Myth of 'pharaoh's curse' dismissed as Egypt parades ancient mummies


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  11 comments

By:   Raf Sanchez and Reuters

Myth of 'pharaoh's curse' dismissed as Egypt parades ancient mummies
The myth of the "curse of the pharaohs" has been dismissed as Egypt held a Golden Parade of ancient mummies through Cairo on Saturday.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

CAIRO — Some are blaming the "curse of the pharaohs" for a string of unfortunate incidents in Egypt in recent weeks, including the giant ship that blocked the Suez Canal for about a week until it was freed Monday.

But many were nonetheless expected to turn on their TVs for the grand parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies as they were transferred across the capital, Cairo, on Saturday. Officials urged people to stay off the streets because of coronavirus restrictions.

Authorities shut down roads along the Nile for the elaborate royal procession dubbed the Golden Parade, designed to drum up interest in the north African country's rich collections of antiquities when tourism has almost entirely stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Ancient Egyptian artifacts unearthed near Cairo including mummies and sarcophagi

The convoy transported 18 kings and four queens, mostly from the New Kingdom ancient era, in shock-absorber vehicles and specially designed capsules filled with nitrogen to ensure they are protected.

The national treasures traveled about 3 miles from the Egyptian Museum, opened in 1902 in central Cairo's Tahrir Square, to their new home in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat — the site of Egypt's capital under the Umayyad dynasty after the Arab conquest.

Moving the mummies has reignited talk of a pharaoh's curse, particularly on social media, after the ship blocked the Suez Canal, a train crash killed dozens late last month and a building collapsed in central Cairo.

"Death will come on quick wings for those who disturb the king's peace," the warning on the tomb of Tutankhamun read, before British archaeologist Howard Carter opened it in 1922.

Royal mummies are transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday. Arm Abdallah Dash / Reuters

Members in his expedition later succumbed to freak accidents and death, fueling the myth of the curse, although archaeologists and scientists now say they were likely linked to being exposed to dust and germs in the sealed caverns.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass dismissed the rumors.

"Before the mummies will be walking today in the streets of Cairo things happened in Egypt: the boat in the Suez Canal, also the trains had an accident and a building collapsed. Everyone says this is the curse of the mummy, but I say there is no curse of the mummy," he told NBC News. "The curse is good for TV, for movies and newspapers, but it's not true. There's no curse at all."

Instead, Hawass said locals and foreign tourists will be able to see for themselves the "secrets" held by each mummy once they're on display.

"The parade is very important not only for Egypt but for the whole world because 22 kings will walk in the streets of Cairo as magic," he added.

Archaeologists discovered the mummies in two batches in 1881 and 1898 at the complex of mortuary temples of Deir Al Bahari in Luxor and at the nearby Valley of the Kings.

The oldest mummy in the group is that of King Seqenenre Tao, the last king of the 17th Dynasty, who reigned in 16th century B.C. and is thought to have met a violent death.

The parade will also include the mummies of Ramses II, Seti I and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, who were responsible for military expeditions, trade networks and the building of vast monuments and artistic creations.

"By doing it like this, with great pomp and circumstance, the mummies are getting their due," Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at American University in Cairo, told Reuters. "These are the kings of Egypt, these are the pharaohs. And so, it is a way of showing respect."


jrDiscussion - desc
Masters Quiet
1  Ed-NavDoc    2 weeks ago

I'm not a big fan of Zawi Hawass, but I have to agree with him here on this.

Professor Expert
2  FLYNAVY1    2 weeks ago

Could the Mummies have just gotten tired of cursing......?

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2    2 weeks ago

Not my mummie... she curses like a sailor. 

Masters Quiet
2.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1    one week ago

I'll have you know, that as a retired sailor, I resemble that remark!

Professor Expert
2.1.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.1.1    one week ago

I can still remember some Chief Petty Officers that were as creative with their adjective-noun sentence structure as Rembrandt was with canvas and oils!

PhD Guide
3  Freefaller    2 weeks ago

Would have loved to be there to see this

Junior Principal
4  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

The Golden Parade was made for TV and for newspapers, too,  And there is nothing wrong with that.

The fiction surrounding the history of Pharaohic Egypt adds spice to an otherwise boring academic recounting.  The artifacts are interesting but imagination give them life.  And there's nothing wrong with that, too. 

Truth may keep us grounded but imagination allows us to walk with the Pharaohs.  A little fiction, now and then, isn't a bad thing.  

Senior Guide
4.1  Dig  replied to  Nerm_L @4    one week ago
The fiction surrounding the history of Pharaohic Egypt adds spice to an otherwise boring academic recounting.

What fiction are you referring to?

PhD Principal
4.1.1  JBB  replied to  Dig @4.1    one week ago

I think Nerm refers to the Mummy's Curse.

Senior Guide
4.1.2  Dig  replied to  JBB @4.1.1    one week ago

Maybe, but the history of Pharaonic Egypt is a quite a bit more than tomb curses.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

I just watched the magnificent parade and clips of the mummies and their paraphernalia lodged in the new museum, and I must say it was all quite fantastic, even if a little overdramatized.  It did actually make me feel that I would love to tour that new museum, even though I doubt that I shall ever travel again. 


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