The Papyrus of Ani, which was acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum in the year 1888, is the largest, the most perfect, the best preserved, and the best illuminated of all the papyri which date from the second half of the XVIIIth dynasty (about B.C. 1500 to 1400). Its rare vignettes, and hymns, and chapters, and its descriptive and introductory rubrics render it of unique importance for the study of the Book of the Dead, and it takes a high place among the authoritative texts of the Theban version of that remarkable work. Although it contains less than one-half of the chapters which are commonly assigned to that version, we may conclude that Ani’s exalted official position as Chancellor of the ecclesiastical revenues and endowments of Abydos and Thebes would have ensured a selection of such chapters as would suffice for his spiritual welfare in the future life. We may therefore regard the Papyrus of Ani as typical of the funeral book in vogue among the Theban nobles of his time.
The first edition of the Facsimile of the Papyrus was issued in 1890, and was accompanied by a valuable Introduction by Mr. Le Page Renouf, then Keeper of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities. But, in order to satisfy a widely expressed demand for a translation of the text, the present volume has been prepared to be issued with the second edition of the Facsimile. It contains the hieroglyphic text of the Papyrus with interlinear transliteration and word for word translation, a full description of the vignettes, and a running translation; and in the Introduction an attempt has been made to illustrate from native
Egyptian sources the religious views of the wonderful people who more than five thousand years ago proclaimed the resurrection of a spiritual body and the immortality of the soul.
The passages which supply omissions, and vignettes which contain important variations either in subject matter or arrangement, as well as supplementary texts which appear in the appendixes, have been, as far as possible, drawn from other contemporary papyri in the British Museum.
The second edition of the Facsimile has been executed by Mr. F. C. Price.
E. A. WALLIS BUDGE.
January 25, 1895.