Imhotep The Man Behind The Mummy Movies

The Mummy has been immortalized in film starting with Boris Karloff's mummy in 1932 and more recently with the Brendan Fraser action films, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Mummy:Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

The mummy, accidentally brought back to life, reeks havoc on those who reincarnated him, and searches for a replacement for his beloved.

Though the films have made the mummy into the bad guy, the real Imhotep was a scholar, architect, and right hand man to several kings.

Imhotep

Boris Karloff

Arnold Vooslo

Imhotep

The mummy immortalized and played by Boris Karloff in the original movie and Arnold Vosloo in the newer versions is based on Imhotep.  This real historical person was an architect, doctor, priest, poet and astrologer.  He served as chief minister to the second king of Egypt's third dynasty, Djoser who reigned during the years of 2630 to 2611 BC.  A commoner at birth, the dedicated and talented, Imhotep was thought to have risen to the position of chief minister very quickly and may have served under as many as four kings.

Imhotep was the master architect on the Step Pyramid, which has been called an architectural wonder of the ancient world.  As a physician and medical scribe, Imotep's is thought to have been the founder of a school of medicine and the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus which listed and described anatomical terms and various injuries.  This was all accomplished 2200 years before the birth of Hippocrates, who is thought to be the Father of Western Medicine.

Imhotep was one of two mortals to ever reach the position of a god.  He was given this honor 2000 years after his death.  The tomb of Imhotep is yet to be found.

Anck-su-Namun

The character of Anck-su-Namun may have been loosely based on  Ankhesenamun who was the wife of King Tutankhamun and the daughter of Queen Nefertiti.  After Tut's death she married Ay who became the next Pharaoh of Egypt.

Ankhesenamun

Patricia Valasquez

King Tut

Though Imhotep's name was given to The Mummy, the storyline is more closely associated with the curse surrounding the discovery of King Tut's tomb.  Some of the 'cursed' ones who were present when the tomb was first opened in November of 1922, are Lord Carnarvon who died in April 1923, George Gould I who died in May of 1923,  and Howard Carter in March of 1939.

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Comments 3 comments

frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

Lafenty - I just learned something new reading this. I didn't realise Imhotep wasn't a Pharoah. Maybe watching too many films made me 'assume'?

Thanks for this - informative and interesting :)


ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

He must have been a very interesting man. I liked Arnold Vooslo interpretation.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is a very fascinating article! I never knew the real story behind the names. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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