Ancestors' worship at home: an example of texts and material sources working together

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In ancient Egypt the deceased were an integral part of the world of the living. The dead kin were perceived as extended family members and a bilateral relationship was developed between the two worlds. The deceased expected to receive from the living all the due rituals and offerings in order to ensure their well-being. Fulfilled all the needs of the dead, the living might expect their assistance and protection in everyday life problems. It’s in the context of this relationship that we see emerge the ancestors’ cult as an integral part, and with high relevance, of household religion, attested since the Middle Kingdom. The possible knowledge about this domestic religious practice results from both textual and material sources. It is the combination of texts, objects, and structures that makes possible for us to understand the motivations underlying this practice and where and how it was accomplished.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages8
JournalRes Antiquitatis. Journal of Ancient History
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
EventThe International Conference Sources to Study Antiquity: Between Texts and Material Culture - NOVA FCSH, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 9 May 201610 May 2016


  • ancient Egypt
  • ancestors’ worship, textual and material sources
  • household religion


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