Friday, April 21, 2017

Video Friday: The Pyramid and the Sphinx - Vintage Style




The Oldest Film Footage of the Sphinx of Giza (1897) Very Rare.




Rare Pictures of The Sphinx of Giza


The Pyramids at Giza circa 1920's


Tourists visit the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. HD Stock Footage


The Enigmatic GREAT SPHINX old pictures

Monday, April 17, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: Tombs and Mummies



Life Histories of Theban Tombs

Life Histories of Theban Tombs (LHTT) focuses on a cluster of rock-cut tombs built during the 2nd millennium BC at the hillside of Sheikh ‘Abd el-Qurna in Western Thebes. The project draws on an integrative archaeological perspective that combines archaeological research with scientific, material, and historical analysis. Its main objectives are to investigate the natural and anthropogenic evolution of the hillside and to explore the history of the tombs, objects, and people connected with it, from the early 2nd millennium BC to the 20th century. LHTT prioritizes research procedures that give relevance to detail and variation, and uses technical and electronic equipment that supports quantifiable, precise data collection often on a micro-analytic level (Research). Digital data processing and an interactive database system, which will eventually be transmitted into an open source for students of archaeology and related fields, are also an important part of the research strategy.

Steep commute gave ancient Egyptian workers osteoarthritis

Commuting to work can be a real pain, and it was no different in ancient Egypt. About 3500 years ago, the artisans who dug out and decorated the rock-cut royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings—the burial ground of Egypt's New Kingdom pharaohs—had to walk about 2 kilometers from their homes, over the Theban hills, to the royal necropolis for work. It was a steep climb, repeated week after week for years, leaving them suffering from osteoarthritis in the knees and ankles, according to a new study.

Zahed Taj-Eddin’s ‘Shabtis: Suspended Truth

Responding to the current political debate on the subject of migration, Manchester Museum has commissioned a gallery installation by Syrian-born artist Zahed Taj-Eddin, which reflects on the Museum’s world-class Egyptology collection. Zahed Taj-Eddin was inspired particularly by Manchester Museum’s extensive collection of shabti figurines, which were placed in large numbers in tombs to act as servants for the afterlife. He has previously created 99 faience ceramic ‘Nu’ Shabtis for popular shows at the V&A, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and elsewhere.


Surprise! What 3D Scan Revealed Inside Egyptian Cat Mummy (video)

Behind the scenes at the University of Aberdeen Museums, researchers are using high-tech 3D imaging software to reveal what is inside a 2,000-year-old Egyptian cat mummy and other ancient mummified artifacts in the museums' collections.


In his introduction, author Ronald Fritze defines Egyptomania as “a fascination with ancient Egypt in its many aspects.” He sees it as a phenomenon that has existed for 3,000 years or more and can take scholarly and popular culture forms. The Egypt of myth and legend attracts the most interest. Fritze states that his book “will primarily concentrate on the idea of Egypt and Egyptomania in popular culture.” The author is dean of arts and sciences and professor of history at Athens State University in Alabama. 

photo credit: COURTESY OF TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT

A fragment from a mysterious life-sized pinky finger from an ancient Egyptian statue has been discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The find comes one week after the project announced it lost government funding, and would have to cease operations.

Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass appointed IFPSD Cultural Heritage Ambassador

The International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development chose Egypt's Hawass for his contributions to the field of archaeology, in both excavation and conservation.

Renowned Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass has been selected by the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development (IFPSD), an affiliate organisation of the United Nations, as its official "Ambassador for Cultural Heritage."


Photo of the week

Hathor-head from the "House of Eternity" of Senenmut, ca. 1479–1458 BCE. Detail from the painted restoration by Nina de Garis Davis for the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Found on the Grand Egyptian Museum Facebook page.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: The Pyramid and the Boat



The Pyramid Discovery
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities

The remains of a 13th Dynasty pyramid have been discovered by an Egyptian archaeological mission working in an area to the north of King Senefru's Bent Pyramid in the Dahshur Necropolis. Like all discoveries, there is a spate of news stories.

