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To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again, and restores the breath of life to him who has vanished.
Inscription on the tomb of Tutankhamun

hen buried the dead were given a book to help them on the journey to a new life in paradise. This was called the 'Book of the Dead' and it contained charms, spells and prayers for use in the afterlife.

Firstly they had to be judged for any offences committed while alive. Before Osiris and 42 judges the dead would claim that no evil had been done during their lives, such as murder, rustling or cheating.

The person's heart would then be weighed against a feather, the symbol of truth. If the heart and feather stayed in balance then the heart was truthful and the dead person would enter the land of Osiris. However, if the heart was heavier it meant the person had led a wicked life and would be handed over to a beast, The Devourer Ammut, waiting below the scales, ready to pounce. Those who passed the test were met by Horus, the falcon-headed god, and he escorted them on to paradise.

Scene from the Book of the Dead showing the weighing of the mummy's heart

The good person would enter a happy land - 'The Fields of Aalu' - where all their dead friends and relations would be waiting to greet them. The land would be rich and plentiful but work still had to be done in the fields. Small statues, 'shabtis', where placed in the tombs together with tools. They were to perform all the hard work in the next world leaving the dead free to enjoy their new life.

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