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Book of Gates

The Book of Gates (sometimes also known as the "Book of Pylons") is a religious text dating from the New Kingdom describing the journey of a deceased soul though the underworld with reference to the journey of the sun god (Ra) during the hours of the night. The underworld is divided into twelve hours divided by a series of "gates". Each gate is guarded by a large serpent and two deities; in order to pass safely the deceased must name them correctly. This tradition dates back to the "Book of the Two Ways" (part of the Coffin Texts), which recorded seven gates each with three guardians.

Probably the most famous section of the Book of Gates is the text which describes the different races of people. The Egyptians divided all people into "Egyptians", "Asiatics", "Libyans", and "Nubians". All races were welcome in the afterworld and all are depicted journeying through its chambers.

Because of its similarity to the Amduat, it is sometimes suggested that it was composed some time before the New Kingdom. Alternatively, it is proposed that it was composed during the Armarna period (during the "Atenist Heresy"). This seems unlikely as the earliest version so far discovered is from the tomb of Horemheb (who reigned after the restoration of the old gods) and the text was also used by Seti I and Ramsses II who both omitted Akhenaten and Tutankhamun from their kings list (strongly implying they did not support the Atenist reforms) and gives prominence to Osiris (particularly in the hall of judgement).

Text and images from the Book of Gates appear in a number of New Kingdom tombs from the reign of Horemheb through to Ramesses VII. However they also appear in the tombs of nobles and workers such as that of Sennejam (a worker from Deir el-Medina, the workers village beside the Valley of the Kings) and Tjanefer (a priest of Amun). After the New Kingdom, sections of the book of Gates were occasionally merged with the Book of the Dead in the tombs of commoners and nobles. In particular, the first hour and the judgment hall remained in use in non-royal burials.

Not all of the texts are complete or in the correct order. The version in the tomb of Seti I has the hours in a continuous sequence ending with the last hour being placed by the head of the deceased king, but in other cases the hours are split up in different chambers. There are a total of one hundred scenes. Many of the early scenes are very large, but the last two hours contain a number of smaller scenes. The text is Middle Egyptian and displays little evidence of the influence of Late Egyptian, but does have a particularly wide and rich vocabulary.

In structure the Book of Gates similar to that of the Amduat; eleven hours are each divided into three registers and the first hour has a different structure. However, there are some notable differences; the last three hours contain depictions of the judgment of the dead; only Sia, Hu and Heka travel on the boat with the sun god; four human beings tow the sun barque; instructions for the use of the book are replaced by instructions regarding offerings; and (most notably) each hour in the book of gates ends with a gate protected by a serpent and two guardians.

In early versions of the Book of Gates the fifth hour depicts the judgement hall of Osiris. However, in the tomb of Seti I the deceased king stands before Osiris, and the emphasis moves from the judgement of the dead to the association between the deceased pharaoh and Osiris. His successors copied this innovation, with minimal changers to the position of the God in the scene. Most versions of the text also include extra texts which refer only to the king - ensuring the status of the deceased pharaoh.



Book of Gates

Hour One; gate of Saset

The first hour of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

During the first hour, the sun god enters the underworld and is greeted by the "gods of the west". The sun god is in the form of a scarab beetle (khepri) and he is surrounded by a snake eating its own tail. He sails on a mehen barque.

On the left, the mountains of the west divide to allow the barque of the sun god to sail into the underwold.

He travels with Sia (perception or divine inspiration) and Heka (god of magic). The god Hu steers the barque. Above the sun barque there is a post with a jackal´s head beside which stands "Tat" (a personification of the region) and Set. Below the sun barque there is a post with a ram´s head also supported by "Tat" and Set.

The text beside the sun god is;

"Ra says to the Mountain: Send forth light, O Mountain! Let radiance arise from that which has devoured me, and which has slain men and is filled with the slaughter of the gods. Breath to you, O ye who dwell in the light in your habitations, my splendours shall be to you. I have decreed their slaughter, and they have slaughtered everything which exists. I have hidden you from those who are upon the earth, restoring the crown to those who are on the Mountain. The gods say: "Let this jackal-headed sceptre emit the words of this great god who joins together his members. Come then unto us, O you from whom we have come forth! Cries of joy are to thee, O you who are in your disk, great god whose forms (or transformations) are manifold." Their provisions (consist) of bread-cakes and beer."

Above the barque and the jackal headed post stand the twelve god of the mountain with the text;

"These gods have come into being from Ra, and from his substance, and have emerged from his eye. He has decreed for them (as) a place (or abode) the Hidden Mountain (Ament Set), which consums men, and gods, and all cattle, and all reptiles which are created by this great god. This great god hath decreed the plans (or, designs) thereof having made [them] to spring up in the earth which he created."