A folk eye on the Egyptian Museum

Egypt's heritage is a field of rich folk culture, made possible by the life-sustaining Nile.
Egypt's folk culture is a vivid and subtle realm where past and present come together. In a series tracing the folk element inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Ahram Online went on an exceptional tour.


Facts You Never Knew About the Pyramids of Giza
Photo courtesy of me and my last visit to Egypt in January 2017.

It’s no wonder that our fascination with the pyramids of Giza have endured for millennia. The massive Great Pyramid—built for the Pharaoh Khufu and finished around 2560 B.C.E.—is the only marvel of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still intact. And the rest of the complex is nothing short of brilliant, too. Perched on the outskirts of Cairo, the Giza site contains six pyramids in total: three towering ones, including the Great Pyramid, and three smaller ones—plus an enormous statue of a sphinx, for good measure.

NORTH-EAST CASTLE’S EXHIBITION OFFERS CHANCE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ARTEFACT

A historic North-east castle’s little known links to ancient Egypt have been revealed.

It comes as Castle Fraser prepares to host some of the region’s top museum artefacts in a new exhibition.

But the ancient objects, which include amulets and a mummy’s head – affectionately known as Marlon – have an unexpected connection to the castle, near Sauchen.

Sandals for the king

My latest project on ancient Egyptian beadwork focuses on the research of how a pair of small beaded sandals, found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, were made 3.300 years ago. This work will include the analysis of the ancient beading craft and the description of the beading pattern. In the coming months, I will then be making reconstructions of these objects for an exciting new exhibition on ancient footwear in the Bata museum in Toronto (Canada).

ANCIENT ALEXANDRIA'S IMPERIAL BATHHOUSE READY FOR VISITORS
Photos by Egypt Independent

The newly opened bathhouse dates back to the 4th century and has been under excavation since 1960. It is now set to become an important part of a touristic trail in Alexandria.

Yesterday, Minister of Antiquities Khaled EL-Enany along with members of parliament reopened Alexandria’s cistern and imperial bathing complex area, dating as far back as the 4th century, in the Kom El-Dikka archaeological site.

Egypt unearths part of ancient King Khufu's boat
(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

A plank of wood believed to be from the boat of an ancient Egyptian king has been unearthed near the Great Pyramid at Giza, archaeologists said on Wednesday.

The boat, which is the second such vessel to be found on the site, was believed to have been built for King Khufu who ruled Egypt during the fourth dynasty more than 4,500 years ago.

First discovered in the 1980s, experts say they have so far uncovered 700 pieces of the boat from the site and now believe that they have unearthed most of its pieces.

Khufu's solar boat is one of my favorite visiting sites in Egypt. Sometimes, I am almost more in awe of it than anything else when I gaze upon the deck and see the grooves worn into the wood 4500 years ago. Here's my photo from my last visit in Egypt in January.



For other stories on this find:


Sandstone statue of a Chief of the Police and his wife seated side by side, wearing long pleated robes and wigs: Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Egypt, c.1323–1279BC

A chief of police, ten princesses and a high official from a Roman-era Egyptian family are all helping Dr Margaret Maitland with her enquiries.

The Senior Curator of the Ancient Mediterranean collections at National Museums Scotland is the ‘detective’ behind a search for clues into the mysterious affair of ‘The Tomb’.

Eat like an Ancient Egyptian

We know a lot about the Ancient Egyptians, thanks to this great ancient civilisation. Their desire and propagandist need to disclose what they did was paramount, especially for the pharaohs. They made sure their successes were touted everywhere. Rameses II was particularly good at promoting what a powerful and good ruler he was, even when the war he waged on the Hittites wasn’t a victorious campaign. If it wasn’t for the first pharaoh, Menes, of the 1st Dynasty to the Ptolemaic period, the last ruling pharaoh Cleopatra, who recorded everything, we’d know very little about this dynamic civilisation. Thank goodness, they did!

Photos of the week

The Two Eyes from the limestone sarcophagus of Queen Kawit, wife of King Montuhotep II (ca. 2051-2000 BCE). Now in the Cairo Museum.


