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The *** of the Nile

 
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:40 am    Post subject: The *** of the Nile Reply with quote

Here's one all true Egyptophiles should read. First published in 1975 and now extensively updated, Brian Fagan's The *** of the Nile (Westview Press, 2004) is a very enlightening and entertaining study of the systematic plundering of Egypt over the past several hundred years. Fagan descriptively brings us into contact with the varying peoples who populated Egypt before it solidified into an independent nation, and the many Europeans who exploited them in unceasing efforts to haul away as many artifacts and treasures as humanly possible. Probably the most interesting chapters are those that cover the greatest tomb robber of them all, the indefatigable genius Giovanni Batista Belzoni. We've all heard of Belzoni, but I had no idea just how intelligent, impressive, and determined he was until I read Fagan's book. Trust me, folks, you'd enjoy this book. Very Happy
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Meritaten
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've sold me on the book!

The issues surrounding the acquisition of artefacts - and their requested return - is one of seminal importance to museums now. While I could have lived in the Brit Museum's galleries, there was always that uneasiness at the back of the mind as to how these items came to be in the collection. The on-going issue of the Parthenon marbles is a case in point. Balanced against that is the fact that museums have preserved these objects and prevented them from disappearing into private collections.

It's no wonder, though, that Egypt is so diligent now about controling the loan, display or sale of the items in their national collections!
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fagan's book is very revealing on the exploitation of Egypt. He holds nothing back. The British and the French were the worst in the early years of Egyptology, stealing wholesale from Egypt for the collections of wealthy private individuals and of course for their great museums (the British Museum among them). Of course, the Egyptian authorities and especially the pasha himself were notoriously corrupt; long after antiquities laws were in place, it was no difficult matter to bribe government officials and inspectors to get antiquities out of the country. The French had firm control over the Antiquities Service for many years and would often sell relics under the table. It's astounding how corrupt everyone was!

My favorite chapters are those on Belzoni--what a remarkable man, and one of the biggest tomb robbers of them all. But all of the big names are mentioned (and many you likely never heard of). Even Wallis Budge gets several pages. He was a prolific writer on ancient Egypt and one of the upper-level officials of the British Museum, and most Egyptophiles will be familiar with his name. Every book store with even a modest inventory of texts on ancient Egypt will have at least two or three of Budge's many books on its shelves, even though much of what he wrote is now considerably outdated. What I didn't know, though, until I read The *** of the Nile was how prolific a tomb robber Budge was! He was one of the worst and operated with few morals when it came to relic hunting.

Get the book, Meritaten. You won't be disappointed. For everyone who might be interested, here's the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0813340616/qid=1111539845/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-8776468-9381747

I should have posted it when I recommended the book. Sorry about that.
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queencleopatra
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That book sound very good, but right now I have too many books that I haven't read already! I just would want to give it a fair chance, but right now...ahh! Too many good books!
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