Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


  1. 2011-04-19

    Egyptian hieroglyph inscriptions from lost monuments in 19th century copies: Alessandro Ricci

    Daniele Salvoldi

    After Bonaparte's military expedition, Egypt became the destination of many travellers and antiquarians. The latter were interested in carrying out excavations to find buried treasures and in copying hieroglyphic inscriptions and reliefs, in the hope of achieving the decipherment of the ancient writing system. Funded mainly by the diplomats of France and Great Britain, a large number of draughtsmen and antiquity seekers worked with zeal, passion and many efforts in what is the so-called "War of the Consuls". Among them, Alessandro Ricci, a young Tuscan physician, is an outstanding personality. Between 1817 and 1822 he dedicated himself to epigraphy. Working with astonishing precision, he left faithful copies of ancient reliefs and inscriptions now lost. In Nubia only between 1810 and 1818 thirteen entire temples were destroyed; often the work of Ricci represents the only reliable source for these buildings. This lecture would like to analyse his epigraphic work in order to restore some of the ancient texts now lost, considering the long process of the decipherment of the hieroglyphics and the importance of 19th century sources for Egyptology.