Below the barque and the ram headed post stand the twelve gods of "set-amentet" and the text reads;

The hidden place. (These are) those who have consumed the men, and the gods, and all the cattle, and all the reptiles which this great god hath created. "This great god hath decreed plans for them after he made them to spring up in the land which he created, that is to say, in the Amentet which he made."

The serpent Sa-set protects the gateway between the mountains of the west. The text reads;

He who is over (i.e. has mastery over) this door opens to Ra. Sia says to Sa-set, "Open your door to Ra, throw wide open your door to Khuti. The hidden abode is in darkness, so that the transformations of this god may take place." This portal is closed after this god hath entered in through it, and there is lamentation on the part of those who are in their mountain when they hear this door shut."


hour 2

Book of Gates

Hour Two; gate of Aqebi

The second hour of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

The sun god (now ramheaded like Atum) is towed by four men and accompanied by Sia and Heka. A number of supportive gods greet the boat. The names of the first seven are; Nepeh, Nenha, Ba (ram-headed god), Hor (hawk headed god), Beha-ab, Khnemu and Sedjet. The next six gods are named "the gods who are in the entrances". The god with the stick is not named. The text reads;

"This great god journeys along the roads of the Duat. This god is drawn by the gods of the Duat (in order to make divisions (or, distinctions) in the earth, and to work out [his] designs therein, to weigh words and deeds in Ament, to magnify the great god above the little god among the gods. who are in the Duat, to place the Khu (the blessed dead) upon, their thrones, and the damned (in the place) to which they have been condemned in the judgment, and to destroy their bodies by an evil death. Ra Siays "O grant to me that I may restore the crown, and that I may have possession of (my) shrine which is in the earth. Let Sia and Heka unite themselves to me for the working out of plans for you, and for making to come into being their attributes (or, forms) you (have) (what is yours. Isis hath made to be at peace the wind, and offerings are there. None shutts (the door) against you, and the damned do not enter in after you. That which belongs to you is to you, O gods." These gods Siay to Ra, "There is darkness on the road of the Duat, therefore let the doors which are closed be unfolded, let the earth open, so that the gods may draw along him that hath created them. " Their food is of the funeral offerings, and their drink is from their cool waters, and their hands are on meat offerings among the Akert regions of Ament.

The people in the upper register are the blessed dead, who have followed Ma´at. Those in the bottom register have been damned. They include the "weary ones" (lying on their backs and watched over by Atum ) and the "blasphemers". The text for the upper register reads;

"These (are they who) have worshipped (or, praised) Ra upon earth, who uttered words of power against Apep, who made their offerings unto him, and who burnt (literally, made) incense to their gods on their own behalf, after their offerings. They have gained possession of their cool waters, and they receive their meat, and they eat of their offerings in the gateway of him whose name is hidden. Their meat is by the gateway, and their offerings are with him. who is therein. And Ra Siays to them: "Your offerings are yours, you have power over your cool waters, your souls shall never be hacked to pieces, your meat shall never fail, (O ye who have) praised (me), and have vanquished Apep for me."

The text in the lower register reads;

"Atum works on behalf of Ra, glorifying the god, and singing praises to his soul, and distributing evil things to his enemies. (He Siays) "The word of my father Ra is right (maat) against you, and my word is right against you. I am the son who proceeds from his father, and I am the father who proceeds from his son. You are fettered, and you are tied with strong cord, and it is I who have sent forth the decree concerning you that you should be The Apostates and Blasphemers of Ra, who are doomed to destruction, with their arms bound. Bound in fetters; your arms shall never more be opened. Ra pronounces the formula against you, his soul is prepared to attack you; my father hath gained the mastery over you, and his soul utters words against you. Your evil deeds (have turned) against you, your plotting (has come) upon you, your abominable acts (have recoiled) upon you, your destinies are for evil, and your doom has been decreed before Ra; your unjust and perverted judgments are upon yourselves, and the wickedness of your words of cursing are upon you. Evil is the doom which hath been decreed for you before my father. It is you who have committed sins, and who have wrought iniquity in the Great Hall; your corruptible The Apostates and Blasphemers of Ra, who are doomed to destruction, with their arms bound bodies shall be cut in pieces, and your souls shall have no existence, and ye shall never again see Ra with his attributes (as) he journeys in the hidden land. Hail, Ra! Adored be Ra! Your enemies are in the place of destruction."

