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Book of Gates
 
The Book of Gates is an Ancient Egyptian sacred text dating from the New Kingdom. It narrates the passage of a newly deceased soul into the next world, corresponding to the journey of the sun though the underworld during the hours of the night. The soul is required to pass though a series of 'gates' at different stages in the journey. Each gate is associated with a different goddess, and requires that the deceased recognise the particular character of that deity. The text implies that some people will pass through unharmed, but that others will suffer torment in a lake of fire.

The goddesses each have different titles, and wear different coloured clothes, but are identical in all other respects, wearing a five pointed star above their heads. Most of the goddesses are specific to the Book of Gates, and do not appear elsewhere in Egyptian mythology, and so it has been suggested that the Book of Gates originated merely as a system for determining the time at night, with the goddess at each gate being a representation of the main star appearing during the hour.

The titles of the goddesses are:

Hour
Goddess
1
Splitter of the heads of the enemies of Ra
2
Wise guard of the lord
3
The one who cuts through Ba
4
The one of great power
5
She who is on her boat
6
Successful leader
7
The one who repels the serpent
8
Lady of the night
9
She who is in adoration
10
The one who beheads rebels
11
The star who repels rebels
12
The witness to Ra's magnificence

The most famous part of the Book of Gates refers to the different races of humanity known to the Egyptians, dividing them up into four categories that are now conventionally labelled "Egyptians", "Asiatics", "Libyans", and "Nubians". These are depicted in procession entering the next world. The text and images associated with the Book of Gates appear in many tombs of the New Kingdom, including all the pharaonic tombs between Horemheb and Ramses VII.

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This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.

 

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