A double Coffin from Roman Egypt. Double Nut…double Funeral?

Ancient Egyptian culture and traditions were adopted also by foreign people who ruled the country in many different periods of Egyptian history. Funerary customs were not an exception.

In the National Museum of Scotland there is a very interesting double coffin which belongs to two children: Petamun and PenhorpabikBoth mummies were supposed to be buried together inside this sarcophagus dated from the Late Roman Period (175-200 A.D.).

Double coffin of Petamun and Penhorpabik. In the image a double image of Nut inside the lid. Funerary ceremony in Ancient Egypt.

Double coffin of Petamun and Penhorpabik. In the image a double image of Nut inside the lid. National Museum of Scotland. Late Roman Period. 

Following the Egyptian belief, inside the cover of the coffin, the image of Nut in a very Roman style, dominates all along the surface. The artist who decorated the inside selected the image of the goddess who, as the mythical mother, granted the resurrection of the deceased, considered in ancient Egypt a new born.

The image of Nut in the inner part of the lid would show that the funerary though in ancient Egypt had not change even under the Roman rulers. Anyway, the fact is that Nut does not appear as we could imagine, that is, with raised arms and disheveled hair. We already know that this was the gesture of this goddess for assuring the dead’s resurrectionNut with a short hair here would be indicating that things were already changing in the Egyptian belief.

Detail of the double Nut in the coffin of Petamun and Penhorpabik. Funerary ceremony and funerary belief in Ancient Egypt.

Detail of the double Nut in the coffin of Petamun and Penhorpabik.

Another point to consider is that, due that the coffin was for two bodies, they needed two images of Nut for their resurrection. So, what comes to our mind is that the image of Nut is double, because the resurrection was also double.

Taking that into consideration, we could also think, that during the funerary ceremony, the mourning rite for reviving the corpse could also be double in the burial of these two children?

If this image of Nut is still a legacy of the ancient Egypt belief from pharaonic times, some questions come to our mind:

Did the Egyptians a funerary ceremony per person?

Did the Egyptians an Opening of the Mouth Ceremony per person?

If the burial was double, then, did they double also the funerary ceremony and each funerary rite?

So, did the two mourners in the role of Isis and Nephtys (the two Drty) make the mourning rite twice?

Let’s think about it…

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