Friday, March 18, 2011

Ancient Egyptian Quote of the Week

This has been an eventful week! After participating in three blogfests, I've reached 55 followers! Thank you so much to everyone who has decided to follow me. It gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies. I've only been working on this blog for a little over a month and already I feel it's been a very successful venture and also a ton of fun. Particularly the blogfests. What a great way to find awesome new people and blogs to read. I'm really looking forward to the Blogging A to Z challenge all April long. I've decided that everyday I'm going to do a short post about a different aspect of the worldbuilding I've done for the fantasy world of my current WIP. For example, for E I'll post about the Ecology of the world. I think it'll be fun.

Anyway, on to the quote of the day. Today's passage comes from the Egyptian text known as the Amduat or Book of the Netherworld. Duat is the name for the Egyptian Netherworld and the book painstakingly records the journey of the sun god, Re, as he passes through Duat during the twelve hours of the night. The King, as a priest of the sun, was expected to contribute to the success of this journey by means of liturgical recitations. (Though in actuality it would have been solar priests appointed by the King that carried out this duty.) Toward that end, there was a very specific set of knowledge that the King and his priests were expected to have which was spelled out in the full title of the Amduat:

King N. knows
that mysterious language spoken by the eastern souls
as they sing the praises of Re
when he rises, when he appears in Light-land
when they open the door-leaves for him
at the gates of the eastern Light-land,
when he fares on the ways of the sky.

He knows their (actual, mysterious) appearance
and their embodiments,
their home (lit. "cities") in God's land.
He knows the place where they stand
when Re begins his journey.

He knows that language
that the two crews speak when they tow the barque of He-of-the-horizon.

He knows the birthing of Re
and his transformation in the waters.
He knows the mysterious gate through which the Great God emerges,
he knows the one who is in the day barque
and the great image that is in the night barque;
he knows your landing places in Light-land
and your steering equipment in the goddess of the sky.

("N" here refers to the name of the King, each book was personalized with the name of the person who owned it.)

The phrase "Light-land" is a literal way of translating the word that refers to the eastern horizon, where the sun rises. In Egypt, the eastern horizon was associated with life and rebirth and the western horizon was associated with death and the netherworld. I've chosen to use the word "Ahket" and its literal translation of "Light-land" as the name for my fantasy version of Egypt.

The journey of Re through the sky during the day and through Duat during the night is going to play a huge part in the plot of my story. In fact, a large part of the story will take place in Duat. Every fantasy needs an amazing quest, right? Well, when my characters make their journey through Duat, I think you'll be surprised at what the outcome is.

Stay tuned in April for more fascinating information about Ahket and how it pertains to the story I'm writing. :)


  1. Thanks for following my blog, I'm following back. :)

  2. Glad you have a theme for the Challenge!

  3. I'm looking forward to your April posts- I like popping over here because I always learn something new!

  4. Started following your blog to see what you come up with for the A-Z challenge. I expect you'll be missing sometiem between C and J.

  5. Sarah, in response to your comment on my blog about the contest - yes, a new book release of your choice! And really, if there's one that's not a new release, that's fine, too. Congrats! Your entry was awesome!

  6. I may try the A-Z. I think your idea sounds like a great way of tackling it! It'll be a challenge for sure...

    I'm such a history nut, and I love the info in your blog, btw!


  7. This is super interesting! I'm a bit of an Ancient Egypt addict and I've always been fascinated with their tales of the underworld :D

    I'm glad you're participating in the A-Z Challenge too! It'll be fun to see what everyone's up to every day! I'm trying to figure out a focus for my own challenge...we shall see!



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