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Pyramid Texts of Saqqara

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Detail of Pyramid Text from the Tomb of Teti I at Saqqara

Detail of Pyramid Text from the Tomb of Teti I, Saqqara (6th Dynasty, First Intermediate Period Egypt)

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Definition:

The pyramid texts are among the oldest religious writings in the world, consisting of spells found carved on the walls of several Egyptian tombs at Saqqara, and likely dated to the Old Kingdom or First Intermediate Period (late 5th or early 6th dynasty, about 2435 BC). These are fragments of what was later to be collected as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Two complete English translations of these texts are available, one by Samuel Mercer in 1952 and the translation considered the standard, R.O. Faulkner in 1969. Mercer's translation is available on the web, but the copyright looks a little dicey to me, so it may not last. As with many of the oldest religious texts in the world, there is a lot of nonsense assigned to them which you can find by searching the web.

Sources

Carrier, Richard C. 1999 Flash! Fox News reports that aliens may have built the pyramids of Egypt! Skeptical Inquirer 23 (September/October):46-50.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Alternate Spellings: Sakkara Pyramid Texts

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