A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

King Amenhotep II Has Lost a Toe

It's a tense week in Egypt, and things are rough even for long-dead royalty. King Amenhotep II (1427-1401 BC, seventh Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty) has lost the big toe on his right foot. This has occurred, we are told, "four months after maintenance was carried out on the royal mummy." (I do not know, and am by no means sure I want to know, what "maintenance" on a mummy  may involve.)

Al-Ahram Online
The toe has apparently fallen off. and the authorities in the Egyptian Museum (where the royal mummies reside) intend to investigate what may have caused the toe to fall off.

Amenhotep II in younger days
Amenhotep II may not be the most prominent of the pharaohs on display, and even the dates of his reign as given above vary according to some chronologies, but I've often felt that the display of the royal mummies is pretty much unique in that they allow us to look at the great rulers lf antiquity — not just at their portraits or statuary, but at their actual faces, if rather dessicated —something we cannot do with the Emperors of Rome or China. The great warrior pharaohs of the 18th and 19th dynasties (Thutmose III, Amenhotep II's father, and Ramses II among them) still stare up at us thousands of years after their death. Doubtless a case in the museum is not quite the eternal resting place they expected, but there they reside.

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