Books by ASTENE Members


A Curious and Convivial Traveller: Edward Roger Pratt in Greece and Egypt 1832–34.

by Patricia Usick

(Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2020; ISBN:9789042939639)

Usick

Available to purchase here


In 2001 the British Museum acquired the first of two ancient Egyptian stelae from the collection of the traveller Edward Roger Pratt (1789-1863) of Ryston Hall, Norfolk, and discovered his 1832-34 unpublished journals for Greece and Egypt and the 136-page album with his own drawings, watercolours, and paper impressions of bas-reliefs from a solo Nile voyage to the Second Cataract. Pratt recorded ancient monuments and sites, many later damaged or destroyed. In Greece Pratt travelled widely and adventurously with scholarly architects and artists studying ancient Greek sites, while in Egypt his guides were the works of the French Egyptologists Jean-François Champollion and Dominique Vivant Denon. A gregarious and enthusiastic traveller, Pratt was supported by extensive consular networks, expatriate communities and other travellers. In this volume his life and travels are reconstructed from his many journals, the travel journals for Greece and Egypt are transcribed and annotated, his maps and plans reproduced, his dispersed antiquities collection reconstructed, and the album drawings are identified and published in colour.


From Siena to Nubia: Alessandro Ricci in Egypt and Sudan, 1817–22

by Daniele Savoldi

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2019; ISBN: 9789774168543)

Savoldi

Available to purchase here


A medical practitioner and talented draftsman, Alessandro Ricci was born in Siena, Italy, at the end of the eighteenth century. He traveled extensively throughout Egypt and Sudan between 1817 and 1822. During his stay, he worked as an epigraphist for Giovanni B. Belzoni in the tomb of Seti I and later entered into the service of British consul general Henry Salt and English explorer William John Bankes, on whose behalf he visited and documented Siwa (1820), Sinai (1820), and Nubia (1818–19 and 1821–22). Ricci also became the physician to Ibrahim Pasha and achieved fame for daringly saving his life during the military campaign that led to Egypt’s conquest of Sudan in 1821–22. Upon his return to Italy, Ricci wrote a long account of all his journeys and reworked a series of ninety plates into striking form, yet failed to publish either.
In 2009, Daniele Salvoldi identified a complete typewritten copy of Ricci’s Travels in the National Archives of Egypt in Cairo. Drawings intended to accompany the text as plates were tracked down in different locations in Italy and the United Kingdom. From Siena to Nubia is the English-translated critical edition, with notes and introductory chapters, of Ricci’s travel account, which provides detailed information about the countries he visited, including descriptions of ancient ruins and social customs, botanical and geological remarks, and historical and ethnographical observations. It adds to the recent, growing corpus of exploration literature on nineteenth-century Egypt as well as bringing to light obscure sources important to the early history of Egyptology.


Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology: 3: From 1914 to the Twenty-First Century

by Jason Thompson

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2018; ISBN: 9789774167607)

Wonderful things 3

Available to purchase here


The discovery of ancient Egypt and the development of Egyptology are momentous events in intellectual and cultural history. The history of Egyptology is the story of the people, famous and obscure, who constructed the picture of ancient Egypt that we have today, recovered the Egyptian past while inventing it anew, and made a lost civilization comprehensible to generations of enchanted readers and viewers thousands of years later. This, the third of a three-volume history of Egyptology, follows the progress of the discipline from the trauma of the First World War, through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, and into Egyptology’s new horizons at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Wonderful Things affirms that the history of ancient Egypt has proved continually fascinating, but it also demonstrates that the history of Egyptology is no less so. Only by understanding how Egyptology has developed can we truly understand the Egyptian past.


Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology: 2: The Golden Age: 1881–1914

by Jason Thompson

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2016; ISBN: 9789774166921)

Available to purchase here


The discovery of ancient Egypt and the development of Egyptology are momentous events in intellectual and cultural history. The history of Egyptology is the story of the people, famous and obscure, who constructed the picture of ancient Egypt that we have today, recovered the Egyptian past while inventing it anew, and made a lost civilization comprehensible to generations of enchanted readers and viewers thousands of years later. This, the second of a three-volume survey of the history of Egyptology, explores the years 1881-1914, a period marked by the institutionalization of Egyptology amid an ever increasing pace of discovery and the opening of vast new vistas into the Egyptian past. Wonderful Things affirms that the history of ancient Egypt has proved continually fascinating, but it also demonstrates that the history of Egyptology is no less so. Only by understanding how Egyptology has developed can we truly understand ancient Egypt.


Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology 1: From Antiquity to 1881 

by Jason Thompson

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2015; ISBN: 9789774165993)

img_7830.jpg

Available to purchase here


The discovery of ancient Egypt and the development of Egyptology are momentous events in intellectual and cultural history. The history of Egyptology is the story of the people, famous and obscure, who constructed the picture of ancient Egypt that we have today, recovered the Egyptian past while inventing it anew, and made a lost civilization comprehensible to generations of enchanted readers and viewers thousands of years later. This, the first of a three-volume survey of the history of Egyptology, follows the fascination with ancient Egypt from antiquity until 1881, tracing the recovery of ancient Egypt and its impact on the human imagination in a saga filled with intriguing mysteries, great discoveries, and scholarly creativity. Wonderful Things affirms that the history of ancient Egypt has proved continually fascinating, but it also demonstrates that the history of Egyptology is no less so. Only by understanding how Egyptology has developed can we truly understand the Egyptian past.