Guardian statue of Nephthys, sister of Osiris, mourning the deceased Meret-it-es Egyptian 30th Dynasty to early Ptolemaic Dynasty 380-250 BCE.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Video Friday: Historic Hotels of Egypt




Photos by Michalea Moore  ©

On my third trip to Egypt this last January, I stayed in only "historic hotels." Sadly, they were mostly empty due to the downturn in tourism, but they were undoubtedly magnificent. When I found these films, it was a lovely reminder of the trip. Enjoy.

Mena House on Silver Screen



Historic Hotels of Egypt  










Shepheard's

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: All the mummies, all the time



The Mummy’s Curse: 3,800-Year-Old Egyptian Nobleman’s Tomb Unearthed
© Sputnik/

An intact tomb dating back to the Twelfth Dynasty, which ruled Egypt nearly four millennia ago, has been discovered.

The identity of the deceased is Shemai, son of Satehotep and Khema. The tomb was discovered by researchers with the University of Jaen in Spain, and is located at a site called Qubbet el-Hawa, a dune on the bank of the Nile which houses the tombs of numerous Ancient Egyptian officials.

Why the curse of the mummy was more like a gentle warning

THE curse of the mummy on anyone who dares to disturb the dead is one of the most enduring superstitions of modern times.
But a new exhibition has revealed how the tombs of ancient Egyptians were in fact reused many times – and the ‘curse’ was more likely to be a polite request to keep out.

The story of how one ancient Egyptian tomb was used across a time period spanning more than 1,000 years is being told at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh through a display of fascinating objects from various eras.

HOW TO MAKE A MUMMY

Today’s blog post will be all about mummies … wait … what do you mean you didn’t say Egyptian? … oh … well it’s all I’ve got, so we’re going to have to roll with it … I’m sure no-one will notice.

So first things first, why do we call Egyptian mummies, well, ‘mummies’? The word mummy comes from the the Persian or Arabic word mumia meaning pitch or bitumen. This is thought to be a reference to the blackened appearance of Egyptian mummies, and the black tar-like substance that comes from the ‘mummy mountain’ in Persia.

Mummy shroud found after 80 years in museum collection

A unique, full-length mummy shroud which is over 2,000 years old has been discovered after about 80 years in a museum collection.
It will be displayed for the first time in The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland on 31 March.

The shroud, which dates to about 9BC, was found during "an in-depth assessment" of Egyptian collections.

Every mummy has a story to tell 

(Your) Mummy Stories is a participative project inviting individuals to share their stories of engagements with Egyptian mummies: from studying human remains, to reading cartoons on mummies, engaging with ethical questions, and visiting local museums holding Egyptian human remains, individuals have different stories of encounters with Egyptian mummies. The multiplicity of stories, dependent on personal interest, geography, and many other factors, brings to light the multiplicity of definition of what 'the mummy' means to us. 

Archaeologists Unearthed 3,800-Year-Old Tomb Of An Ancient Egyptian Woman In Intact Position

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Egyptian mummy from the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in southeastern Egypt. The tomb was about 3,800 years old and it was found in a very decent condition. Archaeologists are assuming the mummy is going to reveal much information about the ancient Egypt civilization because it belongs to a woman named, “Lady Sattjeni” who used to be the key figure in the Middle Kingdom.

The 1997 cartoon Mummies Alive! may not be a show that many of you are aware of — it ran for only one season. What we got was 42 episodes of pure '90s craziness; that exclamation mark is there for good reason. Stop me if you’ve heard this: An evil, immortal Egyptian sorcerer called Scarab is awoken in modern times but he barely misses a beat in resuming his plot to wreak vengeance on the reincarnation of the Pharaoh’s son, Rapses.


'The Mummy' Revives an Ancient Power in New Trailer at CinemaCon

Director Alex Kurtzman brought out the cast of The Mummy (but no Tom Cruise) Wednesday at CinemaCon, where they discussed its biggest stunt and revealed a new trailer.

The film stars Sofia Boutella as The Mummy, as well as Courtney B. Vance, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson.

