1. Pyramid Texts
Although found on the Royal Pyramids of dynasties V and VI, these
texts date from an earlier date in ancient Egyptian religion.
Like most other texts
(Coffin Texts, Book of the Dead), the Pyramid Texts are used
to guarantee the dead King a place in the Beyond.
HERE to read the Pyramid Texts found in Pepi I's pyramid
2. Coffin Texts
A set of magic spells which were inscribed on the coffins of
commoners during the Middle Kingdom. These texts were intended
to guide the deceased through to the Beyond.
These texts provide information
about Ancient Egyptian afterlife during a period which no Royal
Funerary texts survive.
3. Book of Caverns
This was written specifically to deal with the journey of the
sun god through the Netherworld. The Netherworld is divided into
six parts each of which deal with different aspects of the Beyond
(depicted as either caves or pits) over which the sun god passes
throughout the night. Much of the depiction is shown by pictoral
images - while most of the text praise Osiris.
4. Book of the
Celestial Cow (18th Dynasty)
This was written from the time of the Amarna Period and was found
in the Valley of the Kings. This tells the tale of the wish of
the Sun god (the Aten) to destroy the human race, his then sadness
and then his thoughts while in the heavens to start a religion
made to follow his own wishes.
HERE to read this legend
5. Book of the
Day (19th/20th Dynasties)
Told the solar cycle along with lists of gods and very few lengthy
6. Book of the
Dead (19th Dynasty)
The famous collection of spells - properly known as 'The Book
of Coming Forth by Day'. This was different from the majority
of the other texts listed here in that this was designed to be
a personal scroll placed inside commoners tombs.
Some spells were unique but some had a history going back to
the Coffin Texts and even are found in the Pyramid Texts.
The sole use was to help guide the deceased through the treacherous
way to the Beyond as well as how to cope once there.
7. Book of the
Earth (20th Dynasty)
This dealt with the sun's nightly voyage through the Netherworld
- the Netherworld being the Earth. In the Four parts to the Book
there are many illustrations dealing with mummiform figures,
Solar disks, Aker (representing the Earth) - and the earth itself
dominated by burial mounds, caves, and sarcophagi containing
8. Book of Gates
The 'Gates' referring to the barriers that separate the twelve
hours of night. It is similar to the Amduat, upon which it must
be based, but is a more sophisticated writing. The Book of Gates
examines certain problems of the Beyond, such as the threat of
Apophis, time, Justice, material blessings and how the Beyond
is made up.
9. Book of the
Hidden (or Secret) Chamber
(Refer to Amduat - below)
10. Book of
Written for the Ramesside royalty. This once again follows the
sun on its nightly journey through the Netherworld. This time
the journey is set within Nut, goddess of the heavens, who swallows
the sun at the close of the day and gives birth to it each morning.
The Book of the Night accompanies its twin book - The Book of
11. Book of the Heavens
Another Ramesside Text that parallel the Book of the Netherworld,
and also with the charting of the heavens.
Books of the Netherworld.
This is a broad modern term to describe the whole series of royal
texts that are found on the walls of the tombs in the Valley
of the Kings. Instead of being a collection of spells to help
the deceased through to the Beyond, these texts are illustrated
scientific and theological treatises describing the world of
Books of the Netherworld can also be a term which describes the
Amduat, the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Book of