The ancient Egyptians believed that your
soul split into two parts after you died. One part, the Ba, flew off
every morning to keep watch over your living family. The other part, the
Ka, flew happily off to enjoy life in the Land of Two Fields. At night,
both the Ba and the Ka returned home to your tomb to rest up for the
next heavenly day.
If something happened to your preserved
body, or if your name was not written down somewhere, the Ba and the Ka
would get lost. They would not be able to find their way home to your
tomb. You would disappear. Forever. You would not be able to watch over
your family or to enjoy your afterlife.
That's why the use of a cartouche was so
popular. A cartouche is nothing more than a name plate attached to your
coffin. A cartouche made it easy for your Ba and Ka to find their way
That's also why grave robbing and the
destruction of mummies to get at the treasures hidden inside the folds
of wrapping was such a vile crime in ancient Egypt. Grave
goods could be replaced. But there was nothing your family could do if
robbers disturbed your preserved body. The ancient Egyptians believed
you would be lost forever. There was no worse crime.