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Ancient Egypt in medieval Moslem/Arabic writings.

El Daly, Okasha Noureldin; (2003) Ancient Egypt in medieval Moslem/Arabic writings. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis researches a neglected period in the history of Egyptology. The impetus was my own training in Egyptology in which no mention was ever made of any medieval Arab contribution. My upbringing as an Egyptian had made me aware of some of the sources which could fill the gap between the classical sources and the European Renaissance. The first chapter discusses the sources available to medieval Moslem/Arabs to learn about Ancient Egypt, and the various elements that contributed to the making of an Interpretatio Arabica of Ancient Egypt. As Egyptian monuments have always been perceived as hiding great treasures, the second chapter discusses treasure hunters, their manuals and state regulation, and the economics of the profession. I give examples of these manuals and their relevance to current archaeological work. Chapter three covers medieval Arab archaeological methods and descriptions of ancient sites and objects. Chapter four shows how interest in ancient Egyptian scripts continued and the attempts by some Medieval Moslem/Arab scholars to decipher hieroglyphs, having realised that it has an alphabet. I give examples of Egyptian scripts correctly deciphered. Chapter five discusses the Medieval Moslem/Arab concepts of Ancient Egyptian religion and how they interpreted the many intact temples. It covers the role of magic, the nature of royal cults, animal cults and holy sites. Chapter six discusses Egyptian Mummia, Mummification and Burial Practices of both humans and animals as well as the medicinal use of mummia in Arabic medicine. Chapter seven shows that Egypt was thought to be the land of science par excellence and gives examples of different scientific Mirabilia attributed to scientists of Pre-Islamic Egypt. Chapter eight discusses the Moslem/Arab concept of Egyptian Kingship and State Administration. It shows the survival of some ancient Egyptian institutions such as “Children of the Room” into the medieval period. I include a case study of Queen Cleopatra showing how the Arabic Romance of this queen differs significantly from its Western counterpart. Chapter nine gives the biographies of the main Arab writers whose works have formed the basis of my thesis. The last chapter contains my conclusions and recommendations for further work that I hope others may pursue.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Ancient Egypt in medieval Moslem/Arabic writings.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Social sciences; Egyptology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103492
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