NEST318

Ancient Egypt has fascinated people and inspired popular culture for the last two millennia. Egyptian architectural forms (such as pyramids and temples) saw a revival in modern buildings of the 19th and 20th c.; obelisks can be found in abundant numbers on cemeteries and as memorials. Egyptian-themed movies – like the “Mummy” sequels –, operas and works of art have fueled modern imagination. Many philosophical, esoteric and religious movements such as the Freemasons, the Mormons or Neo-Pagan cults claim to perpetuate ancient Egyptian religion and wisdom. Starting with the discovery of ancient Egypt in the Napoleonic expedition of 1789, this fascination was fostered by ongoing archaeological discoveries, such as the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922; however, much modern Egyptomania is parallel to and often independent from scientific research, producing political and pseudo-scientific claims. This class will provide a survey of this “Egyptomania” from the ancient Greeks to modern esotericism.