New ABC Family show, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, is about a teenage girl (Chloe King) who wakes up the morning after her birthday to discover she’s developed some strange powers. Could Chloe be part of the Mai, a mythical race of people that originated in ancient Egypt? If so, she is their only hope of survival.
Read more about the show and the cast here.
Thanks to ABC Family, we have a little background on the Mai to help get ready for the supernatural series.
History and Conflict
First mentioned in hieroglyphics dating back to 2890 to 2686 B.C., from Second Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the Mai are the offspring of the Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet. Since the feline goddess Bastet was worshiped in Egypt, they’re considered to not only have cat-like qualities but are also part-god, part-human, and the protectors of the human race.
Early on the Mai were responsible for protecting and defending the pharaoh, which eventually extended to all humans. As their position in society grew they took on roles in the government, advising the Pharaoh on religions and state matters. Their top priority was to be fierce warriors, participating and leading the charge in battle.
All good things must come to an end however, and in the 16th to 11th century B.C., the Mai came to an abrupt end when they fell to the Ramesses. With the demise of the New Kingdom and the rise of the Third Intermediate Period, the Mai became outcasts and the pharaohs’ enemies instead of protectors. The myth began referring to the Mai as lions and the pharaoh ordered hunting parties.
Like a true Romeo and Juliet story, some say a Mai youth fell in love with eldest daughter of Ramesses III and since the pharaoh forbade the marriage, the two eloped. The young boy was then captured and sentenced to death causing more animosity and retaliation. There’s no confirmation but it is said that the Mai killed the daughter and made an attempt to take the pharoah’s life.
After the Mai fled Egypt, there are stories detailing large settlements throughout Syria and Turkey. Some believe that the destruction of the Mai was the motivation for the launch of the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition, as they were accused of being heretics and witches.
Mythology and Folklore
As the story goes, the Mai were driven from Egypt over 3,000 years ago, but mythology and folklore suggest they continued to exist in other parts of the world. Specifically it’s been reported that The Uniter will restore the Mai as protector and companion of the human race. However, it is also said that The Uniter will act as a warrior, possessing nine lives, and he or she will help the Mai seek revenge.
Although there is little evidence to support this, some say that if the Mai makes any intimate physical contact with humans, the human will die. It’s a result of the original rift that drove Mai and humans apart.
The Mai Now
It’s unclear if the Mai still exist today but there have been reports of small, but organized, communities in San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Hong King.
Now that you know more about the Mai, remember to catch The Nine Lives of Chloe King June 14 on ABC Family.
(Image and history courtesy of ABC Family)