I love all the plunder in the British Museum. Some of the debate about returning treasures is so emotive it’s difficult to sit on the sidelines and not get involved. One of the frequent arguments is that ‘we’ were saving treasures which were not appreciated, and the only reason they have not been destroyed is that we used questionable methods to appropriate them.
When it comes to the mummified cats that’s not quite the case. In the 19th Century the UK received a shipment of 180,000 mummified cats from Egypt for use as fertiliser. 180,000 is the number of words in an epic, 650 page novel. There’s certainly a story there about the love of cats in first Century Egypt, and the purchase of tourist trinkets by faithful visitors.
This one still has a devoted audience 2,000 years later. I don’t think they have them in the gift shop here.
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