At the end of the scene the gate to the third hour sits behind a corridor running between two walls with protruding spikes. The mummiform god Am-awa guards the entrance and the mumiform Sekhabesnefubeb guard the exit. The inscription confirms that they "extend their arms and hands to Ra". Nine gods named "second company of the gods" protect the corridor. At the two corners of the corridor there are serpents who spit flames from their mouths which extend the length of the corridor to meet at the foot of the corridor. The flames are thought to replenish, not hurt, the god. The gate is guarded by the serpent Aqebi who Siays:

"(When) this god comes to this gateway, to enter in through this gateway, the gods who are therein acclaim this great god, (Siaying), Let this gateway be unfolded to Khuti, and let the doors be opened to him that is in heaven. Come then, O thou traveller, who dost journey in Amentet. He who is over this door opens (it) to Ra. Sia Says unto Aqebi; Open your gate to Ra, unfold your door to Khuti. He shall illumine the darkness, and he shall force a way for the light in the habitation which is hidden. This door is closed after the great god has entered through it, and there is lamentation to those who are in their gateway when they hear this door close (upon them


hour 3

Book of Gates

Hour Three; gate of Tchetbi

hour three of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

In the top register there are twelve mummified gods in shrines protected by a snake. They are reanimated as the god/king passes them. In front of them are twelve mummified gods in a lake of fire which only hurts the wicked. The text says;

(Those who are in) their shrines are the members of the god whose shrines the serpent Seti guards. Ra says unto them "Open you (the doors of) your shrines, so that my radiance may penetrate the darkness in which you are! I found you weeping and lamenting, with your shrines tightly closed, but air shall be given to your nostrils, and I have decreed that you shall have abundance to overflowing (in all things)." And these gods say to Ra "Hail, Ra, come you into our lake, O you great god who never fails." The Shennu gods who are before and behind him pay homage to him, and they rejoice in Ra when he traverses (their) region, and when the great god journeys through the secret place. Their food consists of loaves of bread, their drink is made from the red (barley), and their cool waters come from (their cisterns of) water, and the serpent of fire, Seti, gives unto them the things whereon they live there. The door which shuts them in closes after this god has passed through their midst, and they utter cries of grief when they hear their doors shut upon them."

"(Here is) the lake of water which is in the Duat, and it is surrounded by the gods who are arrayed in (their) apparel, and who have (their) heads uncovered. This lake is filled with green herbs. The water of this lake is boiling hot, and the birds betake themselves to flight when they see the waters there, and when they smell the fetid smell which is in it. To these gods Ra says "O you gods whose duty it is (to guard) the green herbs of your lake, whose heads core uncovered, and whose limbs are covered with garments, may there be air to your nostrils, and may offerings be made to you of the green herbs, and may your meat be from your lake. The water thereof shall be yours, but to you it shall not be boiling, and the heat thereof shall not be upon your bodies." These (gods) say to Ra "Come you unto us, O you who sailest in your boat, whose eye is of blazing fire which consumes, and has a pupil which sends forth light! The beings of the Duat shout with joy when you approaches; send forth your light upon us, O great god who hast fire in your eye." Their food consists of loaves of bread and green herbs, and their drink (or, beer) is of the kemtet plants, and their cool water is from (their cisterns of) water. And food shall be given unto them in abundance from this lake."

The sun barque is towed by four people through the middle register, and again the god is accompanied by Sia and Heka. The cord pulling the "barque of the earth" is attached to a long pole with a bull´s head at each end of it. The pole is supported by eight mummified gods named "Bearers of the gods,". The barque is pulled by a number of gods and four mummified gods stand at the far end of the scene. The god is symbolically united with the earth god Geb on passing through this area. The text reads;

"This great god is towed along by the gods of the Duat, and this great god advances to the Boat of the Earth, which is the bark of the gods. Ra. says to them "Hail, ye gods who bear up his Boat of the Earth, and who lift up the Bark of the Duat, may there be support to your forms and light unto your Barque. Holy is he who is in the Boat of the Earth. I make to go back the Barque of the Duat which bearsmy forms (or, attributes), and truly I travel into the hidden habitation to perform the plans which are carried out there." Ennurkhata (says), "Praised be the Soul which the Double Bull has swallowed, and let the god be at peace with that which he has created."

"These gods (the four gods at the other end of the Boat of the Earth) say to Ra "Praised be Ra, whose Soul has been absorbed by the Earth-god! Praised be the gods of Ra who has rested (there). "This Boat of its Duat rejoices, and there are cries from them after Ra has passed them as he journeys on his way. Their offerings are the plants of the year, and their offerings are given to them when they hear the words of those who draw along, this great god. The gods of the Duat who (pull) the holy Boat in the earth say unto the Utau, whose arms are hidden "O Utau Of the earth, whose duty it is to stand near his habitation, whose heads are uncovered, and whose arms are hidden, may there be air to your nostrils, O Utau, and may your funeral wrappings be burst open, and may you have the mastery over your meats, and may you have peace in that which I have created. Their food is of bread cakes, and their bread is made of the red grain, the draughts which they drink are of (cool) water, and their meat is given unto them because of the whiteness (or, brilliance) of their apparel in the Duat."

