Century Marks

Freud’s fetish: Sigmund Freud had an obsession with ancient Egypt. His famous psychoanalytic couch was covered with a large print of Ramses the Great’s temple. Images of Egyptian gods, goddesses and noblemen and fragments of mummy cases were festooned about his office. He told a friend that he read more archaeology than psychology (although there was little evidence of that in his library). And Freud is only one of many people who have been fascinated by ancient Egypt, according to Egyptologist Bob Brier. What’s the attraction? For one thing, it’s really old; for another, artifacts from ancient Egypt are accessible. But more important is the notion that ancient Egyptians were privy to some secret and profound knowledge. “For Occultists and New Agers, Egypt is the imagined repository of all lost knowledge—the advanced civilization that had medical cures for all your ills, where true religion was practiced” (Archaeology, January/February).


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