Essay about Death in Ancient Egyptian Culture

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Every individual experiences the act of death, and most persons experience the death of someone they know of. Whether family, kin, or someone infamous, the living deal with the process of dying. Anthropology seeks to understand the universal process of death ritual and how different cultures deal with death differently. An anthropologist can extract social values of a given culture, past or present, from how death ceremony is practiced. Such values could be regarding political hierarchy or an individual’s status in a society, and about a culture’s spiritual or religious faith. By exploring death ceremony in ancient Egypt, contemporary Hindu death practice in India, and current North American funerary rites, it can be illustrated that …show more content…
Poorer citizens were not buried with a coffin and outer sarcophagi where as wealthier citizens were. Citizens of higher strata were also buried with precious stones and gold. Thus, the socioeconomic structures of specific groups can be analyzed and broken down as to who was a peasant and who was deemed of higher social strata by examining the way ancient Egyptians practiced burial.
Regardless of social strata, death and the afterlife were almost always valued by the living in ancient Egypt. The afterlife was birthed and designed for great societal rulers but eventually trickled down and was adopted by other levels of society (Murnane in Obayashi, 1992, p. 42). Death was interpreted as “new life in another state” by ancient Egypt, and the ultimate goal of immortality could be attained if specific burial arrangements were made for the dead. This was to avoid a final death of the soul known as the “second death,” and measures such as burial with food, drink, and personal possessions, were taken to aid the soul on its journey into immortality (Murnane in Obayashi, 1992, p. 36).
Anthropologists can generally conclude that ancient Egyptians strove for immortality and that their beliefs of transcendence were extremely important to them, given burial sites, tomb art, and various extensive ancient texts. Pyramid texts illustrate deliberate assurance to the deceased that physical death was solely an illusion, thereby insinuating that the actual death
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