Egyptian influence in popular culture

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Egyptian mythology and culture have influenced popular culture in multiple ways.

Influence in architecture and the arts[edit]

Egyptian architecture and the low-perspective, hieratic styles of Egyptian art have undergone several revivals in the Western world. Various obelisks have been carried off as trophies by colonial powers, or bestowed as gifts by Egyptian leaders, and these stand in a number of locations far from Egypt. The "Cleopatra's Needles" that stand in London, Paris, and New York City are examples of these transported obelisks. Egyptian architectural motifs appear in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,[1] and Athanasius Kircher's Oedipus Aegyptiacus contains a fanciful attempt to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Egyptian themes became much more widespread, however, after Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, enabling Egyptian works to be read. The nineteenth century proved to be a heyday for Egyptianizing themes in art, architecture, and culture; these persisted into the early 20th century, and were revived briefly after the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Various mystical and fraternal groups incorporated Egyptian themes.[2] The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had an "Isis-Urania" lodge in London, and an Ahathoor lodge in Paris.[3] The Shriners incorporated both Islamic and Egyptian themes into their visual imagery, including their characteristic fezzes. The Murat Shrine Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana contains a celebrated Egyptian Room, decorated with hieroglyphic motifs and Egyptian themed murals.[4] The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) opened a Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in 1928.

In literature, Rick Riordan has written three books based on Egyptian mythology in the modern world: The Kane Chronicles- The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire, and The Serpent's Shadow. These books are about the adventures of two siblings, Sadie and Carter Kane, who discover that the ancient Egyptian world is still amongst them and they discover that they have the blood of pharaohs and must learn to become magicians in the House of Life. In their adventures they meet and interact with several ancient Egyptian Gods, such as Thoth, Anubis, Isis, Horus, Tawaret, Osiris, Ra, Sobek, Ptah, Bes, and many others.

In The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove, humanity is ruled by the Egyptian pantheon. The Egyptian gods have taken over the world by defeating all other Pantheons that once existed. They have since carved the world into different realms named after themselves.

Depictions of Egyptian mythology[edit]

Anubis[edit]

  • In the film Night at the Museum, Idols of Anubis chase after Larry Daley, until they come to an opening they cannot get through.
  • In an episode of The Backyardigans, two statues of Anubis are seen.
  • At Universal Studios Orlando, in the queue for the Revenge of the Mummy ride, a huge Anubis is seen.
  • Doctor Who spin-off, K-9, features an alien culture of Anubis in the episode, "Curse of Anubis".
  • Anubis was a Goa'uld and major enemy in the TV series Stargate SG-1. In the original film Stargate, an Anubis-headed Jaffa was one of the palace guards of the god-king Ra.
  • In the Egyptian-themed first person shooter game PowerSlave, one frequent enemy is an Anubis zombie.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features an enemy in one dungeon called Anubis, who resembles a fire-breathing, floating, mummified jackal. His only weakness is fire.
  • Ann Eriksson published a novel in 2009, titled In the Hands of Anubis, which is set in Cairo, among other places, and features many references to Egyptian mythology.
  • UFO Interactive released Anubis II for the Nintendo Wii on September 18, 2007.
  • Kingdom Hospital, a TV mini series by Stephen King, featured Antubis [sic] as the keeper of the underworld, appearing as both a man and a giant anteater.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, the primary antagonist was named Anubis, though he had little in common with traditional depictions.
  • In Disney's Gargoyles animated series, Anubis is featured in the episode Grief. Here he is described as one of Oberon's children, and is nearly "captured" by the villainous cyborg Jackal.
  • Anubis features in Gex 3 as one of the enemies in the Ancient Egyptian level(s).
  • The Pokémon Lucario might be based upon Anubis.
  • In True Blood Season 2 Episode 4, "Shake and Fingerpop", Sookie and Bill travel to Dallas on Anubis airlines (a charter airline company catering to vampires).
  • The Digimon Anubismon is based on Anubis. He plays the role of judging the dead one as either to be reborn as a digiegg or sent to the dark area.
  • In the Megaman Zero series of games there is a recurring enemy and boss called Anubis, who like the Egyptian god has a jackal-shaped head and has a spear as a weapon
  • In the ABC drama "LOST" Anubis can be seen in hieroglyphics on the Island's temple.
  • The Nickelodeon show House of Anubis revolves around Anubis.
  • In the MMORPG RuneScape, the desert pantheon god Icthlarin is heavily based on Anubis, with traits such as being jackalheaded and the god of mummification, embalming and a keeper of the dead.
  • In the manga JoJo's Bizzare Adventure a Stand (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) named Anubis is a sword based on the Egyptian god
  • In the Zone of the Enders series of games, one of the two main Orbital Frames is made as a recurring boss after Anubis and uses a staff as a weapon.
  • In the SCEE PlayStation game MediEvil II, one of the puzzles the player must solve requires three artifacts be found which are then used as keys. One of the artifacts is the Staff of Anubis and must be reattached to a large seated statue of Anubis. (Kensington: the Tomb level)
  • In the film The Mummy Returns, the Scorpion King supposedly trades his soul to Anubis for an army of jackal-headed warriors.
  • In the series, the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, Anubis is portrayed as a confused teenager-god seeing as Anubis is one of the younger of the Egyptian gods. Anubis is portrayed to be a very handsome teenager with messy black hair and brown eyes who has feelings for the female protagonist Sadie Kane, and later became her boyfriend.
  • In the video game Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, Anubis is a character who plays an important role. While Sphinx visits many Egyption gods on his adventure, Anubis grants him powers and opens up portals to various places.
  • In the online video game League of Legends, A champion named Nasus is based on the god Anubis and Renekton is based on Sobek.
  • Neopets features a Petpet named after and resembling Anubis.
  • "Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon" has a room in which you must use your knowledge to pass through the door. This room is guarded by Anubis and cheating in this room will result in death by Anubis' double sided axe.
  • In the animated series "Mummies Alive" Anubis is a minor villain and portrayed as not being too bright.

