We don't get a specific year in which this story takes
place. The narration near the beginning of the film tells us
only that it is before "the time of the pyramids",
presumably a reference to Egyptian pyramids, possibly the
pyramids of Giza in particular. The earliest known Egyptian
pyramid is the pyramid of Djoser in the Saqqara necropolis,
built around 2667 BC. The first Giza pyramid was built
beginning around 2520 BC. The character of Mathayus, the
Scorpion King, was inspired by an actual ancient figure of
protodynastic Egypt, of whom little is known, identified
only as King Scorpion II (real name unknown); King Scorpion
II is believed to have been the ruler of Upper Egypt at
approximately 3200 BC. (In his audio commentary on the DVD,
director Chuck Russell states the film is set around 3000 BC;
in the scenes of Mathayus' rule as the Scorpion King in
Mummy Returns, it is stated to be 3067 BC.)
The leader of the mountain tribe brags that they have killed
Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Mycenaeans, and
Sumerians. In addition, Mathayus is said to be the last true
The Babylonians and
essentially the same
in the modern-day
was the name used
for the area by the
ancient Greeks and
Romans thousands of
years after The
- Assyrians are
simply an ethnic
race within the
references to the
people of Mycenaean
Greece, the Bronze
Age Greeks who did
not exist until
about 1500 BC, again
much later than the
time of this story.
- "Sumerians" is
really the only
correct reference if
this story does
indeed take place c.
3000 BC. The
about this time.
- Mathayus is
referred to as an
centered in the
city-state of Akkad
civilization c. 2330
BC, again later than
this story is
alleged to have
At 1:29 on the DVD, notice that Mathayus is hauling a large
boulder on a rope behind him as he climbs the outer wall of
the mountain abode. He will be seen momentarily hefting it
above his head to smash a hole in the roof for his surprise
At 1:59 on the DVD, notice that Mathayus has four arrows
nocked on his bow. When he shoots, he hits at least three
human targets, one of which is hit so hard he goes flying up
and through the roof, to land dozens of yards outside the
Notice that the first map that scrolls by during the introductory
narrative shows the same landmarks and writing twice over!
Some of the writing that appears on the above-mentioned map
does appear similar to actual Akkadian, which grew out of
the earlier Sumerian script. The tattoos on the face of
Mathayus' brother also look similar to Akkadian script.
The villainous character of Memnon does not appear to have
been based on an actual historical figure. Memnon previously
appeared in The
Akkadian Prophecy mini-series.
The warrior Balthazar is said to be a Nubian. The Nubians
were originally an ethnic group inhabiting southern Egypt
and northern Sudan. The "braided" tattoos on Balthazar's
face are one of the affectations of this group of people.
When Mathayus and his brothers appear at the gathering of
clans during the war council, Balthazar recognizes them as
Akkadians and says he thought they were wiped out long ago.
However, in the real world, the Akkadian Empire, centered in
the city of Akkad within Mesopotamia, existed from 2334-2154
BC, after the estimated date of the story of
The Scorpion King.
Pheron tells his son that the Akkadian mercenaries have
agreed to assassinate Memnon's sorcerer for the price of
twenty blood rubies. It's possible that this is a reference
to the 1986 Japanese animated film Dragon Ball: Curse of
the Blood Rubies. In recent years, there have also been
some mentions of the term "blood rubies" used in the same manner as
"blood diamonds", i.e. mined by slave labor.
Mathayus rides a camel instead of a horse as his brother
does, claiming that camels are more intelligent. While Arab
folklore speaks of the intelligence of camels, western
literature suggests they are rather stupid. I have yet to
find a definitive scientific study on the matter.
Mathayus uses a saddle to ride his camel. However,
archaeological evidence suggests that the camel saddle was
not invented until around 1200 BC, well after the setting of
The horse thief Arpid claims to be a priest of Set after
he's been captured by Memnon's forces. Set is known to be
one of the gods of ancient Egypt. In later Egyptian
writings, due to political and religious changes, Set was
demonized, but at the time of this story would have been
considered a major god to the people of Egypt and known as
the god of the desert.
