Demonology 2K

The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BCE

The darker side of rituals and religion—demons and the damned—had a profound impact on the everyday lives of Ancient Egyptians living 4000 years ago, and yet has remained hidden and obscured… until now…

Thanks to the generous funding of the Leverhulme Trust and the support of Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH), two PhD students, Zuzanna Bennett (Swansea University) and Felicitas Weber (Bonn University), joined Kasia Szpakowska at Swansea University for three years, starting in January 2013 to bring these demons into the light.

The Project explores the world of demons in 2nd millennium BC Ancient Egypt (2000-1000 BC or Middle-New Kingdoms). The term “demon” here is our blanket term for those ghosts, guardians, monsters, and other supernatural entities (both hostile and beneficial) that hovered between the categories of god, man, and king. In both the modern and ancient world, demonic entities embody and are blamed for a host of physical and psychological afflictions, while helpful entities are called upon to aid the sufferer. But while much is known about temple religions and gods of Ancient Egypt, this darker and more private side of Egyptian religion remains opaque. Through the surviving rituals and paraphernalia we created a database that initially focuses on the 2nd Millennium BC that can later be augmented and expanded by other scholars, as well as an interactive portal for the public to learn about these entities.

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