Apep[edit]

  • Apophis is the first major Goa'uld antagonist in the military science fiction series Stargate SG-1, and the second in the franchise after Ra. However, a separate Apep also exists in the series mythology.[citation needed]
  • The asteroid 99942 Apophis, an Aten-class asteroid, is named in its honour, because it was at Level 4 on the Torino impact hazard scale between 2004 and 2006.
  • The name Apep Heidemann was given to the major antagonist in the Japanese manga Seraphic Feather.
  • Apep is one of the villains in the comic series Mummies Alive where he's a spirit rather than a god. He has romantic feelings for one of the pharaoh's guardians, Nefertina.
  • The Books of Overthrowing Apep inspired the song Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor From Attacks From He Who Is In The Water on the 2007 album Ithyphallic by the death metal band Nile (who are known for their overall Egyptian themes). Another song by Nile from the same album is called Laying Fire Upon Apep. References to Apep appear in several other Nile songs.
  • The conflict between Apep and Ra features prominently in the back story of DC Comics superhero Metamorpho, the Element Man.
  • Apophis was used as the host to seal away the titan Hyperion in Saint Seiya Episode.G.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, there is an evil snake god named Set. Though the name is of that of a different Egyptian deity, he may be based on Apep as well. The naming could also be due in part to the fact that in later Egyptian myths, Set basically replaced Apep in most every sense and aspect.
  • In Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire and The Serpent's Shadow of the series The Kane Chronicles, Apophis is locked away in battle with Bast before the first book but is released. He is revealed as the villain at the end of the first book, and is the main antagonist of the series before being destroyed at the end of The Serpent's Shadow when his shadow is trapped and destroyed by the Kanes after he swallows Ra.
  • There is a card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game called "Embodiment of Apophis."
  • House of Anubis

Kheb[edit]

In Stargate SG-1, a television series based upon the 1994 science fiction movie Stargate, Kheb is a fictional planet where Oma Desala and an unknown number of monks lived, in the episode Maternal Instinct. It is later mentioned in the episode Warrior as the resting place for the brave and mighty Jaffa.

Petsuchos[edit]

In the computer game Age of Mythology, Petsuchoi are portrayed as crocodiles shooting sun beams from disks on their heads. They are myth units sacred to Hathor (Sobek does not appear in the game.) In the Nintendo DS version: Age of Empires: Mythologies, Sobek makes an appearance as a minor god who commands Petsuchoi.