Notice that Memnon kills Mathayus' brother with Mathayus'
own dagger at 15:05 on the DVD.
Arpid describes the ants that are set upon him and Mathayus
as fire ants. The ants (and their mounds) that appear in
this film, however, are much larger than any real world ant.
The common worker caste of fire ants only reach about a
quarter-inch in size and the anthills a maximum of about 15
inches in height. The ants that attack the guard that is
clobbered by Arpid at 17:22 on the DVD are of more realistic
It's never explained in the film how Arpid was able to dig
himself out of the hole he was trapped in next to Mathayus
before the ant attack. The deleted scenes in the DVD bonus
materials reveal that he faked unconsciousness while he was
being buried and kept sucking air into his lungs so, when he finally exhaled it all, he had room to move his body
in the ground.
The statues at either side of the entrance to Memnon's
throne room appear to be of the jackal-headed Egyptian god,
Anubis. Anubis was god of the afterlife before being
replaced in the religion by Osiris during the Middle Kingdom
Mathayus and Arpid visit the city of Gomorrah and Arpid
compares it to Sodom. The two cities are mentioned in both
the Bible and Torah as being cities of sin
that were judged and consumed by fire and brimstone sent by
God as punishment. It would seem that Memnon's kingdom was
centered in Gomorrah since Mathayus finds him in the main
fortress there ("The
Akkadian Prophecy" Part 1 states that Memnon has
recently seized control of Gomorrah.) Again according to the Bible,
Gomorrah was located near the modern day Dead Sea, which
borders the modern nations of Israel and Jordan.
At 23:52 on the DVD, the sword merchant in Gomorrah mentions
"the finest steel forged by the monks of Pompeii".
Unfortunately, the city of Pompeii would not exist for
almost 2,000 more years yet! Pompeii was founded around 7-6
From his description, it his clear that Philos' Chinese
powder is a form of gunpowder. Archaeologically, gunpowder
is not known to have been invented until around 1 BC.
At 28:22 on the DVD, the street urchin who has lead Mathayus
to Memnon says, "Shukrin," when the warrior gives him the
promised ruby. Though spelled "shukrin" in the closed
captions of the DVD, the actual word is "shukran" and means
"thank you" in Arabic.
For guiding him through the city, Mathayus pays the urchin
one of the blood rubies he was paid to assassinate the
sorceress. A ruby to a kid just for a few minutes work
guiding someone through the city?! Nowadays you'd give a kid
what...a couple bucks?
Mathayus is portrayed here by
wrestling-superstar-turned-actor, The Rock.
At 30:57 on the DVD, Mathayus seems to deliver
the "people's eyebrow", a nod to The Rock's wrestling character,
who was also known as the People's Champion, who would often
raise his eyebrow in such a manner in the ring.
The scene of Mathayus taking cover behind a rolling gong
during the escape from Gomorrah is very similar to one seen
in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
As Mathayus clutches the edge of the broken balcony at 32:37
on the DVD, the gong falls down from the height to the
street below and can be seen rolling down the street
rapidly in the distance, nearly striking a pedestrian here and there.
At 33:52 on the DVD, notice that the kid appears to be
making a wish before tossing a coin into the city's washing
well. And a split-second later, the naked Cassandra emerges
from the water, at which the boy utters, "Gods be praised!"
Possibly the boy was wishing for the fulfillment of a
youthful hormonal fantasy!
At 36:45 on the DVD, notice the scorpion sigil on the stone
stele: a scorpion clutching a crescent moon in its pincers
and, below it, a scorpion's tail curved into a circle.
