The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt
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The Tomb of Thutmose III and the Amduat
Inscribed on the burial chamber walls is the first-known complete copy of the Amduat, a funerary text whose name means "what is in the netherworld." More coherent than its predecessors, the Amduat is the earliest narrative explanation of Egyptian religion and was intended as a guidebook to the afterlife for deceased pharaohs. Describing the afterlife would aid the king, for to possess knowledge of something was to have power over it.

The Amduat is divided into the twelve hours of night, with each hour corresponding to a specific region or town. The text relates the events that transpire during the sun's nocturnal journey from dusk to dawn, from death to resurrection. A deceased pharaoh was believed to descend into the netherworld, where he would board the solar boat and unite with the sun god Re. Together they would travel through the underworld, which the text describes as an improved version of the real world with a Nile, fields, and a desert. Traveling through the night, the sun god encounters numerous enemies that threaten his quest for immortality. But with the help of hundreds of deities, his body and soul reunite at midnight giving him the strength to overcome the obstacles that remain in his path. The journey--a metaphor for the eternal life sought by all Egyptians--ends at sunrise with the pharaoh's resurrection as the sun god Re.