10 Archaeological Finds That Shed New Light On Ancient Egypt


8. Depiction Of Demons


As far back as 4,000 years ago, Egyptians feared demons and what they would do to these ancient people. Of course, the ancient Egyptians were very religious people and their beliefs were passed down so effectively that we have a good grasp on their deities and practices today. However, when it comes to demons in Egyptian’s minds from the distant past, we were mostly in the dark as to what they imagined them to be—until now.

Two demons found on a coffin from the Middle Kingdom (around 4,500 years ago and the oldest depictions thus far) show exactly what the Egyptians believed were out there and what they would do to you. One named In-tep is a doglike baboon and the other named Chery-benut is an unspecified creature with a human head. They are depicted as two guards of an entrance but what they actually did is unknown.

According to archaeologists, In-tep may have punished intruders who entered sacred spaces by gruesomely decapitating them. Ikenty, a third demon also found on a Middle Kingdom coffin, was depicted as a large bird with a feline head. But an even older depiction found on a Cairo scroll describes it as a demon that could very quickly identify victims and hold them in its inescapable grasp.

Although demons were commonly depicted in Egyptian findings from the New Kingdom (1,000 years after the Middle Kingdom), it shows that belief in evil spirits by the ancient Egyptians occurred far earlier than previously thought by experts.

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