Akhenaton’s many identities

Answers in Genesis has a new page entitled “Chapter 21: Akhenaten-and Nefertititi the Beautiful” . This is part of a series claiming to show “How Egyptian Archaeology confirms the Biblical Timeline.”

Naturally, the article doesn’t “confirm” anything of the kind, even for those who have never doubted for a moment that the Bible is a historical record of the early Jews rather than the writings of a god.

Indeed, it is rather cheering that AIG feel compelled to search out dull old scientific secular evidence. Blimey, it’s almost as if they suspect that all answers can’t be found in Genesis…..

My knowledge of the book of Genesis is close to absolute zero. Still, I would be surprised if it has a mention of Akhenaton and Nefertiti. My knowledge of Akhenaton and Nefertiti is hardly more comprehensive than my knowledge of Genesis, based as it is on Discovery Channel output and a liking for the beautiful sounds of their names.

Hence, I googled “akhenaton in genesis”, on the offchance that Google would come up with biblical Verse x that mentioned this specific Pharaoh. No luck with that project, as yet. But there are plenty of (hmm, what shall I call them, ah ..) original thinkers.

  • A book by Ralph Ellis claims that Adam and Eve were actually Akhenaton and Nefertiti.
  • Joseph Tasset claimed that Ahkenaton was Abraham.
  • Thomas Mann wrote a novel, Joseph and His Brothers, in which Abraham worked for Akhenaton. (Note that this has the decency to be a novel, rather than a wild claim, but the idea was apparently based on the work of 19th century German scholars)
  • In Moses and Monotheism, Sigmund Freud suggested that Moses was a follower of Akhenaton.
  • There’s a whole blog devoted to connecting Moses and Akhenaton. (I dare not mock, as it now seems that I am guilty of producing a blog post on the same demented topic) His or her theme is expressed in “Did Moses and the Ten Plagues Influence Akhenaten to Convert to Monotheism?” This certainly implies a belief that Akhenaton predated Moses.
  • The World of Jah has a complex comments discussion about whether Moses predated or post-dated Akhenaton.
    I am in awe at the detailed study of chronologies from thousands of years ago and am tempted to see this site as Answers in Exodus, which comes with the built-in advantages over its longer-established brother, AIG, of having a better soundtrack and no known currency with the religious right.

So far, Akhenaton has been revealed as Adam, Abraham, Abraham’s boss, a follower of Moses, and someone who was followed by Moses.

There may be a theme developing, here. All of Akhenaton’s noms de Bible start with A. Hmm. Might I lobby for Ajax, Alexander the Great, Aristotle and Archimedes? I know they’re not actually in the Old testament but they are really ancient.

I balk at reading the remaining 25,000 or so results. If you look for Answers in Genesis, it seems you may find many more than you bargained for, each one pretty well as valid as the next…..

Cleopatra Was Egyptian – Shock News!

Wow, breaking news brought to us by the BBC reveals that Cleopatra was, wait for it, of african descent! It seems that the in-depth research of the 1963 blockbuster Cleopatra was wrong and the queen of Egypt was not actually a white caucasian but was native to Eqgypt. Amazing claims like this needs some fantastic research. Fortunately the headline news on the BBC rewards us:

Cleopatra, the last Egyptian Pharaoh, renowned for her beauty, was part African, says a BBC team which believes it has found her sister’s tomb.

Wow. Knock me down with a feather. It gets better:

But remains of the queen’s sister Princess Arsinoe, found in Ephesus, Turkey, indicate that her mother had an “African” skeleton.
Experts have described the results as “a real sensation.”

Amazing. An African skeleton… How could Liz Taylor have got it so wrong only 45 years ago. Do we need to re-cast and re-film an entire generation of epic movies? Next you will be telling me Jesus wasn’t a tall, blue eyed, blonde haired Caucasian.

Actually, I cant keep it up. This is mind numbingly insane.

First off: Who is actually surprised that Egypt is in Africa? Seriously, anyone? This is a news item that basically says “Egyptian Queen is part African.” Is it really that quiet a news day? (no). This is the Online BBC news that ignored seven hours of riots and petrol bombs in Lurgan, Northern Ireland (despite coverage being in the newspapers). This is the online BBC news that is regularly a day behind unfolding events. It is obviously wasting too much time writing copy for the department of the BLOODY OBVIOUS.

Secondly: No one is disputing Cleopatra’s lineage coming from Alexander’s generals and being predominantly Greek. However, the idea that this remained purely Greek (Macedonian?) after the first generation is simply batshit insane. Yes there was a huge amount of inbreeding, and most royal marriages were with Greek nobles, but over 250 years without allowing locals into the bloodline is unlikely. That would have been news worthy.

Thirdly: In my limited archaological knowledge, WTF does “african bones” mean? Is this 19th century casual racism where its thought that the darkies have a different genetic makeup to us “white people?”  What on Earth is there about the bones that make them “african” rather than Egyptian or Greek? Seriously, WTF!

There has been some reluctance of late for this blog to attack the blinding madness that the BBC is pushing out, mainly because it puts us in the same camp as the Daily Wail, but this is a step too far.