American Travelers on the Nile: Early U.S. Visitors to Egypt, 1774–1839 

by Andrew Oliver

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2014; ISBN 9789774166679 )

img_7831.jpg

Available to purchase here


The Treaty of Ghent signed in 1814, ending the War of 1812, allowed Americans once again to travel abroad. Medical students went to Paris, artists to Rome, academics to Göttingen, and tourists to all European capitals. More intrepid Americans ventured to Athens, to Constantinople, and even to Egypt. Beginning with two eighteenth-century travelers, this book then turns to the 25-year period after 1815 that saw young men from East Coast cities, among them graduates of Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, traveling to the lands of the Bible and of the Greek and Latin authors they had first known as teenagers. Naval officers off ships of the Mediterranean squadron visited Cairo to see the pyramids. Two groups went on business, one importing steam-powered rice and cotton mills from New York, the other exporting giraffes from the Kalahari Desert for wild animal shows in New York.Drawing on unpublished letters and diaries together with previously neglected newspaper accounts, as well as a handful of published accounts, this book offers a new look at the early American experience in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean world. More than thirty illustrations complement the stories told by the travelers themselves.


Westcar on the Nile: A Journey Through Egypt in the 1820s

by Heike C. Schmidt

(Menschen—Reisen—Forschungen) (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2011;  ISBN: 9783895008528)

img_7832.jpg

Available to purchase here


In November 1823 a young English gentleman, by the name of Henry Westcar, landed in Alexandria to discover the glory of ancient Egypt. He was neither an archaeologist, nor of famous stock, but only one more member of the English gentry taking the Grand Tour. His name might have easily fallen into oblivion, would it not have been connected to one of the most famous ancient Egyptian literary papyri: the papyrus Westcar. Most probably it was acquired by him on occasion of his trip up the Nile as far as the second cataract and back. But Westcar’s voyage is remarkable not only for the probable purchase of the famous papyrus. In Egypt he became eyewitness of a revolution against the ruling pasha. His diary is one of the main sources to supply information about the rebellion that rose in Upper Egypt, as well as the means taken by the pasha and his army to quell it. Westcar and his three fellow travellers, all of them promising young architects, suddenly found their trip, which was started to explore the temples and tombs of the pharaohs, change into a flight downriver to escape the rebellion.For the first time the entire travelogue of Henry Westcar is published, together with an overview of the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha as well as an appendix in which the ownership of the papyrus Westcar is discussed. The text is elaborately illustrated not only with photos but also with sketches and drawings, the latter ones whenever possible executed by Westcar’s companions or artists travelling in the same period of time. Almost 200 years after Henry Westcar has returned from his trip to the Nile, his diary is finally published.


Adventures in Egypt and Nubia: The Travels of William John Bankes (1786–1855) 

by Patricia Usick

(London: British Museum Press, 2002; ISBN: 9780714118031)

Available to purchase here


William John Bankes (1786-1855) was a brilliant and remarkable man: rich, charming, witty and good-looking, he studied Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a close and lifelong friend of Byron. In 1812 he went to Spain and Portugal to pursue a Bohemian lifestyle among the gypsies. This was followed by travels in the Near East, where he sought out danger and excitement, from clandestine trips to the forbidden mosque in Jerusalem to the very real perils attending early travellers in Egypt and Nubia. Bankes amassed a vast portfolio of notes, manuscripts and drawings by the artists who accompanied him on his Egyptian travels. Their extremely high degree of accuracy makes them a very valuable record of the ancient monuments, many of which have since been damaged or lost. His intuitive detective work and the many copies of hieroglyphic inscriptions he accumulated were instrumental in the struggle to decipher hieroglyphs. Bankes spent his later years in self-imposed exile in Italy to avoid the repercussions of a charge brought against him for a homosexual offence involving a guardsman in Green Park.His art collection and an obelisk he removed from Philae remained at Kingston Lacy, the family seat in Dorset, where the drawings and manuscripts from his Egyptian travels also languished in a cabinet, unpublished and forgotten. This book tells Bankes’ story, describing his travels in detail and assessing his contribution to Egyptology.


Edward William Lane, 1801–1876: The Life of the Pioneering Egyptologist and Orientalist 

by Jason Thompson

(Cairo & New York: AUC Press, 2010; ISBN: 9789774162879)

Available to purchase here


This is the first full-length biography of the eminent Victorian scholar. Few Western scholars of the Middle East have exerted such profound influence as Edward William Lane. Lane’s Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (1836), which has never gone out of print, remains as a highly authoritative study of Middle Eastern society. His annotated translation of the “Arabian Nights” (1839-41) retains a devoted readership. Lane’s recently recovered and published “Description of Egypt” (2000) shows that he was a pioneering Egyptologist as well as orientalist. The capstone of his career, the definitive “Arabic-English Lexicon” (1863-93), is an indispensable reference tool. Yet, despite his extraordinary influence, little was known about Lane and virtually nothing about how he did his work. Now, in the first full-length biography, Lane’s life and accomplishments are examined in full, including his crucial years of field work in Egypt, revealing the life of a great Victorian scholar and presenting a fascinating episode in east-west encounter, interaction, and representation.


Copyright © 2021 ASTENE. All rights reserved.