The bottom register sees the first appearance of Apep but he is restrained by Atum and nine men ("Tchatcha who repulse Apep,"). Below them stand nine gods known as "nebu kert" (lords of destiny). The text reads;

The first group shows us what "Tem has done for Ra, and how he has protected the god by words of magical power, and has overthrown the serpent Seba. (Temu says) "You art prostrate, and you shall never more rise up; you art enchanted by (my enchantments), and you shall never more be found. The word of my father is ma´at against thee, and my word is right (maat) against thee; I have destroyed thee for Ra, and I have made an end of thee for Khuti. "The company of the gods of Ra who repulse Apep says "Your head is slit, O Apep, your folds are gashed, you shall never more envelop the boat of Ra, and you shall never again make a way into the divine bark. A flame of fire goes out against thee from the hidden place, and we have condemned thee to your dire doom." They (the nine gods of the company of Ra) live upon the food of Ra, and upon the cakes of Khentiamentiu, for offerings are made on their behalf upon earth, and libations of cool water are made unto them by the lord of food (or, as lords of food) before Ra."

At the end of the scene, there is another gate (called Nebt-s-Tchefau) guarded by the mummified god Enuerkhata (at the entrance) and Seta-ta (at the exit). Nine gods named "third company of the gods of the great god who are within." protect the corridor. The text says;

"This great god comes to this gateway, and enters in through it, and the gods who are therein acclaim him." The company of gods say to Ra, "Open you the earth, force you a way through the Duat and the region which is above, and dispel our darkness; hail, Ra, come you to us." The monster serpent which stands on his tail and guards the gateway is called Tchetbi, and the two lines of text which refer to his admission of Ra read, "He who is over this door opens to Ra. Ss says to Tchetbi "Open (your) gate to Ra, unfold your doors to Khuti, that he may send light into the thick darkness, and may make his radiance illumine the hidden habitation." This door is shut after this great god has passed through it, and there is lamentation to those who are in this gateway when they hear this door close upon them."


hour 4

Book of Gates

Hour Four; gate of Teka Hra

hour four of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

In the top register are the "twelve gods who carry their double" the Lake of Life, which is guarded by twelve jackal gods, and the Lake of Uraei, guarded by twelve Uraei. The text says;

(These are) they who bear along their doubles, who immerse themselves in that which flows in abundance from the slaughtered ones during the time of their existence, and who carry the offerings which are rightly due (to the god) to his abode. To them says Ra "That which is yours (to do), O you gods who are among your offerings, is to offer as an obligatory offering your doubles. You have your own offerings, your enemies are destroyed, and they are not. Your spirits are on their thrones, (and your) souls are on their places." They say to Ra, "Adorations be unto thee, O Ra-Khuti! Hail to thee, O Soul who art protected in the earth! Hail to you, as being eternity, the lord of the years and of the everlastingness which has no diminution." Their food consists of offerings, their drink is of cool water, and there is lamentation to them when they hear their doors close upon them. Their food is given to them from the goddess Mu-sta (unknown) by Tesert-Baiu."

(These are) they who come forth from this lake whereunto the souls of the dead cannot approach by reason of the sanctity which is there. Ra says to them "That which is yours (to do), O gods who are in this lake, is to keep guard upon your lives in your lake; your offerings are under the guard of the jackals which have set themselves on the edge of your lake." They say to Ra "Immerse thyself, O Ra, in your holy lake, where the lord of the gods immersed himself, where the souls of the dead approach not; this is what you yourself has commanded, O Khuti." Their food consists of bread, their drink is of the red (barley), and their vessels of drink are filled with wine. There is lamentation among them when they hear their doors close upon them. Their food is given unto them as lord(s) of their sceptres round about this lake.

(These are) they who have their speech after Ra comes to them, and souls are turned backwards, and shadows are destroyed at the hearing of the words (or voices) of the Uraei. Ra says to them "That which is yours (to do), O Uraei who are in this lake, is to guard your flames and your fires (so that you may hurl them) against my (literally, his) enemies, and your burning heat against those whose mouths are evil. Hail to you, O Uraei." They say to Ra "Come to us, stride over Tanen."

