a result, they tend to give the most positive view of the current pharaoh or make implications regarding the percieved quality of a previous pharaoh which may have been prompted more by political motivations than a desire to record the “truth”. Inscriptions in tombs (also in hieroglyphs) are similarly careful to paint a positive picture, but are likely to include some of the events of the deceased´s life and so can provide useful facts about the period as well as illustrating the prevailing religious environment.
Many of the Ancient Egyptian myths are incomplete while others have numerous versions in different locations or times. This makes their already complex mythology very confusing in places, with the characters and attributes of gods reinforced or contradicted by other texts.
The scribe was an essential part of ancient Egyptian life, copying texts and preparing new documents to perpetuate and expand the Egyptian culture as well as performing the more mundane tasks of tax collection, architecture and recording legal rules and verdicts.
Mysteries of the Harper’s Song 1of12
Why do we die? What is the process of death? Should death be feared? Can we stop the dying process? All of these questions ate answered as Sehu Khepera teaches on the Harper’s Song a significant aspect of Ancient Egyptian literature.