The evidence for ancient Egyptian magic spans about four and a half thousand years. Amulets go back as far as the early fourth millennium BC; while magical texts occur from the late third millennium BC until the fifth century AD. Written spells are the main source material, but objects
sometimes provide evidence for types of magic scarcely recorded in the texts. These objects would have been even more useful if all early archaeologists had appreciated the need to record the exact context of their finds. The large number of well-preserved tombs and the sheer quantity of tomb objects on view in museums have ensured that funerary magic has been the subject of much research. Ritual magic performed in temples and everyday magic - the spells and rites enacted for individuals in life - have been studied far less. These three types of magic were closely related and influences passed back and forth between them. The insights that everyday magic can give into the personal lives of the ancient Egyptians make it of far more than marginal interest.*** Includes pcitures and plates.
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