In the middle register the sun barque is towed by towards nine shrines containing mummified gods named "gods who follow Osiris, who are in their abodes." They wait for Ra to resurrect and feed them. Ahead of them the coiled serpent Hereret represents time and twelve goddesses named "the hour goddesses who are in the Duat" represent the twelve hours of the underworld. Hereret is said to "spawn twelve serpents to be devoured by the hours." The text reads;

This great god is drawn along by the gods of the Duat, and he, journeys in the hidden place, and works in respect of the things which are there. (he says) "Draw me along, O beings of the Duat, look upon me, (for) I have created you. Pull with your arms and draw me there, and turn aside to the eastern part of heaven, to the habitations which surround Ares (or, Sar) (and to) that hidden mountain, the light of which goes round about among the gods who receive me as I come forth among you into the hidden place. Draw me along, (for) I work on your behalf in the gateway which covers over the gods of the Duat". And Ra says to them "Look upon me, O gods, for I strike those who are in their sepulchres, (saying), Arise, O gods! I have ordered for you the plan and manner of your existence, O you who are in your sepulchres, whose souls are broken, who live upon your own filth and feed upon your own offal, rise up before my Disk, and put yourselves in a (right state by means of my beams. The duties which you shall have in the Duat are in conformity with the things which I have decreed for you." Their food consists of flesh, and their ale is of the red (barley), and their libations are of cool water. There is lamentation to them after they have heard their doors close upon them."

(These are) they who stand upon their lake, and it is they who guide Ra in a straight line by means of their instruments. To them Ra says "Listen, O goddesses of the hours of the night. sky. Work, and eat, and rest in your gateways, with your breasts towards the darkness, and your hind-parts towards the light. Make to stand up the serpent Hereret, and you live upon that which comes forth from it. It is your duty in the Duat to eat up the spawn of Hereret, and you shall destroy that which cometh forth from it. Draw you me, for I have begotten you in order that ye may pay homage (to me). Be at peace, O you Hours!" Their food consists of cakes of bread, and their ale is of the red (barley), and their draughts are of cool water, and there is given unto them as their food that which cometh forth with the khu (the blessed dead)."

On the bottom register, Osiris as Khentiamentiu wearing the crown of Upper Egypt stands on a snake within a Naos shrine. In front of him there is a flame goddess in the form of a serpent with twelve gods behind her and Horus the Elder at the far end. Behind Osiris there are twelve gods named "the gods who are behind the shrine" then four small gods named "masters of their pits" (and their four pits) and one bearded god named "master of earths" who holds an Ankh in his right hand and a sceptre in the left. The text reads;

Horus works on behalf of his father Osiris, he performs magical ceremonies for him, and restores to him the crown (saying) "My heart goes out to you, O my father, you who are avenged on those who would work against you, and in all the matters which concern you, you are guided by magical ceremonies. You have the mastery, O Osiris, you have the sovereignty, O Khentiamentiu, you have whatsoever is yours as Governor of the Duat, O you whose forms (or attributes) are exalted in the hidden place the beatified spirits hold you in fear, and the dead are terrified of you. Your crown has been restored to you, and I, your son Horus, have reckoned your weakness there."

(the gods in from of the shrine say) "Let Him of the Duat be exalted! Let Khentiamentiu be adored! Your son Horus has restored to you your crown, he has protected you by means of magical ceremonies, he has crushed for you your enemies, he has brought to you vigour for your arms, O Osiris, Khentiamentiu."

(Osiris says to Horus) "Come to me, O my son Horus, and avenge me on those who work against me, and cast them to him that is over the things which destroy, it is he who guards the pits (of destruction)."

(Horus says to the gods) "Make inquisition for me, O gods who are in the following of Khentiamentiu, stand up, and do not withdraw yourselves, and be masters over yourselves; come, and live delicately on the bread of Hu, and drink of the ale of Ma´at, and live upon that whereon my father lives there. That which belongs to you in the hidden place is to be behind the shrine, according to the commandment of Ra. I call unto you, and behold, it is for you to do what it is your duty (to do)." Their meat consists of cakes of bread, and their ale is of the tchesert (otherworld) drink, and their libations are cool water. Their food is given unto them by the guardian of the things which are in the shrine. And Horus says unto these gods "Smite the enemies of my father, and hurl them down into your pits because of that deadly evil which they have done against the Great One, (who) found him that begot me. That which belongs to you to do in the Duat is to guard the pits of fire according as Ra hath commanded, and I set (this) before you so that, behold, you may do according to what is yours (to do)." This god stands over (or by) the pits."

