Chapters 19 - 23

On page 252: Nimrod tells the twins that he will set a trap for Iblis with the casket of Amenhophis III

Amenhotep III
(sometimes read as Amenophis III; meaning Amun is Satisfied) was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died. Amenhotep III was the son of Thutmose by Mutemwia, a minor wife of Amenhotep's father.
His lengthy reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendor, when Egypt reached the peak of her artistic and international power. A 2008 list compiled by Forbes magazine found Amenhotep III to be the twelfth richest person in human history. When he died (probably in the 39th year of his reign), his son reigned as Amenhotep IV, later changing his royal name to Akhenaten.

On page 254:

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

Shabti figurines
Shabtis are ancient Egyptian funerary figures that were placed inside the tomb of the deceased. Their function changed it time, from when they first appeared in the Middle Kingdom (around 2000 BC) till the end in the Ptolemaic period around 30 BC.
It started out in the Middle Kingdom as a representation of the deceased owner himself and as such where generally placed in a miniature coffin themselves.
During the Second Intermediate Period (around 1782 till 1570 BC) the use and quality of the shabtis declined. Among the few survivors of this period are mainly 17th dynasty so called “stick shabtis”, very crude wooden shabtis in a stick form, often inscribed in hieratic.
During the start of the New Kingdom (1570 BC) the shabtis were made in the best possibly quality, resulting from the wealth of the Egyptians in that period. At this point in time the numbers of shabtis increased till 10 to 40 shabtis per owner (even much more for members of the royal family and the pharao’s themselves) and their function started to change as well. Now they became the workers in the after life on behalf of the deceased owner. Since the ancient Egyptians believed that the after life would be similar to life in Egypt, they were afraid of having to work on the lands again in after life. The shabtis and funery servants were to replace the owner in performing these tasks. As such they were holding implements as hoes, waterpots, bricks and so on.
Click on the shabti collection to learn more...

On page 256: Mrs. Coer de Lapin mentions the Pyramids at Saqqara

Egypt.Saqqara.Panorama.01.jpg (or Sakkara, Saqqarah; Arabic: سقارة‎) is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step Pyramid, as well as a number of mastabas. Located some 30 km south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 km by 1.5 km.
At Saqqara, the oldest complete hewn-stone building complex known in history was built: Djoser's step pyramid, built during the third dynasty. 16 other Egyptian kings have built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High officials have added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times.
North of the area known as Saqqara lies Abusir; south lies Dahshur. The area running from Giza to Dahshur has been used as necropolis by the inhabitants of Memphis at different times, and it has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. The name Saqqara is possibly derived from Sokar, an ancient Egyptian funerary god.

On page 259: John looks at Mrs. Coer De Lapin's collection of scarab beetles.
A scarab, showing bottom with hieroglyphic story.
The Scarab artifacts of Ancient Egypt, based upon the Scarabaeidae family dung beetle, was the most popular amulet of ancient Egypt. In the ancient Egyption mythos, the sun (Ra) rolls across the sky each day and transforms bodies and souls. The dung beetle's rolling of dung into a ball for the purposes of laying eggs (which would be later transformed into larva) was seen as an earthly symbol of this heavenly cycle. This came to be iconographic, and ideological symbols were incorporated into Ancient Egyptian society.
Through different time periods, about 3000 years, the use of the scarab artifacts became many and varied. As amulets, and a flat surface on the bottom (as a similar artifact of a paper weight), it became a surface with other utilitarian purposes. Other nations and regions, especially in the Levant, even came to reproduce Egyptian styles, or to adapt their use to their own gods or personal uses. They were also found as grave goods, amulets, talismans, jewelry types, or gifts of affection.
The scarab as an artifact with Egyptian language details of its – presenter, recipient, or pharaonic timeframe, has become one of the instruments for piecing together information of a pharaonic reign, or dynastic relationships. Other items with a similar piece of a puzzle understanding in timelines are, graffitos, door jamb-(or other) minor inscriptions, labels from tomb offerings, ushabtis, etc.

Mrs. Coer de Lapin gives John a lesson on dung beetles on page 260 --

Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on faeces. All of these species belong to the superfamily Scarabaeoidea; most of them to the subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae of the family Scarabaeidae. This beetle can also be referred to as the scarab beetle. As most species of Scarabaeinae feed exclusively on faeces, that subfamily is often dubbed true dung beetles. There are dung-feeding beetles which belong to other families, such as the Geotrupidae (the earth-boring dung beetle). The Scarabaeinae alone comprises more than 5,000 species.
Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are noted for rolling dung into spherical balls, which are used as a food source or brooding chambers. Other dung beetles, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are usually attracted by the dung burrowing owls collect.

