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Book of the Dead Chapter 15 - Sun Hymns in the tomb and its chapel

In the Late Period sequence of formulae, the fifteenth chapter is a group of hymns to the sun-god, generally followed by an illustration of the worship of the sun-god, covering the full height of the papyrus roll: in his edition of the Book of the Dead, Lepsius numbered the sun-hymns Chapter 15, and the vignette Chapter 16. By extension the term 'Chapter 15' has been applied to any sun hymn in earlier Books of the Dead. In papyri of the Ramesside Period and Third Intermediate Period, there are numerous different hymns, and the hymn to the sun-god often marks one end of the scroll.

Some sun hymns on papyri are found on other New Kingdom sources, particularly in connection with the tomb-chapels where the cult of the dead was maintained


Jan Assmann has published studies on the sun hymns, identifying the standard versions in the heyday of the genre, the New Kingdom (see references at end below). Among the sun hymns on papyri and other sources is the following (Assmann Standard Hymn C')


i.nD Hr.k ra m wbn.k itm Hr-Axty
dwA.i tw nfrw.k m irty.i
xpr Axw.k Hr Snbt.i
wDA.k Htp.k m msktt
ib.k Aw m manDt
nm.k Hrt m Htp
sxr xftyw.k nbw

hn n.k ixmw-wrd

dwA tw ixmw-sk
Htp.k m Axt mAnw

nfr.ti m ra ra nb

anx.ti Dd.ti m nb.i

ra mAa xrw

Hail Ra in your rising, Atum Horakhty,
I worship you, your beauty in my eyes,

your light unfurling on my breast.
You go, you rest in the evening boat,
your heart is elated in the morning boat,
you travel the sky in peace.
All your enemies are felled,
the untiring stars rejoice for you,

the undying stars worship you,
you rest in the horizon of the light-mountain,

beautiful as Ra every day,

alive and stable as my lord
Ra, true of voice



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