I was listening to the Great Courses’ Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt – which I’ve mentioned before – and Dr. Brier is talking about the Tutankhamen expedition. He spoke of the life of Howard Carter, the man who led the excavation, and of his history in Egypt.
I have to say, that provided a lot of inspiration. This guy heads over to work in Egypt at the age of 17. He works cataloging, excavating, and he even loses a government job because he stood up for an Egyptian guard who had forcibly denied entrance to one of the tombs to a group of drunk French tourists.
This is all before he loses everything, and is picked up by Lord Carnarvon for that famous expedition.
Now, in my head, this is part of a mystical steampunk campaign. There are evil things living in the tombs of Egypt, set there to guard the dead. An interesting point that Dr. Brier made was that many of the mummies of the Pharaohs had been taken out of their tombs in the 20th or 21st Dynasty because the treasury of Egypt could no longer afford the guards. Perhaps in this setting, evil spirits are left in the tombs to punish grave robbers. Ever ingenious, the grave robbers find ways to release or trap these spirits.
After Carter stands up for his Egyptian guards, one of them – call him whatever you will, maybe Ahmed, which is supposed to be the most popular boy’s name in Egypt – who works for the ancient society that hunts down and destroys these spirits, brings Carter into his confidence.
So instead of making ends meet by painting landscapes for tourists, Carter and Ahmed become world-spanning mythic hunters – because so much of Egypt’s culture had been removed to foreign climes.
Yeah, that’d be pretty awesome.
You can find the Great Courses’ Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt here.
Most popular names in Egypt? I question its veracity, but who cares.