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Old 11-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #1
DavidBrett
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Young Pharaohs (NOT Tut)? Or Make One Up...?

Heya all,

So, the focal point of 'The Enigma Files: Cursed' is of course an ancient Egyptian mummy and the mummified cat that stands guard by its feet.

My question is, are there any young pharaohs OTHER than Tutankhamen? I'd use him if a) it wasn't cliche, and b) his mummy wouldn't both be highly secured, and unlikely to be on hire to a small town museum...

Basically, something happens to the mummies and, one by one, children that were part of the museum trip start falling prey to mysterious accidents. The only thing in common is their statements (yes, they all survive. I'm not that evil), that a cat was somehow involved.

So, if anyone's got a king in mind I'd love to hear about them. Otherwise, should I make one up, one who's history is famous for his feline companion accompanying him everywhere, and who even guarded him from assassination attempts by a timely yowl...?

I'd do this, as a during connection between the pharaoh and his cat is a crucial plot element, but I'm a bit hesitant to make stuff up because - as Sheila and Laura can testify - I'm priding myself on having any factual elements in the EF books be exactly that: factual, not fictional.

Help...?

Dave
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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There were loads of pharaohs who ascended to the throne at a young age. there was Pepi II who was only 6 when the throne was left to him.
Instead of gathering intelligence through expeditions to Nubia, he didn't understand this importance and instead Harkhry (the man sent on these voyages) was sent to trade. Pepi would ask him to bring toys home rather than important intelligence on one of Egypt's neighbours. Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson described this as 'fiddling whilst Rome burned'. I think that sums it up perfectly! Pepi II followed on from King Merenra. After Pepi in 20 years 17 kings came and went leading to an incredibly unstable period in Egyptian government.

Usually in later Egypt, children were not allowed to rule. Instead they were made co-regent whilst another relative took control. Probably the most famous example of this is Thutmose III. His stepmother Hatshepsut was made co-regent and was only meant to rule until Thut III came of age yet she legitimised her power so much that her stepson didn't actually rule until her death. After that Thutmose III destroyed a lot of her monuments and iconography in order to make it seem like he had been king all along. By the time of Hatshepsut's death he was more than eager to rule. Thutmose became known as the 'Napoleon of ancient Egypt' and extended the Egyptian empire to lands never before seen. This was in the 18th dynasty.


If you have any more questions about ancient Egypt I'd be very happy to help you, Dave, feel free to PM me.

Edited to add: I've also just thought, one of the problems with Tutankhamun cliché is the sheer amount of pressure put on him by his advisers. His father, Akhenaten was the 'heretic king' and changed thousands of years of polytheism to monotheism. He moved the capital from Thebes to a new site - Akhetaten and enforced worship of the Aten - the solar disc, rather than Amun, Horus and Ra - other conventional gods.
Tutankhamun was born 'Tutankhaten' to symbolise the family's support for the Aten. At the age of 9 when he got to power, he was convinced to change his name to Tutankhamun aligning support with the traditional god Amun and to restore the capital back at Thebes. (modern day luxor/Karnak)
That's a lot of stress for a young king in a children's book and I dare say you would want to include these facts somewhere, unless you take the story from the restoration of the old regime and religion.

I hope it all makes sense, I'm trying to think of everything possible but 3000 years of history isn't easy to get down in a few paragraphs!
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Last edited by moreferarum; 11-25-2012 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Add additional information
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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Thanks - the book itself is firmly set in the modern day, as is the curse taking effect. I just needed a young pharaoh to base the entire museum exhibit around, so both the tour guide and Karl (the super-intelligent protagonist) know what they're talking about.

I'll probably use Pepi II! Way I see it, a littler child is more likely to keep a cat as a pet - and if he was oblivious to the important things like you said (ie, the sacred status of cats), then it works all the better!

It's more important to make it obvious that the cat is acting out to protect its master, even after death.

