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Ancient Egypt explored
on 11 August 2011
Sir E Wallis Budge was a controversial member of the British Museum staff who purchased a book of the dead, "The Papyrus of Ani" in 1881. It was unique, the first book of the dead to be discovered intact, in this case, seventy-eight feet in length; surprisingly, to the astonishment of colleagues, he later cut into thirty-eight equal-sized sections to facilitate his study of the hieroglyphics.
In a distinguished career as an Egyptologist, he wrote many books, developed the world's knowledge of the ancient country and expanded the British Museum's Egyptian collection enormously.
This well-illustrated text, (although few are in colour) contains full reproductions of books of the dead, including the Papyrus of Ani, and complete translations of their content.
It is a very good - but scholarly and without frills - introduction to ancient Egyptian religion, funeral rites and attitudes to death and life after death. Interestingly, the more familiar one becomes with Egyptian religious rituals and ideas, the more familiar they seem; the roots of modern religious beliefs and practices seem to lie just beneath the desert sands.
Recommended, especially at this price.