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Locke, N. (1961). A Myth of Ancient Egypt. Am. Imago, 18(2):105-128.

(1961). American Imago, 18(2):105-128

A Myth of Ancient Egypt

Norman Locke, Ph.D.

The hieroglyphic of the ancient Egyptian is the earliest written record of man. The writings are found in inscriptions on stone in tombs, on stelae, inside the Pyramids, on the inner surfaces of wooden coffins, and on papyrus. The papyrus writings are hieratic, a form of hieroglyphic in which many of the characteristics of the picture writing were elided by the scribe in placing it on the papyrus. These records are identified generally by Egyptologists as the “Pyramid Texts” and the “Coffin Texts.” The Pyramid Texts (19) date from 3500 B.C., written between the Ilnd and Vth Dynasties, thus forming “… the oldest body of literature surviving from the ancient World.” (2, p. vii).

The Pyramids were the creations of royalty, although “In the later years of the Old Kingdom in ancient Egypt the royal privilege of equipping a ‘house of eternity’ for the hereafter was extended to an increasing number of persons of relatively modest status.” (11, p. 145). For the most part, the content of the writings in the Pyramids relates to the religious ritual and magic practice of the Court. There are few tales of the gods, few myths, in the Egyptian writings. There is mention of the gods in the magical and magico-medical literature, the principal source of which is the Papyrus Ebers (5), but this mention is a reference to the efficacy of the magic or a reminder to the gods of the manner in which it is to function or some such usage. The discovery of a papyrus which tells a story of the gods, the Beatty Papyrus, was a landmark, for as Gardiner, the translator, states (4, p.

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