- What are mummies?
- Legend of Osiris and Isis
- Other uses for mummies
- Mummification process
In order for the soul, or spirit, to be preserved, a ceremony called mummification had to take place. Mummification is the process of drying out a dead body to prevent it from rotting. To the Egyptians mummification provided a home for the spirit to live in the afterlife. The procedure was very costly, and so usually only royalty or the wealthy were mummified. People spent a lifetime saving up money to have a decent burial. Mummification was a slow process-- it took almost 70 days to complete.
The "miracle" story of the great god Osiris and his life after death explains how the first Egyptian mummy came to be. Osiris, a beloved pharaoh, was murdered by his jealous brother Set, who spread his body across the Nile in fourteen pieces. Isis, the pharaoh's wife, gathered up her husband's pieces and bandaged them together in linen cloth. With the help of Anubis, the god of the afterlife, and powerful charms, Isis was able to bring Osiris back to life. Osiris couldn't come back to earth as a man, but became god of the nether world. Anubis became the god of preservation of the bodies, and Isis the protectress of the dead. Osiris's son, Horus, vowed to get revenge upon reaching manhood. Set and Horus fought a long and fearful battle. Horus won, but not without losing his left eye. His lost eye became a powerful symbol that enabled the dead to see again. It is drawn as a falcon's eye: and is a necesary part of the mummification process.
Mummies used to be used to cure illnesses a few hundred years ago. A medicine called "mummy" was used as a cheaper, more readily available substitute for asphalt, another popular medicine of the time. "Mummy" was supposed to stop bleeding, and was used for fractures, paralysis, epilepsy, coughs, nausea, poisoning, and liver and spleen disorders. Other strange uses for mummies include some of the following:
- Ground up mummies were used as fertilizer, and chopped wooden mummy cases served as firewood.
- In the late 1800's, paper manufacturers used mummy wrappings for wrapping paper.
- Mummies have been used instead of thatch to repair roofs on houses, and used as a cheap source of fuel in trains.
- In some areas, people would pay great amounts of money to see a mummy being unwrapped.
Egyptian graphics provided by the web site "The Tomb of the Chihuahua Pharaohs" which can be found listed in Yahoo.