Felicitas Weber, Swansea University
The Demon Code
Book of the Dead manuscripts form one of the largest corpora of funerary literature from Ancient Egypt and hence provide a unique insight into diversified private personal beliefs. Research on selected New Kingdom manuscripts builds the fundament to analyze the role of demonic entities within the divine context which the deceased encounters after death. It is not only of interest how the latter approaches them, but also how they interact with each other, since the entities not only have an impact on the deceased, but the deceased himself or herself also affects the demonic beings when confronted with them.
Furthermore, this paper will illuminate the characteristics, qualifications and functions liminal entities are assigned to, what powers they can exercise to what extent, and what exceeds their abilities. The attention will be turned in particular to the diegetic information that can be extracted from the composition of each individual entity and also from the compilation of grouped arrangements and lists. Gathered together, demons often generate a completely new level of potency which can differ considerably from sole appearances. When an entity is included into the BD-“narrative” it adds individual characteristics to it by displaying certain information such as name, function or appearance. A gang of demons, however, might channel this diegetic information into a totally different and new direction covering aspects, due to the liaison, that could not have been touched by a single being. The thorough study of BD manuscripts in regard to demonic entities and diegetic lists allows a concentrated view not only on the nature of ancient Egyptian demons but also on their universal importance.