Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Napoleon, not your average World Conqueror

Edfu
Watercolour and Photoshop
©2008 Charlene Brown














Luxor
Watercolour and Photoshop
©2008 Charlene Brown














In 1798, Napoleon landed in Egypt and proceeded to invade the country as he had many others.  This, however, was no ordinary invasion… Among his 54,000 men, Napoleon had included 150 savants — artists, scientists, engineers and scholars who Napoleon expected would give to their Egyptian contemporaries the benefits of the enlightened culture of Europe of the time.  This they did, but by far their most lasting accomplishment was to record meticulously the ancient Egyptian architecture, culture and history they observed.  
Napoleon is not remembered as a scientist, but he thought of himself as one. He was trained as a military engineer and had been elected to membership in the National Institute, the foremost scientific society in post-Revolutionary France. As it turned out, the cultural and scientific aspects of his 1798 expedition far outweighed its dubious military accomplishments, and the resulting publication of the Description de l'Égypte and the Scientific and Military History of the French Expedition to Egypt, revealed the vast extent of the achievements of this ancient civilization… In the opinion of one of Napoleon’s artists, Egypt had been a sanctuary of the arts and sciences and their feats of architecture and engineering in some ways surpassed that of the Greeks who later conquered them.