CNN: Unraveling the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt’s Spellbinding Mummy Portraits

Marie Svoboda is an associate conservator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and she is a specialist when it comes to what are called “mummy portraits.” These are works of funerary art that were attached to the mummies of upper class citizens during the Roman occupation of Egypt. They were painted with the utmost realism and attention to detail, and they are exquisitely beautiful, seeming almost to glow even after all these centuries. Below is a special report from CNN in which Marie Svoboda describes her work.

Continue Reading

And here is a podcast in which the conservator shares some further details about mummy portraits:


Update: Links Page

I finally got around to whipping up a Links page this week. My list is quite short at present, but I’ll be adding to it as time goes on. Come meet some of the brilliant people I’ve interacted with over the years!

Sermon: Set and the Greek Typhon: Are They the Same?

The name Typhon originally belonged to a Titan in Greek mythology who appears as a giant with a hundred serpents for his heads and legs. The Titans were primordial beings who existed before the Olympians (Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, etc.) and who were ruled by a god named Kronos. After Zeus dethroned Kronos and took control over the universe, Typhon led the Titans to war against the Olympians. But Zeus overpowered him in battle and buried him alive beneath the Earth, from whence he now sends lava and volcanic eruptions. Typhon’s mate is the gruesome snake-woman Ekhidna, with whom He sired such terrible chaos monsters as Cerberus and the Chimaera. So far, I haven’t seen any evidence that the Greeks ever worshiped Typhon (though if anyone out there is aware of such evidence, please let me know). It would seem that he was only ever worshiped against, much like Apep in Egyptian religion.

Yet the name Typhon also became strongly associated the Egyptian Set after the New Kingdom fell to foreign invaders during the 8th century BCE…

Continue Reading

CNN: New Sphinx Uncovered in Egypt

A beautiful new sphinx from the Ptolemaic era (circa 305–30 BCE) has (accidentally) been discovered in Kom Ombo, Egypt. Most people today are aware that the sphinx is a popular Egyptian symbol, but not as many can say what it means. First, it’s important to distinguish between Greek and Egyptian sphinxes. Greek sphinxes are depicted as female monsters that go around telling riddles and eating those who can’t answer them. Egyptian sphinxes, on the other hand, are generally male and benevolent, guarding temples and tombs. I should also point out that the Egyptians did not refer to their sphinxes as such, since this word is not Egyptian but Greek. The most famous Egyptian sphinx, the Great Sphinx of Giza, was actually called Hor-Em-Akhet (“Horus of the Horizon”) in New Kingdom times (circa 1550–1077 BCE).

Continue Reading

CNN: 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Tomb of Mehu Opens to the Public for the First Time

The final resting place of Mehu, an Egyptian official who lived during the time of King Teti in the 6th dynasty (circa 2345–2333 BCE), has now been opened to the public. It has been undergoing restoration work ever since it was originally discovered by Dr. Zaki Saad in 1940. Now it can be enjoyed by anyone who travels to Egypt, not just archaeologists. May the soul of Mehu rejoice in his newfound fame and glory!

Continue Reading

Additional Reading