Took a road trip yesterday to Phila(e)delphia to see the Cleopatra show, which was a bit of a letdown after the Tut extravaganza. If Zahi is being a bit miserly with the goodies found at Alexandria and Heraklion, the show more than made up for it in serving up the semiotic booty, particularly pertaining to the Sirius and Phoenix memes. We also saw the Mummies IMAX film, which was gorgeous but should be retitled Mummies: The Search for Annunaki DNA.
I'm not even half-kidding.
For my money, the real action has always been in the collision between the Greeks and the Egyptians in the wake of Alexander's conquest. Certainly that's where the Alchemical and Hermetic traditions took root, and many would argue Christianity as well. Alexandria gave rise to the greatest experiment in self-conscious syncretism, at least before Constantine. Cleopatra herself is the absolute embodiment of this ideal, though certainly the Greeks and Egyptians started god-swapping well before she hit the scene.
I've also been working on a post looking at the Egyptianizing of kids' entertainment (it's titled "Get 'Em While They're Young"). And sure enough there was a pack of kids at the exhibit gathered around a TV monitor showing the Delta Cycle in cartoon form, with Osiris and Horus in full-blown superhero mode. They showed the scattering of Osiris' body parts, sans one trenchant detail.
So what's this all about then? Well, I walked out of the Franklin Institute thinking only of three things: D, N and A. More on that later.
Here's a stunner for you. Apparently there was a package deal with this and the Cleopatra show. But if you're not in the Philae area, there's a walk-through online here. I think another roadtrip is in order. Those of us who've studied the Roman Empire are left breathless every day, just by reading the headlines. And these are the kinds of exhibitions that serve more as oracles than anything else.
UPDATE: You can't make this stuff up Dept.- Thanks to Reader Deb.