Mummies, Mummies, Mummies: Facts About the Egyptian Dead
What is a Mummy? Mummy Facts
A groan from behind the sarcophagus. Then a scratch scratch scratch. What's trying to escape from its ancient tomb? A mummy, of course. But, hey...then again, that's only in Hollywood movies. Let's learn some actual mummy facts.
Real ancient Egyptian mummies are something of a wonder to modern civilization. They have been woven into stories, movies, and poems for centuries and will probably continue to be a part of our tales for years to come. But what is so fascinating about a bunch of wrapped-up dead guys? What is a mummy, exactly?
A mummy is the body of a person that has been preserved by human or natural processes. The Egyptian mummies are quite different in one specific way, though. They have gone through a long and painstaking process of mummification. Usually this process was quite expensive, too. Mummification was usually a process reserved for royalty or very important people of ancient Egypt which included: the pharaohs, queens, nobles, priests, and more.
Now that we have an idea of what a mummy actually is, let's move on to some of the most interesting mummy facts that most people have never heard.
Interesting Mummy Facts & Info
Mummy facts always capture my attention. What is it about mummies that is so enchanting? Why is it that mummies look so beautiful to me? The obsession with mummy facts is all a part of the Ancient Egypt fascination for many of us. Let's learn some amazing mummy facts and info:
- Mummies have been found all over the world, not just in Egypt.
- Some of the countries mummies where mummies have been discovered include Mexico, Peru, Canada, China, New Guinea, Denmark, Italy, Russia, and Argentina.
- It took Egyptian embalmers nearly seventy days to finish the process of mummification.
- The organs of royalty and nobles would be removed from the body by a slit in the side and then individually wrapped and placed in canopic jars.
- Egyptians believed that mummification was necessary for the person to continue into the afterlife.
- Not only humans were mummified. There are also bulls, dogs, cats, jackals, and other animals that have been found in mummified form.
- There's an estimated 70 million mummies that were made in Ancient Egyptian times!
- The mummies bodies were covered with a substance known as natron, which absorbed moisture and also deterred bacteria from growing.
- Though the lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach were removed from the mummies, the heart was left inside the body because the Egyptians believed it was the center of the soul and eternal life.
- The canopic jars were special jars that held four of the body's main organs, with each jar having a lid in the shape of one of Horus' four sons' heads. One was a gorilla, one was a jackal, one was a human, and another a falcon (in my video above, you can see a half a set of canopic jars above the mummy's body).
- Spices and wine were rubbed on the body before the mummification process was completed.
- Frozen bodies found in the Arctic of a 30,000 year old wooly mammoth and a prehistoric man are also considered mummies.
A Little on the Egyptian Gods of the Dead
Now that we've learned quite a bit of interesting mummy facts, let's take a brief look into the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Egyptian Gods of the Dead.
Perhaps one of the most well-known Egyptian Gods of the Dead is the jackal-headed god Anubis. Why is he so popular as an Egyptian god of the dead? That is probably because he was considered the god of embalmification (or mummification). Many people find his image frightening, but if you really delve into the meaning and beauty behind this Egyptian God of the Dead you can see why many Pagans are fascinated with his presence. Read more about the Egyptian God Anubis by clicking here.
Ma'at is an Egyptian Goddess of the Dead in the sense that she weighed the hearts of the dead against her feather, which determined where the soul of that person would go in the afterlife. Ma'at was not only an Egyptian Goddess of the Dead in this regard, but she was a Goddess of many other aspects in life and the universe.
Osiris was an Egyptian God of the Dead in a sense that mummification was attributed to his death. In many texts, Osiris is called the Egyptian God of the Afterlife or Underworld as in the Egyptians' beliefs he was killed and then resurrected (similar to Jesus Christ). Therefore he has triumphed over death and guards the Underworld. He is a very interesting figure and Egyptian God of the Dead. Osiris was also thought to have been the very first mummy.
© 2012 Nicole Canfield