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Is Stephen Sommers’ “The Mummy” Historically Accurate?

The Mummy was a huge hit in 1999, with most of the filming done on-location. By adopting this approach, the film looks and feels authentic, which is one of the main reasons why it was so successful. It’s also known for being historically accurate, with fictitious elements added for effect.

The Portrayal of Ancient Egypt 

Ancient Egypt has been a hot topic for filmmakers for quite some time now. Many movies have been created over the years, and there are even games based on the theme. The Egyptians can be played as a civilization in the Age of Empires, and you can also play Sahara Riches: Cash Collect, which features symbols such as scimitars, jewels, and camels. Other games include Pharaoh’s Fortune and Scarab Slot. With Egypt being such an interesting location with rich history and lore, it’s not surprising to see that it’s such a huge focus for modern media. 

With that being said, sometimes movies like to stretch the truth for dramatic effect. In the instance of The Mummy, although there are some fictional scenes, it does have a lot of historical accuracy. Imhotep, in the first act, is cursed and is mummified alive. The priests who perform the mummification are wearing jackal masks, and there’s evidence of this being practiced in real life. An ancient Anubis mask was found in England, made out of cartonnage. It was owned by Benjamin Kent, before being moved to The Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate. A ceramic Anubis mask has also been discovered in Germany. The masks were likely buried with the priest who wore them. Hamunaptra, the city in the movie, is fictional, but it is based on other civilizations throughout history.

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The Medjay Were a Real Group of People

The Medjay that are portrayed in the movie are also real people. They lived in the desert that spanned between the Red Sea and Egypt. They worked as traders but were also skilled fighters.  They were known for protecting tombs and royal palaces in Thebes, with each unit having a captain. Chiefs of the Medjay were responsible for maintaining order and held Egyptian names, even though a lot of them came from different parts of Africa. They were seen as elite people but eventually died out.

Other historically accurate parts of the movie include the Book of the Dead, which allows characters holding the book to bring people back from the dead using spells. It resurrected Imhotep from the dead in the movie, for example. However, according to historical reports, it served a very different purpose in real life. The Book of the Dead, according to Egyptian culture, was a guide to help people reach the afterlife. Text from it was even added to King Tutankhamun’s golden mask. 

Overall, The Mummy does take a lot of facts from historical accounts and portrays them in the movie very well. From the Book of the Dead to the Medjay and even the way that Imhotep was bandaged up in the first scene, it’s safe to say that the writers did their research. A lot of the movie also had fictional elements sprinkled in, such as Hamunaptra and the resurrection of ancient warriors. This was, of course, to try and make it more engaging for viewers. Nevertheless, when you break it all down, the historical accuracies are impressive, and it’s quite possibly the reason why the movie did so well at the box office.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.

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