Friday, 26 February 2010

Talk Like an Egyptian

Ancient Egyptians talking total Tut - image from box found in his tomb, via Tiger cub at Wikimedia Commons - public domainAt the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences, Professor Rosalie David and her team have been looking into the lifestyle of ancient Egyptian priests, and found the condition of their mummies' arteries nothing to shout Ra! Ra! Ra! about.

Unlike the 'frugal, mostly vegetarian diet' enjoyed by the virtuous peasants and proles of the Nile as they sweated joyfully to raise up massive necropoli for the magnification of the State and the narrowing of the national waistline, these antique gym-dodgers regaled themselves with beef, game, cakes, eggy bread, and worse matter yet off the sacrificial sideboard:

Salt intake was likely to have been high, since it was often used as a preservative, said the researchers writing in The Lancet medical journal.

Consumption of alcohol, known to increase levels of triglyceride blood fats, is thought to have exceeded today's recommendations.


Professor David is not behindhand in pointing out the Lesson To Us All:

"There couldn't be a more evocative message: live like a god and you will pay with your health."

True so far as it goes. For me, the even more evocative message is that today's sanctified classes are still selling us profane peasants the same exact same warnings against hubris all these millennia later. Now, there's dedication to celebrate! More wine with that jugged hare, Professor?

Talk like a goddess, and I must pay with my wealth. Yet will I have my Ambrosia custard in your spite. And when this cult of death-in-life is forsaken, and the peasants rise up and install Pharoah in that pointy house he was so anxious we build him, and your temple is fallen-in and desolate because you cannot get us to subscribe to your roof repairs fund - why, then shall you wander the streets forlorn and amazed at our revels; and you shall prophesy our tribulations, and we shall laugh.

And we shall make a place for you at our board; and there shall be hamhocks, and questionable home-brewed cider, and eggy bread forever and ever.

That we should keep the faith in the mean time - let there be Bangles!

(Update: the break in the previous Bangles has been discovered, and a better set substituted.)

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