1986 年 29 巻 2 号 p. 15-30
Ancient Egyptian ‘Letters to the Dead’, addressed to the deceased by the member of the bereaved family, are very important materials showing the image that Ancient Egyptians called up concerning the dead.
The aim of this paper is to show such an image of the dead, considering the character of the dead in the letters to the dead which belong to the period from the Sixth to the Twentieth Dynasty.
The letter was written mostly for asking the addressee, the deceased, to help the member of the bereaved family, including the addresser, being suffered from some trouble, containing sickness, nightmare, and the evil act by the other living person. These troubles, even the acts of the living, were attributed to the malice of the evil dead, and the addressees were asked to fight, or to report to the court in the Netherworld against the evil dead. In some letters, the addresser even half-threatened the addressee with the stop of the funerary service in order to make him/her help his/her family on the earth.
The addressee could also be regarded as the culprit being responsible of the trouble of his/her bereaved family. In that case, the addressee was blamed, and even threatened by the addresser.
In any case, the dead in ‘Letters to the Dead’, including the addressee, were used one-sidedly by the living to explain various troubles on the earth, or to acquire their solutions or compensations.