A glimpse into pharaoh’s tomb

Perhaps the most enduring of the legends is that of a living mummy and the curse of the pharaoh. Both are supposedly deadly to archaeologists who disturb the dead. Tales of living mummies began in the New Kingdom period (1550–1070 BCE) when the story of “Santi-Khamose and the Magician” (also called “Khaemwaset and the
Mummies”) was popular.

In the story, Prince Santi-Khamose or Khaemwaset wants to find the Scroll of Thoth, which has been buried in the tomb of another prince, Neferkaptah. When Santi-Khamose discovers the tomb, he disturbs the mummies
of Neferkaptah and his wife and children. He plays a series of board games with Neferkaptah and eventually wins all of the games and the scroll. However, once he has the scroll, the mummy of Neferkaptah warns him that it will
only bring him disaster. Santi-Khamose returns to Memphis but becomes involved with a woman who demands his wealth and that of all of his family in return for sexual favors.

To fulfill his needs, he kills his brother, nephews, and nieces but is discovered. He confesses all to the pharaoh,
who tells him the scroll is the cause of his troubles and to return it to the tomb, which he does. As he exits the tomb, a severe sandstorm covers the entrance for all time. Such tales from ancient Egypt were partially preserved in the books of Herodotus and in One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.

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