Past Events


Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy

Book Launch & Lecture 


ASTENE’s Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy book launch and lecture, hosted by the committee for Travellers in Ottoman Lands, at the Nomads Tent, Edinburgh.

Thursday 18th October 2018

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We had a wonderful book launch of our new book ‘Travellers in Ottoman Lands: the botanical legacy’ at Nomad’s Tent, Edinburgh with about 80 people attending. Dr. Crinan Alexander of the Royal Botanic Garden (RBGE) gave an excellent talk on ‘Peter Davis: an innocent abroad’, after the Turkish Consul-General in Edinburgh, Semih Lütfü Turgut Bey had welcomed everyone. Sabina introduced Crinan and TIOL1 and Ines talked about the idea of having a TIOL2. Paul then ‘launched’ the book and invited everyone to eat the splendid buffet that had been provided by Semih Bey. We are very grateful to Andrew Haughton of Nomad’s Tent for hosting the event and to Julie Witford of Cornucopia for all her exceptional support. We hope many people will buy the book and join ASTENE too! Many thanks to all who made it a really happy occasion!

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For more information on the event, please see attached flyer: TIOL launch invite ASTENE


Travellers in Ottoman Lands

Details of the new book: Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy

This splendidly illustrated book has its origins in a two-day seminar held in May 2017 at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, organised by the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) in conjunction with the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, with additional support from Cornucopia and the Turkish Consulate General, Edinburgh. The book focuses on the botanical legacy of many parts of the former Ottoman Empire – including present-day Turkey, the Levant, Egypt, the Balkans, and the Arabian Peninsula – as seen and described by travellers both from within and from outside the region.


 Western Perceptions of Ancient Egypt

Study Day


Saturday 22nd September 2018

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Chaired by: Dr Aidan Dodson, FSA, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Bristol.

Western Perceptions of Ancient Egypt, an ASTENE Autumn study day held at BRLSI (Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution) in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.

The programme was designed to be suitable for both Egyptology enthusiasts and those with a general interest in Art and the day was spent tracing the depiction of Ancient Egypt through the ages, by looking at the artists charged with portraying this exotic land and introducing Egypt to the Western world.

First to be examined, was the opening up of Egypt with Napoleon’s Campaign and study the work of Vivant Denon, who accompanied Napoleon, and depicted Egypt so vividly in his art. After a break for coffee, Briony Llewellyn focused on Victorian Orientalist painter David Roberts, who showed the ancient monuments in a contemporary setting with his beautiful paintings. After lunch, the work of Norman and Nina de Garis Davies was considered. Nina is acknowledged as the leading 20th-century exponent in recording the ancient tombs. Finally, the day was brought to a close with a look at the way Ancient Egypt has been depicted on the stage and screen.

First Speaker Lee Young

First speaker Lee Young and her lecture on ‘Vivant Denon and the Opening up of Egypt’

End of the day Q&A Session

End of the day Q&A with speakers: Lee Young, Briony Llewellyn, John J. Johnston & Dr. Nigel Strudwick.

For further information, see the Astene Western Perceptions Programme and a review of the event in our latest bulletin (Winter 2018): ASTENE Bulletins.