The Great Belzoni: The Circus Strongman Who Discovered Egypt's Ancient Treasure

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Tauris Parke Paperbacks, Sep 26, 2003 - History - 368 pages
The truly extraordinary life story of Giovanni Belzoni: engineer, barber, monk, actor and strongman in a circus, where he earned his title, ‘The Great Belzoni’, who became one of the giants of 19th century Egyptian archaeology. Sometimes maligned as a tomb robber, Giovanni Battista Belzoni is perhaps the most important and yet least remembered explorer and archaeologist of the last two hundred years. After a failed business venture in Egypt, attempting to sell a patent water wheel to the Pasha, he undertook one of the most ambitious archaeological projects ever. Under seeming impossible conditions, Belzoni transported the colossal granite head of Ramesses II from Thebes to England, where it is now one of the treasures of the British Museum. He went on to excavate the great temple of Abu Simbel, discover six major royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, including that of Seti I, and provide the British Museum with a spectacular collection of Egyptian antiquities. Giovanni Belzoni was the first person to penetrate the heart of the second pyramid at Giza and the first European to visit the oasis of Siwah and discover the ruined city of Berenice on the Red Sea. His exhibitions and best-selling memoirs made him a major celebrity in Regency London where he was a huge influence on the vogue for Egyptian style in art, design and architecture. In 1823, at the age of forty-five, Belzoni died of fever trying to reach the mysterious city of Timbuktu.
 

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Contents

Illustrations
8
Preface
11
Chapter 1
17
Chapter 2
30
Chapter 3
46
Chapter 4
56
Chapter 5
75
Chapter 6
87
Chapter 11
193
Chapter 12
209
Chapter 13
225
Chapter 14
247
Chapter 15
264
Chapter 16
278
Notes
297
Bibliography
321

Chapter 7
110
Chapter 8
132
Chapter 9
153
Chapter 10
173
Appendix A
329
Appendix B
333
Index
335
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Stanley Mayes was a respected historian and biographer, highly regarded for his work on Egypt, archaeology and the history of the Ottoman Empire.

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