Now here is something for those people who specialise in the foibles of human knowledge to ponder. At some point much earlier, I had read The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, which is one of the best of its kind. There were lion hunts, decadent women, family disgrace leading the hero to work in the embalming chamber of the temple, battles and palace plots and murder, and I loved every bit of it. Ancient Egypt seemed quite as fascinating as the Wild West, which my reading more commonly inhabited at the time. The book offers the source of the Moses-in-the-bulrushes yarn—our hero is the rightful heir to the Pharaoh’s throne but doesn’t know it until the end, and by then he is so disgusted by the whole business of monarchy that he refuses to claim his ascension and walks away. Great story. But I was not able to place it in history at the time, even doubted that it was based on historical events.
Now it was only two years later that I read about Akhenaton in Leonard Cotterill and thought that a great story. I did not recognise the fact that I had already read the story, those Egyptian names all being Greek to me (which they usually were). But even after I formed my misbegotten theory concerning Akhenaton and Moses, still Waltari’s book did not place itself in my mind.
Subsequently, I saw the movie based on The Egyptian on TV and a pretty good one it is too. And it was only then that I realised that the God-king whose throne was being disputed was that of Akhenaton. It all fell into place and gave me a considerable shock doing so. My theory concerning Moses was hinted at by the use of the Moses story but not elucidated. The subtlety had missed me by about the length of the Nile. A failed intellectual at fourteen—what a disappointment.