The BBC has seriously lost any sense of what is, or isnt, news. This is thinly veiled advertising for a BBC program of dubious merit. Shame on the BBC and I want them to refund what ever portion of my licence fee went towards this drivel.

Egyptian cartoon

Life before death refers to a sort of online argument between a Swedish and an Egyptian cartoonist.

This is a pretty wierd story all round. What is it about Scandinavians and cartoons about Islam? How is that the Islamic world seems to be poring over Northern European newspapers and art shows?

I live in only slightly-less-Northern Europe and I couldn’t get my hands on a Norwegian or Danish or Swedish newspaper without getting on a plane.

And if I could, I couldn’t understand a word without some very serious Babelfishing.

Oh, I guess I’d just have to look at the cartoons then.

Which may explain why the Islamic world is on a hair-trigger with regard to any Scandinavian artworks that involve men with beards. For Freya’s sake, they could just stop having the Nordic press delivered every day and there wouldn’t be a problem.

One completely irrelevant thing about this debate is that the Egyptian lad is a genius cartoonist. The Swedish lad is outclassed here. (Yes, I AM too lazy to check the names and I want to sound a bit like a football commentator on this one) So, in my too-sceptical way, I thought. “Maybe this cartoonist is playing with the blogosphere to get some well-deserved exposure for his work”

I mean, if you are a cartoonist in the Islamic world, it must be difficult to go about your daily work of cartooning without offending someone. Then you look at the vast international exposure that comes to cartoonists from small Nordic countries that you probably never heard of before for doing a few uninspired but religiously offensive funnies.

Wouldn’t you say “I want some of that sweet fame”? You can’t actually produce an offensive-religious cartoon yourself. (After all, Salman Rushdie’s still in hiding well over a decade after writing an “offensive” novel and he lives in the non-Muslim world and has lots of wealthy and powerful friends…) But you can produce a cartoon that is meant to offend a Scandinavian cartoonist.

OK, the international cultural impact is a bit diminished by the Swedish lad being bowled over by the gratuitously offensive genius of the Egyptian lad’s cartooning and wanting to buy the work.

But it still sort of works. Those of us who would never have seen the Egyptian lad’s drawings have all seen them. And (despite some vitriolic abuse on their quality in the comments on Life before Death) we can all see he’s a world-class artist.

Give him a job on a Swediish newspaper, please. That’s got to be the perfect way to distribute your cartoons throughout the Muslim world.

And the Swedish lad strikes a blow for the Nordic good-natured rationality that we all love. Win win, really.

Be careful what you blog

Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman – an Egyptian student with the nom de blog “Kareem” – has been jailed for four years for insulting Islam and the Egyptian president, as reported by the BBC How depressing is that?

Here’s a brief summary of the BBC report. Abdel Soliman is a secularist, who was expelled from his University law studies for criticising religion. The University was responsible for reporting him to the police.

Mr Nabil had declared himself a secularist who does not fast during Ramadan and he criticised al-Azhar, the most prestigious institution of religious learning in the Sunni Muslim world.
He accused it of spreading radical ideas and suppressing freedom of thought.

Well, that’s certainly proved his point then.

The BBC claims that Egyptian bloggers have gained an influence that greatly outweighs their numbers and have been instrumental in exposing some true horrors carried out by the Egyptian state. This is rather humbling to the rest of us bloggers, who usually just about manage to expose what we think about the latest top-selling indie record.


If you were ever entranced by reading HP Lovecraft or Victorian horror stories as a kid you will know that the word “necropolis” has a fascinating but chilling power. ** This news item is for you.

A BBC reports archaeological discoveries in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo. It is estimated that only about a third of the finds in the site have been discovered.

These are three to four thousand year sold and include a carved wooden sarcophagus (another fantastic word) and the tombs of a royal scribe and a butler.
There are sketchy pictures on the BBC site but the paintings and carving still look amazing.

It seems a little ironic. Ancient Egyptian culture was so focussed on preparing for the afterlife that bodies and artefacts can revealed as fresh to us, who live almost an eternity, in human terms, after them.* So the technology was pretty effective, it’s just the god stuff that didn’t quite pan out.

Although, ancient Egyptian gods are generally pretty engaging, with their jackal heads, and so on. And they kept plenty of artists and builders in work. It’s a pity at least some of them aren’t still around.

* In fact, from the creationist perspective they might have almost predated the creation of the universe, unless I’ve mixed up whatever 4,000 years is. (Maybe it was 4,000 BC. I am buggered if I am going to pay enough attention to the rantings to find out) That makes it an actual eternity. It makes you wonder why the Abrahamic world-religion God started out with a people who didn’t even recognise him, let alone pay constant obeisance to him. You think he’d have demanded a few first-born son sacrifices or handed out rules cut into stone or something, not just damned them as unchosen.

**And yes, I know all that Victorian exotica and horror stuff was a mixture of imperialism and childlike fascination with the Orient. Edward Said was completely right to criticise it. And the Victorian distortion applies to all history, the Victorian story-telling that turned snippets of historical information into myths, (Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Vikings, and all). The knowledge doesn’t stop it having power over the imagination, though.