2012年6月18日 星期一

Historical Inaccuracies of the 2001 Movie The Mummy Returns

The Mummy franchise, revived in 1999 with the release of The Mummy marked a new beginning for films inspired by ancient Egyptian culture.  However, Egyptian history, religion and culture is often misrepresented in the films.  After delineating the historical inaccuracies of The Mummy, I have decided to write one for the recent The Mummy trilogy.  Here is a list of historical inaccuracies I noticed in The Mummy Returns.

Mistakes that were present in the previous movie I did not bother listing out.  For example, the wrong appearance of the Book of the Dead or the depicting of Seti I have already been stated in a previous post.  If you are interested in those historical inaccuracies as well, you can check it out at http://sophos-square.blogspot.hk/2012/06/historical-inaccuracies-of-1999-movie.html.

This list is organized in a chronological order according to the movie.  If you see something that you doubt as you can watching, just pause & check the list. ^^

1) The Scorpion King: In The Mummy Returns, the Scorpion King was described to be a warrior-king who wanted to conquer the world.  However, little is actually known in archaeology regarding the Scorpion Kings (note the plural, there are actually TWO in ancient Egyptian history).  However, the date of the movie's setting would be somewhat consistent with the estimated reigns of the two Scorpion Kings.

Scorpion Macehead - Source: Ashmolean Museum


2) Weapons: The Scorpion King and his army wields a bronze swords called the Khopesh and protected by armor.
A. However, large-scale domestic production of bronze objects in Egypt did not begin until 2000 years after the movie during the New Kingdom period.  Prior the New Kingdom period, bronze had been produced in Egypt but was extremely expensive and seldom used by an entire army.
B. Maces, spears and daggers are the primary weapon of Old Kingdom army to conserve the use of metal in weaponry (copper at this time).  Considering that the Old Kingdom's technology was more advanced that the pre-dynastic era of the Scorpion King, this would likely even more true.
C. The Khopesh is a Canaanite weapon while the Scorpion King is a pharaoh of Upper Egypt alone (southern Egypt).  Hence, the Scorpion King would not have come into contact with Canaanite weaponry.

Univeral Pictures - The Mummy Returns: Scorpion King

3) Crossroads Deal: In the film, The Scorpion King makes a deal with Anubis for an army with which to conquer his enemy.  However, in Egyptian mythology, Anubis never possessed an army and was only the god of death & mummification.

4) Scorpion King as a Myth: When Evie first sees the scorpion bracelet, she claimed that it had always been thought that the Scorpion King was only a myth with no evidence proving his existence.  However, evidence verifying the Scorpion King's existence (the Scorpion Macehead) had been discovered in Nekhen during the late 19th century.  Being an Egyptologist during the inter-war period, Evie should have known about the Scorpion Macehead's discovery.

5) Ahm-Shere: the Non-existent Oasis: Upon returning to London, Evie attempts to persuade O'Connell to journey to Ahm-Shere with her.  However, this location had never been mentioned in Egyptian archaeology

6) Year of the Scorpion: O'Connell claimed that Evie's dreams began during the Egyptian new year marking the beginning of the year of the scorpion.
A. the Egyptian calendar does not have a year of the scorpion.
B. there is no archaeological evidence that indicates the ancient Egyptians even had a calendar before the beginning of dynastic Egypt (which is when the Scorpion King reigned)

7) Reincarnation: When awaking Imhotep, Meela claimed that she was the reincarnation of Anhesnamun to Imhotep.  Yet, the Egyptians believed in an afterlife (not heaven or hell, mind you, but a continuation of daily life).  Hence, they do believe in reincarnation.

8) The Duel: During the film, Evie had a long extended vision to the past where she saw herself in a past reincarnation as Princess Nerfertiri  dueling Anhesnamun with a pair of Sais.
A. Sais are not an Egyptian weapon but instead, an Okinawan one.
B. There are two royals of similar names that Evie's reincarnation could have been probably modeled upon from around the this period of time (19th dynasty).
I - Queen Nerfertari, one of the famous Queens of ancient Egypt.  However, she was not a princess or the daughter of Seti I (although there are circumstantial evidence that she maybe related to the royal family of the 18th dynasty.  Instead, she was the wife of Ramses the Great and therefore, Seti I's daughter-in-law.
II - Princess Nerfertari was one of the Ramses the Great's older daughters and was likely the wife of Crown Prince Amun-her-khepeshef
Princess Nefertiri vs Anck Su Namun
Nefertiri vs. Anck-Su-Namun

Modern steel sais - Source: Wing Lam Enterprises

A statue of Queen Nefertari - Source: National Chiao Tung University


9) Shrunken Heads: As they entered the Ahm-Shere oasis, Jonathan noticed a collection of shrunken heads.  However, the practice was headhunting was never an Egyptian tradition.  Moreover, the practice of shrinking heads is unique practice indigenous to Amazon tribes in South America around Ecuador and Peru.

10) Osiris: On the wall of the pyramid in Ahm-Shere, O'Connell sees a stele on the wall depicting a how-to guide for killing the Scorpion King with the Spear of Osiris.  Yet, the Scorpion King reign dates back to the predynastic era of Egyptian history; during this time, the importance of Osiris as an Egyptian deity is minimal. His significance as an Egyptian god of death only began in the Middle Kingdom and previously in the Old Kingdom, the god Anubis was deemed more important.

shrunken head
Shrunken Head - Source: Bizarre Medical


So here it is, the historical inaccuracies I noticed.  If I missed anything, don't hesitate to inform me.  The next part of this journey is going to take me to China with The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  Rachel Weisz & Oded Fehr is gone; the abscence of Weisz especially makes the movie less attractive.  Nevertheless, its time to complete the historical analysis of the series.  XD

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