In 1922, Howard Carter, considered the world’s most famous archaeologist, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb was filled with so many antiquities that it took ten years to catalog them all. The most exciting artifact, though, was the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun himself.
There was already a media frenzy over the pyramid filled with gilded items, but soon the frenzy became even more frenzied. Howard Carter’s backer and a great collector of Egyptian artifacts, Lord Carnarvon, died suddenly. Some said it was an infected mosquito bite, some said it was pneumonia, but most said it was a curse. The Mummy’s Curse, to be precise. The rumored deaths of eleven more people over the next few years would inspire mummy curse movies that are still being made today.
An anathema is a vehement denunciation; a curse. The noun can also be defined as one that is cursed or damned. It stems from the Latin anathema for doomed offering, accursed thing, and from the Greek, anatithenai, anathe-, to dedicate ( ana-, ana- plus tithenai, to put).
You can thus put an anathema on someone or something and that object then becomes the anathema. If this mummy’s curse is true, then, one might argue that Tutenkhamen made an anathema and then his body became the anathema itself. Pretty sneaky for a teenaged pharaoh, wouldn’t you say?
Howard Carter apparently thought the entire idea of this curse was poppycock and he eventually passed away back in England at the age of 65. Do curses travel across continents?
This video is courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor: