Sarcophagus of Nitocris I
The word “sarcophagus,” from the Greek sarkophagos, “flesh-eater,” refers to a stone coffin that devoured its occupant. (Such a coffin was presumably made of limestone, because of the material’s corrosive action on flesh.) Although the very notion of a container that would devour the body inside it would have horrified the ancient Egyptians, we use the term “sarcophagus” today to refer to coffins of stone as opposed to wood. The Egyptians used a happier name, “lord of life,” because it was meant to protect and preserve the body forever.
Nitocris I (655-585 BC) served as the heir to, and then, as the Divine Adoratrice of Amun or God’s Wife of Amun. She was the daughter of the 26th Dynasty pharaoh, Psamtik I. Her sarcophagus is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.