29 November 2011
The Papyrus of Ani
1. Why is the judgment of Ani portrayed as the weighing of his heart? What metaphors used in Western culture today are suggested by this portrayal? Why does Ani’s heart need to only balance, and not tip, the scale.
The judgment of Ani is portrayed by weighing his heart because it will show his goodness. In order for his heart to balance with the ostrich feather from the crown of Maat, Ani must have a pure heart. It will throw off the scale if his heart is heavy with sin. The balance is for the judgment of Ani’s journey into the afterlife. The metaphors used in Western culture are basically a spin off of this story. Sayings such as “having a heavy heart” when being sad and “having a weight lifted off my shoulders” after confessing coincide with the Papyrus of Ani.
4. What facts about ancient Egyptian culture can you infer from this view of justice, the gods, and the afterlife? How might you apply this same logic to another, perhaps contemporary culture?
By reading the negative confessions and the summary, I can infer that the views of justice, the gods, and the afterlife were not taken lightly. Judgment played a very big role in the afterlife. Egyptian culture was based heavily on justice. This
went hand in hand with judgment and placement in the afterlife. Contemporary culture, such as Catholic beliefs, applies to this. Catholics believe if they repent and confess their sins, it will lead them to heaven. Ani proclaims all the things he did not do so he will impress the gods and be lead into a better place in the after life.
Why did Ani say all the things he did not do, instead of confessing what he did do?