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Egyptian History as we know today

Posted by Venkatt Guhesan on March 24, 2016

Pharoah_Ramses_British_MuseumMuch of the Egyptian/Nubian history and culture we know today was a result of colonization by the European empires. In their thirst for expansion, they colonized much of the known world.

In India, the Dutch, the Portuguese then the British all came under the name of colonization and expansion. They came in search of new trade-routes to the orient and as history has it, the interests of trade slowly turned into colonization and expansion of the empire.

The same has happened in Egypt, upper and lower Nile in Africa as well as the places on the border of the river Nile.

Today’s blog is not to question or critique the efforts and impact of the colonization had on the world but to look at how this change has brought the Egyptian, Nubian culture, history and archeology to the world stage. Contributions from archeologists like “Howard Carter [1874]” (English) and “Giovanni Battista Belzoni [1788]” (Italian) – would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the need for the empires to expand. The expansion fueled projects and works to paint, document, map and collect artifacts to map out the history, culture and literature of the old world.

In India, you have translations of some old forgotten religious, cultural literature gems such as the Thirukkural and Thiruvachagam (sacred utterance) translated by authors such as G. U. Pope. (1820’s) have brought back timeless precious works that have disappeared. Similar, expeditions to Africa and Egypt has made new terms such as “Egyptology”  creep into the English language.

Here is one such work:


Recently, I came across an interesting e-copy of a narrative written by Giovanni Battista Belzoni titled “Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries Within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia” (published in 1820). Reading through it you begin to see a circus-man (The Great Belzoni) turned Egyptian archeologist and in his efforts to bring artifacts such as the bust of Pharaoh Ramses to the museum in London. And how his sketches and paintings of upper Egypt (Cairo, pyramids) and lower Egypt (people of Nubia and Thebes) -must have awed and fascinated the English folks such that they pushed forward for more understanding of the Egyptian history and culture. Much of what we know of the Egyptian culture and history came from expeditions such as this.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an adventure in time and place to an ancient world where two worlds collide. I had almost forgotten about the e-copy until I saw a BBC documentary on Netflix on Egypt where the adventure of Belzoni was documented in a two part episode.

Now on to the quote of the day. This quote is something that we can all ponder in light of the recent events in Brussels that has shook the world.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln
[American President that preserved the Union, abolished slavery in America and strengthened the federal government]



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