The depiction of Memnon using scorpion's poison and having
some scorpion sigils in his fortress suggests that the
screenwriters may be implying that he is the historical King
Scorpion I, with Mathayus becoming King Scorpion II after
Memnon and his head cronies all seem
to wear a similar large pendant. It must be some kind of crest of
Mathayus is seen to use a handheld spyglass made of a bamboo
tube and a piece of crystal. Such a device is not known to
have been used to any effect in history. The first known
invention of the telescope made with glass was in the 17th
Thorak tells his men he will give a thousand duranas to the
one who brings him Mathayus' head. Presumably, "durana" is a
coin that was in use in the setting of this movie, but I
have been unable to find a real world mention of a coin by
that name. The word may come from the alloy called durana
metal which is 65% copper and smaller percentages of other
Philos' presence in the middle of the desert without water
at 50:55 suggests that he was dumped there by Memnon's men
for his perceived betrayal of the warlord in allegedly
helping Mathayus to escape Gomorrah.
At 56:16 on the DVD, Arpid is seen arm wrestling a woman
with their left hands. Then at 56:19, they are suddenly
using their right hands!
It's odd that Memnon tells his army at 1:01:50 that "tonight
we celebrate" and for them to eat and drink their fill "for
tomorrow we ride into battle." Consider that military
leaders normally do not want their men getting drunk the
night before and then being hung over on the day of battle!
Notice that as he is trying to impress the women around him
at 1:02:10 with a boast of how he would have captured
Mathayus had the man not run like a coward, Takmet is unable
to draw back the string of Mathayus' bow, left behind in
At 1:07:13 on the DVD, it can be seen that the top portion
of Cassandra's garment is made up of small metallic symbols.
|The cobras placed in
the earthenware jars by Memnon's men
as part of a test for Cassandra are
monocled cobras, as seen by the
single spot on the snake's hood.
Cobras with twin spots on the hood
are known as spectacled cobras.
Notice that Memnon slashes off the head of the cobra held by
Cassandra at 1:12:28, but it's not until 1:14:04 that we see
the snake's body on the floor during the sword fight between
him and Mathayus.
At 1:16:34 on the DVD, Cassandra is thrown onto a tabletop
by Memnon, striking her left temple on a rock sitting there,
stunning her. But, just moments later, she is seen laying on
her right side as if she had landed on and struck her right
At 1:19:27 on the DVD, we can see that one of the statues at
the entrance of Memnon's fortress is that of a criosphinx, a
lion with the head of a ram.
Notes from the audio commentary on the DVD by
director Chuck Russell
Russell notes that the hand axe used as a weapon by Mathayus
is a kama. A kama is a scythe-like weapon also used for
reaping crops in Japan and the Philippines.
Most of the desert scenes were shot at
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California.
The sand dunes were shot in Buttercup Valley in the Imperial
Sand Dunes of California near the Arizona and Mexico borders
(the sand dunes in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
were also shot here).
Russell seems to confirm that Arpid is really a horse thief,
not a priest of Set as he claims while trying to bargain for
his life in Memnon's camp.
She is never referred to by name in any dialog of the film,
but the sorceress is named Cassandra.
The set housing the entrance to Memnon's fortress and the
square in front of it were originally built for the classic
1960 film Spartacus.
Notes from the audio commentary on the DVD by The
The Rock points out that the boy, Tutu Sweeney, who plays
the street urchin befriended by Mathayus was not able to
pronounce "Memnon" throughout the film, instead saying "Mennom".
If you listen carefully to the boy's dialog, you can hear
may the gods have pity.wav
you're lucky we have the same mother.wav
him we'll kill for free.wav
live free, die well.wav
five different languages.wav
never touch the bow.wav
rivers of blood.wav
no greater city.wav
tighter than a crabs buttocks.wav
they'll behead him for sure.wav
gods be praised.wav
it's not the size of the hump.wav
wait for me, please.wav
can I go home now?.wav
the blood of the scorpion.wav
you and the people have the same problem.wav
is it safe to drink?.wav
no need for concern.wav
I've come for the woman and your head.wav
you're a king now.wav
live free, rule well.wav
we'll make our own destiny.wav
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