Dear Readers Before I begin on a major rant, I had to share with you all an exciting Literacy Fair project that the Young Prince and I worked on this past month. For this school project, we selected a book to read together, then prepared a project based on that book. The book we chose was THE EGYPT GAME.
Anybody who knows me well knows that one of my prime directives in life is to spread an appreciation of ancient Egypt wherever I go. So, to be able to share this book that I read when I was 12 was a very special experience (even though my son still loves Rome best). A summary of the book:
The Egypt Game (1967) is a Newbery Honor -winning novel by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. The story, set in California, follows the life of a lonely 11-year-old named April Hall ( April Dawn) (the daughter of an actress sent to live with her grandmother) and 11-year-old Melanie Ross, her new neighbor. Both share an interest in Ancient Egypt, and decide to create an elaborate “Egypt Game”. Their bright imaginations inspire the game- but strange, dangerous things happen in their neighborhood, including the murder of a girl.
In “The Egypt Game”, these 2 girls and 4 other friends build altars to various divinities, create spells and rituals, select names based on historical and quasi-historical characters, make a mummy from a dead pet, and make detailed costumes. The Young Prince and I worked-up a board where the players would have to build an altar, decorate it with idols, select a name and a god, obtain a spell, and decide on an ancient Egyptian look. The results were really cool:
My son won our test round. Interestingly, he chose to name himself “Ramses the Great” — a testament to his warrior spirit, good taste, and the imperial nature he got via my genetics. For the goddess, there was only one choice I could make (and if you need to click HERE to find our which one, you obviously have not been reading this site nearly long enough).
Now for my rant: It is said that just before the Roman armies of Octavian were to enter Alexandria, eerie, mystical music could be heard in the streets — the sound of Dionysus fleeing before the conquest. Cleopatra and her supporters used street theater and prophesies to persuade the superstitious population of Egypt and of the Roman East that a new age would dawn under the rule of Cleopatra Isis-Venus and Antony Dionysus-Osiris. So, this was not a real great omen for Team Egypt. Here is a poem that sums it up nicely:
When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.
I love ancient Egypt: I have come to revile the modern one. At this point, all of the ancient divinities have left and there is no magic left in the land.
To start with, as I and many other Egyptophiles anticipated, chaos has descended along the Nile instead of democracy and freedom. The quest for knowledge related to the ancient Egyptians is being crushed.
Taking advantage of Egypt’s political upheaval, thieves have gone on a treasure hunt with a spree of illegal digging, preying on the country’s ancient pharaonic heritage.
Illegal digs near ancient temples and in isolated desert sites have swelled a staggering 100-fold over the past 16 months since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year regime and security fell apart in many areas as police simply stopped doing their jobs. The pillaging comes on top of a wave of break-ins last year at archaeological storehouses — and even at Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, the country’s biggest repository of pharaonic artifacts.
Horrified archaeologists and antiquities authorities are scrambling to prevent smuggling, keeping a watch on European and American auction houses in case stolen artifacts show up there.
“Criminals became so bold they are digging in landmark areas.” including near the Great Pyramids in Giza, other nearby pyramids and the grand temples of the southern city of Luxor, said Maj.-Gen. Abdel-Rahim Hassan, commander of the Tourism and Antiquities Police Department.
“It is no longer a crime motivated by poverty, it’s naked greed and it involves educated people,” he said.
Just in case some have forgotten, here are some bright gems from Egypt’s “Arab Spring”.
- A priceless statue of King Tutankhamen was recovered, though damaged, along with three other also-ruined antiquities that were plundered from the Cairo Museum.
- Protestors destroy Egypt’s riches library with Molotov cocktails.
- The mummies of King Tutankhamen’s great-grandparents were damaged in rioting.
Modern Egyptians have decided to forget their great cultural roots and special national identity as a cradle to civilization; they would prefer a Saudi Arabian Shariah-based government to a secular Turkish one. Given that Turkish officials believe that birds are being wired with spy devices by Israel’s Mossad, perhaps this is now a distinction without a difference.
As noted by famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass – “These Sons of Bitches Have Destroyed Egypt” .
Yes, the gods have fled and the mourning begins — as this “Egypt Game” has only losers.
UPDATE: A poll of Egyptians has them going for Romney over Obama, 73%/25%. I have to add this is an intriguing result which is sad news for the Light-Bringer.
On a lighter note, I wanted to highlight a couple of pieces from my fellow SLOBs.
Finally, for my medieval history fans, Word Warrior has posted part 10 in his outstanding “Age of Arthur” series.