Why are the brains of those mummified thrown away like trash?

Canopic jars - canopic jars
@brokentia (10396)
United States
January 15, 2007 6:40pm CST
A friend and I were talking about mummification and I explained that I would not want to be mummified because I would not want my brain taken out in pieces through my nose with a very long crochete hook. And some how the conversation went to the canopic jars contents. None of the jars contain the brain! So the brains were just trash! And the heart was left in the body because Anubis would weigh the heart and guide the soul through the underworld. These jars were designed as protection for the internal organs. The baboon-headed Hapy guarded the lungs. The human-headed Imsety was the guardian of the liver. Jackal-headed Duamutef guarded the stomach and upper intestines and falcon-headed Qebehsenuef guarded the lower intestines. So, here is my issue...The brains were trash and the heart was left to rot while the intestines that contains byproducts were preserved. (OK, technically, the byproducts were no longer in the intestine....I think. Because when you die, you loose control of your bodily functions.) If the brain and heart are seen of high importance to us today, why were they discarded and left to rot back then? Do you think the brains should be trashed? Or do you think they should have made a fifth jar to preserve them also? Sources: http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/egypt/religion/mummification.htm http://www.kingtutshop.com/freeinfo/Canopic-Jars.htm
8 people like this
27 responses
@kyle930 (764)
• United States
16 Jan 07
The egyptians didnt know what the brain was for so they assumed that it was a piece of junk and they didnt save it with the body when they burried it.
3 people like this
• India
16 Jan 07
WOW!!! it that really true???
1 person likes this
@rainbow (6763)
16 Jan 07
I think that the ancients believed that the soul lived in the heart and that the brain had no function, the fact that you were separated out at all gives me the heeby geebies. I think the way we see our bodies and spirit has changed a lot.
@brokentia (10396)
• United States
17 Jan 07
I don't think I have ever seen the words, "Heeby geebies" written out before! LOL I have used the term...but never read it before. LOL Thanks! I needed that!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 07
Years ago when I first heard they discarded the brain I got an image in my head of all these Egyptian royals in the afterlife walking into walls and tripping over things because they had no brains. As far as Bast is concerned, many cats were killed and mummified as a sacrifice to Bast. And some unscrupulous vendors would cut one cat in pieces, and mummify it as if it were 10 or 12 cats. Then they could make a lot more money. Archeologists have xrayed the bodies of the cats, and in many cases, it's more stuffing and less cat. Cats were sacrificed to win favor from Bast. And if you were important you might have literally 1000 cats entombed with you. So much for my romantic notions that cats were revered and treated like royalty.
@brokentia (10396)
• United States
16 Jan 07
Wow! That is some pretty cool information!!! Thanks for sharing! I guess a spinster with a bunch of cats in our time, would be considered great royalty on that time! :) So, the next time I go into a house with a bunch of cats, this will now pop up in my head! I love it! Thank you!!!
2 people like this
@Gruzzle (294)
16 Jan 07
I guess they just ha ddifferent ideas of what each organ did. There's a good chance that they realised that the heart pumps the blood around the body, but they may not have ascribed the emotions to the heart as we do. Not that we actually believe that the heart is responsible for emotions like love we still talk of being heartbroken , affairs of the heart, etc. Have you every had a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, or "butterflies in your tummy", maybe it was these sorts of sensations that made the egyptians feel that the "guts" were a signifcant organ. By todays standards these were quite peculiar practices anyway, I thin I would like to be buried or cremated - I haven't really though too much about that.
2 people like this
@Rebecky (166)
• United States
16 Jan 07
What I would like to know...is how the heck they knew the brain was up there, and that they could pull it out through the nose? To answer your question, I think they should have preserved everything that came from the bodies. The heart, I can understand them leaving it in due to their beliefs of it's necessity in the afterlife. Hmmm...which totem to guard the brain though....?
