Saturday, February 22, 2014

Egyptomania: The Defiling of Egyptian Culture

This post is based on my Professor's Essay, "Egyptomania: Have We Cursed the Pharaohs?" by Professor Frank Holt.  This is not to copy his essay but rather reiterate so I can study it for my Midterm in said professor's class.  He's an amazing teacher, outstanding lecturer, and a really funny one too!  If you're doubting, take his class! 
So what exactly is Egyptomania?  Basically it's a consumer culture distortion of Ancient Egyptian Culture.  All those toys involving Ancient Egypt, that's basically Egyptomania.  But it's far worse than that. 
It all started with the great Father of History, Herodotus himself, who described Egypt in such amazing awe.  When Rome takes over Egypt, they actually "import" some of the obelisks out of Egypt.  The Middle Ages passed down the idea that, "mummies possessed magical powers,-"  But now the fascination that Herodotus felt is now far more exotic and mysterious to us.  The culture is several times removed by oh roughly 2,500 years. 
During the Nineteenth century many "businessmen bought them up and charged admission to special shows in which the unfortunate wrecks would be dramatically stripped down to skin and bones." Talk about abuse towards the dead! 
Some people even believed that, "the pyramids were built as astronomical observatories," but apparently the silliness has shifted to the idea that astronauts built them! Ludicrous! 
It really got bad after the Rosetta Stone was found.  Various countries started to loot and fight over these prized artifacts.  Now Egyptian artifacts are all over the world.  My professor said during one of the lectures that if any aliens were to come down from the sky when all of humanity was gone, they were going to have a hard time figuring out why really old artifacts from Egypt appear in every part of the world.  Some will probably get the misconception that Egypt had a vast global empire and then somehow managed to lose all trace of their powerful global empire in a matter of centuries.  The aliens will never get our history straight after that. 
My professor states in his article that, "By coveting the riches of ancient Egypt, we have robbed knowledge as well as a nation.  Much of what archaeologists would like to study in situ has been scattered across the globe.  The material record of Egypt's past has been disturbed and, therefore, its history either distorted or destroyed."  Interesting don't you think? 
Has anyone heard of Cecil B. deMille and his film The Ten Commandments 1923?  Well, this man wrote in his diary that he was very concerned that historians a thousand years from then would  uncover his Egyptian set in Guadalupe and actually think that Egypt extended all the way into California!  That's a little sad that people might actually think that, considering it's just a prop set.  I hope that never happens.  But apparently it's too late!  Archeologists have already, according to the article, spent money in trying to excavate that set.  What a waste of money!!!  What the bloody hell is wrong with those idiots?!?!  It's not even the real deal!  It's just a bloody set!!
My professor is actually concerned with funds for excavations.  According to his article, "funds for United States excavations are vanishing."  Instead we apparently parade Tut's treasures around the country!  Well, say goodbye to Egypt's culture because as we all know, nothing lasts forever.  Things to eventually shatter, break, and erode. 
But if there is anything that is the most defiling it is "The Curse of King Tut's tomb."
It all started with Lord Carnarvon who financed the whole expedition.  He died from a bugbite!  He was already in poor health!  But those vengeful journalists who didn't get to see the newly excavated tomb while New York times got to glut themselves with the great story recovery, fashioned from this incident the legendary "Curse of King Tut's Tomb"  Everyone sat around in the world waiting for who'd be next and it continues to this day!  It's been roughly a century since the excavation and people still think that this "curse" is still active!  I mean...seriously?  People die.  It's apart of life. 
The article continues to list all the abuses that this "curse" has wreaked on poor King Tut, such as a guard filing law suit because he claimed that "Osiris struck him down with a stroke" 
Egyptomania has gone as far as to declare that Egyptians have "ancient jet airplanes" and apparently King Tut died in a plane crash. ....Wow.  That's really sad.  I feel this is what fuels the Stargate Atlantis Egypt version.  I've heard of it, and I'm not to pleased with their defiling of Ra and Anubis two of my favorite gods.  If hardcore science fiction geeks watched that show, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they actually believed this stuff.  Sometimes I worry about society.  I really do.
There's just one more story I need to tell you.  It's the story of the unlucky mummy.  Based on my notes the unlucky mummy caused wailing, managed to somehow wreck entire studies, managed to sink the Titanic and Empress and even the Lusitania while being on board each one of those ships.  It somehow got magically transferred to each ship, and sunk it!  I feel sorry for that unlucky mummy.  If anything's unlucky it's her and the lies that people have laid on her.   
As a reminder this post is based on Professor Frank Holt's article, "Egyptomania: Have We Cursed the Pharaohs?" published in Archaeology March/April 1986
So now you know what Egyptomania is.  I hope this is good enough to understand.  For my next post I will be giving you some of my notes and the text book dealing with the birth of Civilization and the civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.  See you all next time. 
Starvix Draxon

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