The Mummy Returns – The Medjay

One other fun character who appears in the first two films, though sadly not in the third, is Ardeth Bey, the Medjay leader. Though Ardeth Bey is not a historical figure, his background is not entirely made up. First, in the original film of 1932, Ardeth Bey was the alias the mummy used to get around Cairo. Second, there are mentions of the Medjay in Ancient Egyptian records. The Medjay were first mentioned in the Old Kingdom (c. 29th – 25th century B.C.). It seems they were a tribe of people who lived in Nubia, maybe they were named such because of the area they came from was known as Medjay at the time. During the Middle Kingdom (c. 21st – 17th century B.C.), after being conquered by the Egyptians, they were incorporated into the Egyptian army and became warriors of some repute. In the 18th Dynasty (c. 16th – 14th century B.C.) the name Medjay no longer refered to the tribe (or geographical area) but to the pharaohs’ body guards and Ancient Egyptians police force. Yes they had police even back then, though if they wanted to, they could seriously kick your arse if you were out of line.

Boris Karloff as Ardeth Bay in the film 'The Mummy' (1932)

Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay in the film 'The Mummy' (1999)

The Mummy Returns – The Scorpion King

The Scorpion King, AKA The Rock, was a character that gave Rick and Evy O’Connell another run for their money. His part in the film was strange, if not ambiguous, of the king who fought over three thousand years ago in the hopes of conquering the known world. He was given command of the legions of Anubis, after a promise he made to him which he sealed by eating a scorpion (hence the name?), he won the wars and was then taken in a sand storm away to a secret place (frankly, he got the bad end of the deal. I mean after conquering the known world he disappears in a puff of sand! What was the point of fighting yet not benefiting from the fruits of his tiresome labours?!). This place, known as Ahm Shere, contains an oasis that in the centre there is a pyramid with a great diamond decorating its peak (and a shit load of tiny skeleton pygmies I mean, why?). To get back to the point, Rick and Evy have to deal now with the original mummy and with another monster – thing (The Rock is scary enough but with the body of a scorpion?).

The Scorpion King

Yes, if you were wondering, even the weird character of the Scorpion King has a historical counterpart. Well, actually, he has two historical counterparts. The first king of this name is also very obscure, nothing is known of him except he might have existed in the 33rd century B.C. He might have been the first true king of Upper Egypt. The second king of this name is slightly better known because of the famous Scorpion Macehead. The Scorpion Macehead was found in the late 1890s in Hierakonpolis. Some Egyptologists believe that the macehead shows the first signs of the unification of Egypt, others identify king Scorpion with Nermer (the king who most Egyptologists belive unified Egypt in the 31st century B.C.), though it is most likely that Namrer was king Scorpion’s successor who completed the latter’s conquest of Egypt. What we know for now is that one of these kings was responsible for the unification of Egypt and both left items attributing this fact (Narmer’s Palette).

Narmer's Palette depicting the unification of Egypt (c. 31st century B.C.)

The Scorpion Macehead depicting king Scorpion performing a ceremony with the picture of a scorpion above his head (hence the name) (c. 31st century).