Monday, June 1, 2015

Ancient Egypt this week: Grave secrets, onions, and death magic


Technology helps unlock secrets of mummies

Doctors have become accustomed to using magnetic resonance imaging or CT scans to assess a whole range of ailments in living human beings. Now, scientists are increasingly using the same technology to unlock the secrets of dead - in many cases the mummified remains of humans dating back thousands of years.

In Ancient Egypt, Life Wasn’t Easy for Elite Pets
For ancient Egyptians, owning a menagerie of exotic animals conveyed power and wealth. But the remains of baboons, hippos, and other elite pets buried more than 5,000 years ago in a graveyard near the Nile reveal the dark side of being a status symbol.


Grilling the onion an ancient tradition updated
None revered the onion more than the ancient Egyptians did. They worshiped the onions seeing them as symbols of eternal life. Believing that the concentric layers of an onion was an image of existence into eternity and that the healing properties of onions would be helpful in the afterlife, they buried their dead with onions and onion flowers on and around the body, and mummies often were found adorned with onions.

Status of Osiris at the moment of his resurrection
DEATH BECOMES THEM (DEATH MAGIC REVIEW NICHOLSON MUSEUM, SYDNEY)

The gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt were busier than our modern lot — less bloodthirsty too. History has shown us that gods mutate according to human desires. For the Egyptians, ensuring the fertility of crops was a necessity which the Nile River assisted by the gods, attended to. But making it through to the next world — the afterlife – was an even more pressing matter. Ensuring a safe passage to it accompanied by worldly goods was the job of a complex pantheon of gods and goddesses who evolved to administer the necessary rites and rituals.