Birch, Samuel   [Hrsg.]
Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities at Alnwick Castle — London, 1880

Seite: XII
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/alnwick1880/0013
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xii

PBEFACE,

deities represented the successive phases of the diurnal or annual
course of the great luminary of the heaven. The goddesses have
been supposed to indicate either the solar light, or the ether in
which the sun performs his revolutions. The different deities of
the Hades have, on the other hand, been considered to personify
the phases of the orb of day in the Lower Hemisphere, and the
great Myth of Osiris, so well known, also appears indirectly con-
nected with the great solar legend. Of all these deities the prin-
cipal types are found in the collection at Alnwick; some in bronze
and others in hard stone, wood, or other substances; and offer
abundant materials for the reconstruction of the mythology. Be-
sides figures and other small objects, the tablets, stelce, or inscribed
gravestones present a great repetition of the principal sepulchral
deities and their attendant inferior deities, with different attri-
butes. Other sepulchral monuments present types of the Genii
of the Hades, or the solar gods who replaced Osiris, as the great
deity of the West or Judge of Hades. These representations are
of course objective, and their explanation has to be sought in
the texts of papyri and other documents and inscriptions detail-
ing the names and nature of the gods. The cultus or worship
of the deities is chiefly told by the sculptures of the tablets on
which are seen the modes of adoration, the altars and sacred
offerings to the gods; while the inscriptions illustrate the religious
formulae and prayers, especially those on behalf of the deceased,
as well as those addressed to the rising and setting suns which
are found in some of the figures represented in adoration to the
god Ra. These formulae are often repeated, and are substantially
the same although varieties of expression and fuller benefits on
some inscriptions than on others are mentioned. The sepulchral
cultus was, however, still more fully illustrated by the Book of
the Dead or so-called Ritual, which was generally written on
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