This collection of scholarly essays on Egyptian culture, history, society, archeology, literature, art, and conservation is published in memory of Werner Mark Linz, who spent much of the latter part of his professional life as the Director of the American University in Cairo Press. East-West Divan is the first volume of the Gingko Library, a publishing project that embraces scholarship from both East and West, conceived by Werner Mark Linz to foster greater cross-cultural understanding. Among the contributors to this collection are the Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building; Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass; the renowned Swiss theologian, Hans Küng; the author of the acclaimed A Fort of Nine Towers, Qais Akbar Omar; and Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
Egypt beyond Representation develops and applies a new approach to study Aegyptiaca Romana from a bottom-up, Roman perspective. Current approaches to these objects are often still plagued by top-down projections of modern definitions and understandings of Egypt and Egyptian material culture onto the Roman world. This book instead argues that these artifacts should be studied in their own right, without reducing them to fixed Egyptian meanings. This study shows that, while “Egyptianness” may have been among Roman associations, these objects were able to do much more than merely representing notions of Egypt.
Egypt Land is the first comprehensive analysis of the connections between constructions of race and representations of ancient Egypt in nineteenth-century America. Scott Trafton argues that the American mania for Egypt was directly related to anxieties over race and race-based slavery. He shows how the fascination with ancient Egypt among both black and white Americans was manifest in a range of often contradictory ways. Both groups likened the power of the United States to that of the ancient Egyptian empire, yet both also identified with ancient Egypt’s victims. As the land which represented the origins of races and nations, the power and folly of empires, despots holding people in bondage, and the exodus of the saved from the land of slavery, ancient Egypt was a uniquely useful trope for representing America’s own conflicts and anxious aspirations.
Drawing on literary and cultural studies, art and architectural history, political history, religious history, and the histories of archaeology and ethnology, Trafton illuminates anxieties related to race in different manifestations of nineteenth-century American Egyptomania, including the development of American Egyptology, the rise of racialized science, the narrative and literary tradition of the imperialist adventure tale, the cultural politics of the architectural Egyptian Revival, and the dynamics of African American Ethiopianism. He demonstrates how debates over what the United States was and what it could become returned again and again to ancient Egypt. From visions of Cleopatra to the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, from the works of Pauline Hopkins to the construction of the Washington Monument, from the measuring of slaves’ skulls to the singing of slave spirituals—claims about and representations of ancient Egypt served as linchpins for discussions about nineteenth-century American racial and national identity.
From Roman villas to Hollywood films, ancient Egypt has been a source of fascination and inspiration in many other cultures. But why, exactly, has this been the case? In this book, Christina Riggs examines the history, art, and religion of ancient Egypt to illuminate why it has been so influential throughout the centuries. In doing so, she shows how the ancient past has always been used to serve contemporary purposes.
Often characterized as a lost civilization that was discovered by adventurers and archeologists, Egypt has meant many things to many different people. Ancient Greek and Roman writers admired ancient Egyptian philosophy, and this admiration would influence ideas about Egypt in Renaissance Europe as well as the Arabic-speaking world. By the eighteenth century, secret societies like the Freemasons looked to ancient Egypt as a source of wisdom, but as modern Egypt became the focus of Western military strategy and economic exploitation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, its ancient remains came to be seen as exotic, primitive, or even dangerous, tangled in the politics of racial science and archaeology. The curse of the pharaohs or the seductiveness of Cleopatra were myths that took on new meanings in the colonial era, while ancient Egypt also inspired modernist, anti-colonial movements in the arts, such as in the Harlem Renaissance and Egyptian Pharaonism. Today, ancient Egypt—whether through actual relics or through cultural homage—can be found from museum galleries to tattoo parlors. Riggs helps us understand why this “lost civilization” continues to be a touchpoint for defining—and debating—who we are today.
Edited by Sergio Donadoni University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress DT61.U6513 1997 | Dewey Decimal 932
The Egyptians is a vibrant, accessible introduction to the people who lived along the Nile for almost thirty-five centuries. In this collection of essays, eleven internationally renowned Egyptologists present studies of ancient Egyptians arranged by social type—slaves, craftsmen, priests, bureaucrats, the pharaoh, peasants, and women, among others. These individual essays are filled with a wealth of historical detail that both informs and fascinates: we learn, for example, that Egyptian peasants could not afford burial (their corpses were abandoned on the desert fringe), and that it was the bureaucrats who made the Egyptian system tick (the pyramids could not have been built without them).
Read consecutively, the portraits merge to create a larger picture of Egyptian culture, state, and society. The framework of the Egyptian state, in particular, is touched upon in each essay, describing the meticulous administration and well-organized hierarchical system that fostered centuries of stability and prosperity.
Egyptomania takes us on a historical journey to unearth the Egypt of the imagination, a land of strange gods, mysterious magic, secret knowledge, monumental pyramids, enigmatic sphinxes, and immense wealth. Egypt has always exerted a powerful attraction on the Western mind, and an array of figures have been drawn to the idea of Egypt. Even the practical-minded Napoleon dreamed of Egyptian glory and helped open the antique land to explorers. Ronald H. Fritze goes beyond art and architecture to reveal Egyptomania’s impact on religion, philosophy, historical study, literature, travel, science, and popular culture. All those who remain captivated by the ongoing phenomenon of Egyptomania will revel in the mysteries uncovered in this book.