Dave
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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Ah I see! Yes Pepi II was a typical child! I think if you did a quick google search you'd be able to find letters he wrote whilst waiting for officials to get back from trading expeditions. Whilst the language is old they pretty much say "where's my toys, hurry up with them!"
Symbols in ancient Egypt were incredibly important, at the time of Pepi II a cat wasn't so closely associated with the goddess Bastet, but in later years she was shown more as a domesticated cat. It is likely though that Pepi would have just adored the cat, especially at the young age of 6! Egyptians even mummified cats due to their status, it was against all religious practice to harm one. Only the Egyptian elite would be able to afford and have the social standing to be mummified so mummifying cats puts them level with government officials and pharaohs themselves. During excavation projects mummified cats were literally found in their millions and a lot of them were unfortunately shipped to liverpool to be used as fertiliser in a more recent age.

Sorry, I could talk about ancient Egypt all day!! would love to see the book when it's finished!
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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I know about the standard of mummifying cats, and that they weren't to be harmed: the entire curse was activated when the stupid class bully broke off the cat's paw as a 'lucky' souvenir.

He's almost promptly thrown out the windscreen of a moving coach, and winds up in full traction.

Just saw that Pepi ruled for AGES - his mummy wouldn't be that of a child But are there any records proving that he grew wiser with age? Or was he always a big child?

Dave
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
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Ah sorry about that, I thought you meant pharaohs that started their reigns as children (I should really be more thorough!).. Erm I'm not too sure about pharaohs that died as children, the later you go in Egyptian history, the more you see the idea of a co-regent until the child came of age. Tutankhamun is pretty much your only example of a pharaoh who died young. However even he died at around 18 years old so I suppose it depends on your viewpoint of if he was still a boy or not. Personally, I wouldn't class him as a child, yes he died tragically young, but he may have even tried to already start a family himself (2 foetuses were mummified and found in his tomb, they are believed to be stillborn twin daughters).
It's a tricky question, it might even depend on how much 'artistic licence' you're willing to give yourself in order for your plot to work?

As for Pepi growing wiser with age, he may have done but that certainly didn't make him a good pharaoh. At that time the pharaoh was believed to control everything so the famines that occurred later in his life just showed the people that they couldn't trust him and that he couldn't protect them. This allowed government to grow weaker and more vulnerable to foreign invasion. (Yes Egypt was incredibly advanced but there were other civilisations such as in Asia that could threaten Egyptian stability) Pepi was just about able to keep a central government for the rest of his life, he became so old that people began to really think he was immortal, after his death the whole regime fell apart piece by piece.
Pepi played a delicate balancing act with government his whole life, just keeping it from being destroyed but not doing enough to let it flourish. He might not have been a big kid, but just not very good at what he was meant to do.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:50 PM   #7
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I don't know of any young pharaohs, but have you thought about a Chinese mummy, or a Korean mummy. You might have some luck finding a child king or queen who was mummified, from a country other than Egypt, if that will work with your story.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
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Does it have to be a pharaoh? I'm thinking that a small town museum wouldn't be likely to be able to afford a touring exhibit with the mummy of any pharaoh... but maybe could exhibit lesser-knowns. If the kid had been wealthy/noble enough to be mummified, he might also have had a cat....

Last edited by ColoradoKate; 11-25-2012 at 10:26 PM. Reason: spelling, alas
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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one of akhenaten's 6 daughters with chief wife Nefertiti died at the age of 7, she wouldn't have ever got the chance to be a pharaoh but still came from the royal family. The mummies of akhenaten + nefertiti have not been found yet (although there are several unidentified bodies believed to be akhenaten's) so i'm not sure about the funerary arrangements if the girl, Meketaten, but being royal she would have been mummified
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:03 PM   #10
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Hmm... I guess I could claim the mummy to be Meketaten. Yeah, that would work! There's a scene RIGHT at the end that will creep out the readers. And we all know that little dead girls (The Ring) are creeper than boys (The Grudge)!
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