The Reign Of Pepy I

2085 Words Dec 17th, 2016 9 Pages
Towards the end of the Sixth Dynasty, with the reign of Pepy I, Egypt began to shift to a less tightly controlled and hierarchical society as central power was significantly weakened due to multiple internal crises. Non-royal governors appointed to provincial regions grew increasingly more influential and Pepy’s death marked a period of political disunity and the appearance of many local rulers. What followed was a spread of literacy and of ritual knowledge into the provinces and lower levels of society (O’Neill 2015, 6), resulting in a universal concept of the Osirian afterlife amongst the gods emerging towards the last decades of the Old Kingdom, which was accessible to all.
In the First Intermediate Period, the spread of the elite mortuary cult to a wider public and the absence of a centralized power resulted in ‘a whole new philosophy of human agency’ (Assman, 1996, 94; O’Neill 2015, 8). Along with the newly found religious and ritualistic knowledge of the provincial local elite, termed ‘the democratization of the afterlife’ (Bàrta 2001, 187; David 2007, 154; O’Neill 2015, 21), there became a shift in the philosophy of tomb imagery as well – from a reliance on an external cult practice to the preparation of a more intrinsic magical intervention on behalf of the tomb owner itself. This practice of ‘self-reliance’ is seen in the recurrent inscriptions accompanying offering table imagery, explaining how the tomb owner prepared for the afterlife, such as: ‘I made this tomb…
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