The chapter The Destruction of the Pharaohs discusses how much of the heritage of the pharaohs was destroyed by tomb robbers and casual tourism. As the pharaohs were laid in their tombs with considerable wealth, the first tomb robbers were contemporary Egyptians themselves. Later, tourists would be responsible for much of the destruction of the remnants of the civilization they were seeking to catch a glimpse of: Egyptology became a fashionable subject or the wealthy and curious.
Herodotus is discussed in The Father of History and the First Tourists. Even during Herodotus' time, the Egyptians civilization was considered to be remarkable, powerful, and stable. Herodotus was respected during his time as well, and though his standards don't measure up to modern standards, A mass of information and misinformation resulted from Herodotus' leisurely journey, the writings on Egypt do allow a certain amount of insight into the ancient culture, at least how it was viewed by an outside civilization.
[...] The chapter describes a tomb that Belzoni found that later turned out to be the tomb of Sethy who was the father of Ramesses II. The tomb had been robbed previously, but there were paintings and an alabaster sarcophagus which was different from what had previously been seen by European archaeologists. “Pyramidical Brains” finds Belzoni wishing to return to the Valley of Kings, though he was short on money and his wife was tiring of the Nile and wished to see Jerusalem. [...]
[...] Eventually Mohammed Ali published an ordinance banning all removal of Egyptian antiquities at the behest of Jean Francois Champollion pleas, though unfortunately the ordinance was hardly enforceable and did little to curb collectors. “There is One More Powerful Than discusses those who followed Champollion who helped to legitimize and found Egyptology, curbing the outright pillaging of various sites and helping in the deciphering of hieroglyphics and the keeping of better records. John Gardner Wilkinson and Robert Hay were two such men who were interested in the preservation of Egyptian artifacts. [...]
[...] The book compares this period as an outright rape and pillaging of Ancient Egyptian culture: and his rivals had started a scramble for Egyptian antiquities which soon expanded to a rape of massive proportions” (251). The chapter goes on to mention several of these main collectors, including Anthony Charles Harris, Sebastien Louis Saulnier, and Jean Baptiste Lelorrain. The reason that collectors like these were so easily able to obtain s many Egyptian antiquities was because so many European museums were willing to pay for extensive collections as Egyptian antiquities were the current rage, and Egypt was currently controlled by the Turkish government, which saw no need to preserve the Egyptian heritage and used the interest in these artifacts to its advantage. [...]
[...] The story of the transport of the head is continued on through Nubian Journey,” along with their searches for more treasure. One of the other treasures they took was the statue of the goddess Sakmet in black granite. This section of the book is called Greatest Plunderer of Them and he was by far able to achieve more in the shortest amount of time: unique qualifications derived from circus and theater gave him an advantage in moving large antiquities which even Napoleon's armies had failed to shift” (154). [...]
[...] The epilogue succinctly sums up many of the major events and players who have shaped the face of Egyptology. Furthermore, it ponders the future of such studies and discusses the extent to which attitudes have changed from the initial rape of the Nile Valley and how they have stayed the same to a certain extent. The presentation of the information provided in the book follows a mostly chronological manner. This makes sense as the subject of the book escalates as the gradual rush for Egyptian artifacts which ended up with a complete free-for-all. [...]
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