At the end of the scene, there is another gate called Arit) guarded by the the jackalheaded Aau and the exit by jackal headed Tekmi. Nine gods named "fourth company of the gods" protect the corridor. The serpent in front of the door is Teka-hra. The text says;

This great god cometh to this gateway, and enters in through it, and the gods who are therein acclaim him," The nine gods say to Ra, "Ra-Heru-Khuti unfold our doors, and open our gateways. Hail, Ra, come to us, O great god, lord of hidden nature." He who is over this door opens to Ra. Sa says to Teka Hra "Open your gate to Ra, unfold your doors to Khuti, that he may send light into the thick darkness, and may make his radiance illuminate the hidden habitation." This door is shut after the great god has passed through it, and there is lamentation to those who are in this gateway when they hear this door close upon them.


hour 5

Book of Gates

Hour Five; gate of Set-em-Ma´at-f

hour five of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

In the top register, there are twelve gods bowing in adoration who are named as "those who make adorations in the Duat". They are followed by twelve gods holding a surveying cord to allot both space (in the form of a field or estate) and time (represented by the serpent and the shen in the bottom register). They are named "Holders of the cord in the Duat". Finally, there are four "henbi" gods (overseers), each holding the symbol of life in his right hand and a sceptre in the left. The text says;

(These are) they who make songs to Ra in Amentet and exalt Heru-khuti. (These are they who) knew Ra upon earth, and who made offerings to him. Their offerings are in their place, and their glory is in the holy place of Ament. They say to Ra "Come, Ra, progress through the Duat. Praise be to you! Enter among the holy (places) with the serpent Mehen". Ra says to them "There are offerings for you, O you who made offerings. I am content with what you did for me, both when I used to shine in the eastern part of heaven, and when I was sinking to rest in the chamber of my Eye". Their food is of the bread-cakes of Ra, and their drink is of tcheser drink, and their libations are made of cool water, and offerings are made to them on the earth in (return) for the praisings which they make unto Ra in Ament.

(These are they who) hold the measuring cord in Ament, and they go over the fields of the Khu (blessed spirits). (Ra says to them) "Take the cord, draw it tight, and mark out the limit of the fields of Amentet, the Khu whereof are in your abodes, and the gods whereof are on your thrones." The Khu of Neterti are in the Field of Peace, (and) each Khu hath been judged by him that is in the cord. Righteousness is to those who are (who exist), and unrighteousness to those who are not. Ra says to them "What is right is the cord in Ament, and Ra is content with the stretching of it. Your possessions are yours, O gods, your homesteads are yours, O Khu. Behold, Ra makes (works) your fields, and he commands on your behalf that there may be sand (earth?) with you." Hail, journey on, O Khuti, for verily the gods are content with that which they possess, and the Khu are content with their estates. Their food (comes) from Sekhet-Aru, and their offerings from that which springs up there. Offerings are made to them upon earth from the estate of Sekhet-Aru.

To the four bearded gods Ra says "Holy are you, O Henbi gods, overseers of the cords in Amentet. Establish fields and give (them) to the gods and to the Khu (after) they have been measured in Sekhet-Aaru. Let them give fields and sand (earth?) to the gods and to the souls who are in the Duat." Their food shall be from Sekhet-Aaru, and their offerings from the things which spring forth therein.

The boat of Ra is in the middle register. With Ra (as ever) are the gods Heka and Sia. In front of the four gods towing the sun barque stand twelve shrouded gods holding the coils of a huge snake. They are named as "those who hold Ennutchi" (Apep). In front of these gods stand twelve gods named "the souls of the men who are in the Duat". They are followed by Hetepi the god who is "over his Corner" (or "of his angle"). The text reads;

The gods of the Duat draw along this great god, and he journeys through the hidden place. (Ra says) "Draw me along, O gods of the Duat, and sing praises to me, O you who are at the head of the stars; let your cords be strong, and draw me along by means of them, and let your hands and arms be steady, let there be speed in your legs, let there be strong intent in our souls, and let your hearts be glad. Open a prosperous way into the chambers of hidden things."

Those who are in this scene carry this serpent. Ra strikes them and advanceth towards them to rest in (the gateway called) Nebt-Ahau. This serpent travels as far as it (the gateway), but he does not pass beyond it. Ra says to them "Strike the serpent Ennutchi there, give him no way (to escape), so that I may pass by you. Hide your arms, destroy that which you guard, protect that which comes into being from my forms, and tie up that which comes into being from my strength." Their food consists of the hearing of the word of this god, and offerings are made to them from the hearing of the word of Ra in the Duat.

To those who have spoken what is right and true upon earth, and who have magnified the forms of the god, Ra says "Praises shall be (sung) to your souls, and there shall be breath to your nostrils, and there shall be to you joints in Sekhet-Aru. That which shall be indeed yours is what belongeth to the Ma´ati Gods. The habitations which shall be yours shall be at the corner where (live) those who are with me who weigh words for them." Their food is of bread-cakes, and their drink of tchesert drink, and their libations are of cool water. Offerings are made unto them upon earth as to the god Hetepi, according to what should be offered unto them. Ra says to this god "Let him that is over his Corner (Heri-Qenbet-f) cry out to those souls who are right, and true, and divine, and make them to sit at peace in their habitations at the Corner of those who are with me".

