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Ancient Egypt
1. Introduction
2. People
3. Life styles
4. Culture
5. Education and Science
6. Society
7. Economy
8. Government
9. Cities and Villages
10. Language
11. Religion
12. Kings / periods
13. History
14. Map

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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Religion /
Pyramid Texts

Detailed articleBook of the Dead
Detailed articlePyramid Texts
Detailed articleCoffin Texts

Pyramid texts from the Pyramid of Unas
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In Ancient Egypt, religious texts inscribed on walls and sarcophagi in certain pyramids during the Old Kingdom. These carvings are ranked as the world's oldest of a religious nature, dating back to the 24th century BCE, in all slightly less than 200 years.
They were used with pyramids at Saqqara, and in particular the southern necropolis. The texts belong mainly to the 6th Dynasty, while the most prominent example is in the otherwise unimpressive pyramid of Unas, the last king of the 5th Dynasty.
A total of 7 pyramids have such texts, 3 are built for queens. The four kings were in addition to Unas; Teti, Pepi 1 and Pepi 2. These texts were only used for high royals, and they are noted for no illustrations.
The texts have a practical purpose, to help the deceased in the afterlife. They describe with explicit descriptions every move he or she has to take to succeed in this realm. In some cases gods are even threatened if they do not aid the king. The content of the texts consists of spells, there are more than 700 unique spells, most shared by several pyramids. None use all spells.
The Pyramid Texts is an important source to Ancient Egyptian religion. In some cases they provide wide information for the earlier stages of religious ideas, gods like Khonsu and Nekhbet have different natures than later. In other cases, the Pyramid Texts represent the only source of divine dimensions, no matter what era.
Pyramid texts would survive the Old Kingdom, duriing the Middle Kingdom extracts were used for sarcophagi only, texts that we call the Coffin Texts.

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By Tore Kjeilen