Session 3: Chapters 11-14

Tower_of_Babel.jpgThe Tower of Babel:

The Tower of Babel: according to the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built at the city of Babylon (Hebrew: Babel, Akkadian: Babilu), a cosmopolitan city typified by a confusion of languages, also called the "beginning" of Nimrod's kingdom. According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, participated in the building. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens."
However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was instead dedicated to the glory of man, to "make a name" for the builders." Some believe that God, seeing what the people were doing, came down and confused their languages and scattered the people throughout the earth. (Other biblical references are also made to Semiramus, Tammuz, Samson and Delilah, Sheba and King Solomon.

Anthony and Cleopatra: at Huamai's perfumery and camel shop, Nimrod makes mention of Antony and Cleopatra...
Egyptian Queen Cleopatra
Cleopatra VII Philopator
(in Greek, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; January 69 BC – August 12, 30 BC) was the last effective pharaoh of Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty. She originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes and later with her brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she also married, but eventually gained sole rule. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Gaius Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated her son with Caesar, Caesarion, to co-ruler in name.
After Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar's legal heir Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian (later known as Augustus). With Antony she bore a set of twins, Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. After losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra soon followed suit, according to tradition killing herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC

The Great Pyramid of Giza, in 2005. Built c. 2560 BC, it is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis.
Giza Pyramids: Giza is most famous as the location of the Giza Plateau: the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including a complex of ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples.

Piastres.jpgThe piastre or piaster was a unit of currency. It was originally equal to one silver dollar or peso, served as the major unit of currency of French Indochina (present-day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), and in the Ottoman Empire.

On page 135, Nimrod pays Toeragh with banknotes, called "piastres."

abusir1.jpgOn page 138, the twins are left at Abu Sir to observe the rite of Tammuz in the desert.
Abu Sir:

Click on the picture to visit the Light Show
Son et lumiere at the Pyramids:

The legendary Sound and Light shows are playing at world renowned Pyramids of Giza, Temples of Karnak, Philae and Abu Simbel; four of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Their historical and cultural values are simply beyond description. Latest lighting, laser and projection technologies are utilized to visualize mysteries of the Pharonic civilization. Every year, hundreds of thousands attend these magnificent spectaculars to relive the legend.

Jeanie.jpgSix Tribes of Djinn: According to the fable six types of supernatural beings live on the plane of Rabiah: the True Djinn, Djann, Efreet, Nekrataal, Marid and Ghoul. Since Djinn is both the name for all six of them and the name of one specific group, the term "Djinn Tribes" is used when talking about the six of them together and "True Djinn" for the sub-group, to avoid confusion. Most of the djinn tribes are only native to Rabiah, but they often cross over to planes that have steady portals to Rabiah, such as Wildfire and Dominaria. All members of the djinn tribes have the ability to shapeshift and most of them can fly.
On page 148: Nimrod talks about the 6 Tribes: The Marid, The Jinn, and the Jann are good; while the Ifrit, the Shaitan, and the Ghul are evil.

On page 166, At Mrs. Coer de Lapin's picnic lunch, some of the following food are served, which may or may not be familiar to you. Would you have tried any of them? Or would you rather make them disappear?

Foi gras:

Foie_gras_en_cocotte.jpgFoie gras (pronounced /fwɑːˈɡrɑː/ in English; French for "fat liver") is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is typically achieved through gavage (force-feeding) corn, according to French law, though outside of France it is rarely produced using natural feeding. Pâté de foie gras was formerly known as "Strasbourg pie" in English due to that city being a major producer of this food product.
Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavour is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté (the lowest quality), and is often served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak.

7 different kinds of caviar
is the processed, salted roe (fish eggs) of certain species of fish, most notably the sturgeon (black caviar) and the salmon (red caviar). It is commercially marketed worldwide as a delicacy and is eaten as a garnish or a spread; for example, with hors d'œuvres.


truffle.jpgA truffle (pronounced /ˈtrʌfəl/) is a fungal fruiting body that develops underground and relies on mycophagy for spore dispersal. Almost all truffles are ectomycorrhizal and are therefore usually found in close association with trees.
There are hundreds of species of truffles, but the fruiting body of some (mostly in the genus Tuber) are highly prized as a food. The 18th-century French gastronome Brillat-Savarin called these truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Spanish, northern Italian and Croatian cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.

