Trend Watch: Is Ancient Egypt Back in Vogue?

It’s no secret that trends in music, fashion, art, and technology are often influenced by real-world events. There have been countless studies on the ways in which major events and discoveries such as the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and even Watergate have influenced broader cultural trends. That’s why it pays to be able to spot developments that have the potential to spark the next big “thing” in popular culture.

One such event may have occurred recently in Egypt, where a team of archaeologists unearthed a whopping 30 ancient mummies, in a haul described as the most significant historical finding of the 21st century. If history has taught us anything, it’s that an event as major as this has the potential to bring the cultural affinity for all things Ancient Egypt back into vogue. Some might say that the process is already underway.

Ancient Egypt and Pop Culture: A Brief History

The glamour and mystery of Ancient Egypt have long proved to be fertile ground for contemporary art, fashion, music, and entertainment. When the military commander Napoleon Bonaparte was engaged in his Egyptian military campaigns at the turn of the 19th century, the upper crust of Parisian society began incorporating the styles from the era of Cleopatra into furniture, fashion, and even makeup.

Napoleon’s sister Pauline was even known to attend formal balls adorned with classical Egyptian-style winged eyeliner, a bold move back in 1798. Since then, Ancient Egypt has had its fair share of cultural comebacks.

The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 helped fuel a cultural mania for all things Ancient Egypt, with silent films set in the era becoming particularly popular. Since then, we’ve had hit songs such as ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’, hit film franchises like ‘The Mummy’, and the occasional revival of Cleopatra and Nefertiti-inspired fashion and makeup.

Ancient Egypt Today

Today, Ancient Egypt has settled into a more permanent position in global popular culture, with recent trends suggesting that its popularity is once again on the rise. Recently, the classic 1998 animated film, ‘Prince of Egypt’ has found a new lease of life as a smash-hit West End and Broadway stage show, which has already been attracting rave reviews.

In addition to this, Universal Studios have tried to cash in on Egypt mania by rebooting the bid budget horror franchise ‘The Mummy’, although the first instalment of the new series turned out to be a flop among audiences in the US, despite performing well overseas.

The love of all things Ancient Egypt has even extended in the world of gaming, with a huge range of Ancient Egypt-themed slots, such as, what is probably the most popular one, Cleopatra by IGT, currently offers a huge range of Ancient Egypt-themed slots to its global customer base, such as Cleopatra, Book of Ra, and Cleopatra’s Gold. Meanwhile, major console game studios such as Ubisoft have been selling millions of copies of ‘Assassin’s Creed: Origins’, which is set in a massive open-world recreation of the Nile Valley in the year 49BCE.

Online gamers have also been flocking to the latest instalment of ‘Tale in the Desert’, a popular MMORPG that requires its global network of players to compete for supremacy in ancient Luxor.

In the world of music, chart-topping pop singers such as Katy Perry have incorporated hieroglyphics and pyramids into their music videos, whilst the likes of Madonna, and the K-Pop girl group (G)I-DLE have been bringing the same aesthetics to their live performances. It certainly seems like Ancient Egypt is here to stay.

So, will the discovery of 30 mummies add fuel to the fire of the current cultural moment we’re seeing? Watch this space to find out.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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