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Egyptology, the Missing Millennium: Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings

Egyptology, the Missing Millennium: Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings

Hardback

By (author) Okasha El-Daly

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Paperback $40.92
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 234mm x 25mm | 544g
  • Publication date: 15 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Walnut Creek
  • ISBN 10: 1598742108
  • ISBN 13: 9781598742107

Product description

"Egyptology: The Missing Millennium" brings together for the first time the disciplines of Egyptology and Islamic Studies, seeking to overturn the conventional opinion of Western scholars that Moslems/Arabs had no interest in pre-Islamic cultures. This book examines a neglected period of a thousand years in the history of Egyptology, from the Moslem annexation of Egypt in the seventh century CE until the Ottoman conquest in the 16th century. Concentrating on Moslem writers, as it is usually Islam which incurs blame for cutting Egyptians off from their ancient heritage, the author shows not only the existence of a large body of Arabic sources on Ancient Egypt, but also their usefulness to Egyptology today. Using sources as diverse as the accounts of travelers and treasure hunters to books on alchemy, the author shows that the interest in ancient Egyptian scripts continued beyond classical writers, and describes attempts by medieval Arab scholars, mainly alchemists, to decipher the hieroglyph script. He further explores medieval Arab interest in Ancient Egypt, discussing the interpretations of the intact temples, as well as the Arab concept of Egyptian kingship and state administration - including a case study of Queen Cleopatra that shows how the Arabic romance of this queen differs significantly from Western views. This book will be of great interest to academics and students of archaeology, Islamic studies and Egyptology, as well as anyone with a general interest in Egyptian history.

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Author information

Okasha El-Daly is based in University College London's Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Formerly at Birkbeck College, he has excavated at Giza and served as a visiting lecturer and guide for many institutions.

Review quote

'This is an impressive piece of work. It deals with a grossly neglected and misunderstood subject - the interest and knowledge of Ancient Egypt on the part of Arabic / Moslem writers in the Medieval period - and it covers this subject from many aspects.' Professor Charles Burnett, The Warburg Institute 'The main strength of the book lies in its making available a wealth of medieval Arabic extracts from manuscripts, many of which have never been published before. Hopefully this book will act as an incentive for the publication of more medieval Arabic source material! The inclusion of this material, otherwise difficult or impossible to access, makes reading this book an experience that many readers will definitely enjoy.' Aayko Eyma, Egyptologist's Electronic Forum

Table of contents

* Introduction * The Making of an Interpretatio Arabica of Ancient Egypt * Treasure Hunting * Medieval Arab Archaeological Methods and Descriptions * Medieval Arab Attempts to Decipher Ancient Egyptian Scripts * Medieval Arabic Concepts of Ancient Egyptian Religion * Egyptian Mummia, Mummification and Burial Practices in Medieval Arabic Sources * Egyptian Science in Medieval Arabic Sources * Egyptian Kingship and State Administration * Conclusions * Appendix 1: Biographies of Arab Writers * Appendix 2: Books on Ancient Egypt Used by Al-Idrisi * Appendix 3: Primary Arabic Sources