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Breaking the Mirror of Heaven

The Conspiracy to Suppress the Voice of Ancient Egypt

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

Exposes the many cycles of monument destruction and cultural suppression in Egypt from antiquity to the present day

• Details the vandalism of Egyptian antiquities and suppression of ancient knowledge under foreign rulers who sought to cleanse Egypt of its “pagan” past

• Reveals the real reason behind Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt: Freemasonry

• Shows how the censorship of nonofficial Egyptology as well as new archaeological discoveries continued under Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass

Called the “Mirror of Heaven” by Hermes-Thoth and regarded as the birthplace of civilization, science, religion, and magic, Egypt has ignited the imagination of all who come in contact with it since ancient times--from Pythagoras and Plato to Alexander the Great and Napoleon to modern Egyptologists the world over. Yet, despite this preeminence in the collective mind, Egypt has suffered considerable destruction over the centuries. Even before the burning of the Great Library at Alexandria, the land of the pharaohs was pillaged by its own people. With the arrival of foreign rulers, both Arabic and European, the destruction and thievery continued along with suppression of ancient knowledge as some rulers sought to cleanse Egypt of its “pagan” past.

Exploring the many cycles of destruction and suppression in Egypt as well as moments of salvation, such as the first registered excavations by Auguste Mariette, Robert Bauval and Ahmed Osman investigate the many conquerors of Egypt through the millennia as well as what has happened to famous artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone. They show how Napoleon, through his invasion, wanted to revive ancient Egyptian wisdom and art because of its many connections to Freemasonry. They reveal how the degradation of monuments, theft of relics, and censorship of ancient teachings continue to this day. Exposing recent cover-ups during the tenure of Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass, they explain how new discoveries at Giza were closed to further research.

Clearing cultural and historical distortions, the authors reveal the long-hidden and persecuted voice of ancient Egypt and call for the return of Egypt to its rightful place as “the Mother of Nations” and “the Mirror of Heaven.”


Chapter 4
Saving Ancient Egypt

What strange fate brings a person to the right place at the right time?

What strange synchronicity is at play when something obvious and in plain sight is only seen by that one person? Why it is that only one person could notice a vital clue when everyone else had ignored it? We would normally think of geniuses like Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, or Einstein, not of a Frenchman with the uncommon name of Auguste Mariette. Yet his story will show how almost single-handedly this man changed the course of Egyptian antiquities from one of mindless destruction and desecration to one of responsible preservation and restoration. To put it in other words, the legacy of the pharaohs was saved by a Frenchman with a big heart and huge determination. We fast forward, however, to hear Mariette, on his deathbed, modestly summing up the huge service he had rendered to Egypt.

It behooves us to preserve Egypt’s monuments with care. Five hundred years hence Egypt should still be able to show to the scholars who shall visit her, the same monuments that we are now describing.

The truth is that, were it not for Mariette Pasha (as he was called in Egypt), the temples, tombs, and all those wonderful Egyptian artifacts would simply have vanished, perhaps even the pyramids--either stolen, sold, or pulverized into oblivion.

Romancing the Serapeum

Mariette’s story could be said to have begun, oddly enough, three millennia ago on the windy and dusty promontory known today as Saqqara. Located at the edge of the western desert south of the Giza pyramids, Saqqara had been the burial ground of pharaohs and nobles since the earliest dynasties. It was famed in the ancient world, however, for its huge labyrinth, the Serapeum, in which the sacred bulls of Memphis, the Apis, were buried in giant sarcophagi.

In the late first century BCE, when Cleopatra had just committed her celebrated suicide and Egypt had become a province of Rome, the Greek geographer Strabo (63 BCE-24 CE) visited Saqqara. One has to imagine the place, without modern roads, cars, postcard vendors, hustlers, and “tourist police” soliciting baksheesh from visitors. Probably all that Strabo encountered was a small Roman encampment or perhaps a Bedouin camp within the ruins of the great Step Pyramid Complex or, a little farther north, a strange open-air temple where statues of the Greek philosophers stood in a semicircle. And, luckily for Mariette many centuries later, what Strabo saw strewn on the sand he diligently reported in his Geographica (a seventeen-volume opus that is regarded as the first-ever book of geography). In that typical delightful and eloquent archaic Greek style, the father of geography describes in volume seventeen of Geographica an alleyway (dromus in Greek) of sphinxes, some half buried in the shifting sand, others with only their heads sticking out, which led toward a temple dedicated to the god Serapis.

Oddly, no one took Strabo’s report seriously about the Serapeum of Memphis (Saqqara), at least not until the arrival of Napoleon in Egypt in 1798, when apparently some of his savants undertook a hasty search but gave up when they found nothing.