Boutella shared details of her character, saying she was a princess who was promised to be Pharaoh, but that was taken away from her. She knew how to summon gods, but unfortunately "summoned the wrong god and that stays with her."

To see the video, click here.

Chiddingstone Castle announces name of their 'Mummy'

Chiddingstone Castle in Kent recently completed their quest to find the name of the mummy who had been interred inside a 3000 year old Egyptian Coffin on display in the Castle.

Chiddingstone Castle’s Curator Maria Esain said “Our Ancient Egyptian coffin lid that has been exhibited here for many years has undergone some careful conservation and advanced digital imaging by experts from UCL to determine if it is possible to read the name of the person (the mummy) that would have been interred within it 3000 years ago. There is a saying from Ancient Egyptian times that goes: To speak a man’s name is to restore him to eternal life. Therefore, if we were able to determine the name written in hieroglyphics on the ‘foot’ of the coffin then we would be enabling him/her to live forever.”


Mummified ancient Egyptian cat from Aberdeen uni to be shared around the world

A mummified ancient Egyptian cat is among a host of artefacts from Aberdeen University’s museums’ collections, which will be shared around the world thanks to revolutionary new imaging techniques.

Photogrammetry involves taking hundreds of photos of an object at slightly different angles and “stitching” them together to create an interactive digital 3D model.

For a video, see Mummified CAT scan—new technologies and ancient objects

Photo of the week: Ancient Egypt by Kazanevski

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Friday, March 31, 2017

March Reads



The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

Synopsis:  The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman—or child.

As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

My take: I am a BIG Margaret George fan. I have been a fan since reading The Autobiography of Henry VII with Notes by His Fool, Will Somers. She might be my favorite living writer. For sure, I acted like a fan girl when I met her (in the airport shuttle) at a Historical Novel Society conference. I squealed "YOU'RE MARGARET GEORGE!" as if she were unaware of the fact. It was then I first heard about this book, and I have been chomping at the bit. It was released the day after my birthday, the perfect present.

First things first: This story is going to be a two-part experience. Sigh. I have no idea when the second book will be coming out, but I'm already anticipating it. IF you buy this novel hoping to get some juicy, but prurient details about the second most hated Roman Emperor, don't hit the Buy with one Click button; this novel is more nuanced than that.

Yes, I said nuanced! George's Nero is a nuanced character. Her interpretation of Nero, the one we remember as fiddling as Rome burns, will make your head spin.  While you might not agree with her, this novel gets inside the head of Nero, which the historical facts can never do; it is historical fiction at its best as it fills in the details of what might have been.

In many respects this novel reminds of the Henry VIII novel. An unlikely member of a royal family moves into the lead position; initial idealism gives way to the realities of ruling; and then things get REALLY bad.

George sets up some interesting conflicts in Nero: a child separated from his mother at a young age, and then reunited under deadly circumstances with a hint of nepotism that both attracts and repulses him; the burden of SO many distinguished ancestors that might be impossible to live up;  a desire to be an artist, a charioteer, almost anything but Emperor, but well, destiny calls. Then, ask yourself if you would have been any different than Nero in the same situation.

Her attention to details of the Roman world are awe-inspiring. Read the afterword for a list of the sources for this book and be impressed.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was George writing about Nero as a writer. It might give  us an insight into some of her own views on the subject. I particularly enjoyed a scene in which Nero puts together a writing critique group so that they can all improve their writing skills. Hmm. It's giving me ideas.

The scenes involving the birth and death of a child are remarkably tender and captures the experience of any parent, imperial or not. And finally, his obsession with his wife Poppea is a remarkable insight into the nature of obsession.

So, treat yourself to a trip to first century imperial Rome and keep an open mind. You might learn something about the human condition.



Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Synopsis:  A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero's quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

My take: If you're going to retell a classic, this is the way to do it. I am a fan of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart series, but haven't been big on her other works. This novel changes my perception, and I will be looking at some of her other books.

