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Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists

Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists

Abstract

In the ancient Egyptian religion, the ferryman was generally called (¡r.f-HA.f) and depicted as a sailor or a boatman standing in the stern of a papyrus boat. The Egyptian ferryman is known from the funerary texts: Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom, Coffin Texts from the Middle Kingdom, Book of Dead from the New Kingdom, texts from Greco-Roman temples and other textual resources in about 21 names and titles. It was necessary for the deceased to summon a ferryman at his crossing, that he would navigate the soul through the winding waters of the Underworld, naturally by means of a magic formula, in which the mystic name of the ferryman was contained. In all of these sources we find his names, titles, epithets, roles, functions, and relations with other deities of ancient Egypt. As he was a god in the Netherworld and the ferryman of the dead, he may be the origin of the Greek ferryman CHARON of HADES. The idea of the ferryman of Netherworld is not found in ancient Egypt and Greece only, but also found in other ancient cultures as in Yorubas of south Nigeria, Mesopotamia, Ancient Europe, Rome, and Norse (Bronze-Age of Denmark). The paper will try to give a detailed idea about this important and sacred personality in the Underworld and in ancient Egyptian religious beliefs through the textual sources from different periods and comparable ideas from other cultures.

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