Egyptian Book of the Dead

(16th Century BCE)

Illustrated and written on papyrus, the Egyptian Book of the Dead is a compilation of around 200 chapters of magic spells and formulas that were written by various authors for use in the afterlife. Scribes made copies, which were buried with the mummy and believed to be read by the deceased on their journey to the underworld, as a source of protection and a guide through the hazards that lay ahead. A famous example is The Papyrus of Ani, now in the British Museum, London.


(c.725–675 BCE), Homer

An epic ancient Greek poem in 24 books (more than 12,000 lines), composed for oral performance, the Odyssey is traditionally attributed to Homer. The poem is in part a sequel to Homer’s other ...

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