A pyramid text

‘Pyramid texts’ are some of the oldest religious texts in the world.

This inscription is from Pepy I’s pyramid at Saqqara Dynasty 6 (2300-2181 BC) and gives formulae for the King’s ascent into heaven.


Pyramid text is the modern name for the corpus of formulae inscribed in the inner chambers of the late Old Kingdom period (about 2686-2181 BC) pyramids. The earliest example is the pyramid of Unas in Dynasty 5. In later periods some of these compositions continued to be used in ritual, and were sometimes copied as funerary texts. They develop later into ‘Coffin texts’. Some academics have seen them as a precursor to the collection of religious rites and prayers known as the 'Book of the Dead'.

This text contains the cartouche of King Pepy four times and has the formulae for the ascent of the king to heaven and for his eternal supply of food and drink (parts of Pyramid Texts 627B, 302, 655).

Another pyramid text in the Petrie Museum’s collection is also from Saqqara and from Dynasty 6 but from chambers within the pyramid of king Teti at Saqqara, containing cartouche of King Teti.

You can explore the Pyramid texts of Unas Online and read translations.

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