Saturday, March 25, 2017

More a sort of après-vie

Ancient Egypt is sufficiently far away in time so that we may never really understand the culture. Still, the Egyptians were likely not nearly as alien as they're sometimes presented as being. And it appears that those curses on tombs were not what they're cracked up to be:
Other objects found nearby the tomb which are on display include a Book of the Dead which belonged to a powerful Egyptian vizier – equivalent to prime minister - called Useramun, and a stone with an inscription warning people not to disturb a tomb.
But Dr Margaret Maitland, senior curator of Ancient Mediterranean at the museum, said rather than a curse the message was more of a gentle reproach to stay away.
She said: “Tomb curses are quite rare and they actually more often [say] just a vague ‘please don’t remove anything from this tomb’ or warn people that they could be prosecuted in the afterlife.
“There is just this sort of warning not to remove anything or the gods will reproach them greatly.”

So basically, "Listen, guys, be cool. Love, Horus," Something like that.

Actually this is all very interesting. The disposal of the dead in one of the first really urban settings in human history had all sorts of practical as well as spiritual aspects.


susan said...

Good find and a theory that makes a lot of sense. Long, long before the term fake news was invented there was such a thing as yellow journalism - it's always been about selling sensationalism to a gullible public. Of course we also have much to be happy about the stories about curses on Egyptian tombs because without them we'd have missed a lot of great B movies.

Ben said...

There was yellow journalism and also the "game of telephone" effect. Things get exaggerated to and by people who didn't hear the original source.

Makes you wonder what kind of kooky ideas people 1000 years in the future - you know, assuming the existence of such - will make of our burial practices. There've got to be some good curse stories in there.