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The Principal Geographical And Mythological Places In The Book Of The Dead.


The Papyrus of Ani



Late keeper of Assyrian and Egyptian Antiquities
in the British Museum



Abtu, the Abydos of the Greeks (Strabo, XVII., i., 42), the capital of the eighth nome of Upper Egypt. It was the seat of the worship of Osiris, and from this fact was called Per-Ausar or Busiris, "the house of Osiris "; the Copts gave it the name ### Egyptian tradition made the sun to end his daily course at Abydos, and to enter into the Tuat at this place through a "gap" in the mountains called in Egyptian peq. These mountains lay near to the town; and in the XIIth dynasty it was believed that the souls of the dead made their way into the other world by the valley which led through them to the great Oasis, where some placed the Elysian Fields.

Amenta or Amentet, or was originally the place where the sun set, but subsequently the name was applied to the cemeteries and tombs which were usually built or hewn in the stony plateaus and mountains on the western bank of the Nile. Some believe that Amenta was, at first, the name of a small district, without either funereal or mythological signification. The Christian Egyptians or Copts used the word Amend to translate the Greek word Hades, to which they attributed all the ideas which their heathen ancestors had associated with the Amenta of the Book of the Dead.

Annu, the Heliopolis of the Greeks (Herodotus, II., 3, 7, 8, 9, 59, 93; Strabo, XVII., I, 27 ff ), and the capital of the thirteenth nome of Lower Egypt.

The Hebrews called it On (Genesis xli., 45, 50; xlvi., 20), Aven (Ezekiel xxx., 17), and Bh-Shemesh (Jeremiah xliii., 13); this last name is an exact translation of the Egyptian per Ra, "house of the sun," which was also a designation of Annu. The Copts have preserved the oldest name of the city under the form ###. A Coptic bishop of this place was present at the Council of Ephesus. The city of Annu seems to have become associated with the worship of the sun in prehistoric times. Already in the Vth dynasty its priesthood had succeeded in gaining supremacy for their religious views and beliefs throughout Egypt, and from first to last it maintained its position as the chief seat of theological learning in Egypt. The body of the Aged One, a name of Osiris, reposed in Annu, and there dwelt the Eye of Osiris. The deceased made his way to Annu, where souls were joined unto bodies in thousands, and where the blessed dead lived on celestial food for ever.

An-rutf or Naarutf, is a section or door of the Tuat which lies to the north of Re-stau; the meaning of the word is "it never sprouteth."

An-tes(?) (see within, p. 323), an unknown locality where a light tower (?), was adored.

Apu, the Panopolis of the Greeks ({Greek Panw^n po'lis}, Strabo, XVII., i., 41), the metropolis of the ninth nome of Upper Egypt, and the seat of the worship of the god ###, whose name is variously read Amsu, Khem, and Min. In ancient days it was famous as the centre for stone cutting and linen weaving, and the latter industry still survives among the modern Coptic population, who, following their ancestors, call their city ###, which the Arabs have rendered by Akhm.

Aqert, a common name for the abode of the dead.

Bast, more fully Pa-Bast or Per-Bast, the Bubastis of the Greek writers (Herodotus, II., 59, 137, 156, 166; Strabo, XVII., 1, 27), the metropolis of the eighteenth nome of Lower Egypt, and the seat of the worship of Bast, a goddess who was identified with the soul of Isis, ba en Auset. The city is mentioned in the Bible under the form ### (Ezekiel xxx., 17), Pi-beseth, which the Copts have preserved in their name for the city, ###; the Arabs call the place Tell Basta.

Het-benbent, the name given to many sun-shrines in Egypt, and also to one of the places in the other world where the deceased dwelt.

Het-Ptah-ka, the sacred name of the city of Memphis, the metropolis of the first nome of Lower Egypt; it means the "House of the ka of Ptah," and was probably in use in the period of the Ist dynasty. Other names for Memphis were Aneb-het'et, "the city of the white wall", Men-nefer and Kha-nefert.

Kem-ur a name given to the district of the fourth and fifth nomes of Upper Egypt.

Khemennu, i.e., the city of the eight great cosmic gods, the Hermopolis of the Greek writers ({Greek E?'rmopolitikh` fulakh`}, Strabo, XVII., I, 41), and the metropolis of the fifteenth nome of Upper Egypt. The old Egyptian name for the city is preserved in its Coptic and Arabic names, ### and Eshm.

Kher-aba, a very ancient city which was situated on the right bank of the Nile, a little to the south of Annu, near the site of which the "Babylon of Egypt" (the {Greek Babulw'n, frou'rion e?rumno'n} of Strabo, XVII., I, 30), was built.

Manu is the name given to the region where the sun sets, which was believed to be exactly opposite to the district of Bekha, where he rose in the east; Manu is a synonym of west, just as Bekha is a synonym of east.

Nekhen, the name of the shrine of the goddess Nekhebet, which is supposed to have been near to Nekheb, the capital of the third nome of Upper Egypt and the Eileithyiapolis of the Greeks.

Neter-khertet, a common name for the abode of the dead; it means the "divine subterranean place."

Pe, a district of the town of Per-Uatchet, the Buto of the Greeks ({Greek Bou^tos}, Strabo, XVII., i., 18), which was situated in the Delta.

Punt, the tropical district which lay to the south and east of Egypt, and which included probably a part of the Arabian peninsula and the eastern coast of Africa along and south of Somali land.

Re-stau, or a name given to the passages in the tomb which lead from this to the other world; originally it designated the cemetery of Abydos only, and its god was Osiris.

Sa, the Sa of the Greeks ({Greek Sa'}, Strabo, XVII. i., 23), the metropolis of the fifth nome of Lower Egypt, and the seat of the worship of the goddess Neith.

Sekhem, the Letopolis of the Greeks, and capital of the Letopolites nome (Strabo, XVII., i., 30); it was the seat of the worship of Heru-ur, "Horus the elder," and one of the most important religious centres in Egypt.

Sekhet-Aanru, the "Field of the Aanru plants," was a name originally given to the islands in the Delta where the souls of the dead were supposed to live. Here was the abode of the god Osiris, who bestowed estates in it upon those who had been his followers, and here the beatified dead led a new existence and regaled themselves upon food of every kind, which was given to them in abundance. According to the vignette of the CXth Chapter of the Book of the Dead, the Sekhet-Aanru is the third division of the Sekhet-hetepu, or "Fields of Peace," which have been compared with the Elysian Fields of the Greeks.

Set Amentet, i.e., "the mountain of the underworld," a common name of the cemetery, which was usually situated in the mountains or desert on the western bank of the Nile.

Suten-henen, more correctly Henen-su, the metropolis of the twentieth nome of Upper Egypt, called by the Greeks Heracleopolis Magna (Strabo, XVI I., i., 35). The Hebrews mention the city (###, Isaiah xxx., 4) Hanes as the representative of Upper Egypt, and in Coptic times it was still of considerable size and importance; the Copts and Arabs have preserved the ancient name of the city under the forms ### and ###. Ahnas.

Tanenet, a district sacred to the gods Osiris and Ptah; it was probably situated near Memphis.

Ta-sert, or Ta-tchesertet, a common name for the tomb.

Tep, a district of the town Per-Uatchet, the Buto of the Greeks (Strabo, XVII., i., 18), which was situated in the Delta.

Tettet, a name given both to the metropolis[1] of the ninth nome and to the chief city[2] of the sixteenth nome of Lower Egypt.

Tuat, a common name for the abode of the departed.


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