Plover's eggs:

plover.jpgPlovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae. They are known to dive in lakes looking for fish. There are about 40 species in the subfamily, most of them called "plover" or "dotterel". The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, comprises another 20-odd species.
Plovers are found throughout the world, and are characterized by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do.
They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups

FrenchwomanOn page 167, Mrs. Coer de Lapin calls Philippa, "ma cherie."
In French this means, "My darling," or "My love."

bluenilelily.jpgAt Mrs. Coer de Lapin's has blue Nile Lilies growing her flower beds.

Rich blue flowers suitable for containers or borders on tall stems above strap like foliage make this native of South Africa a must have for your garden. Strong plants supplied in 5 Litre containers. Position: full sun Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil Rate of growth: average Flowering period: July to September Flower colour: shades of blue Other features: excellent cut-flowers; the flowers are followed by ornamental seed heads Hardiness: frost hardy Garden care: Keep well-watered during the growing season, applying a balanced liquid fertiliser each month from spring until the plant flowers. In cold, exposed areas protect the crown of the plant with a deep, dry winter mulch. Eventual height: 75cm Eventual spread: 45cm

n Chapter 14, Hussein Hussaout is smoking something that smells like strawberry from a water pipe. The picture to the right will give you an idea what this smoking device must have looked like.

On page 173: Hussein says "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." This is actually from song.

Tuthankhamun_Egyptian_Museum.jpgNimrod sits down on a throne that is a copy of the one from the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Cairo Museum.

Tutankhamun or King Tut (alternately spelled with Tutenkh-, -amen, -amon), Egyptian twt-ˁnḫ-ı͗mn; tVwa:t-ʕa:nəx-ʔaˡma:n (1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled 1333 BC – 1324 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun". Often the name Tutankhamun was written Amen-tut-ankh, meaning "living image of Amun", due to scribal custom which most often placed the divine name at the beginning of the phrase in order to honor the divine being. He is possibly also the Nibhurrereya of the Amarna letters. He was likely the 18th dynasty king 'Rathotis' who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus's version of Manetho's Epitome.
The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's intact tomb received worldwide press coverage and sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask remains the popular face.
Tutankhamun was nine years old when he became pharaoh and reigned for approximately ten years. In historical terms, Tutankhamun's significance stems from his rejection of the radical religious innovations introduced by his predecessor Akhenaten and that his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was discovered by Carter almost completely intact — the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found. As Tutankhamun began his reign at such an early age, his vizier and eventual successor Ay was probably making most of the important political decisions during Tutankhamun's reign.
Tutankhamun was one of the few kings worshiped as a god and honored with a cult-like following in his own lifetime. A stela discovered at Karnak and dedicated to Amun-Re and Tutankhamun indicates that the king could be appealed to in his deified state for forgiveness and to free the petitioner from an ailment caused by wrongdoing. Temples of his cult were also built as far away as in Kawa and Faras in Nubia. The title of the sister of the Viceroy of Kush included a reference to the deified king indicative of the universality of his cult.

On page 174, The twins walk through Hussein Hussaout's shop and see tiny sarcophagi
Stone sarcophagus of Pharaoh Merenptah.
A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos (λιθος σαρκοφάγος) the word came to refer to the limestone that was thought to decompose the flesh of corpses interred within it.

"Inside each sarcophagus was a perfect facsimile of a bandage-wrapped mummy." -- Page 174

An Egyptian Mummy kept in the Vatican Museums

mummy is a corpse whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness, very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs. Presently, the oldest discovered (naturally) mummified human corpse dated as 6,000 years old and was found in 1936. Mummies of humans and other animals have been found throughout the world, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, and as cultural artifacts to preserve the dead.

souvenier.jpgHussein Hussaout is a Curio Dealer. What is this? What does "curio" mean?

Main Entry: cu·rio
Pronunciation: \ˈkyr-ē-ˌō\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural cu·ri·os
Etymology: short for curiosity
Date: 1849 : something (as a decorative object) considered novel, rare, or bizarre : curiosity; also : an unusual or bizarre person

The Seven Tribes of Djinn
Ifrit: The evil "Ifrit" are called “the seed of Iblees” in One Thousand and One Nights. The djinn or jinn’s power of possession was also addressed, and it is said that by taking seven hairs out of the tail of a cat that was all black except for a white spot on the end of its tail, and then burning the hairs in a small closed room with the possessed filling their nose with the scent, this would release them from the spell of the jinn inside them.
The Spirit of the Lamp in the story of Aladdin, a familiar djinn to the Western world, was such a jinni, having been bound to an oil lamp. Ways of summoning jinn were told in The Thousand and One Nights: by writing the name of God in Hebrew characters on a knife and drawing a diagram, with strange symbols and incantations around it.
Marid: Nimrod is the leader of the Marid.

