University of Liverpool - Silvia Zago

Liverpool Egyptology Seminar: 'Conceptualising the Beyond: the Notion of Duat in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Literature' (Dr. Silvia Zago, University of Liverpool)

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Thursday 12th December 2019 / Venue: Seminar room 4, Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Egyptology Seminar Series
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Despite playing a major role in ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs, the notion of Duat – the realm of the dead – has so far defied scholarly attempts at a clear definition, as it underwent a process of evolution over thousands of years without ever designating just one unambiguous place at a time. Since the earliest attestations of this concept in the funerary literature, the Duat always possessed celestial and chthonic features at once, which were further intertwined at all times with many other important cosmological
notions forming the background of the texts. Furthermore, new ideas and images were constantly introduced, added layer upon layer to the core ideological framework established in earlier times, thus adding to the complexity of the conceptualisation of the Duat. Based on the analysis of royal and non-royal funerary texts from the late Old Kingdom to the end of the New Kingdom, this paper will outline the development of this complex notion, explaining what it encompassed, what features it possessed, where it
was thought to be located, and how its characterisation evolved over time.