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In this classic work, first published in 1899, one of the most prolific Egyptologists of the Victorian era offers his renowned insight into the magical power names, spells, and talismans held for the ancient Egyptians. How did beliefs that predated the worship of deities come to become associated with controlling gods and goddesses? How did magical amulets ward off evil spirits? What role did scarabs serve in bestowing immortality? The writings of Sir Ernest A. Wallis Budge are considered somewhat controversial today because of his use of an archaic system of translation, but useful illustrations and an abundance of information make them necessary works for students of ancient civilizations as well as those of the evolution of historical study. This entertaining overview of the connection between religion and magic in ancient Egypt remain a vital resource today. SIR ERNEST ALFRED THOMPSON WALLIS BUDGE (1857-1934) was born in Bodmin, Cornwall in the UK and discovered an interest in languages at a very early age. Budge spent all his free time learning and discovering Semitic languages, including Assyrian, Syriac, and Hebrew. Eventually, through a close contact, he was able to acquire a job working with Egyptian and Iraqi artifacts at the British Museum. Budge excavated and deciphered numerous cuneiform and hieroglyphic documents, contributing vastly to the museum's collection. Eventually, he became the Keeper of his department, specializing in Egyptology. Budge wrote many books during his lifetime, most specializing in Egyptian life, religion, and language.
For millennia, Egypt, the dark land, has been considered the home of magic. The feats of her priests and magicians were renowned throughout the ancient world, from the simplest legerdemain (according to present interpretation) to the heights of necromancy and sorcery. Even their most severe critics, the ancient Hebrews, admitted the power of Egyptian magic. In the famous sorcerers' duel between Moses and Egyptian priests before Pharaoh, the Egyptians were almost as skilled as Moses.
This well-known study of ancient Egyptian magic, by E. A. Wallis Budge, long curator of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, sums up everything that is known about the wonder-working of ancient Egypt. After a general discussion of the role of magic in Egyptian religion proper — Dr. Budge covers the powerful amulets that warded off evil spirits; the scarabs of immortality; the use of wax images and spirit placements; magical pictures and formulas; magic via the secret name; magic of sounds; rituals; curses; destruction of hostile magic; determination of fortunate dates, and many of the other practices of the ancient Nile dwellers.
Dozens of magic formulas are given in full — both in the original Egyptian sounds, as far as they can be recreated — and in English; dozens of excerpts are also given from the magical papyroi, tomb inscriptions, and other sources. Many wonderful tales are told in these Egyptian stories; mind control, enforcing will upon animals, suspended animation, calling up the dead, finding ancient books of incredible magical power, and other miraculous events that we may or may not believe.
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