Amduat, one of the Egyptian guides to the underworld, provides specific descriptions and measurements relating to the ﬁrst three hours after sunset, during which the sun god Re passes through an interstitial realm (the ﬁrst hour) before arriving at two gigantic sweet-water oceans (the second and third hours). Rather than seeing in this imagery reﬂections of the unconscious and antecedents of modern psychotherapy (as has been proposed by some modern scholars), the present work argues that the description was inspired by actual knowledge of the environment of the region to the distant southwest of the Nile Valley, beyond the Gilf Kebir and Gebel Uweinat on modern Egypt’s southwest corner. Recent evidence has made plausible that the Abu Ballas Trail connected Egypt with the Chad Basin of Central Africa. Elements of the factual description provided in the Amduat (including environmental and linguistic details; e.g., the hitherto unexplained name “Wernes”) can be corroborated by modern palaeoecological reconstruction of the area as having comprised gigantic palaeolakes, as well as by linguistic and narrative evidence.
How to Cite
Schneider, T., (2011) “The West Beyond the West: The Mysterious “Wernes” of the Egyptian Underworld and the Chad Palaeolake”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2(4), 1-14. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v02i4_schneider