Notes and Queries

Queries and Replies Bulletin 70

Very important to the concept of ASTENE is the sharing of information and the accumulation of knowledge.

If you have a query about people or places in the ASTENE region, send it for publication in the ASTENE bulletin (

Answers to queries may sometimes take months or even a year to come in, but when they do, we share them with members.

Sharing information and helping each other in the research of early travellers helps to us in one of our key aims in the promotion of the study of early travel in Egypt, the Sudan, Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Turkey, Greece & beyond.


If you have any information which may help members who have posted a query, please get in contact.

If possible, please reply to the bulletin editor (Dr Robert Morkot: or send the information to our general enquiries email: or use our contact us page.

Replies will be published in our quarterly bulletin.

Here is an example of a successful completed query which demonstrates how a question asked through the Bulletin brings fascinating information to other members and can provide new and unexpected knowledge.

Salamat von Thebes – Richard Lepsius’ Travellers’ Book

A query in Bulletin no. 38 (p. 15), about a visitors’ book kept by Dr Lepsius during his time in Egypt in the 1840s, has elicited a response from Isolde Lehnert of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Cairo. She writes:

The ‘strangers’ book initiated by Richard Lepsius (1810–84) in 1843 in Thebes has survived! Its title is Salamat von Thebes – Salutations from Thebes.

When Lepsius left Thebes he gave the book to a guide there by the name of Anad or Awad. After this man’s death in 1853 the book came into the possession of Todrous Bulos and his son, Mohareb. Both were Prussian (after 1871, German) consular agents in Luxor, dealing with antiquities. Both kept the book carefully. After Mohareb’s death, the book was held in private German hands. Then on 2 May 2002 the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung Staatliche Museum in Berlin bought the book at auction.

It has 205 pages and some vignettes, and contains more than 2600 entries by travellers from 32 countries, beginning on 1 January 1845 and ending on 16 January 1873. There is a mixture of travellers to Egypt, comprising different social classes and professions. There is an online German text at

Then Isolde did further research and discovered a 36- page book by Rudolph Said Ruete, published in 1900, entitled Ein Fremdenbuch aus Thebes, by Carl Richard Lepsius and others. Copyright libraries in Britain have copies of this book.

A founder member of ASTENE, Michel Azim, has added yet more fascinating information about this document. He recalls that when he was working at Karnak at the end of the 1980s, the ‘Fremdenbuch’ could be consulted in Luxor – somewhere near the Rue de la Gare. Sadly, he never saw it, but he knew that the cover had been designed by a member of the Lepsius expedition, Ernst Weidenbech. Mr Azim refers us to an article by L. Keimer in Glanures iii (23 December 1955): ‘Une livre des voyageurs institute a Thebes par Karl Richard Lepsius’, pp. 300–314, with some reproductions.

All notes, queries and replies can be found in the ASTENE bulletins.

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