Patrick's Rare Books

Budge, The Book of the Dead, 1909.

Budge, The Book of the Dead, 1909.

BUDGE, Wallis. The Book of the Dead (in three volumes). An English Translation of the Chapters, Hymns, Etc., of the Theban Recension, with Introduction, Notes, Etc. By E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., Litt.D., D.Lit. Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum. Second edition revised and enlarged. With Twenty-two plates and Four hundred and twenty vignettes. Vol 1.—Introduction and Chapters I.—XV. Vol II.—Chapters XV.—CXXXV. Vol III.—Chapters CXXXVI.—CXC. London, 1909.


Three uniformly bound volumes in light brown cloth with black text and designs on boards and spines. Each volume with its own color fold out plates showing a portion of the papyrus. Numerous additional black and white plates and in text figures. Mild foci of wear to cloth. Volumes 2 and 3 very slightly cocked. Some scholarly penciled marginalia here and there. Otherwise, clean, bright, tight throughout. Overall good to very good copies. 


Each volume measures approximately 7 3/8 x 5 1/8 x 1 1/4 inches. 


The so-called Egyptian Book of the Dead is a New Kingdom funerary text, and is more properly called “the book of going (or coming) forth by day.” Its most famous example is the Papyrus of Ani, and its most famous English translation is that by Wallis Budge, offered here for sale. Variations on the book abound and it was in use from approximately 1550 BC to 50 BC. It contains, among many other things, spells and instructions for the dead to overcome the obstacles requisite to enter the afterlife. It offers a detailed study of ancient Egyptian perspectives on death, life, magic, religion, etc. For example, the dead is confrontedby multiple antagonists and overcomes them partially by naming them. In the ancient near east naming something was to assert authority over it. The dead also variably aligns himself with deities as a declaration of his worthiness (statements along the lines of I am Horus-Ani, or Osiris-Ani, for example). 


Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge (1857 – 1934) was an English Egyptologist and philologist. He helped build much of the British Museum’s collection of Egyptian antiquities.