In the bottom register Horus leans upon a staff watching over four groups of four men representing the four races of mankind; Reth (Egyptians), Aamu (asiatic peoples from the deserts to the east and north-east of Egypt), Nehesu (Nubians and other african races), and Themehu (fair-skinned Libyans). Sakhmet is mentioned in text connected with this section but does not appear in the images. In front of them, twelve bearded gods hold the body of a long serpent who represents time. They are called the "Holders of the period of time in Ament". In front of them are a further eight bearded gods named as the "Sovereign chiefs of the Duat". The text reads;

Horus says to the creatures of Ra who dwell in the Black Land (Kemet, Egypt) and in the Red Land (the deserts which lie on each side of the Black Land) "Magical protection be over you, O creatures of Ra, who have come into being from the Great One who is at the head of heaven. Let there be breath to your nostrils, and let your linen wrappings be loosened. You are the tears of the eye of my splendour in your name of Reth. Mighty of issue you have come into being in your name of Aamu; Sekhmet has created them, and it is she who delivers (avenges) their souls. I masturbated (to produce you), and I was content with the hundreds of thousands (of beings) who came forth from me in your name of Nehesu; Horus made them to come into being, and it is he who avengeth their souls. I sought out mine Eye, and you came into being in your name of Themenu; Sakhmet has created them, and she avenges their souls."

Those who make firm (permanent) the duration of life stablish the days of the souls (in) Amenti and possess the word (command) of the place of destruction. Ra says to them "Inasmuch as you are the gods who dwell in the Duat, and who have possession of Meterui (the serpent), by means of whom you mete out the duration of life of the souls who are in Amenti who are condemned to destruction. Destroy the souls of the enemies according to the place of destruction which you are commanded to appoint, and do not let them see the hidden place."

(Here are) the divine sovereign chiefs who shall destroy the enemies. They shall have their offerings by means of the word (which becomes Ma´at; they shall have their offerings upon earth by means of the word (which becomes) Ma´at, and it is they who destroy and who pass the judgement concerning (literally "those who write") the duration of the life of the souls who dwell in Amenti. The destruction which is yours shall be (directed) against the enemies, and the power to write (judge) which you possess shall be for the place of destruction. "I have come, even I the great one Horus, that I may make a reckoning with my body, and that I may shoot forth evils against my enemies." Their food is bread, and their drink is the tchesert wine, and they have cool water wherewith to refresh (or, bathe) themselves. Offerings are made to them on earth. One does not enter into the place of destruction.

At the right hand side of the scene stands the fifth gate of the Duat (named Nebt-Aha). The gateway is guarded by twelve bearded mummy forms, who are described as the "gods and goddesses who are in this pylon". The entrance to the corridor is guarded by Maa-ib ("true of heart") and at the exit by Sheta-ib ("sectret of heart"). Between this gate and the serpent at the entrance to the sixth hour lies the Hall of Judgement (or the Hall of Ma´at). The roof of the hall is decorated with spear heads and four gazelle or ox heads (known as the Hahaiu) hang from it. Osiris wearing the double crown sits at the top of nine steps each with a god standing on it. In front of him are the scales. One side of the scales sits a rectangular object, in the other a figure of the bird representing evil. In front of the scales there is boat containing a pig called "Am-a" ("the eater of the arm") and a dog-faced ape holding a stick. In the top left we can see Anubis. The text reads;

(of Osiris); His enemies are under his feet, the gods and the spirits are before him; he is the enemy of the dead (the damned) among the beings of the Duat, Osiris puts (his) enemies under restraint, he destroys them, and he performes the slaughter of them."

(of Anubis); Hail, you who make to be Ma´at the word of your little one, may Thoth weigh the words, may he make to eat his father.

(by the boat);(When) this god enters, he (the Ape) rises and restrains Am-a .


hour 6

Hour Six

Hour six

The judgment of the Dead is therefore the prelude to the union of the Ba and the corpse of he sun god (like those of all the blessed deceased). The sixth hour of the night is the deepest part of the journey through the netherworld. In the middle register, the dead corpse of the sun god immediately in front of the barque and its towmen, is invisible. It is being carried by gods whose arms are also invisible because of their contact with the corpse. In the lower register, mummies of deceased persons lie on a long, serpent-shaped bed so that they may participate in the union with the ba and the resurrection that it effects. Gods holding forked poles in the upper register keep Apophis at bay while this critical event unfolds. From his head people who he has swallowed are now set free once more. There is also the depiction of a twisted double rope that represents time. It is being unwound from the pharynx of the god, Aqen. The lower register of this hour end with a scene depicting a circular Lake of Fire which is inhabited by a cobra that acts as a deterrent to all enemies. 


