The Path to Public Service at SEAS


Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum


Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President


Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study


Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum



For unplumbed centuries of time Egypt has been a whet to the imagination and a conjuring-wand for dreams. Since the era of Joseph and Moses the land, half-shrouded in its veil of mysteries, has tinged with its own strange color the thoughts and actions of men. Antony learned there the subtle, inexpressible charm of the East; Napoleon and his army stood in awe before its pyramids; Shelley drew a moral philosophy from a fallen "Ozymandias"; and the modern world stands at the newly-opened tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen and finds therein another Renaissance.

Already Egypt is influencing fashions and thought today as the classic ideal permeated western civilization in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Egyptian exhibits have become the center of interest for those who have suddenly begun to throng the museums. The latest styles of dress, as the unfailing barometer of interest, are modeled upon Egyptian patterns. Scandal and murder have been driven from the front pages of the newspapers by the spell of Egyptology. Its influence on literature of a more lasting sort depends on the papyri yet hidden in the tomb; more details about the captivity of Israel--Tut-Ankh-Amen may have been the persecuting Pharaoh--and a new version of the Flood are among the discoveries anticipated. And the "Aten hereay" with Tut-Ankh-Amen as the religious hero, may open a literary field as stupendous as that of the Trojan War!

To some experts in sentiment it has seemed as irreverent thus to exhume with curiosity what was buried with honor as to disinter the bodies of the kings in Westminster Abbey. But, strangely enough, this prying into the past does not violate Egyptian tradition. The ancient faith released the spirit of the dead from the tomb after three thousand years; in the days of Martin Luther, then, the ghost of Pharaoh deserted the inner chamber, and only the mummy's empty shell remained.

And yet that empty shell has succeeded, perhaps, where Alexander and the Caesars failed. Domains more vast than he or they could ever conceive of have fallen under the power of a name. A resurrection not of the spirit, it is true, but certainly the greatest that flesh alone can know. To one of Egypt's lesser kings chance has given fame more widespread than any monument could offer. Perhaps Sir Walter Raleigh was wiser than he knew when he penned the words "O eloquent, just, and mighty Death!"

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.