Saturday, December 26, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 68: Washington, D.C. represents Heliopolis

CATEGORY: MOVIES     [Hidden plot related]

Left: Map of ancient Egypt, showing major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC).[a] Above: Modern map of Maryland showing Baltimore and the Washington, D.C. area.[b] The ancient city of Heliopolis is located in Lower Egypt, and Hermopolis near the border between Upper and Lower Egypt. Since the Nile flows from south to north in this region, and the Potomac River flows from north to south near Washington, then if we rotate the map of Egypt around 180 degrees, the two regions appear somewhat similar: we can take the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay combined, as the Nile River, Baltimore can be taken as Hermopolis, and Washington as Heliopolis.

Above left: The Al-Masalla obelisk, the largest surviving monument from Heliopolis, Egypt.[c] Above right: Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.[d]

Heliopolis (Greek: Ἡλίου πόλις or Ἡλιούπολις), meaning sun-city, was one of the most ancient cities of Egypt, and capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome. In ancient times it was the principal seat of sun-worship, thus its name, which means city of the sun in Greek. Heliopolis contains the earliest temple obelisk still in its original position.[e]

In Manhunter, the Washington Monument is the prominently visible white building that can be seen through the window of a hotel Molly and Will are staying at, at one point in the movie (pointed to by the arrow in the screecap at left). It is an obelisk, and it corresponds to the obelisk in Heliopolis (in the lower left photo above).

What all of this amounts to when applied to our movie, is that while Lecktor resides in Baltimore, his main cult center is located in Washington: Beverly Katz, and as we will see, other FBI personnel located in Washington, who are deceiving Graham during the lab analyses on the tissue note, and in the investigators' meeting, represent metaphorical 'worshipers' of Lecktor as a kind of sun god.

a. Image from the Wikipedia 'Ancient Egypt' page; Ancient Egypt map-en by Jeff Dahl, licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.
b. Image: public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
c. Image from the Wikipedia 'Heliopolis' page; Obelisk-SesostrisI-Heliopolis by Didia (David Schmid), licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
d. Image from the Wikipedia 'Washington Monument' page; Washington Monument Dusk Jan 2006 by Diliff, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
e. Wikipedia, 'Heliopolis (Ancient Egypt)'. Web, n.d. URL =


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