Modern Day Egyptomania

After discussing Egyptomania in class, and the craze that post-Napoleon Europe had for all things related the ancient Egypt and the pyramids, I couldn’t help but think about how often ancient Egypt still comes up in today’s pop culture and how so many years after the discovery of the pyramids and the tombs, it still holds people’s fascination.

Once a week I tutor two first graders at a local elementary school and recently we started reading some books together. When choosing what book to read first, I layed out about ten “Magic Tree House” books and asked them each to pick the top three they wanted to read. They both immediately picked the one titled “Mummies at Midnight” as their first choice. I asked them why they both choose that book and if they knew anything about mummies already and they went talking on and on about how much they both loved Egypt. They talked about the pyramids, and Cleopatra, and the Nile, and how mummies were just wrapped up dead people, and one of them even mentioned sarcophaguses. At first I was shocked that these two six year olds knew so much about ancient Egypt, but then I thought about how present the ancient Egyptian culture is in today’s world.

You don’t have to look hard to find traces of ancient Egypt in today’s pop culture. Think of “The Mummy” movie series and all the money they brought in at the box office, or all the trick- or -treaters that show up at your door dressed as little Cleopatras or toilet paper mummies, or even the history channel shows that have my grandma convinced aliens built the pyramids and the curse of King Tut is real. Still not convinced on ancient Egypt’s relevance in today’s culture? Watch Katy Perry’s music video for her song “Dark Horse”. Countless other examples of references to ancient Egypt can be found in many other movies, television shows, books, and even children’s cartoon.

I don’t believe this craze will go away anytime soon. As out technology advances and we are able to make more discoveries about ancient Egypt and their way of life, it will stay relevant in the news; people’s fascinations will be renewed and encouraged. To us in the modern world, the ancient Egyptian culture of gods, and kings, and worship of the dead seems like something out of a fantasy novel and we can’t help but be intrigued.


One thought on “Modern Day Egyptomania

  1. When I first read your post about first graders knowing so much about Egypt and the Great Pyramids, I couldn’t believe how much they knew already and the words like sarcophagus that they already understood. This made me think back to my childhood and I tried to remember when I first started hearing about and learning about the pyramids. The more I thought about it, I was likely around the same age as these children. I even remember the Magic Tree House book “Mummies at Midnight” that these elementary school kids wanted to read. It’s interesting how much Egyptomania people still have in today’s culture. Even in Superbowl halftime shows Egyptian themes are common. I recently went to watch the new Night at the Museum movie and have thought back to it in the last week as we have been learning about Egyptian archaeology. In the movie, there are many references to ancient Egypt and the pharaohs.
    Although there so many references to Egypt and children are introduced to Egypt at such a young age, there are still many misconceptions and inaccurate conclusions that are made about the time period and culture. Myths that the pyramids were created by aliens or an ancient civilization are still prevalent. Although it is sometimes hard to believe people actually believe these things, many books have been written about the subject and many people have been influenced by them. Even with learning about the pyramids at such a young age, today was the first day I ever learned about Heit el-Ghurab, the city where the builders lived. This city explains who built the pyramids and the support structure for the builders. If we could start educating kids from the beginning about this support city and the people who truly built the pyramids, we may be able to reduce the false beliefs and misconceptions about the pyramids.

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