The release of my new Steampunk/Time Travel Romance had me thinking about the Victorians' love for ancient Egypt. I wondered why the Victorians were so fascinated and influenced by ancient Egypt. I came up with seven reasons:
1. The British seized over 5000 relics Napoleon’s Egyptologist collected. They sent them to the British museum for people to view in London
2. The Rosetta stone was translated in 1822. The meaning of the hieroglyphs were lost for so long but now their mysteries were revealed.
3. Cleopatra’s Needle, the obelisk Egypt gave England in 1819, was finally shipped to London in 1878 and erected along the Thames.
4. The Victorians enjoyed travel to exotic destinations. Egypt was a key spot they loved to visit.
5. 1882 -Egypt became a protectorate of Britain. The British defeated the Egyptian Army at Tel El Kebir and took control of Egypt.
6. The Egyptians obsession with the afterlife interested the Victorians due to their obsession with death. The Victorians observed seven stages of mourning with different types of clothing for each. They had a mandated two year mourning period for a deceased spouse. During the mourning period they draped mirrors with black crepe, wore lockets or brooches with a lock of the deceased’s hair inside, and they even had mourning dolls and tear catcher bottles.
7. Formaldehyde was commercially produced in the 1880’s. Used as an embalming agent–deceased bodies were preserved much longer. This tied into mummification.
So those are some reasons the Ancient Egyptian culture had a major influence on the Victorian era and also modern Steampunk. As indicated by the titles, two classic Steampunk novels include strong Egyptian influences: The Osiris Ritual by George Mann and The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. I highly recommend them both. And if you like hot romances, take a look at AsTimeless As Stone.
Blurb: Little does Ricard know when he sets the broken head of an ancient Egyptian statue onto its body, the stone figure will transform before his eyes into the most beautiful flesh and blood woman he’s ever seen.
Seshat, an ancient Egyptian Priestess is newly awaken in 19th century Paris, after centuries as a stone statue. Though enchanted by the wondrous inventions of steam-servants and a steam-carriage, she is enthralled by the inventor, Ricard. He ignites her sensual desires and in a steamy night of carnal magic, Seshat transforms Ricard’s life forever. But how far will he go to secure her happiness? Is Ricard’s love for Seshat powerful enough to transcend time?
~ ~ ~
Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. Please visit her pinterst board for As Timeless As Stone.