arabian_nights_001.jpgIblis, Maymunah, Al Dimiryat, Dahnash and the Ifrits -- Hussein mentions that Iblis and the others have been to see him. These are all characters in The Book of a Thousand Nights

Ifrit, also spelled efreet, also ifreet, afrit, afreet (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) are a class of infernal jinn, spirits below the level of angels and devils, noted for their strength and cunning. An ifrit is an enormous winged creature of fire, either female or male, who lives underground and frequents ruins. According to some, Ifrits live in a society structured along ancient Arab tribal lines, complete with kings, tribes, and clans.
Ifrits generally marry one another, but they can also marry humans. While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them. As with the jinn, an ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever, good or evil, but he is most often depicted as a wicked and ruthless being.
Iblis is the name for the devil in the Qur'an. Although the term "devil" comes from the Greek diabolos, the Muslims derived the name from the Arabic, balasa, "he despaired," which can be interpreted "despaired of the mercy of God."
"When it was the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the name of the Jinniyah in question was Maymunah (Meymooneh), daughter of Al-Dimiryat; a renowned King of the Jann..."
"...So Dahnash replied, O my mistress, thy command shall be obeyed..."

The Royal Tomb of Akhenaten (Iblis seeks Hussein Hussaout because he believes he is in possession of some information regarding the "lost tomb of Akhenatent." Page 176

Scene from the tomb of Akhenaten

The Royal Tomb of Akhenaten is the burial place of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, in the Royal Wadi in Amarna.

A flight of twenty steps, with a central inclined plane leads to the door and a long straight descending corridor. Halfway down this corridor a suite of unfinished rooms (perhaps intended for Nefertiti). The main corridor continues to descend, and to the right again a second suite of rooms branches off.
The corridor then descends via steps into an ante-room, and then to the pilared burial chamber where his granite sarcophagus sat in a slight dip in the floor. It was decorated by carvings of Nefertiti acting as a protective goddess, and by the ever present sun-disks of the Aten.
The second suite of three chambers (referred to as Alpha, Beta and Gamma) are believed to be used for the burial of Meketaten, Akhenaten's second daughter. Two of the chambers (Alpha and Gamma) are decorated and depict very similar scenes: in the Alpha chamber Akhenaten and Nefertiti bend over the inert body of a woman,
Reconstructed sarcophagus
weeping and gripping each other's arms for support. Nearby a nurse stands with a baby in her arms, accompanied by a fan-bearer, which indicates the baby's royal status. The names in the scene have been hacked out. In the Gamma chamber a very similar scene is shown; here the hieroglyphs identify the dead young woman as Meketaten. In the same chamber another scene shows Meketaten standing under a canopy which is usually associated with childbirth but can also interpreted as representing the rebirth of the princess. In front of her, amongst courtiers, stand Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their three remaining daughters, Meritaten, Ankhesenpaaten and Neferneferuaten Tasherit. The presence of a royal baby causes many to believe the young princess died in childbirth (in this case the father is most likely to have been Akhenaten himself, marrying his daughter), but it cannot be proven.Large amounts of the decoration have been destroyed by flooding. His body was probably removed after the court returned to Thebes, and reburied somewhere in the Valley of the Kings. His sarcophagus was destroyed, but has since been reconstructed — and now sits in the car park of the Cairo Museum.

On page 176-- Nimrod mentions the key to the Netjer Tablet. I could not find such a thing (although that does not mean it does not exist). However, I did find this out about the term, "Netjer.


