Pharaohs on parade

Audio 17:01
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen you’ll hear the answer to the question about Egypt’s pharaohs. There’s a bit of WW II history – it’s Victory in Europe Day - and you’ll find out who the Hyksos were (didn’t you always want to know?) There’s wonderful music chosen by The Sound Kitchen’s producing engineer, musician Erwan Rome, and the new quiz question too! Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy! 


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners' names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

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Would you like to join the RFI Listeners Club? Just write to me at and tell me you want to join, and I’ll send you a membership number. It’s that easy. When you win a Sound Kitchen quiz as an RFI Listeners Club member, you receive a premium prize.

This week’s quiz:  On 10 April, I asked you a question about the lavish Pharoah Parade that was held earlier that week in Cairo, Egypt, which was extravagant, to say the least! There were specially built gold-colored carriages fitted with special shock absorbers, made especially for the mummified remains of 22 Egyptian pharaohs. There was a symphony orchestra and chorus, chariots, and of course, women and men dressed as priests and priestesses. And the pièce de résistance: the 22 golden carriages. It was a thing to behold. It is definitely worth your while to look for it on the internet and watch the whole ceremony.

The mummified remains of the Pharaohs were being moved to their new home, the brand-new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. It’s not too far from their previous home, the Egyptian Museum, which doesn’t have state-of-the-art temperature control and all the other technical necessities for preserving antiquities.  The new museum does. I can’t wait to see it, but I’ll miss the dusty old Egyptian Museum, where you never knew what you’d find when you turned the corner. 

I asked you to send me the answer to these questions: who was the oldest Pharoah transported in last month’s parade to the new museum in Cairo? What is his name, and what were the dates of his reign? You were also to tell me, out of the 22 mummies moved, how many were kings, and how many were queens.

The answer is: 18 were kings, and four were queens. The name of the oldest mummy is Seqenenre Tao II, called "the Brave". He reigned over southern Egypt some 1,600 years before the Christian era; scholars think he came to power in the decade ending in 1560 BCE, or perhaps in 1558 BCE. 

The mummy of Seqenenre Tao II has five massive head wounds, which he received in the battle which killed him.  What was the battle all about? Well, my very own personal research librarian, listener Jayanta Chakrabarty from New Delhi, India, was also curious about all this and did a bit of research and sent me a letter about his findings. Jayanta discovered that “During 1650-1550 BCE, the Hyksos rulers had invaded and occupied the Nile Delta in northern Egypt. Seqenenre Tao II was intent on unifying Egypt to drive out the Hyksos. He died in the attempt.”

But who were the Hyksos?  I did a bit of amateur sleuthing on the web, and of course, as with all of ancient history we can never be sure, and scholars disagree all the time, but what I did discover excited me to no end … one thing everyone agrees on is that the Hyksos people were Semitic people from the Levant. Scholars believe that the story of the Hyksos in Egypt, and their subsequent defeat and expulsion from the country, was the inspiration for the stories in Genesis and Exodus – key stories from the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) about the Jews in Egypt and their flight across the Red Sea. I love finding the sources of our myths and stories.  And it seems that this tiny bit of known history is the source for perhaps the most important story in the development of monotheism.

Jayanta also added in his letter that one of the queens in Egypt’s recent Pharoah Parade was Queen Hatshepsut, touted as Egypt's most powerful and successful pharaoh to rule Egypt. Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BCE.  She was the second historically confirmed female pharaoh, and is also known as "the first great woman in history, of whom we are informed.”

The winners are:  Jobayada Aktar Jai, a member of the Nilshagor RFI Fan Club in Nilphamari, Bangladesh, and RFI Listeners Club members Samir Mukhopadhyay from Kolkata, India; Ilyas Fachri from Pekanbaru, Indonesia, and Kashif Khalil from Faisalabad, Pakistan. Last but not the least, RFI English listener Kriparam Kaga from Rajasthan, India.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s programme: “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” by Jerry Brainin and Buddy Bernier, played by Herb Ellis and Remo Palmier; “The Physical Body” by Michael Atherton, performed by the composer; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and “Matilda” by Norman Span, performed by the Cuarteto d’Aida.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 7 June to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 12 June podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here

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