In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Upper Egyptian city of Abydos served as a royal burial place. Around 500 years later, towards the end of the Old Kingdom, one of the royal tombs became identified as the tomb of the god Osiris, the ruler of the netherworld. From the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, a huge festival was celebrated here in honour of Osiris, which counted as one of the most important religious celebrations until Roman times. In the centre of this festival stood a procession connecting the Osiris-temple at the edge of the cultivated area with the area of the royal tombs in the desert. Over the centuries, however, the structure of the festival changed significantly. The aim of the talk is to give a general overview of the evolution of the Abydene cult practices from the Middle Kingdom until Roman times, while examining the written references to the Abydene burial place of Osiris. With which Abydene areas can the various toponyms (most notably Peker and Arek-Heh) be identified? How are these areas interconnected and finally, how many tombs did Osiris have in Abydos?
Dr Zsuzsanna Végh is a postdoctoral researcher in the Institut für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München.