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Egyptian Theme

Egyptian Flag
The Egyptian Flag
Capital (and largest city)Cairo
Official LanguageArabic
Independence from United KingdomFebruary 28, 1922
Republic declaredJune 18, 1953
Land Area1,002,450 km2 (30th)
387,048 mi2
Population (Nov 2008)75,500,662 (16th)

Egypt is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Western Asia. Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world’s most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx—and is the focus of this theme. The theme came about when I (Green Tortuga here) stumbled onto the image of the hieroglyphics that I then used as the background image. It was from a free clip art site—I was actually looking for a Christmas icon I could carve!—but I really liked the image and decided to incorporate it into a full-fledged theme. Naturally, an Egyptian theme seemed most appropriate for a hieroglyphics background. Egypt seemed like a yellowish country—lots of desert in that area, after all—so I copied the Father’s Day theme then twisted it into the Egyptian theme you see today. =)

When it comes to ancient Egyptians, you’ve probably heard of King Tut (1341 BC — 1323 BC), or more officially, Tutankhamun. He wasn’t necessarily the most noteworthy of Egyptian pharohs, and in fact was largely forgotten until the discovery of his tomb by Howard Carter on February 16, 1923. What made this find significant was the fact that it was the most complete ancient Egyptian tomb ever discovered.

The cause of King Tut’s death is unclear, and is still the root of much speculation. The body was first inspected by Howard Carter’s team in the early 1920s, although they were primarily interested in recovering the jewelry and amulets from the body. To remove these objects from the body, which often were stuck fast by the hardened embalming resins used, Carter’s team cut up the mummy into various pieces: the arms and legs were detached, the torso cut in half and the head was severed. Hot knives were used to remove it from the golden mask to which it was cemented by resin.

King Tut’s Mask
Mask of King Tut’s mummy

Tutankhamun’s age at death was estimated to be 19 years old. On March 8, 2005, archaeologists revealed the results of a CT scan performed on the pharaoh’s mummy. The scan uncovered no evidence suggesting foul play. There was a hole in the head, but it appeared to have been drilled, presumably by embalmers. A fracture to Tutankhamun’s left thighbone was interpreted as evidence that the pharaoh badly broke his leg shortly before he died and died of gangrene when it became infected. Bummer for him.

For many years, rumors of a "Curse of the Pharaohs" (probably fueled by newspapers seeking sales at the time of the discovery) persisted, emphasizing the early death of some of those who had first entered the tomb. However, a recent study of journals and death records indicates no statistical difference between the age of death of those who entered the tomb and those on the expedition who did not. Indeed, most lived past seventy—another urban legend bites the dust.

I have no idea if the glyphs on this theme actually mean anything, but they looked kind of fake to me. If you can read hieroglyphics, however, let me know what it means and I’ll add a translation here.

Letterboxing Cities

Here are all of the cities in Egypt we’ve hit with letterboxes!

Total Letterboxes: 1
Set Egyptian Theme