Friday, October 23, 2009

Mummies Myth and Magic in Ancient Egypt

Christine El Mahdy
Thames & Hudson
New York
Library of Congress Catalogue No. 89-50542

This 1989 book by author Christine El Mahdy was appointed with a number of nice images gracing its 192 pages though there were interesting details I also found a number of questionable anecdotes including the 5 days it took to empty DB320 of its mummified kings and courtiers.

I continued on thankfully in Part II I found the author a little more into her element with the historical analysis of the examining of mummies complete with excellent x-ray and CT scan images of mummies and their institutional related projects.

In part III "Myths and Magic" the author writes about the protection through amulets of both the dead and the living but in particular for the well being of the mummy. The reliefs left in their tombs complete with texts to ensure eternal sustenance with statues of the deceased and funerary models to work on behalf of.

I did enjoy the drawing of the Her-Uben papyrus in Cairo and the chapter dealing with the animal cults. The author goes on to deal with curses and more myths ending with the mummy in modern film but unfortunately as I reached the second last page there was a picture of the mummy of Ramses III but labeled as Thutmosis III.

This book is certainly suitable for young readers though it is by no means a perfect read I am sure the reader will encounter the Db320 story with a little more accuracy elsewhere and Ramses III is likely to be properly identified in the next book they read. Yes it is true there were many tiny errors but the book was still interesting though I am sure that a thing or two may have gone over my head, I may never know!

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