Egyptian Curses, in Ancient held a very prominent hold on people’s psyche, rituals, and traditions. One hears of curses being inscribed upon tombs and such, but this was a rare occurrence.
The fifth dynasty texts of the Pyramids is one that is intact. A stele was found, which belonged to Sarenput I, from Elephantine, which was a part of Senusret I’s kingdom, it had a curse intending to deflecting intruders and protecting the things left at his statue.
Ancient Egyptian Curses Place
A curse, in order to be efficient enough, has to be placed in a proper and correct place. For example, if a curse is placed to prevent desecraters from entering the tomb, and the curse itself is inscribed on or near the tomb. The purpose is defeated since, for the curse to take effect, the tomb must have been entered upon.
According to the Ancient Egyptian beliefs, a curse must be read by the perpetrator of the crime in order for it to take effect. Therefore, all these Egyptian Curses were written in the chambers before the actual tombs, in a more accessible place. One could find curses inscribed upon doors, walls, stelae, statues, on the coffin and even fake doors.
Egyptian Curses in Everyday Life
To a person native to Ancient Egypt, curses were just another part of their tradition, culture, religion, and society. In short, it was a concept very much in sync with his everyday life. All the societal, familial and religious obligations were inculcated into his habits, demeanor, and interactions.
Power of Courses
A curse was just another obligation to Maat, law and order, norms and mores. It was a warning to all those who dared to act against Maat, the rebels, and wrongdoers. The Ancient Egyptians had an inherent belief in the power of these courses.
A waxen figurine of Apep, an enemy of the sun was used. His name would be written in green on the figure, swathe it in papyrus and fling it into the fire. Once it started to burn, they would kick the figure four times, with the left foot. These waxen figurines were often placed upon tombs.
One of the most famous Egyptian Curses is the curse of the pharaoh. It is believed that a curse will take hold of that person who desecrates the mummy of the Pharaoh. Some courses are found to be etched upon or on the walls of ante chambers of tombs, like in the Mastaba of Khentika Ikhekhi, at Saqqara.
However, more than a deterrent for grave robbers and such, these Curses were aimed towards protection and maintaining the sanctity of the tombs by the priests. These Curses became gained worldwide fame after the discovery of Tutenkhamen’s tomb by Howard Carter.
Egyptian Curses were also used as wartime strategy by writing down the names of enemies upon styles, tablets, clay pots, figures of people in ropes, etc. These were then destroyed and believed to have rendered the enemy weak and impotent.