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الأحد، 17 أكتوبر، 2010

Curse of the Pharaohs




The curse of the pharaohs refers to the belief that any person who disturbs the mummy of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh is placed under a curse.
There are occasional instances of curses appearing inside or on the facade of a tomb as in the case of the mastaba of Khentika Ikhekhi of the 6th dynasty at Saqqara. These appear to be more directed towards the ka priests to protect carefully the tomb and preserve ritual purity rather than a warning for potential robbers. Though there had been stories of curses going back to the nineteenth century they multiplied in the aftermath of Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. There was no actual curse found in the King's tomb. The evidence for such curses relating to King Tutankhamun has been considered to be so meager that it is viewed as "unadulterated clap trap" by Donald B. Redford.
Tomb curses
See also Execration Texts
Curses relating to tombs are rare, perhaps through the idea of such desecration being unthinkable and dangerous to record in writing. They most frequently occur in private tombs of the Old Kingdom eraThe tomb of Ankhtifi (9-10th dynasty) contains the warning: "any ruler who..shall do evil or wickedness to this coffin..may Hemen [a local deity] not accept any goods he offers, and may his heir not inherit". The tomb of Khentika Ikhekhi (9-10th dynasty) contains an inscription: "As for all men who shall enter this my tomb...impure..there will be judgment...an end shall be made for him..I shall seize his neck like a bird...I shall cast the fear of myself into him" Curses after the Old Kingdom era are less common though more severe in expression, sometimes invoking the ire of Thoth or the destruction of Sekhemet] Zahi Hawass quotes an example of a curse: "Cursed be those who disturb the rest of a Pharaoh. They that shall break the seal of this tomb shall meet death by a disease that no doctor can diagnose.


Modern accounts of curses
Hieroglyphs were not deciphered until the beginning of the 19th century by Jean-François Champollion so any reports of curses prior to this are in the domain of perceived bad luck associated with the handling of mummies and other artifacts from tombs. Louis Penicher wrote an account in 1699 in which he records how a Polish traveler bought two mummies in Alexandria
Zahi Hawass recalled that as a young archaeologist excavating at Kom Abu-Bellou he had to transport a number of artifacts from the Greco-Roman site. On the day he did so his cousin died, on the anniversary of that day his uncle died and on the third anniversary his aunt died.


 Years later when he excavated the tombs of the builders of the pyramids at Giza he encountered the curse: "All people who enter this tomb who will make evil against this tomb and destroy it may the crocodile be against them in water, and snakes against them on land. May the hippopotamus be against them in water, the scorpion against them on land.

" Though not superstitious, he decided not to disturb the mummies. However, he later was involved in the removal of two child mummies from Bahariya Oasis to a museum and subsequently reported how he was haunted by the children in his dreams. These phenomena did not stop until the mummy of the father was re-united with the children in the museum. He came to the conclusion that mummies should not be displayed though it was a lesser evil than allowing the general public into the tombs. 


 Hawass also recorded an incident relating to a sick young boy who loved Ancient Egypt and was subject to a "miracle" cure in the Egyptian Museum when he looked into the eyes of the mummy of King Ahmose I. Thereafter the boy read everything he could find on Ancient Egypt, especially the Hyksos period.


The idea of a mummy's curse was developed in The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century, an early work combining elements of science fiction and horror, written by Jane C. Loudon and published anonymously in 1827. Louisa May Alcott is thought to have been the first to use a "mummy curse" plot in her 1869 story "Lost in a Pyramid" and embarked on a sea journey with the mummies in the cargo hold. He was alarmed by recurring visions of two specters and stormy seas that did not abate until the mummies were thrown overboard





Egyptian relics - The Curse of the Pharaohs - the secret of mummification - Magic at the Pharaohs - Luxor - Sphinx - Pyramids - The Temple of Karnak - The Temple of Abu Simbel - Temple of Ramses II - Akhenaten - Tuthmosis III - Tutankhamun - Pharaoh - Nefertiti - Cleopatra - Nefertari - Hatshepsut -