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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Heart Scarabs

All of a sudden it makes sense!!! On the left is a rather grotty Rameside heart scarab. More about it here. But why is it shaped part like an ancient Egyptian depiction of heart, but is associated with scarabs? Why does spell 30B of the Book of the Dead (sometimes written on heart scarabs) make mention of the mother?

Whilst looking for something else entirely I just came across a very interesting article by John Gee all about Heart scarabs (JSSEA 2009).

He believes that spell 30B should start 'Oh my Heart for my balance weight', not as is usually stated 'Oh my Heart from my mother'. He gives a convincing argument, not only based on other instances where mwt means 'balance weight', but also in his explanation of how the term khepri (scarab) is associated with transformations or life stages of the deceased; that actual heart scarabs in the British Museum weigh the same as ancient Egyptian weights and how the weighing of the heart scene is at first connected with spell 30B of the Book of the Dead. He summarises that in the weighing of the heart scene the deeds of the individual in their stages of life whould be equal to Maat. The standards of Maat are laid out in Book of the Dead 125, which is why the weighing of the heart scene is later connected with that spell.

Would be interested what other people think of John Gee's ideas.

More about judgement scenes here.

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