On page 262 Mrs. Coer de Lapin says, "the scarab beetle represented their sun god, Ra. Ra was the Eyptian god who rolled the sun across the sky and buried it each night. Just like the scarab beetle. These carved scarab beetles were supposed to give their owner the same characteristics as the scarab beetle." "The Egyptians admired the beetle's persistence in rolling a dung ball, as well as its ecological usefulness. It is a symbol of new life. Of resurrection, too, the way the beetle comes out of the ground."


On page 267, Iblis complains about having eaten Philippa's mouse and how he smells like an animal from the London Zoo.
London Zoo
is a favorite among animal lovers throughout the world. As one of the largest and oldest zoos in the world, the London Zoo sees thousands of visitors each year. The London Zoo is home to over 600 different animal species, many of which are quite rare. A popular choice for families in particular, a trip to the London Zoo UK is an excellent way to spend a day in London. The London Zoo UK is located at the northern end of Regent"s Park, near Camden in England. Transportation is convenient, and the London Tube makes frequent stops near the zoo.
The London Zoo UK was first opened in 1828, mainly as a place for scientists to study animals and collect data about various species. It was not opened to the public until 1847, and since that time pioneered many exhibits that are standard zoo features today. In 1949 the London Zoo opened the first-ever Reptile house; in 1953 the first Aquarium, in 1881 the first Insect House, and in 1938 the world's first Children's Zoo of its kind.
Animals in the London Zoo have also created one of the rarest collections of species in the world. The only living quagga ever to be photographed was in residence at the London Zoo until its death in 1883. A number of other animals in the London Zoo that are now extinct, such as the thylacine, were also photographed. The first hippopotamus to be viewed in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire was seen at the London Zoo in the 19th century. Author A.A. Milne found the inspiration for his beloved children's" series, Winnie the Pooh, when he visited an American Black Bear housed at the London Zoo with his son Christopher Robin.
The collection of animals in the London Zoo continues to be one of the most unique in the world. Rare birds, as well as a large group of penguins can be found at this zoo in England. An entire section for reptiles contains snakes, lizards, and many more cold blooded friends. Among some of the more unusual exhibits is the nocturnal exhibit, where special lights darken the area while also allowing guests to view the busy activity of the night loving creatures. Recent changes to this zoo in England are continuing to make the study of these animals as they behave in their natural habitat more possible and convenient, as the zoo expands and adds exhibits that replicate the homes these animals would make in the wild.

on page 269 Cesspit: Iblis threatens to throw the twins into the deepest cesspit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

What is a cesspit?
An old cess pool in Slovakia

In the UK a cesspit is a sealed tank for the reception and temporary storage of sewage; in America this is simply referred to as a "holding tank". Because it is sealed, the tank must be emptied frequently — in many cases as often as weekly. Because of the need for frequent emptying, the cost of maintenance of a cesspit can be very high.
In the United States, homeowners who live very close to rivers and environmentally sensitive areas are sometimes not allowed to install a septic system and instead must use a holding tank, in order to protect the watershed.
In many rural communities, sometimes the builder or installer of a cesspit will illegally breach the floor of the pit after the final inspection by building inspectors so as to allow liquid from the tank to escape into the ground. Such incidents can give rise to locally acute pollution and may contaminate the drinking water supplies of others. Using a cesspit in such a condition constitutes a criminal offence in the UK.


On page 284: "These are Sekhem scepters," she said. "Royal scepters used by Egyptian kings and high officials as a mark of authority, and waved over offerings at tombs to give power to the Ka of the person who was dead."

The Sekhem-scepter is a type of ritual scepter in ancient Egypt. It is a symbol of authority and is often incorporated in names and words associated with power and control. The sekhem-scepter (symbolizing "the powerful") is related to the hrp-scepter (symbolizing "the controller") and the aba-scepter (symbolizing "the commander"), which are all represented with the same hieroglyphic symbol. These scepters resembled a flat paddle on a papyrus-umble handle. Its symbolic role may have originated in Abydos as a fetish of Osiris. The shape of the scepter might have derived from professional tools.

On page 287: "It was the top part with the cartouche that was damaged."

In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oblong enclosure with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier serekh. The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu, and it was essentially an expanded shen ring. In Demotic, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of parentheses and a vertical line.
Of the five royal titularies it was the throne name, also referred to as prenomen, and the "Son of Re" titulary, the so-called nomen, i.e., the name given at birth, which were enclosed by a cartouche.
At times amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs. Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents. There were periods in Egyptian history when people refrained from inscribing these amulets with a name, for fear they might fall into somebody's hands conferring power over the bearer of the name

On page 289, "I know of only one Sekhem scepter from the Eighteenth Dynasty that exists outside of Cairo. And that is in the British Museum in London." (Nimrod refers to it as the BM)
Click on the museum to travel there in the blink of an eye

Six million people visit the British museum every year, making it London's greatest
tourist attraction. It was built in the first half of the nineteenth century, at a time
when Britain's empire building activities were putting more and more peoples
and lands under British control. This was also a period of incredible curiosity
in many different areas including science, technology and history.
The military and economic strength of the country allowed private
collectors and the government to amass first rate collections of artifacts
from many of the world's major civilizations, including the Rosetta stone
from Egypt, the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon in Greece,
statues and tablets from Mesopotamia as well as Maya
and other cultural items from Central America.