hour 7

Hour Seven

Hour seven

In the seventh hour, the central motif is the elimination of all mincing forces that might interfere with the sun's renewal. In the middle register, just before the solar barque, appears the jackal headed "stakes of Geb", with two enemies of the god bound to each. Re, the sun god consents to their torment by two demons. However, in the upper register we find two groups of blessed dead, one with baskets filled with grain as a sign of their material provisioning, and the other with the feather of Ma'at as a symbol of their vindication in at the Judgment of the Dead. They will exist until the end while sheltered by Ma'at, while the damned below are consigned to the Place of Annihilation. The caption on this upper register speaks of Osiris welcoming his new followers. In the lower register, we again find the blessed who have followed Ma'at, who are here gathering huge ears of grain intended for their assured provisions. Others are provided with sickles for harvesting, while the rays of the revived sun effects abundant fertility. 



Hour Eight

Hour eight

We once again find the depiction of infinite time depicted as an endless rope spooled out hour by hour, and also as the towrope of the barque, which "produces mysteries." In the middle register, the "lords of provision in the west", who stand before the barque, are commissioned by Re to allocate provisions to the blessed while at the same time inflicting evil on the enemies. In the lower register are once again mummies. They have turned over on their biers and are therefore in the process of resurrection. Nearby, a council of judges protects them. 

Hour Nine

Hour nine

In the middle register of the ninth hour, a theme is borrowed from the Amduat (tenth hour). Here, a rectangle of water contain the drowned. Four groups of deceased humans are found floating in the primeval waters of Nun. They are actually being refreshed by the waters and will therefore be resurrected. We find that their noses breath the air, and their ba-souls will not be destroyed so that they will share existence with the blessed. In these scenes, Re is the "one who is in Nun", and in the scene that concludes the book, he will be raised up out of Nun. The souls of the blessed appear in the upper register. Before them stand a group of figures who offer them bread and vegetables. By contract, in the lower register we find, once more, the condemned. Here are depicted twelve enemies who are each bound in one of three different manners. They are inflamed by the Fiery One, a huge serpent who has been called forth by Horus for the atrocities they have committed against his father, Osiris. The children of Horus stand in his coils of this great snake. 

Hour Ten

Hour ten

The middle register of the tenth hour is entirely filled with a representation of the battle against Apophis. Fourteen deities hold nets containing magical powers above their heads. This magic renders Apophis defenseless. Perhaps Geb, as the "Old One" ties fetters around the snakes body. In the upper and lower registers we find special manifestations of the sun god. In the upper register, he is depicted as a griffin and is followed by two serpents who help in the punishment of Apophis, as well as the other enemies. In the lower register the sun god is portrayed in the center as a falcon, though he is also referenced as Khepri ("scarab beetle"). He is connected to other figures by a continuous rope. The text that accompanies this scene talks of the "emergence" and stresses that the journey is proceeding now towards the sky.

Hour Eleven

Hour eleven

By the eleventh hour, we find a bound Apophis and other enemies in the upper register. He is dismembered, and hence rendered harmless. The rope that holds Apophis and his assistants is held by a giant fist emerging from the depths. In the middle register, the dead may gaze upon the continence of the God Re, who's face is making its way in the barque. n interesting aspect of this scene is the reversal of the barque, which may be an allusion to the reversal of time. Before the barque are the stars which will herald the reappearance of the sun god. We find in the lowest register oarsmen of the god, together with the goddesses of the hours; time and energy (rowing). They will propel the barque up into the eastern horizon. Here, the battle in the netherworld is obviously won, for some deities are already announcing he god in the horizon. There cries will be joined by the din of noise that will eventually accompany the rising sun. 

Hour Twelve

Hour twelve

In the twelfth hour, the sun god finally arrives at the gate "with the mysterious entrance", through which he will the miracle of his rebirth will occur. In the upper register, gods "carry the blazing light". which is obvious from the sun disks in their hands. Stars precede the appearance of the sun, while goddesses seated upon serpents surround and protect the solar child. Before the god's barque lies Apophis, who is fettered. He is held in check by gods with knives and shepherd's crooks in order that he may not impede the sunrise. Just behind him are four baboons, their arms raised in jubilation,  who announce the sun god in the eastern horizon. Several motif are represented in the lower register, including crowns that are to be worn as symbols of power when leaving the netherworld.  Also, we find the nurses of the newborn sun, while at the same time, Osiris is mourned, for he must remain in the netherworld. This final gate, through which the sun god will emerge onto the horizon, is guarded by Isis and Nephthys, in the form of uraei.