Egyptian Book of Two Ways May Be Oldest Illustrated Book

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4,000-Year-Old Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Underworld May Be Oldest Illustrated ‘Book’

by Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonianmag.com

In ancient Egypt, death wasn’t merciful enough to end one’s troubles. The afterlife was fraught with peril, too, and the dead had to contend with something of a spiritual obstacle course to reach Rostau, the glorious realm of Osiris, god of death.

At least two paths to Rostau existed: one by land, another by sea. Both were arduous enough to require a guidebook, the aptly named Book of Two Ways. This intricate map of the ancient Egyptian underworld may be the first illustrated “book” in history. And archaeologists have now unearthed a 4,000-year-old-copy—possibly the oldest version ever found, reports Franz Lidz for the New York Times.

The find, described in a recent paper in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, nudges the history of ancient literature backward in time, underscoring the dedication and sophistication with which these individuals tackled the enigma of their own mortality.

“The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with life in all its forms,” says Rita Lucarelli, an Egyptology curator at the University of California, Berkeley, in an interview with Lidz. “Death for them was a new life.”

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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