Click on Thoth to learn more about the Egyptian gods
The Egyptian word that is translated into English as “god” is netjer. This word is written with a hieroglyph resembling a yellow flag on a green flagpole. The etymology of the word “netjer” is uncertain. We know it corresponds roughly to the word “god” because in the Ptolemaic period (332–30 B.C.E. ) of Egyptian history, bilingual decrees in Greek and Egyptian translate the Egyptian netjer with the Greek word for god, theos . A detailed examination of Egyptian texts reveals that the word netjer has a far wider frame of reference than the English “god.” The word could also refer to the Egyptian king, certain living animals, and to dead people or animals. The one thing every entity referred to as “netjer” had in common was that it was the object of a ritual, or received some sort of offerings during a ritual. When viewed in this light, there are five classes of beings that the Egyptians called “netjer.” First are those beings modern-day theologians would call gods. They were created as netjer from the beginning, and did not acquire the status at a later date. For them, ritual served to maintain and preserve their status as gods, much as food allows a person to maintain the status of a living being. These beings received daily rituals and offerings in the temples and shrines throughout Egypt. Next are those beings that acquired the status of netjer through undergoing a ritual at some time after their birth. These entities fall into two categories: those who undergo a ritual and therefore become a netjer while living, and those who become a netjer after death. In the first category are the kings of Egypt and certain sacred animals. The king, at his accession, underwent a coronation ritual and as a result acquired the status of netjer. In addition to the king, the Egyptians viewed certain animals as being special manifestations of particular gods, usually based on the presence of special markings or characteristics. These animals also underwent a ritual which inducted them into the category of netjer and made them instruments through which a particular god could make his presence manifest. The last category of beings that were considered to be netjer is those beings that underwent a ritual, and hence became netjer, after death. The funerary ritual had the effect of turning every deceased Egyptian for whom it was practiced into a netjer. The dead person would become an akh , the Egyptian word for a glorified spirit, and would be the recipient of offerings of food and drink from his family members. Finally, animals belonging to particular species that were kept at Egyptian temples would be mummified and buried at death, conferring on them the status of netjer.

On page 177 -- Hussaout mentions a map of Medinet el-Fayyum and the surrounding area.
(P. 214-- "...a largish town to the west of the great River Nile.")
Medinet.jpgFAYUM, a mudiria (province) of Upper Egypt, having an area of 490 sq. m. and a population (1907) of 441,583. The capital, Medinet el-Fayyum, is 81 m. S.S.W. of Cairo by rail. The Fayum proper is an oasis in the Libyan Desert, its eastern border being about 15 m. west of the Nile. It is connected with that river by the Bahr Yusuf, which reaches the oasis through a gap in the hills separating the province from the Nile Valley. Southwest of the Fayum, and forming part of. the mudiria, is the Gharak depression. Another depression, entirely barren, the Wadi Rayan, covering 280 sq. m., lies west of the Gharak. The whole region is below sea-level, and save for the gap mentioned is encircled by the Libyan hills. The lowest part of the province, the north-west end, is occupied by the Birket el Kerun, or Lake of the Horns, whose surface level is 140 ft. below that of the sea. The lake covers about 78 sq. m.

Differing from the typical oasis, whose fertility depends on water obtained from springs, the cultivated land in the Fayum is formed of Nile mud brought down by the Bahr Yusuf. From this channel, 15 m. in length from Lahun, at the entrance of the gap in the hills, to Medina, several canals branch off and by these the province is irrigated, the drainage water flowing into the Birket el Kerun. Over 400 sq. m. of the Fayum is cultivated, the chief crops being cereals and cotton. The completion of the Assuan dam by ensuring a fuller supply of water enabled 20,000 acres of land, previously unirrigated and untaxed, to be brought under cultivation in the three years 1903-1905. Three crops are obtained in twenty months. The province is noted for its figs and grapes, the figs being of exceptionally good quality. Olives are also cultivated. Rose trees are very numerous and most of the attar of roses of Egypt is manufactured in the province. The Fayum also possesses an excellent breed of sheep. Lake Kerun abounds in fish, notably the bulli (Nile carp), of which considerable quantities are sent to Cairo.

Medinet el-Fayyum (or Medina), the capital of the province, is a great agricultural center, with a population which increased from 26,000 in 1882 to 37,320 in 1907, and has several large bazaars, mosques, baths and a much-frequented weekly market. The Bahr Yusuf runs through the town, its banks lined with houses. There are two bridges over the stream: one of three arches, which carries the main street and bazaar, and one of two arches over which is built the Kait Bey mosque. Mounds north of the town mark the site of Arsinoe, earlier Crocodilopolis, where was worshiped the sacred crocodile kept in the Lake of Moeris. Besides Medina there are several other towns in the province, among them Senuris and Tomia to the north of Medina and Senaru and Abuksa on the road to the lake, all served by railways. There are also, especially in the neighbourhood of the lake, many ruins of ancient villages and cities. The Fayum is the site of the Lake of Moeris (q.v.) of the ancient Egyptians - a lake of which Birket el Kerun is the shrunken remnant.