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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How Pharaohs Became Media Stars: Ancient Egypt and Popular Culture – The Past

How Pharaohs Became Media Stars: Ancient Egypt and Popular Culture

April 16, 2024


This new Archaeopress volume, with its eye-popping cover, is in effect a manifesto for 'Egypopcult', an emerging multi-disciplinary project studying ancient Egypt as reflected in contemporary popular culture, going beyond the use of Egyptian motifs, narratives, and characters from the pharaonic past. The authors argue that, with the rapid expansion of mass communication, we can no longer ignore the role and influence of historical fiction, comic books, television, animations, cinema, and video games in attracting people to Egyptianising themes – or the stereotypes that have been established by these 'cultural forces'. Video games alone – there are more than 300 based around ancient Egyptian themes – can recreate a realistic immersive world where the player becomes a direct participant in the events of the past. However, creators of pop culture can take considerable artistic and historical liberties for the sake of dramatic effect, which has a 'resounding impact' on collective perceptions of the past.

The authors argue that these cultural influences are important forms of reading and perceiving the Egyptian past, and should be part of Egyptological debate. Promoting such debate is the main aim of the project – together with the creation of a free online database of works of popular culture as a source for future research. This volume initiates the debate with a series of in-depth analyses of different forms of pop culture, including Sir Terry Pratchett's use of ancient Egypt to critique the modern world in his Discworld book Pyramids; the portrayal of Hatshepsut by Pauline Gedge in her novel Child of the Morning; and the sexuality of ancient Egypt in popular culture – in particular the fascination with Cleopatra as a femme fatale in films and video games.

How Pharaohs Became Media Stars: Ancient Egypt and Popular Culture  edited by Abraham I Fernández Pichel  Archaeopress Egyptology 48  Archaeopress, 2023  ISBN 978-1-80327-626-7  Paperback £45; Open-Access pdf free from
--   Sent from my Linux system.

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