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The culture of ancient Egypt is one that has really wormed its way into the western public consciousness. Think about it – everybody knows about the pyramids, the sphinx and hieroglyphics (though these do not, of course, constitute the entirety of ancient Egyptian culture), and whenever the director of a film need a good spooky bad guy, well, you could say the Mummy Returns, if you will excuse the bad pun.
We have no idea quite why this should be the case. Don’t get us wrong, Egyptian cultural history is certainly incredibly fascinating, full of fascinating religious concepts and intriguing pharaohs set in an exotic yet beautiful landscape. We do not, however, ever hear much of the Mesopotamians, or ever a hint of the Hittites, cultures that pre-date the Egyptians and are arguably just as interesting.
Perhaps it is the lingering legacy of the iconography of Egypt that makes it a special case. Pyramids built on an exceptional scale, dead bodies preserved and mummified, writing in the form of pictograms and needle-like obelisks reaching up to the sky. The successful sustaining of these images within our minds is testament to the power and might of the ancient Egyptian people.