Sunday, 7 October 2018



When I took the book “The Seventh Scroll” by Wilbur Smith for reading, it was mainly because I had read other Wilbur Smith books and liked them, but also because this book was about a Egyptian King. Egypt as a Babylonian country is fascinating and very important research subject if we are to know the origins of the culture and civilisation of the world.
Like other Wilbur Smith novels, the book is set in Africa but it differs. Most people do not know this but the Northern belt of countries in Africa, along the Mediterranean coast- Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania were formed as Nations by the Babylonians, who migrated into Africa along the Mediterranean coast between 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. Thus, Egypt though geographically located in Africa, is a Babylonian nation. This interested me the most when I started reading the book. To give further information, the present day Egypt is only the North half of the full Babylonian Egypt, the South Egypt which extended all the way to Khartoum in Sudan where the two tributaries of Nile meet each other has been incorporated in present day Sudan. This was mainly because as the population of Human Africans in Africa increased they kept pushing into South Egypt. Many wars have been fought in South Egypt over the past 100, 000 years between the Human Babylonians and Human Africans. When the Babylonians had migrated to Africa, even the South Egypt portion was uninhabited. 
Now, coming to the story which is also set in Ethiopia and Sudan, both of which are typical African countries inhabited by Human Africans. But there is a difference between the two countries. Though White Nile tributary of Nile passes through Sudan but the Blue Nile tributary originates in the Ethiopian highlands which account for nearly 90% of its water and sediments, though both these tributaries meet near Khartoum in Sudan. But, more than 400,000 years ago when the babylonians started excavating the Nile, there was no population in Sudan but Human Africans were present in Ethiopian highlands near the origin of the Blue Nile. These were the first Human Africans the Babylonians came into contact with. Thus the Human Africans in Ethiopia were the first Africans, the Babylonians tutored into some sort of culture. Thus Ethiopians became the first cultured Africans and Ethiopia the first African nation. This must have happened more than 100,000 years ago.
But ‘the seventh scroll’ is set only 4000 years ago and there are references in the book as to the culture of the Ethiopians. 
The above also underlies the fact the story revolves between fact and fiction. This is what I was exactly anticipating when I started reading it. As the story unfolded, it was confirmed again and again throughout the story.
Wilbur Smith has done meticulous research in writing this book and this book is probably the closest he has got to historical facts. This I found very fascinating.
The story starts in Egypt with archaeologist couple Durand Al Simmu and his wife Royan. They have come across a document titled “The Seventh Scroll” during their excavation of the tomb of Queen Lostris.
There are others who come to know of the seventh scroll and the hidden message it contains to the tomb of Pharaoh Mamose, given by his slave servant Taita. The others go after the couple and make Royan a widow.
Now, this widow Royan is no ordinary woman, she is a Coptic Christian. This again gives clues to the history of Egypt because for at least 1800 to 1500 years of the last 2000 years, the history of Egypt is the same as the history of Coptic Christians. Egypt was almost predominantly Coptic Christian until about 500 years back when they were forced to convert to Islam by their Arab rulers. Thus, even today the Coptic christians make less than 20 % of Egyptian population, the pure breed Human Babylonians constitute 75% of the Egyptian population. The Arabs (non Babylonians) constitute 5%, The Human Africans constitute 10% and about 10% are of mixed origin. Of these mixed 10% population, many are due to forced marriage and some because they forgot their ethnicity or species.
But in reality ethnicity has a different concept here . Babylonians are a different species of humans-Human Babylonian or Human Mesopotamian. The Africans are also a different species of humans-Human Africans. The Arabs (in the historical sense before the advent of Islam) are the Human Africans who migrated from Africa into the Continent of Mesopotamia (what many know as the Arabian Peninsula) and hence are Human Africans. The, when people talk about race or racial differences, it is not race, it is species and species differences.
In general different human species are not compatible with each other and this leads to racial differences which in reality are ‘species differences’. The mixed species population is unstable and over a period of time leads to the destruction of culture and civilisation.
In the course of the book we see that different people are looking for the tomb of Pharaoh Mamose for different reasons, the Human Babylonians represented by the Egyptian Archaeology Museum for enhancing their collection and knowledge about their past. The mixed British-Egyptian woman Royan is looking to find the truth and glory of Egypt, the British Archaeologist Nicolas Quentin-Harper who represents Human West European is looking for money and adventure, the German collector Von Schiller also representing Human West European is looking for his legacy, glory and a very perverted sense of sexual gratification. Then there are the Human Africans, some good some bad, who get interested in the tomb either for money or as a bargaining tool.
Thus, the story represents three species of humans ( there are 7 human species)- Human Mesopotamian or Human Babylonian, Human African, and Human West European, all looking to dig the tomb of Pharaoh Mamose after 4000 years he was put to rest in his grave. While I was reading the story, some pranks of humour and laughter hit me from time to time. There is a subtle humour in the story. That so many people should stake their lives to dig out a tomb of a king buried 4000 years ago filled me with both awe and revulsion. The good side is that some of these people wanted to dig for archaeological and historical reasons. But again there is a moral dilemma in this. Even as they say say that their reasons are good, it escapes logic and common sense as to why they should disturb the tomb of a person, even a King, 4000 years after his burial. Why not let them remain in peace? But I believe that humans do not value peace, certainly not the peace of others, certainly not when they are gaining treasure and fame by disturbing the peace of a dead King.
All this went through my mind as I was reading the book. I realised the weakness of human nature and character and their crookedness. Though a sense of strength and courage is also conveyed by some of their actions and events. But still I cannot fathom why buried tombs have to be dug out. Curiosity? Maybe?
The central stream in the book is the burial of Egyptian Kings . Also it has a very strong relationship to River Nile, which has been flowing like this for millions of years. Much of its water and sediments are obtained from Blue Nile, which itself originates at Lake Tase in the Ethiopian highlands. The other tributary is the White Nile, which originates from the great Lakes of Central Africa in Rwanda/ Burundi. The White Nile passes through Tanzania to Lake Victoria to Uganda to South Sudan and meets Blue Nile near Khartoum (Sudan). The route of Nile river, particularly the Blue Nile is of monumental historical, religious, archaeological and evolutionary significance.
As I have written earlier that the Babylonians migrated into Africa more than half a million years back. They settled on the banks of River Nile. All the Northern Africa area was uninhabited as the Human Africans were concentrated in Central and East Africa. Once the Babylonian Egyptians settled and prospered, they went for expeditions on the River Nile upstream. They reached the Blue Nile/White Nile junction near Khartoum and first expedited into Blue Nile as it was the larger of the two. They went to its origins in the Ethiopian highlands.
The first few of these expeditions would not have resulted in too much exertions onto land but subsequent expeditions would certainly have gone on land. There they discovered the first native Africans -the Human Africans. This was one of the first interspecies interaction on Earth. At that time the Human Africans had no language and communicated with sounds and sights. The Babylonians taught them the basis of language from their Vocabulary. Thus, these Human Africans were the first to learn a language  and speak in Africa. Because the Mouth, Skull and Mental structure of babylonians is markedly developed than Human Africans, so the Human Africans were incapable of producing Babylonian sounds and words and thus in accordance with their mouth, skull and mental capabilities modified the Babylonian vocabulary with their own sounds for the same things. Hence, originated the first African Language, remarkably different from Babylonian but still learned from it.
Egyptian language, which at the time of migration was mainland Babylonian, also evolved with the multiplication of society, its occupations, its needs, its interaction, its climate and host of other factors. The spoken Egyptian remained similar to Core Babylonian but new words, phrases, expressions became modified. It slowly modified into Coptic language which was slowly replaced by Arabic.

