Could the Key of Life jolt the Sharm economic conference?
Amira Noshokaty, , Tuesday 10 Mar 2015
Ahram Online explains the historic background of an ancient pharaonic symbol picked as the logo for a much anticipated conference to attract international investment

We've inherited from our ancestors medical recipes for healing, the secrets of astrology for soul guidance and the key of life.

The Key of Life has been passed on to us throughout the centuries and in time transformed from the wall of temples to silver shimmering fashionable jewelry.

In 2015, The Key of Life was chosen by the authorities to play the role of logo for the March Economic Development Conference, which could reinvigorate foreign investment in an economy that continues to suffer from years of political turmoil.

"The key of life or Ankh is one of three symbols that were associated with kings of ancient Egypt," explained Fatma Keshk, head of the Archeology and Architecture department in CULTNAT, affiliated with Alexandria Library.

Ankh, Was, and Djed, respectively meaning Life, Immortality, and Power, were signs unscripted before or after the name of Ancient Egyptian kings whether they were dead or alive.

Ankh is one of the oldest symbols of ancient Egypt. It dates back to the reign of Mina (Mene) who united Upper and Lower Egypt in the early dynastic period.

"It was first found during the early dynasties, where the ancient Egyptians used to paint it on pottery, but in its primitive form," explained Keshk.

He added that the term 'key' in reference to Ankh was used in modern history not the ancient one.

"According to the renowned Egyptologist Wallis Budge (1857-1934), Ankh is derived from the green belt of the Goddess Isis," she added.

Based on Egyptian mythology, Isis is the first born to the marriage between the land and sky.

Despite the resemblance between Ankh and the cross, Keshk explains that there are no real historical affiliation between the two.

"The only historic linkage on the topic is the fact that during the Roman invasion of Egypt, the Christians were oppressed and had to practice their religious rituals in secrecy and hence often held their ceremonies inside ancient Egyptian temples, where the symbol of Ankh is quite vivid," she explained.

She added that there is an ancient church in the heart of Luxor temple and the cross inscribed on its walls resembles Ankh in its primitive form.

Our ancestors left us lots of gems of wisdom, and ancient relics but many believe the most valuable symbol of all is Ankh: life, our basic human right.