Why big societies need big gods – CERC in Science

sciencemagazineAn ancient Egyptian spent her whole life preparing for the moment when her heart would be weighed. After death, she was escorted before a divine scale. In one pan rested an ostrich feather belonging to Maat, the goddess of social order. The other pan held her heart. The deceased had been buried with a list of her virtues: “I have not uttered lies.” “I have not slain men and women.” “I have not stopped the flow of water [of the Nile.]” Any sins would weigh down her heart. When the scale settled, her fate would be clear: If her heart weighed no more than Maat’s feather, she was escorted to paradise. If her heart was too heavy, the crocodile demon Amemet reared up and devoured it, obliterating her soul. [more]

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