Ba

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Ba

The Egyptian conception of the soul, which, in the form of a man-headed bird, left the body after death and winged its flight to the gods. It returned at intervals to the mummy for the purpose of comforting it and reassuring it concerning immortality. Sometimes carved on the lid of mummy cases, it might be depicted grasping the ankh and the nif; occasionally it was represented as flying down the tomb shaft to the deceased or perched on the breast of the mummy. In the Book of the Dead, a chapter promises abundance of food to the ba.

The ba, or soul, should not be confused with the ka, the human double. In Egypt the human had both. After death, the ba left the body. The ka remained in the tomb and ventured forth in the likeness of the deceased to haunt family and friends.

Sources:

The Book of the Dead. Translated by E. A. Wallis Budge. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1960.

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BA • abbr. ∎  Bachelor of Arts: David Brown, BA. ∎ Baseball batting average.

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ba in ancient Egyptian belief, the soul of a person or god, which survived after death but which had to be sustained with offerings of food. It was typically represented as a human-headed bird. See also ka.

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Ba • symb. the chemical element barium.

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