Again coming to the story, the setting of the story is unique and awe inspiring. The tomb of the King is not buried in Egypt but in Ethiopia. But, here it is not buried in a Pyramid but in a tomb, which you should read the book to understand the uniqueness and ingenuity of the burial site. This burial site is what leads to more innovations on the part of the archaeologists and more adventure.
The whole story unfolds with the discovery of the Egyptian King in a very unique place, but I felt very bad for the King and his servant Taita who took so much pain to bury the King, only to be found 4000 years later.
In many ways the slave servant to the King, Taita, is the main character in the story. It was his idea to bury the King in such a mysterious way. Again it was his idea to leave clues as to the location of the tomb of the King, to the coming generations.
But, in many ways Taita represented a historical figure in his own right. Taita is described as white with remarkable intelligence. Again he is described as being a eunuch. In those times, the Prisoners of war were made into slaves. Those slaves who were found to be homosexual were emasculated and made into eunuchs. He certainly was a Babylonian prisoner of war captured by the Babylonian Egyptians. During that time, the Babylonian Egyptians fought with the Babylonian Assyrians, Jews and even mainland Babylonians.
But the author also draws parallel and takes inspiration for the character of Taita from the Bible Character Daniel. 
Daniel was also a slave prisoner of war, a Jew, emasculated and made into eunuch by the mainland Babylonians. Daniel in the Bible is also supposed to be very clever person who tells stories to the King and solves riddles for him.
Thus characters like Taita have a historical and religious basis. In fact many parts of the Bible are dedicated to characters like Taita and their praises, so much so the history, contributions, victories of the Kings is overlooked in their favour. I wonder if it is coincidence or design. I think the latter is true.
Though historically characters like Taita have existed, they were intelligent to start with, became prisoners of war and than slaves and when found homosexual, were emasculated and made into eunuchs. (A Choice was given to them between emasculation and death) and were mainly Jews. These Jews though were learned and educated . They became the main scribes, wherever they were present. They wrote their own account of history and religion and Kings of that time. But like Taita they wrote in an oblique and mysterious sort of way.
Just like Taita left clues for the finding of the tomb of the King, after meticulously hiding it. I think that Taita wanted revenge on the King who was responsible for his defeat in war , his enslavement, and his emasculation. So, he left clues so that the later generations may find the clues, go after them and discover the tomb of the King so that the King cannot have peace even in afterlife.
Almost the same thread goes through the stories of eunuchs described in the Bible. Their descriptions and stories are clues to the Kings of their times so that the later generations can unfold them and come to despise the Kings and praise these slaves for their cleverness, which they themselves have described on their own.
In the follow through, the Jews of the later time, past Christ, included these in the Bible, because they themselves looked for revenge on the Kings who defeated them in the past. All such stories must be read with great caution and they certainly are not the truth, but stories of grandeur about themselves, of a few defeated, enslaved and emasculated people. Nothing more Nothing less!
In all the seventh scroll is immensely readable, enjoyable, thoroughly entertaining and most importantly hugely instructive in deciphering similar stories by people similar to Taita in the Bible and deciphering similar historical events in the complex nations called Babylon.
Many things are not exactly the same as they look in Babylon and many things are not the same as they are told in Babylon.

Babylon is an enormously complex Nations and only a Babylonian genius can decipher the mystery from, in and around it!

               ©Tanvir Nebuchadnezar

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