Queens of Egypt: 5 of the Best Displays in the National Geographic Museum

Right now, I’m in Washington D.C. with my husband. During the week he trains for his job, but on the weekends we go to see national monuments and museums within the nation’s capital. Last weekend, we went to the National Geographic museum, where they showcased their Queens of Egypt exhibit. While they had no mummies, all the other stuff they displayed was amazing. I normally don’t take pictures, but I knew I had to with this. Here are some of the best things in the exhibit.

1. Statue of Sekhmet

The goddess Sekhmet was a big deal in ancient Egypt. Long ago, the god Ra became aware that foolhardy mortals were plotting to kill him. He sent his daughter Sekhmet to punish the wicked men, and she transformed into a giant bloodthirsty lion. She set about the slaughter of the conspirators, but so great was her fury that she killed others not involved in the plot. She had nearly wiped out all of humanity when Ra decided that she needed to be stopped. He poured 7000 jugs of red beer into the Nile river, which Sekhmet thought was blood. She lapped it all up and fell into a sodden slumber. When she woke up, she had become the much mellower Hathor. She had statues all over the Temple of Karnak and they were well over 6 feet tall.

The Lady of Dread, She Who Mauls, Destroyer of Rebellion and the Gracious One

The Lady of Dread, She Who Mauls, Destroyer of Rebellion and the Gracious One

2. The Bust of Nefertiti

Also displayed was the bust of Nefertiti, one of the most famous images from ancient Egypt. Nefertiti means ‘The Beautiful One Who Has Come Forth’ and even in our modern era, she is supremely beautiful. She was the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten in the 18th dynasty. He was the one who tried to elevate Aten as the only god and even had a new capital built to showcase his grand decision. After he died, things sorta went back to normal, but what we do know is that Nefertiti reigned for a time after his death by herself.


3. The Papyrus Court Report of the Conspiracy to Kill the Pharaoh

This doesn’t look like a good picture, but the papyrus was really long. It was a detailed report about the trial of those involved in the murder of Ramses III, including Queen Tiye, her son, many in his harem, and the overseer of the harem grounds. At the end of everything, 38 people were put to death. It was long thought that the body of Ramses III bore no wounds, but modern technology allowed us to see under his thickly-bandaged neck and reveal his deep throat wound. Also, his big toe was missing because things sometimes escalate.


4. The Stele of the Deceased Going to the Afterlife

This detailed stele shows a recently deceased man standing before Osiris after being judged by Anubis. It’s in remarkable shape though I don’t know who was being pictured.


5. Canopic Jars

During mummification, the organs of the dead were removed and placed into special jars to be retrieved later once they lived again. You’ve got Hapi, the baboon-headed god, and his jar held the lungs. The jackal-faced jar doesn’t represent Anubis in this case, but Duamutef. It held the stomach. The human-headed one is Imsety, and it contains the liver. The falcon-headed one is Qebesenuef and it held the intestines.


All in all, the exhibit was fantastic and if you’re in the DC area, I would highly recommend you check it out. It’s going to be there until September, so you’ve got time. Find more details over at the National Geographic museum’s website.

Ancient Egyptian Beer

Vessels takes place in a desert kingdom similar to ancient Egypt.

But how similar?

From Vessels“We had a tavern (back in our hometown) and it used to be very busy. All the soldiers stationed there would come and drink. Did you know they prefer beer without chunks in it? I know, Alvari are strange. But we catered to their tastes, they became happy, and we became wealthy."

Beer with chunks in it? No, that's not a throwaway line. Ancient Egyptian beer was chunky.

During the Old Kingdom, entire loaves of bread would be placed in water and left in heated clay jars to ferment, resulting in a starchy, chunky draft. Later on, during the New Kingdom, wheat and barley were made into a mash. Dates, honey, and fruit would be added for higher-quality ceremonial brews\ that would later be strained through baskets to ensure a smooth drink.

And in What the River Brought, there are scenes of children drinking beer during a big, village-wide festival. This wasn't negligent parenting. Men, women, and children could all drink beer and have it be socially acceptable. Beer wasn't just for intoxication. It was nutritious too. And it was believed to cure all sorts of ailments.

Beer was such a staple of everyday life in ancient Egypt, workers would be paid three times a day in just beer. There are ledgers of laborers and their payments during the construction of some of the greatest monuments of the ancient world.

                      Pictured: payday

                      Pictured: payday

This beverage, through some really awesome crafters, has been recreated to the best of modern ability and is said to be a smooth fruity beverage that is dark red in color. And they would drink it as soon as the beer was fermented, straight from the vat using a straw.

Women were the first brewsters and making beer was seen as a holy ritual accompanied by praying and singing. Later on, when beer became used in all the important rituals and celebrations, the pharaohs had the creation of the beverage converted into a state-run agency.

And, did you know? Beer saved all of mankind!

The god Ra grew tired of man's constant sinning. Another story said that he found out about a plot mankind had to kill him. Either way, he sent his daughter Sekhmet to transform into a great lion and lay waste to all of humanity. Later on, just before every single person in the world was slaughtered, Ra changed his mind and called her off.

Ra tried to call her off. Sekhmet was so overcome with bloodlust that she would not heed her father's command. So he transformed the Nile river into beer and had it dyed red so she would think it was blood. Sekhmet drank and drank until she became so drunk that she fell asleep and freaking transformed into an entirely different god named Hathor.

                                                        change my mind

                                                        change my mind

So beer was important enough to be used as payment, medicine, sustenance, invoking the gods, and waylaying murder-happy goddesses. Crack open a cold one and give thanks. Or brew your own Pharaoh Ale!