Arts and Cultures - Sacrifice in Ancient Egypt

Arts and Cultures

Dr Archana Verma

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Ancient Egypt has thrown archaeological evidences of killing of animals and birds for ritual purposes. Remains of many Ibis birds have been found which have led some scholars to argue that the ancient Egyptians might have tamed and bred Ibis for sacrifice. Some scholars also believe that the Pharaohs periodically killed their servants and offered them to gods for the longevity of their kingdoms and the political stability in the region. Bodies of attendants have been found in the tombs of the pharaohs. 

However, there is controversy over the sacrificial ritual in ancient Egypt. There is a contrasting view that the remains of Ibis have shown a wide genetic diversity. Hence, they couldn't have been domesticated. Most likely the Egyptians caught Ibis from the wild for sacrifice rather than killing their domesticated population of birds. Further, it has been argued that the birds's remains have been found far away from the ritualistic altars. Hence, there's a doubt that these were sacrificed birds. About the remains of attendants in the Pharaoh's tombs, it's difficult to say in what condition they died and were buried in these tombs.

This subject needs further research to arrive at any conclusion.

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