The Great Fire of San Franciso in 1906 was caused by Iblis and Eruption of Krakatoa by his father, Iblis Senior, according to Nimrod on page 299

The Great Fire of San Franciso in 1906:
Burning.jpgThe San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, CA and the coast of Northern California at 5:15 A.M. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.8; however, other values have been proposed, from 7.7 to as high as 8.25. The main shock epicenter occurred offshore about 2 miles (3 km) from the city, near Mussel Rock. It ruptured along the San Andreas Fault both northward and southward for a total of 296 miles (477 km). Shaking was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, and inland as far as central Nevada. The earthquake and resulting fire is remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States. The death toll from the earthquake and resulting fire, estimated to be above 3,000, is the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history.

The Eruption of Krakatoa, 1883:
Krakatoa_eruption_lithograph.jpgThe best-known eruption of Krakatua culminated in a series of massive explosions on August 26–27, 1883, which was among the most violent volcanic events in modern and recorded history.

With a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6, the eruption was equivalent to 200 megatons (MT) of TNT—about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the Little Boy bomb (13 to 16 kT) that devastated Hiroshima, Japan during World War II and four times the yield of the Tsar Bomba (50 MT), the largest nuclear device ever detonated.
The 1883 eruption ejected approximately 21 cubic kilometres (5.0 cu mi) of rock, ash, and pumice.
The cataclysmic explosion was distinctly heard as far away as Perth in Western Australia, about 1,930 miles (3,110 km) away, and the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, about 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away.
Near Krakatua, according to official records, 165 villages and towns were destroyed and 132 seriously damaged, at least 36,417 (official toll) people died, and many thousands were injured by the eruption, mostly from the tsunamis that followed the explosion. The eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatoa.

Groanin parks the Rolls in Montagu Place on page 299. The Great Russel Street entrance of the BM is also noted by Groanin as he recalls his run-in with a tiger that had run amok in the Reading Room of the BM
Click on Montagu Place to visit

The Great Russel Street entrance to the BM

On page 302: Nimrod calls his Venetian glass bottle home the Grotti Palace and mentions that the twins probably won't get his joke. Well, neither did I.
Was he referring to the Grotto Palace?

Grotto pavilion in Catherine park of Tsarskoe Selo (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

On page 303: On page 303 CCTV Surveillance_cameras.jpg

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors.
It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point to point wireless links. CCTV is often used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, casinos, airports, military installations, and convenience stores.
In industrial plants, CCTV equipment may be used to observe parts of a process from a central control room; when, for example, the environment is not suitable for humans. CCTV systems may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a particular event. A more advanced form of CCTV, utilizing Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), provides recording for possibly many years, with a variety of quality and performance options and extra features (such as motion-detection and email alerts).
Surveillance of the public using CCTV is particularly common in the UK, where there are reportedly more cameras per person than in any other country in the world. There and elsewhere, its increasing use has triggered a debate about security versus privacy.

On page 304: Titanic and Princess Amen - Ra

At the time of her construction, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world.
Titanic_southhampton.jpgShortly before midnight on 14 April 1912, four days into the ship's maiden voyage, Titanic hit an iceberg and sank two hours and forty-eight minutes later, early on 15 April 1912. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 1,517 of the 2,223 people on board, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The high casualty rate was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship did not carry enough lifeboats for everyone aboard. The ship had a total lifeboat capacity of 1,178 people, although her maximum capacity was 3,547. A disproportionate number of men died due to the women-and-children-first protocol that was followed.
The Titanic used some of the most advanced technology available at the time and was popularly believed to have been described as "unsinkable." It was a great shock to many that, despite the extensive safety features, the Titanic sank. The frenzy on the part of the media about Titanic's famous victims, the legends about the sinking, the resulting changes to maritime law, and the discovery of the wreck have contributed to the continuing interest in, and notoriety of, the Titanic.

