The Egyptian Timeline

Egypt’s history spans an amount of time so immense it’s head-spinning.  I remember as a sixteen year old, on my first visit to Cairo, looking up at the Great Pyramid of Giza and finding it impossible to get my brain to compute a passage of something like four-and-a-half thousand years.

Frankly, I have the same problem today.  On a Nile cruise, it’s typical to see monuments spanning at least fifteen centuries, from the ‘old timers’ like Karnak through to the relative ‘newbies’ such as Philae.

Trying to sort them into some sort of chronology is no easy task.  As an author (of the series following Meredith Pink’ Adventures in Egypt) it’s important I’m accurate about the age of the ancient monuments relative to each other.  So, primarily to keep it all straight in my own head, but also to help travellers to the land of the pharaohs, and those with an interest in Egypt but – like me – no scholarly background … I’ve had a go at producing a timeline.  Here’s the result …

 

 

 

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Carter's Conundrums

Cover of  Carter’s Conundrums. Book 1 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph. Book 2 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Hatshepsut’s Hideaway. Book 3 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Farouk’s Fancies. Book 4 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Akhenaten’s Alibi. Book 5 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Seti’s Secret. Book 6 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Belzoni’s Bequest. Book 7 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Nefertari’s Narrative. Book 8 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

An image of the cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches.

The cover of the Fiona Deal book, Ramses’ Riches. Book 9 in the series, Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt.

Tourists return to Egypt

The British Foreign Office relaxed its restrictions on travel to Egypt last month. This is good news for all those whose livelihoods depend on the tourist industry, and a positive note on which to end this year which has seen so much political drama in Egypt.

I do hope the tourists will venture back to Egypt quickly.  Speaking as one who visited Luxor a couple of weeks after similar restrictions were lifted in 2011 when the Mubarak regime was toppled, I can only say it was a delight to visit when the tourist sites were uncrowded.  The Egyptian people were warm and welcoming (yes, there was some hassle, but it was good-natured and perfectly understandable in the circumstances.)

BookCoverPreview-2.doAs Egypt ends the year on a more positive note, so do I with the publication of the fourth book in my series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  This story is set in the spring of 2013, before the events of the summer, which saw the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi from office.  Merry’s latest adventure, Farouk’s Fancies, draws on the events which saw the monarchy topped in Egypt and King Farouk sent into exile.  It was interesting to observe the political situation unfolding in Cairo this summer while writing about broadly similar themes which saw Farouk removed as king.  The story also involves the Dead Sea Scrolls and the theories put forward by some historians claiming key figures in the Bible were in fact ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

I look forward to a return to Egypt and to continuing the adventures of Merry and Adam.  I’m starting to think about how they’ve experienced the latter half of 2013 in Egypt and where their adventures will take them next.

What sparked my enduring fascination with Egypt?

 

 

img230Ok, so here I am aged 16  with the ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak.  It’s October 1983.  I’m on my half-term break.  I’m in Egypt with my parents and younger brother, on the cheap, courtesy of my dad working for an airline and qualifying for concessionary travel.

Cute red pixie shoes, huh?  It took me almost thirty years to actually start writing adventure stories about the land of the pharaohs.  Yet the fascination was sparked back then.  Why?

Perhaps something in the light quality?  It’s a soft pink in Egypt – you can kind of see it in the sky in the photo as it fades to the distance.  I think this has something to do with the quantities of sand and dust in the atmosphere, and so little rain.  Whatever, it makes for some of the most spectacular sunsets on earth.  And a filmy haze over everything that’s like looking at everything in soft-focus.  There’s something very romantic about light quality I think.

Then there’s the immense SCALE of everything.  Standing on the giza plateau and craning up at the great pyramid.  Likewise in Karnak, dwarfed by the columns in the Hypostyle Hall.  How did they do it without modern equipment and engineering?  Was it spacemen?  As a teenager, this was an intriguing thought!

And, of course, the history.  Stepping into the thick, stifling atmosphere of a centuries-old tomb that looks as if the artisans laid down their paint-pots just yesterday.  Learning from the guide that they got light into the depths of their ancient sepulchres while they were carving and decorating them by reflecting the sun from great sheets of electrum at the tomb entrance.  True?  Possibly – not sure if it was really electrum !  But the guides demonstrated it ably enough with a metal biscuit tin.

Standing inside Tutankhamun’s tomb … gawping at the sarcophagus that still contained the remains of the boy king …  Trying unsuccessfully to grapple with the unimaginable period of time – thirty-or-so centuries – that he’d been there.

Or perhaps it was the weird and wonderful stories about the pharaohs and their queens themselves.  Did Ramses II REALLY have more than two hundred children, some by his own daughters?  It was a thought to make me squirm – standing alongside my own father listening to the guide.  Were brothers and sisters REALLY married to each other?  I remember looking at my fourteen year old brother and thinking ‘ugh’.

So somehow, it’s all larger than life, a little bit Hollywood, and desperately mysterious and intriguing.  Nowhere like it on earth !  It reached out and grabbed me.  More than thirty years later it shows no sign of letting go.