Ra[edit]

  • The god Ra was portrayed by Jaye Davidson in the 1994 movie Stargate, in which he is depicted as a power-hungry alien being in the form of a young boy, who voyaged across the galaxy (galaxies in the movie) searching for a new host that could sustain his dying body. He arrived at Earth and discovered humanity, realizing with his technology he could sustain himself indefinitely in a human body. He took the persona of the god Ra, and ruled over earth for many millennia.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, one of the three Egyptian god cards is called "The Winged Dragon of Ra", which is most likely based upon Ra. Also, in the anime, there is a card called "Ra's Disciple".
  • In the online video game Heroes of Newerth, a hero named Amun-Ra is based on Ra.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, the creature Volcarona is heavily inspired in appearance by Hathor and an Atlas Moth, and in a religious aspect to Ra. In the Pokédex entry, a mythological account tells of a volcano's ash darkening the sun, and Volcarona's flames providing a replacement of light. Other facts such as its title as "Sun Pokémon", and the fact it dwells in-game within an abandoned sun temple in a desert, imply it is a solar deity akin to Ra.
  • In The Kane Chronicles, Ra is portrayed as the original king of the gods and when found and revived in The Throne of Fire, a senile old man. He eventually regains his sanity in the final book of the trilogy, The Serpent's Shadow in time to help defeat the main antagonist of the series, Apophis.

Set[edit]

Sobek[edit]

  • The statue on the island in the American TV show Lost is of Sobek.
  • The American death metal band Nile refer to Sobek/Sebek in several songs, the most obvious being "Sacrifice Unto Sebek" from their 2005 album Annihilation of the Wicked.
  • In the Egyptian-themed first person shooter game PowerSlave, there is a mystical artifact called the "Sobek Mask", which allows the bearer to breathe underwater.
  • A fictional supervillain published by DC Comics first appearing in 52 #26 (2006)
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game there is a card called "Sebek's Blessing" which is based upon Sobek
  • In the online video game League of Legends, a champion named Renekton is based on the god Sobek.
  • In season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 8 "Shadow" an artefact purchased by the character Glory is referenced as belonging to the cult of Sobek, who is referred to as a general 'god of reptiles' rather than just crocodiles. It is used as part of a transmogrification spell to turn a cobra into a giant snake monster capable of hunting The Key
  • In the British television series Primeval, in which a team investigate time portals that lead to prehistoric eras, it is implied that Sobek was in fact a Pristichampsus worshipped by the Egyptians.
  • He is also mentioned in the crossover story between Percy Jackson and the Olympians with The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan called 'The Son Of Sobek'

Taweret[edit]

  • Neopets features a Petpet named Tawaret.
  • In The Kane Chronicles, Tawaret is a hippo goddess and love interest of the god Bes. She aids the protaginists in locating Ra in The Throne of Fire and later leads an army of senile gods to their aid in The Serpent's Shadow. She later starts a relationship with Bes.

Thoth[edit]

  • In the Zone of the Enders series of games, the main Orbital Frame that the player controls is called Jehuty, whose name is derived from an alternate representation of Thoth's name, Djehuti.
  • In The Kane Chronicles, Thoth is depicted as the somewhat absent-minded god of Wisdom who aids the Kanes is discovering how to defeat Set in The Red Pyramid. In The Serpent's Shadow, he aids the Kanes in figuring out how to kill Apophis, but won't help them too much directly as its forbidden.

General Pantheon[edit]

In the Palladium Fantasy and Rifts role-playing games, both from Palladium Books, the Church of Light and Dark is based on the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, with Ra, Thoth, and Isis being chief among the gods of light and Set, Anubis, and Apepi being the chief gods of darkness.

In Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, history is re-imagined so mythological gods of Europe, Africa, and Asia were brought to the New World as ideas who manifest in physical form, and are waging a war against new gods. Mr. Ibis (Thoth) and Mr. Jacquel (Anubis) own a funeral parlor together in Cairo, Illinois, with their cat Bast (Bastet) and Horus.

The Mummy[edit]

  • The title character in the 1932 Universal horror film The Mummy is the reanimated Prince Imhotep, who uses the alias Ardeth Bay (an anagram of 'Death by Ra') who was renamed Mehemet Bey in later adaptations of The Mummy, but as a separate character from the monster himself.
  • The 1999 version of The Mummy, its sequel The Mummy Returns, and the spinoff film The Scorpion King delve deeper into the mystical aspects of Egyptian mythology than the original version did. Also, a "Magi" named Ardeth Bay, a reference to the original movie's alias for the reanimated Imhotep, helps the O'Connors fight the Mummy.
  • In League of Legends, a champion named Amumu is also based on The Mummy.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream (Joscelyn Godwin, translator). (London & New York: Thames & Hudson, 1999 and re-editions)
  2. ^ Joscelyn Godwin, Christian Chanel, and John Patrick Deveney, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. Historical and Initiatic Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism (York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1995)
  3. ^ Greer, Mary K. Women of the Golden Dawn. (Park Street, 1994) ISBN 0-89281-516-7.
  4. ^ Murat Shrine Temple history (official site), accessed Aug. 6, 2007