First of all, let's get this out of the way: you don't need to know Shakespeare's Tempest to understand this book. I've had a spotty relation with the play since I took the world's most frantic Shakespeare course in which we read 20 of the 37 plays attributed to him, including Titus Andronicus.  The professor promised that we would understand everything we needed to know about Shakespeare after we read The Tempest. AND we ran out of time and didn't read it.

As I said, Miranda and Caliban can stand alone. The character development and world building are marvelous. For the first time, I can actually visualize the island and the spirits, although Carey doesn't pound the descriptions to death. The novel is told from two points of view, and each has a distinctive voice. Although it is clearly marked when Caliban is speaking and when Miranda is, you will know just by reading what they have to say. I found this to be particularly adept in the early pages when Miranda is still a little girl and Caliban a nonspeaking, illiterate "beast."

At it's heart, Shakespeare's play is a study of what it means to be human and what is the nature of revenge. Carey picks up this theme and explores it in loving and lyrical detail for 350 pages, giving voice to characters who are blank slates in Shakespeare. It also is a love story that builds to the tragic conclusion worthy of Romeo and Juliet,.








Midnight Star (Vampire Girl 2) by Karpov Kinrade

Synopsis:  I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until I sold my soul to save my mother. Now, I am forced to choose between my heart and my conscience.
Either way, someone I love will die.

My take: And. . . I'm done with this series. Last month, I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness of this tale. This month, not so much. This really feels like a kitchen sink kind of book. The authors throw in a lot of stuff that seems to be there for no other purpose than to keep the reader interested. Naturally, the lovers, Ari and Fen, need to be separated.  . . again, but it seems contrived. I saw the gay plot twist coming a mile away. The pacing dragged with lots of unnecessary (and trite) descriptions. The plot revisited a lot of characters from the first book, presumably to remind us that they still existed, because the visits often didn't move the story forward. And finally, the cute little dragon named Yami was a little too saccharine for my taste and showed up predictably on time as a big, bad dragon. Clearly, I am alone in this opinion, because the second book is still rating five stars on Amazon.

The Gender Game (Volume 1) by Bella Forrest

Synopsis:  For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent
comes a story like no other...

A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.


My take: I'm doing a really poor job in keeping my vow to not start series. An ad appeared in my Facebook feed compared this book to  The Hunger Game, and it was on sale. It was a good, quick weekend read, but it wasn't The Hunger Games and suffers from the comparison. If you have a lazy weekend coming up and you have $3.99 to spend on the Kindle edition, you could do much worse.

The main character Violet suffers from what is becoming a stereotype in this genre: the hot-headed, kick-ass female protagonist. The plot hits the major points for showing her anger and call to action, but you don't exactly feel it. Then, she goes to Patrus to save her own life and to win the opportunity to see the "beloved" brother. The main problem with this novel, I think, is that the three main characters, Violet, her husband and partner in bringing down the patriarchy, and a hunk named Viggo that she falls in love with (of course) seem to live in a world not occupied by very many people. When you're in Matrus, you don't see any male characters and in Patrus you see almost no women. But to be perfectly clear, there aren't that many women you meet in Matrus and almost no other non-stereotypical males in Patrus. Therefore, it becomes almost impossible to determine whether the characters are acting in accordance with societies's rules or not. There seems to be a lot of wandering around in both lands. And like all not-so-great dystopian novels, there is a disconnect between super-technology and somewhat primitive conditions.

The ending, however, was a complete and total plot twist that I didn't see it coming at all. I'm not sure if it was a good thing (I think so), a bad thing (as several other reviewers said), or just a thing.



The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Synopsis:  On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.

The Magician’s Nephew is the first book in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, a series that has become part of the canon of classic literature, drawing readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters for over fifty years. This is a stand-alone novel, but if you would like to journey back to Narnia, read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

My take: I'm reading this book for the Pardon my Youth, a book club for adults who like reading YA.
While I have been a big fan of the many Narnia films (particularly the spectacular BBC series from the late 80's), I'm not so enthusiastic about C.S. Lewis in print form. Suffice it to say, I did not approach this book with unmitigated enthusiasm. Although the writing and style are probably not going to win over a lot of contemporary readers, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Synopsis:  Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

My take: Alice in Wonderland for the 21st Century! I was expecting a take on Shakepeare's Tempest (for no particular reason except my own twisted logic), so I was pleasantly surprised at the freshness of the plot (as in notTempest). The Scarlett character's journey was very satisfying; and I, for one, was happy that she wasn't the typical kick-ass female hero who has become so de rigueur lately. The plot kept twisting and didn't telegraph the ending. The characters were intriguing and fresh. The world building was solid. I particularly enjoyed how Scarlett experienced emotions as colors.