2 people like this
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
16 Jan 07
My brains perserved in alcahol.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Jan 07
Without understanding a word of what you said, and being tired on my big old butt from just getting home from a Tupperware party (and by the way, that would be the preferred way to preserve just about anything); and just right off the top of my head, it would seem that the brain and the heart would have just naturally have been given back to the earth `Donna
2 people like this
@patootie (3593)
16 Jan 07
Well I don't really think I have ever thought about this, but I seem to remember from school that the Egyptians thought the heart did the thinking ... so I suppose that's why the heart was left in place, because it was the believed it was the most important organ and should be with the body .. and I know if the intestines are left in they can bloat the body and make it rot instead of mummify ... Maybe they ate the brain .. who knows .. or even fed it to the cats they worshipped ...
2 people like this
@calvin222 (1607)
• India
16 Jan 07
The brain is degenerative matter which if left inside will make the rest of the mummy rot. therefore they have to take it out.
1 person likes this
@brokentia (10396)
• United States
17 Jan 07
Yes, but why throw them away? They preserved the liver, lungs, and intestine. Why was the brain not important then?
1 person likes this
@itsjustmeb (1213)
• Canada
16 Jan 07
This reminds me of a movie I watched some time ago called "tales from the darkside"..no thanks, i'd rather be buried.
1 person likes this
@Rebecky (166)
• United States
16 Jan 07
Oh my gosh! I remember that show! I would come running every time I heard the little tune playing. Creepy stuff in that show...the only one I really remember is when an older couple tried to cook a girl in a hot tub. Ewwwww!!! Anyway...back to reading comments..hehe
1 person likes this
@magikrose (5424)
• United States
16 Jan 07
I have seen the movie The Mummy so many times and they talk about mumification and how it is done and I never gave it a second thought as to what they actually do with the brains after they are scrambled and taken out. I dont think they really realised the importance of our brains and didnt give it a second thought. I wouldent want to be mummified that is for shure.
1 person likes this
• India
16 Jan 07
hear is a crazy thought 'you have no right over your body once you die.your 'will' or last wishes abt disposing your body can be 'discarded' by the next of kin...:)
• United States
17 Jan 07
Maybe they knew that the brain couldn't be left in. Wouldn't it turn to mush or liquify after a while? I'm sure that would make a mess. Plus, once they did remove the brain it was already scrambled or a mushy liquid. My guess is that since they could feel the heart beating when a person was alive, they assumed that was what kept the person alive. Without medical equipment, how could they have known the brain was very important? I mean it didn't beat like the heart did. It was just sort of there. I've watched so many shows on Egyptians mummies and they never really specify why the brain was left in? But I will say they were smart. They knew how to set bones and in some of the mummies they've seen cases of surgery that kept the person alive longer.
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
16 Jan 07
I read that the Egyptians did not know what the brain was for, so they removed it. They took the internal organs and put them into the canopic jars. It is said that it took the body 40 days to dry so the jars contents possibly withered away in the heat. Being made of less sturdy stuff they probably just went done to nothing..Kind a like when we freeze and the cells burst.
1 person likes this
@Gohanick (50)
• United States
16 Jan 07
Maybe they knew that through the brain we may think evil things, I don't recall to well exactly what the Egyptians believed, but our thoughts may be corrupted between good and bad perhaps?
1 person likes this
• India
16 Jan 07
i m astounded to hear this.i ave no clue abt it but ya.......it would be taken out in anticipation that if,by any chance the spirit awakens(as thought in old times)it would not be possible for the Mummy to think 7 scratch its Brain. hahha
1 person likes this
• India
16 Jan 07
so dat no one could use them.... hehehehe...
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Jan 07
i would not want to be mummified...creamation i think is much better.
1 person likes this
@ThulsZ (784)
• India
16 Jan 07
they are not aware of it.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
16 Jan 07
Maybe when u tink of a myth to explain the imptance of brain to the egyptian?Tat day we might have a 5th jar. =)
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 07
Probably they are afraid that the brain gets mummified and one day the person will comes alive again.
1 person likes this