amen-ra.jpgAnother suggested source of a Titanic "curse" is the Princess Amen-Ra who lived in 1050 B.C. According to legend after her discovery in the 1890s in Egypt, purchaser after purchaser of the mummy ran into serious misfortune including bankruptcy and other serious injuries and several deaths. The mummy was donated to the British Museum where it continued to cause mysterious problems for visitors and staff. The mummy was eventually purchased by journalist William Thomas Stead who dismissed the claims as quirks of circumstance; though he did arrange for the mummy to be hidden under the body of his car for fear that it would not be taken aboard the ship because of its reputation. He reportedly revealed to other passengers the presence of the mummy the night before the accident. The mummy itself was placed in the first-class cargo hold. However, eyewitness accounts report that, once the Captain gave the order to abandon ship, the mummy appeared on deck. This is another urban legend as the British Museum never received the mummy, only the lid of its sarcophagus which is on display at the museum. Additionally, except during war and special exhibits abroad, the coffin lid has not left the Egyptian room.

cats.jpgOn page 305: John asks why anyone would want to mummify an eel? Mummified animals
The ancient Egyptians mummified more than just human corpses. Animals were viewed not only as pets, but as incarnations of gods. As such, the Egyptians buried millions of mummified cats, birds, and other creatures at temples honoring their deities.
Because of the sheer scale of animal mummy production, many archaeologists thought the vast majority were churned out in relatively slipshod fashion. But a new study suggests the mummification techniques ancient Egyptians used on animals were often as elaborate as those they employed on the best-preserved human corpses.

Mummified eel, snake, and baboon

On page 309: Baboon (chaeropithecus) and on page 312 the baboon is referred to as "Babi."

babi-baboon-god-at-tanis.jpgBabi was a fierce, bloodthirsty baboon god who was ancient even in the realm of Egyptian gods. We find him mentioned as early as the Old Kingdom, when Babi "bull (i.e. dominant male) of the baboons" with his supernatural aggression is an attribute to which the monarch aspires. He controls the darkness and will open up the sky for the king.
Ancient Egyptians believed that spells are needed to protect oneself against him, particularly during the weighing of the heart ceremony in the Hall of the Two Truths. where a person's fitness for paradise is determined. Conversely Babi can use his immense power to ward off dangers like snakes and control turbulent waters.

On page 311: Harry Houdini: Akhenaten mentions that he was once summoned during a seance by Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926, born Erik Weisz later spelled Ehrich Weiss) was a Hungarian American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer. He also was a famous skeptic who set out to expose frauds purporting to be supernatural phenomena.

On page 314: Philippa mentions the "ankh, which is the sign of life."

The ankh ('key of life', 'the key of the Nile', 'crux ansata') was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "eternal life", a triliteral sign for the consonants ˁ-n-ḫ. Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest.

On page 319: Apulian Vase: John places the canopic jar containing Nimrod and Akhenaten in the place originaly held by the Apulian vase.
Apulian vase painting was the leading South Italian vase painting tradition between 430 and 300 BC. Of the circa 20,000 surviving specimens of Italian red-figure vases, about half are from Apulian production, while the rest are from the four other centres of production, Paestum, Campania, Lucania and Sicily.
The main production centre for Apulian vases was at Taras, the only large Greek polis in Apulia. Two styles, the "Plain Style" and the "Ornate Style" (sometimes "Rich Style") are distinguished. The first largely eschews additional colouring and was mostly used for the decoration of bell kraters, colonet kraters and smaller vessels. Their decoration is quite simple, the pictorial compositions usually include one to four figures (e.g., works by Sisyphus Painter, Tarporley Painter). The motifs focus on mythical subjects, but also include women's heads, warriors in scenes of battle or departure, and dionysiac thiasos imagery. The backs usually have images of cloaked youths. After the middle of the fourth century, the simple style became increasingly similar to the ornate one (see, e.g., the Varrese Painter.

On page 321: The Portland Vase (Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats) John and Philippa spend a night at the BM in the Portland Vase.


The Portland Vase is a Roman cameo glass vase, currently dated to 5-25AD, which served as an inspiration to many glass and porcelain makers from about the beginning of the 18th century onwards. Since 1945 the vase has belonged to the British Museum in London (reference - GR 1945,0927.1) ; on display in Room 70, Rome: City & Empire).
The vase is about 25 centimetres high and 56 in circumference. It is made of violet-blue glass, and surrounded with a single continuous white glass cameo depicting seven figures (humans and gods).
On the bottom was a cameo glass disc, also in blue and white, showing a head, presumed to be of Paris or Priam on the basis of the Phrygian cap it wears. This roundel clearly does not belong to the vase, and has been displayed separately since 1845. It may have been added to mend a break in antiquity or after, or the result of a conversion from an original amphora form (paralleled by a similar blue-glass cameo vessel from Pompeii) - it was definitely attached to the bottom from at least 1826.

Philippa reads this poem to John as they sit inside the Portland Vase.

Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thou express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal - yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.