In Stargate (1994), Daniel Jackson is able to translate the history of Ra's life, including his defeat on Earth. Ra then bans reading and writing on Abydos but leaves the history there. First, why would that have been written at all, and second why would he have left the history up on the wall after the defeat? It must have been written after the rebellion on Earth, so what was the point of immortalizing that and running the risks of the people of Abydos learning about it and rebelling again?

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    Ra doesn't strike me as someone with good impulse control.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 14:16
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    <PitchMeeting>So that the movie can happen!</PitchMeeting>
    – Paul L
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 14:24
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    Because he wasn't the one writing it, it was his royal historian. That woman is now dead and her writing is the only thing Ra has to fondly remember her by. Or for plot reasons...
    – jo1storm
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 14:27
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    Ra couldn’t have banned reading and writing if it didn’t exist before the ban. It always seemed clear to me that the people wrote the history, then writing was banned, an Ra did not search all the catacombs and places in the city or he did but didn’t find all the places where writing was preserved. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 18:19
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    Wasn't what Daniel read hidden in a cave? Point being I don't think Ra knew it was there, only the villagers did and they preserved it. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


The screenplay makes it abundantly clear that Ra didn't authorise these writings. They were created by those he'd abducted from Earth in order to record their history. The catacombs are concealed beneath an ordinary street and the entrance a closely-guarded secret from both Ra's men and most of the village.

Note that the writings are not at all complimentary about Ra, painting him as a brutal slave-driver.


A torch in her hand, Sari leads Daniel over to the end of a small street at the side of the village. Behind a stairwell, she shows Daniel a large boulder leaning against the wall. She tries to PUSH IT. Daniel helps her and together they move it away from the wall revealing a small TUNNEL.

Sari checks to see if they've been observed. The coast clear, Sari ducks inside. Daniel follows.


They crawl beneath the structure through the dirt reaching a hidden set of STAIRS leading downward. Sari points down the stairs. Daniel takes the torch and walks down, Sari following. Eroded and musty walls surround the stairs. Daniel makes it to the bottom of the stairs that lead directly to a dirt covered WALL. The SYMBOL for Earth engraved in its center. Astonished, Daniel runs his fingers around the surrounding wall. His finger PUSHES THROUGH some dirt, until he's able to dig out the archway surrounding the symbol; he uncovers a DOOR. Realizing it's a door, Daniel is able to dig into the door, giving him something to grip. He PULLS with all his might. Slowly the door OPENS. Sari's eyes go wide. Daniel is nervous but excited. Cautiously they make their way through the doorway.


Behind the door we find the long narrow ancient catacombs, obviously built centuries ago. Daniel holds his torch up to the walls revealing… HIEROGLYPHICS AND DRAWINGS covering every bit of wall space, all the way down this narrow passage way. Daniel turns to Sari, stunned. Sari, too, has never seen any of this. She's frightened. Daniel continues down the wall, trying to make sense out of this picture story.


As we move down the wall we see... the now familiar symbol for Earth... then ANIMAL HEADED warriors (Anubis, Horus, Thoth)... taking children... families ripped apart.

Daniel and Sari lean close. The images disturbing, harsh. They move the torch down the wall. The next drawings depict... slaves herded together... the warriors brutalizing them... shepherding them across the desert over to... THE STAR GATE. Alongside these pictures, Daniel SEES the first of some hieroglyphic symbols. The symbol for slavery... seama!

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