Near Eastern Studies 24, Section 2

Demons, Spirits of the Dead and Other Liminal Beings in Ancient Egypt (1 unit, P/NP) SEATS AVAILABLE

Professor Rita Lucarelli
Thursday 2:00-3:00, 78 Barrows Hall, Class number: 41559

The ancient Egyptian netherworld was populated by embodied creatures with supernatural powers and hybrid appearance, which we may conventionally call “demons” and which function, as in many other ancient and modern religions, as a sort of lesser gods, protectors or genii. In this seminar a catalogue of such creatures will be presented and discussed together with other liminal beings such as the spirits of the dead, which occur in the funerary and magical sources (papyri, coffins, tomb decorations and magical objects) produced in particular during the 1st Millennium BCE in Egypt. Concepts such as "magic," "liminality," and "supernatural" will be discussed according to the evidence provided by the ancient Egyptian written and material sources and in comparison with other ancient and modern religions.

Instructor Bio

Rita Lucarelli studied at the University of Naples “L’Orientale,” Italy, where she received her MA degree in Classical Languages and Egyptology. She holds her Ph.D. from Leiden University, the Netherlands (2005). Her Ph.D. thesis was published in 2006 as The Book of the Dead of Gatseshen: Ancient Egyptian Funerary Religion in the 10th Century BC.

From 2005 to 2010, Lucarelli held a part-time position as a Lecturer of Egyptology at the University of Verona, Italy. From 2009 to 2012, she worked as a Research Scholar on the Book of the Dead Project at the University of Bonn, Germany.

She was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Italian Academy of Advanced Studies of Columbia University (2009) and at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) of NYU (2012).

Until June 2014 she worked as a Research Scholar and a Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Department of Egyptology of Bonn University, and she held a part-time position as a Lecturer of Egyptology at the University of Bari in Italy.

Rita Lucarelli is currently writing a monograph on demonology in ancient Egypt and she is one of the coordinators of the Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: http://www.demonthings.com.


Faculty web site: http://nes.berkeley.edu/Web_Lucarelli/Lucarelli.html