Mummy


Mummy
    Reputedly, 'mumia' was originally a substance that flowed down from the mountain tops and, mixing with the water that carried it down, coagulated like mineral pitch. The 'Mummy Mountain' in Persia was famous for the black, bituminous material that oozed forth and was credited with medicinal properties. Because the preserved bodies of ancient Egypt often have a blackened appearance, they were likened to 'mumia' and credited with similar properties, thus leading to their use in medieval and later times as medicinal ingredients. The use of the term 'mummy' for these bodies, although erroneous, has continued. Although 'mummies' (bodies preserved either intentionally or unintentionally by various means) have survived in several parts of the world, the term is most frequently used with reference to the ancient Egyptians.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
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   Modern word derived from the Arabic mumiya to describe the embalmed bodies of the ancient Egyptians. The earliest preserved bodies from the late Predynastic Period, c. 3200 BC, are not mummies strictly speaking since they have been preserved by natural means in the dry Egyptian sand without any human intervention. Possibly inspired by these examples, the Egyptians came to believe that it was necessary to maintain the body of the deceased as home for the soul. Mummification efforts were undertaken beginning in the Old Kingdom. The first results were not very successful. The bodies were wrapped in linen, presumably after the removal of the internal organs, and then covered with mud to model human features. Only a few of these mummies have been discovered intact, notably one in the tomb of Nefer during Dynasty 5.
   By the New Kingdom, the method of embalming had been perfected, and it reached its most advanced state during Dynasty 21. The internal organs were removed and placed in canopic jarsor returned to the body in packages, apart from the heart, which was left in the body. The brain was extracted via the nose and discarded. The body was then dried out with dry natron, a natural salt; packed and anointed with resins and aromatics; and then wrapped in bandages, beneath and between which various amulets were often placed. The method of mummification declined in succeeding periods, although the outer covering of bandages became more elaborate and during the Roman Period included painted mummy portraits. Mummification was abandoned during the Coptic Period as a pagan rite. During the medieval period, bodies were ground to a powder, known in Arabic as mumiya, which was considered beneficial for health. This practice led to a minor industry of excavating and disposing of mummies, which incidentally also resulted in some early archaeological discoveries. The present term mummy derives from the Arabic name of the powder.
   See also Afterlife.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mummy — Mum my (m[u^]m m[y^]), n.; pl. {Mummies} (m[u^]m m[i^]z). [F. momie; cf. Sp. & Pg. momia, It. mummia; all fr. Per. m[=u]miy[=a], fr. m[=u]m wax.] 1. A dead body embalmed and dried after the manner of the ancient Egyptians; also, a body preserved …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mummy & Me — Directed by Jithu Joseph Produced by Jithin Arts Starring …   Wikipedia

  • mummy — mummy1 [mum′ē] n. pl. mummies [Fr momie < ML mumia < Ar mūmiyāʾ, embalmed body, mummy < Pers mum, wax] 1. a dead body preserved by embalming, as by the ancient Egyptians 2. any dead body that has been naturally well preserved 3. any thin …   English World dictionary

  • mummy — Ⅰ. mummy [1] ► NOUN (pl. mummies) Brit. informal ▪ one s mother. ORIGIN perhaps an alteration of earlier MAMMY(Cf. ↑M). Ⅱ. mummy [2] ► …   English terms dictionary

  • Mummy — Mum my, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Mummied}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Mummying}.] To embalm; to mummify. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mummy — For other uses, see Mummy (disambiguation). An Egyptian mummy kept in the Vatican Museums. A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness… …   Wikipedia

  • mummy — mummy1 /mum ee/, n., pl. mummies, v., mummied, mummying. n. 1. the dead body of a human being or animal preserved by the ancient Egyptian process or some similar method of embalming. 2. a dead body dried and preserved by nature. 3. a withered or… …   Universalium

  • mummy — [[t]mʌ̱mi[/t]] mummies 1) N FAMILY Some people, especially young children, call their mother mummy. [BRIT, INFORMAL] I want my mummy... Mummy, I m tired!... Mummy says I can play out in the garden. (in AM, use mommy) 2) N COUNT A mummy is a dead… …   English dictionary

  • mummy —    A word used by young children to their mother. Boys usually stop using this form by the age of twelve or so, though usage varies with each family. Girls, especially middle class girls, are likely to continue using it much longer. Examples of… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • mummy — {{11}}mummy (n.1) c.1400, medicine prepared from mummy tissue, from M.L. mumia, from Arabic mumiyah embalmed body, from Pers. mumiya asphalt, from mum wax. Sense of embalmed body first recorded in English 1610s. Mummy wheat (1842) was said to be… …   Etymology dictionary

  • mummy — I. noun (plural mummies) Etymology: Middle English mummie powdered parts of a mummified body used as a drug, from Anglo French mumie, from Medieval Latin mumia mummy, powdered mummy, from Arabic mūmiya bitumen, mummy, from Persian mūm wax Date:… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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