Ancient Egyptian Afterlife Beliefs of the Underworld


The ancient Egyptians believed that if a body was properly preserved, the soul would recognize it later on in the underworld allowing for reunification. It was believed that when a king died, they would be united with the sun and became merged into one being, the sun god. On the day that a king passed, it was believed that said king would have to journey into the underworld and pass 12  gates, 1 for each hour of the night. It took purity, magical knowledge, and strength to pass from one level to the next. During the first dynasty pharaohs took with them weapons and treasure as well as food, wine, and beer, and perhaps most surprising, sacrificed servants. Archeologists believe that servants were killed so that they could serve the pharaoh in the afterlife. The servants were buried near the pharaoh so that they would be close by when needed. The pharaoh Djer (pronounced “jer”) was the last pharaoh to practice human sacrifice. Djer had 300 subsidiary burials, many of whom were sacrificed intentionally, but some who are believed to have been family and close friends who had already passed and had their bodies relocated to the site at which Djer was buried

Ancient Stained Glass Manufacturing


The manufacturing of stained glass is an ancient technology which dates back so far that the ancient Egyptians knew how to do it 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval Europe inherited this form of technology but did not invent it as is common belief. Deep, rich blue glass was very difficult to make and therefore needed to be imported from southern Italy. The deep blues which the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France is so famous for can historically be traced through documentation to fragments coming from the Byzantine Empire as well as the Roman Empire. These imports were melted down and used to create new glass. Most colors and dyes came from the natural world in the forms of roots, berries, barks, leaves, minerals, and crushed insects, but the most prized colors were imported into Europe from the east, specifically India and China using Ottoman trade routes. The simple luck of geography made Venice, Italy an incredibly wealthy city as it acted as a nexus between the east and west. The blue hue referred to as “ultramarine” was the most expensive color to acquire and therefore it was almost always saved for depictions of the Virgin Mary, typically in her cloak or some other form of clothing, as Mary was depicted as the focal point of every painting she appeared within. Ultra Marine came from the mineral of lapis lazuli and when it was ground up into powder, some parts would inevitably become smaller than others which allowed these particles to reflect more light and provide a deeper, richer color to work with and appreciate. Vermillion Red was almost as precious as ultramarine, and has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in various illuminated manuscripts. Made from the mineral cinnabar, vermillion was adopted in places outside of Europe like meso-America for painting, India for bindi dots, and China to create lacquerware