Apparently there was a lot of hype about this book, which I missed. I'm glad, because I might not have enjoyed it as much if I'd built up a bunch of expectations. Coming on it fresh with no expectations, I can honestly say it was one of the best reads of the year so far.

Bright Air Black by David Vann

Synopsis:  In brilliant poetic prose Bright Air Black brings us aboard the ship Argo for its epic return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis—where Medea flees her home and father with Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Vann’s reimagining of this ancient tale offers a thrilling, realist alternative to the long held notions of Medea as monster or sorceress. We witness with dramatic urgency Medea’s humanity, her Bronze Age roots and position in Greek society, her love affair with Jason, and her tragic demise.

Atmospheric and spellbinding, Bright Air Black is an indispensable, fresh and provocative take on one of our earliest texts and the most intimate and corporal version of Medea’s story ever told.

My take: Oh, PUH-leeze. I. Just. Could. Not. Finish. This. Book. 

Just as Miranda and Caliban is the way to retell a classic, this novel is an object lesson in how not to do it.

Medea is one of my favorite stories in Greek mythology. The tale is so rich, compelling, and full of psychological Sturm und Drang. I have happily sat through really bad college productions of  Euripides's play and even worse Hollywood versions of it. So, the fact that I could only read about a third of this novel before throwing my Kindle across the room says something.

First of all, the prose is the most deadly shade of purple that I've read in many a long year. I think it's supposed to poetic. Or as one reviewer put "it starts off lyrical but quickly grows repetitive.

Then, there's the mixing in of Egyptian mythology for no apparent reason. Me, I think the world turns around Egyptian mythology, and even I couldn't make it relate.

Finally, the novel is psychologically shallow with all the emotional resonance of a snow pea. Medea is stereotyped as a rather shallow barbarian, or in Jason's monotonously repetitive words, “bitter woman, butcher, [and] barbarian.”  In the laborious third of it that I read, Medea constantly (and I do mean constantly) reflects on how she is wallowing in blood and how much it stinks. This in no way create  insight, and one almost wishes that Medea turned her witch craft on Mr. Vann for creating this monstrosity of a portrait. She deserves better.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: Mummy makeover



Sudan claims their pyramids are 2,000 years older than Egypt's

The Sudanese Minister of Information, Ahmed Bilal Othman, claimed on Sunday that the Meroƫ Pyramids of Sudan are 2,000 years older than Egypt's pyramids. The Sudanese government is working to prove this to the entire world, he added.

These claims stirred up outrage among Egyptians, particularly history experts. Zahi Hawas, the former minister of antiquities, said the Egyptian pyramids are the oldest, especially the pyramid of Djoser which dates back more than 5,000 years.

Secrets of what ancient mummies look like under their wrappings are finally being revealed

A special exhibit that's on display at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York allows people to see 18 mummies in person, some of which have not been seen since Chicago's World Fair over 100 years ago.

The Grand Egyptian Museum – A Bridge between Ages

The Grand Egyptian Museum will be situated adjacent to the Giza Plateau within two kilometres of the Giza pyramids. The GEM project is one of the largest and most significant in process globally. Its total land area extends to 491,000 square metres, with theGrand Egyptian Museum Waleed Abdel-Fattah buildings taking up 168,000 square metres. Once completed it will be a world-leading scientific, historical and archaeological study centre. The museum is set to open in May 2018.

$100M in ancient artifacts shipped from Egypt and Turkey to the U.S. in 2016

The artifacts, totaling about $100 million between the two countries, were imported “for consumption” and not for temporary display in a museum, the documents say. Most of the artifacts were shipped to New York City, where numerous antiquities dealers, auction houses and art galleries are based. It can be difficult to determine whether a shipment of artifacts was recently looted, law-enforcement officials told Live Science.

