That Time A Mummy Got A Passport (Because Bureaucracy)
Reader, do you hate renewing your passport? Jumping through all the hoops, taking those tiny photos, having to send sensitive documents to the government via mail before waiting 4-6 weeks to see if all your efforts actually paid off? If so, I have some bad news for you. On today's episode of the joys of bureaucracy, it turns out that neither being dubbed the most powerful Egyptian pharaoh by some historians nor experiencing the sweet release of death will exempt you from having up-to-date international travel documentation -- mummies, too, need passports.
In 1974 the mummy of Ramesses II, who ruled Egypt for 66 years from c. 1279-1213 B.C., according to The History Channel, was not doing too hot -- even for a mummy that had been dead for over three millennia. Less than a century after he was discovered in a "secret royal cache" located in Deir el-Bahri, Egypt, along with the bodies of other important figures in 1881, researchers began to notice the deteriorating condition for his body and decided to send him to France for restoration and to be treated for a fungal infection. (Hey, you can still get those while dead, too.)
Yet the researchers couldn't simply throw him on a plane and ship him off to Paris for the "intensive treatment" needed to prevent his body from falling into a state of "total decay," as The New York Times called it. In yet another ridiculous act of bureaucracy, the mummy needed a passport.
So what exactly do you put on the passport of a centuries-dead mummy? While there has been quite a lot of speculation about what exactly appears on a mummy's passport, with some even creating their own fan-art mockups of what the document may have looked like, there is one thing the internet can agree on: his occupation was listed as "King (deceased)." Sounds about right.
Although acquiring a passport, especially as a dead person, sounds like a rough go, we should all look on the bright side -- at least Ramesses II wasn't eaten by Europeans.