Below is an excellent sample history essay about the ancient Egyptian god Osiris. History essay samples on other topics can be read in our free blog and essay sample section. If you need help with writing, we offer custom writing service. We are available 24/7 to write an original, fully-referenced and properly formatted history essay from scratch. Our site is trusted by thousands of students.
History essay sample:
In Thebes, the poverty and lack of good timber encouraged further changes in funerary customs and the self-contained burial comes into fashion. There had indeed been a shift of emphasis during the last quarter of Dynasty XII when a new expression creeps into the funerary prayers to indicate that the deceased was regarded less as materialization than as a spirit. At the same time, under the impact of the Osiris-cult, the coffin as a sort of rectangular wooden house is replaced by the anthropomorphic case decorated to represent the deceased as the mummified and resurrected Osiris. With the appearance of this type of coffin, the tomb-statue, already greatly reduced, either disappears or is transformed into the funerary statuette or shawabti (later ushabti) figure. Such objects do not make their appearance before Dynasty XI and the first examples are in wax, but by the end of the Middle Kingdom they were being made of stone or the wood of the persea (shawab) tree, and inscribed with the full shawabti chapter from the so-called Book of the Dead, a collection of funerary prayers and spells written on linen shrouds and later on papyrus rolls which replaced The Coffin Texts as the rectangular sarcophagi were discarded. The shawabti-figure was a specialized form of the servant-statue which had disappeared with the triumph of the Osiris faith. Its purpose was to act as a substitute for the deceased whenever onerous toil had to be performed in the fields of the Osirian other-world. In Egypt from the earliest times a corvée had existed whereby labourers could be drafted en masse for public works at critical moments during the inundation. Similar duties were naturally expected in the agricultural realms of Osiris, and it was to exempt the deceased from such forced labour that the shawabti was provided. By the end of this period even the king, who on death was assimilated to Osiris, was thought to be subject to this same conscription, and royal shawabtis are many and elaborate.
The lack of good timber as well as changes in doctrine hastened the disappearance of the rectangular outer coffin and the sole anthropoid containers were now dug out of local fig-trees and are invariably ill-shaped and crude. They were painted with a characteristic feathered decoration representing the wings of the sky-mother, Nut, who according to a pastiche of several brief spells from The Pyramid Texts regularly found on the coffin-lids of the next dynasty, is exhorted to extend herself over the deceased so that he might not die but be placed among the Imperishable Stars which were in her.
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