July 16, 2012
by fosco lucarelli
Flavius Menu of N-D-L-R just wrote a very interesting post about the “Description de l’Egypte“, a series of 23 volumes published after the failed Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign: “a military disaster which had an extraordinary consequence for archaeology“.
“Soldiers, from the height of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on you..”
The campaign, (conducted with 500 civilians accompaning the army, amongst which there was a group of 167 scholars that included 21 mathematicians, 3 astronomers, 17 civil engineers, 13 naturalists, 4 architects, 8 draughtsmen, 10 men of letters, 22 printers equipped with Latin, Greek and Arabic characters.) and the subsequent publications was said to have given birth to Egyptology.
“For the greater gloty of the French Republic, they were to find, beneath the millennial sands, the vestiges of Pharaonic Egypt, the “cradle of the science and art of all humanity ” as Napoleon put it. A commission of Science and Art and an Egyptian Institute were promptly founded. Under their guidance, everything was systematically catalogued and meticulously drawn, from the monolithic obelisks with their rich decoration to the vast statues that dominated the palm-trees of the Nile Banks. All was completed in 23 volumes…” Read more on N-D-L-R.