In flat contradiction to these doctrines was the popular belief
that man possessed not only a body but also a soul (ba) or spirit
(ekh), which lived after death. This was originally conceived of in
the shape of a bird; at a later period as a bird with a human head.
It was believed that the spirit left the body at death and flew freely
about, but could return to the body at pleasure, provided, of course,
that the latter remained whole and did not fall a prey to decay.
Thus from ancient times everything was done in Egypt to prevent
the destruction of the body, and this object was so completely
attained by embalming that the features of numerous mummies
have remained perfectly recognizable to this day. Under the Ancient
Empire human bodies were preserved with the aid of bitumen and
rolled in linen bandages and wrappings. The process of embalming
was more elaborate at later times. The brains were first removed
through the nostrils by means of an iron hook; the stomach was then
opened with a flint knife and the viscera removed (Herodotus II,
86) and placed in four jars, known as Canopi. These were usually
closed with lids, bearing the heads of the four sons of Osiris, to
whose protection the intestines were committed. The heart also
was removed from the body, and replaced by a stone scarabaeus,
placed upon the breast of the deceased, beneath the wrappings.
Herodotus states that at a later period there were three methods of
embalming, differing according to the expense involved.
A prominent place in the belief of the ancient Egyptians was
also taken by another immaterial part of mortals, distinct from the
soul. This was the Ka, a kind of guardian-spirit or genius, which
was horn with the individual and accompanied him through life as
a 'double'. The Ka did not expire with its protege" but continued
to live in order to protect the deceased against enemies in the
List of the Chief Egyptian Deities and Sacred Animals.
Ammon or Amon (Fig. 1), the god of Thebes, was made a sun-god
under the name Amon-Re and became the national god under
the Middle Empire. For his persecution by Amenophis IV., see
p. 203. His sacred animal was the ram.
Amset, one of the four guardian-deities of the dead, who protected
them from hunger and thirst, and to whom therefore the viscera
of the deceased were dedicated. The other three gods were Hapi,
Twe-metf, and Kebh-snewf.
Antjbus or Antaios, the Greek name for a peculiar Egyptian god,
worshipped at Antaeopolis (p. 215).
Antjbis (Fig. 2), a god of the dead, whose function was connected
with the interment. A later myth makes him a brother of Osiris.
The jackal was sacred to him.
Anuket (Greek Anukis), goddess of the district of the cataracts.