googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: The Egyptologist & the Mythologist parallel: Howard Carter versus Joseph Campbell


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Egyptologist & the Mythologist parallel: Howard Carter versus Joseph Campbell

Two men reached back over tens of centuries in search for ancient truths, and both were successful beyond their wildest dreams.
Joseph Campbell
One man followed his bliss, at one time during the Depression spending five years with nine hour days of independent reading, before writing his first solo book – The Hero with a Thousand Faces – which has endured as his most lasting masterpiece.
The other began his career at the tender age of seventeen, and then discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamen, and the beautiful golden mask of the young pharaoh, which is his most lasting contribution to Egyptology. 
The discovery in the Valley of Kings in Egypt was made after his financial backer had wearied of the lack of success, and given him money for one last season of digging:
He wired Carnarvon to come, and on 26 November 1922, with Carnarvon, Carnarvon's daughter, and others in attendance, Carter made the famous "tiny breach in the top left hand corner" of the doorway, and was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He did not yet know at that point whether it was "a tomb or merely a cache", but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked him if he saw anything, Carter replied: "Yes, wonderful things".
What drove these two men? A shared passion for the past, and a deep ambition to share the past
with the present.
Howard Carter
When Howard Carter entered the tomb of King Tut he carefully stepped over an alabaster cup, in the form of a white lotus, with petals carved in delicate relief around its surface, and with hieroglyphics spelling out a wish for a long life for the king.
These same words from King Tut's Wishing Cup (Carter's name for it) are engraved on Carter's gravestone:
May your spirit live,
May you spend millions of years,
You who love Thebes,
Sitting with your face to the north wind,
Your eyes beholding happiness.
Two men who brought the past forward for us to consider, and learn from.
Wishing Cup of King Tut

Pharaoh Tutankhamun gold mask

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