François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette (1821-1881) was born in the seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer on the northern coast of France. Mariette’s interest in ancient Egypt began when he was six years old. He had a great ability for languages and taught himself Egyptian hieroglyphics, demotic script, and Coptic. When he was only twelve he was able to read ancient Coptic texts. Mariette first worked as a teacher in a school in Douai but got indirectly involved with archaeology by writing articles for a local magazine to supplement his meager salary. His work on a catalogue of the Egyptian gallery in the Boulogne Museum grabbed the attention of the Louvre Museum, and, in 1849, he was offered a minor job working on Coptic and other ancient manuscripts.

The amazing romantic discovery of the fabled Serapeum properly begins with the arrival of Mariette in Egypt in 1850. Mariette had been sent by the Louvre Museum to collect Coptic and other ancient manuscripts in Alexandria and Cairo and had received a modest budget. The project became difficult because the Coptic monks, having been tricked before by French traders, refused to deal with Mariette. Rather than abort his mission, Mariette made the decision to use the funds of the Louvre to do some private archaeological excavations. He chose Saqqara as the most promising site.

Mariette hired a small team of workers, bought some basic equipment, and boldly set out to excavate at Saqqara. Unlike others before him, Mariette had a strong inkling that Strabo’s narrative about the Memphis Serapeum was rooted in truth. In Mariette’s own words:

Did it not seem that Strabo had written this sentence to help us rediscover, after over eighteen centuries, the famous temple dedicated to Serapis? It was impossible to doubt it. . . . Undoubtedly many precious fragments, many statues, many unknown texts were hidden beneath the sand upon which I stood. At that instant I forgot my mission [obtaining Coptic texts from the monasteries], I forgot the Patriarch, the convents, the Coptic and Syriac manuscripts . . . and it was thus, on 1 November 1850, during one of the most beautiful sunrises I had ever seen in Egypt, that a group of thirty workmen, working under my orders near that sphinx, were about to cause such total upheaval in the conditions of my stay in Egypt.

Mariette was convinced that the buried avenue of sphinxes at Saqqara was the very same described by Strabo. Mariette urged his workforce to expose the avenue, which led him to the entrance of the fabled Serapeum, built like a kind of huge underground maze. Upon entering the ancient labyrinth, Mariette immediately realized that he had hit the jackpot!

About The Authors

Egyptian-born Robert Bauval began studying Egyptology in 1983. His first book, The Orion Mystery, was published in 1994, becoming a number-one bestseller translated into more than 25 languages. His research has been featured in documentaries throughout the world. He lives in Torremolinos, Spain.

Ahmed Osman was born in Cairo in 1934 and is the author of The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt, Moses and Akhenaten, and Jesus in the House of the Pharaohs. He lives in England.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (July 27, 2012)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591431565

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Raves and Reviews

“This is a book that needed to be written . . . and I can’t imagine a better writing team to have taken on the challenge. Robert Bauval and Ahmed Osman have expertly untangled the history of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, in all its guises, and successfully exposed the trauma of the Zahi Hawass years. This is a story that should be read by all those interested in Egyptology and everyone who cares passionately about Egypt . . . a tour de force in modern historical investigation.”

– David Rohl, Egyptologist, historian, broadcaster, and author of A Test of Time

Breaking the Mirror of Heaven is a hugely important book. In a time when we can all see ‘the rise of idiot experts,’ this book focuses our attention on the political games that are played with the honest interpretation of our past. Self-serving individuals seek to bury new information by pretending that claimed academic rank outweighs cold evidence. Bravo, Robert and Ahmed, for such a delightful and persuasive blow for reason.”

– Christopher Knight, coauthor of The Hiram Key and Civilization One

“Clearing cultural and historical distortions, the authors reveal the long hidden and persecuted voice of ancient Egypt and call for the return of Egypt to its rightful place as ‘the Mirror of Heaven’.”

– Atlantis Rising, August 2012

“Bauval and Osman’s Breaking the Mirror of Heaven (‘Mirror of Heaven’ is the name given to Egypt by Hermes-Thoth) is not just about Hawass and his monumental ego and failings; it is an attempt to reveal the truth about the desecration of artifacts over the centuries, the effects of foreign rule, the suppression of ‘pagan’ wisdom, the Freemasonry-inspired Napoleonic invasion, and the political power plays in the post-war era from Nasser to Mubarak that continue morphing to this day.”

– Nexus Magazine, December 2012

“Prolific writers with in-depth knowledge of ancient Egypt, Robert Bauval and Ahmed Osman have teamed up to produce a scathing indictment of former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass.”

– Alan Glassman, New Dawn, December 2012

“Due to Robert Bauval’s influence, as well as that of many other great authors, false beliefs on the origins of civilization will be studied well into the future. The observations and approaches in Bauval’s books are dazzling.”

– Javier Sierra, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Angel and The Secret Supper

“Egyptology has lied to us for too long. Now a meticulous investigation by two top authors reveals the disturbing truth. This book is dynamite.”

– Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods

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