The Papyrus of Ani

The Papyrus of Ani is one of the most complete versions of the Book of the Dead we have, hence its fame. It was composed during the nineteenth dynasty, around 1275 BC, for Ani, royal scribe of Thebes, and his wife Tutu, priestess of Amon. The papyrus was composed by joining six different sections, varying in length between 150 and 540 centimeters, to obtain a roll 235 centimeters long for an average height of 42. Its realization was the result of a team effort in which the scribes participated most important and the best illustrators. Inside the Ani Papyrus there are over 60 formulas, many of them with beautiful illustrations.

The Papyrus is currently kept in the British Museum. It contains about two hundred formulas of the first Texts of the Pyramids and of the Texts of the Sarcophagi, apparently written by Thoth on behalf of Osiris, who judges the dead and establishes the destination of the soul of the dead. Only he could give life after death because he himself had obtained it through the resurrection. The book has been called the “Gospel of Osiris”, as it seeks to transmit the esoteric teachings that would allow man to reach eternal life after death. This can only be achieved if the deceased lived a pure and good life during his time on earth.

The souls judged good, at the moment of death reach Osiris in the skies for eternal life, while the others go towards destruction. The scribe Ani is then led into the judgment room in front of 42 gods who ask him for a negative confession of 42 earthly sins. The deceased must proclaim his innocence with respect to each of his sins. Then, proceeding through the judgment hall, Anubis, god of the dead, weighs Ani’s dead heart by placing it on one plate of the scales, while on the other plate a feather is placed. The scribe Thoth records the result.

If the heart weighs more than the feather, then the deceased is sentenced to death and his heart is devoured by the demon Ammut. Those who have passed the test, that is, those whose heart is lighter than the feather, go hand in hand with Horus to meet Osiris who grants eternal life. Ani passes the test and is brought before Osiris. During the funeral, the living sang prayers on behalf of the dead, with versions taken from the Book of the Dead. Chapters and verses were often placed with the deceased or painted in sarcophagi or urns, this would send them to Osiris, Orion in heaven for resurrection and eternal life.

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