MAKEOVER FOR ABERDEEN-BASED EGYPTIAN MUMMY 

An ancient Egyptian mummy stored in Aberdeen has been given a makeover for an exhibition abroad.

Mistress of the House Ta Khar will be going on show near Munich on Friday after being shipped out from the University of Aberdeen’s museum collection.

But before facing the public, the embalmed body was put through a makeover to make sure she looked her best.

Little-known but greatly feared, the Sea People raided ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age

The Sea Peoples were a mixed group of raiders of unknown origin who raided the ancient Egyptian coastline and the eastern Mediterranean Sea from 1276 to 1178 BCE.

Even today, we don’t know much about this group of ancient seafaring people, other than what is found in records of the places they visited and attacked. It has often been theorized that they came from Anatolia or Southern Europe, and it is thought that they invaded Canaan, Syria, Anatolia, Cyprus, and Egypt at the end of the Bronze Age. The names given to these people are Lukka, Sherden, Sheklesh, Akawasha, and Tursha.

Spanish archaeologists discover an intact 4000 years old tomb in Aswan

Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of Ancient Egyptian Department announced the discovery of an intact burial in Aswan.

The Spanish Archaeological Mission in Qubbet el-Hawa, West Aswan, has discovered an intact burial chamber. The discovered burial belongs to the brother of one of the most important governors of the 12th Dynasty (middle Kingdom), Sarenput II.

Can a long-lost Egyptian colossus save ancient Heliopolis?
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

The colossus was discovered in Matariya, a northeast suburb of Cairo. Now a densely packed area of apartment buildings, for thousands of years it was part of one of ancient Egypt’s greatest cities, better known today by its Greek name: Heliopolis, ‘City of the Sun’ (not to be confused with modern Heliopolis, a couple of kilometres to its east). From the beginning of Egyptian history, ancient Heliopolis was the main centre of Egypt’s sun cult, where priests worshipped the god Re, and developed myths proclaiming his temple to be built on the first land that rose from the floodwaters after creation.

Barnsley debut three original exhibitions by Joann Fletcher that unlock the hidden stories of Egypt’s captivating past

Barnsley Museums will celebrate the history of ancient Egypt this autumn as three of its five attractions host exhibitions on the theme, each designed and guest curated by Professor Joann Fletcher, award-winning Egyptologist.

Egyptian ritual images from the Neolithic period
 Credit: David Sabel

Egyptologists at the University of Bonn discovered rock art from the 4th millennium BC during an excavation at a necropolis near Aswan in Egypt. The paintings were engraved into the rock in the form of small dots and depict hunting scenes like those found in shamanic depictions. They may represent a link between the Neolithic period and Ancient Egyptian culture. The discovery earned the scientists the award for one of the current ten most important archeological discoveries in Egypt from the Minister of Antiquities in Cairo.


Unraveling the Mystery of Who Lies Beneath the Cloth

Mummy No. 30007, currently residing at the American Museum of Natural History, is a showstopper. She’s known as the Gilded Lady, for good reason: Her coffin, intricately decorated with linen, a golden headdress and facial features, has an air of divinity. She’s so well preserved that she looks exactly how the people of her time hoped she would appear for eternity. To contemporary scientists, however, it’s what they don’t see that is equally fascinating: Who was this ancient woman, and what did she look like when she was alive?


Mummies’ Review: Using Science to Unwrap History

Of all that has been imagined of the afterlife, probably nothing comes close to the scene at a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, in which unburied dead of the past 7,000 years keep posthumous company with each other, laid out in display cases, coffined or wrapped or half unwrapped, accompanied by vessels of preserved organs or relics like a sewing bobbin. One body is bundled in coarse cloth and held together with rope, another is encased in gilt magnificence; one woman is bound with two children, another corpse is left with only a head after ancient grave robbers hastily tore it apart looking for jewelry; and these remains share space with a preserved ibis, crocodile and cat.