List of historical expeditions to Egypt

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Egypt has always fascinated mankind. Cultural treasures, geographical peculiarities and places of remembrance with different group-relatedness have made the land on the Nile , especially since Herodotus , a "wonder and travel destination" par excellence. This article therefore lists and describes historical expeditions to Egypt .

I'm going to report in detail about Egypt because it has a lot of peculiarities and, compared to any other country, there are indescribably great works of art. This is the reason for the more detailed presentation (Herodotus: Die Bücher der Geschichte I-IV. Transmission, introduction and comments by Walther Sontheimer . Stuttgart 1999, here II, p. 79)

Travel to Egypt

This longing for Egypt also finds its unmistakable expression in the Odyssey :

Then I felt the need to equip ships with godlike companions and to go to Aigyptos ... We reached the splendid river Aigyptos on the fifth day and anchored the double-curved ships in it. ... I stayed there for seven years, collecting treasures among the Egyptian people; everyone made me earn. (Homer: Odyssey , ed. By Dietrich Ebener , Vol. 2, Berlin and Weimar, 4th ed. 1992, XIV. Song, verse 246ff., P. 219f.)

Since Herodotus, the flow of travelers to Egypt has not stopped. After him, countless crowds from the West come or make pilgrimages to the land on the Nile. Travel descriptions of some have come down to us. Thanks to the writings of antiquity - Herodotus , Manetho , Diodorus of Sicily , Strabo , Plutarch , Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder significantly influenced the Western image of Egypt with their writings - thanks to the pilgrimage reports of the 1st millennium and the like. a. from Egeria (around 400), Hieronymus (404), pilgrims from Piacenza (570), Arculf (around 680) or Bernardus Monachus (865) and thanks to the travel writings of the Middle Ages, but above all thanks to the Bible, Egypt found its way into the collective memory of the West never to be forgotten. In addition, Egypt has always been a topic in literature, such as in the Historia by D. Johann Fausten , in the continuation of Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus , in Friedrich Schiller's poem The veiled image in Sais , in Novalis ' Apprentices in Sais or in Karoline Günterode's , Thomas Mann , Robert Musil , Rainer Maria Rilke and Ingeborg Bachmann , to name just a few.

Even if D. Fausten travels to Egypt because of its size and high culture, he also knows how to report that in paradise "the four waters So from the fountain / the middle of the Paradeiß steet / arise / as Ganges or Phison, Gion or Nilus, Tigris and Euphrates ”. In these two passages, two components of the memory of Egypt in the West are already addressed. While one refers to the discourse of Egyptomania , the enthusiasm for Egyptian culture, the other is assigned to the discourse of the Bible, which we encounter in the context of the pilgrimage to the holy places.

The motivations of most travelers up to the 18th century were religious, commercial or diplomatic, apart from the few prisoners of war and slaves. The scientific and the (adventurous) tourist traveler belong as new types of travelers to the second half of the 18th century and have dominated the scene especially since the second half of the 19th century. Ida von Hahn-Hahn and Fürst von Pückler-Muskau, for example, can be added to the new group of tourist travelers.

In the second half of the 18th century, the reception of Egypt in Europe experienced its second heyday - the first took place in the Renaissance and is among other things. a. associated with names such as Athanasius Kircher and Hermes Trismegistos - which finds its expression in a wide variety of cultural areas and which culminates in the French invasion of Egypt in 1798. Especially with the so-called Egyptian expedition of the French, Egypt is coming back into the European consciousness. And thanks to the foreign-friendly opening and modernization policies of Mohamed Ali and his successors, Egypt is moving closer to Europe and is becoming more accessible to Europeans than ever before.

In relation to the German-speaking cultural area, this time represents the beginning of a new phase in the mutual relations between Germany and Egypt, which continues to this day. In this context, the travelogue by the German researcher Carsten Niebuhr represents a significant turning point. The expedition known as the Danish journey to Arabia (1761–1767) marks the beginning of the scientific journey to the Orient, and Niebuhr's travelogue represents the new type of scientific travelogue. The main reason for the Danish trip to Arabia is neither diplomatic nor economic, like Adam Olearius's trip in the 17th century, but the focus is now on the scientific exploration and development of Arabia, especially Yemen. If one considers the travels of Alexander von Humboldt or Richard Lepsius, the father of German Egyptology, who led the first Prussian Egyptological expedition to Egypt between 1842 and 1845 and marked the end of pseudoscientific interest in Egypt, i.e. the fantastic Egyptomania, with his travel report, as scientific journeys, Niebuhr's journey to Arabia is not a 'purely' scientific journey in the true sense of the word, as it is still in the service of critical biblical exegesis.

The second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries represent the most important period in the mutual relations between Europe and Egypt, in which the rediscovery of Egypt by Germans and Europeans on the one hand and the beginning of a friendly and hostile rapprochement between the two parts of the world on the other falls.

Travelers from the German-speaking cultural area

Above all, it is of importance for posterity those travelers who have left travel reports about their travel experiences and experiences.

  1. Only travelers from the German-speaking cultural area who have left or published a travel report
  2. And only until the end of the 19th century

From the Middle Ages to 1499

16th century

17th century

The 18th century

  • 1737–1738 Korten (or Korte), Jonas (D 1683–1747 / pilgrimage / Egypt, Lebanon, Syria)
  • 1754 H. Löwenthal (Europe / North Africa)
  • 1761–1767 Carsten Niebuhr (D 1733–1815 / Egypt / Arabia / India / scientific travel / etc.)
  • 1789-1801 J. Antes
  • 1791–1799 Th. Fr. Ehrmann (D 1762–1811 / Lit. / Reisesammlung 22 vols. / Africa)
  • 1797–1798 Frederick Konrad Hornemann (D 1772–1800 / Egypt / Africa / Murzuk)
  • 1798–1801 JJ Ader (Egypt / Campaign / Bonaparte)

19th century

See also


  • Abbas Amin: Egyptomania and Orientalism. Egypt in German travel literature (1175-1663). With a chronological directory of the travel reports (383-1845) (= studies on German literature , vol. 202). de Gruyter, Berlin 2013, e- ISBN 978-3-11-029923-6 , ISBN 978-3-11-029893-2 .
  • Ursula Beyer: Kairo: the mother of all cities (= Insel paperback no. 696) 1st edition, Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 978-3-458-32396-9 .
  • Angela Blaschek: Painter - Travelers - Egypt. The perception of ancient Egypt in the 19th century based on painters as travel companions of famous personalities. Phoibos, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-85161-034-5 .
  • Max Böhme: The great travel collections of the 16th century and their importance. Strasbourg 1904 (reprint Meridian, Amsterdam 1962) [At the same time dissertation, University of Leipzig 1904].
  • Friedrich Embacher: Lexicon of trips and discoveries. Department I: The explorers of all times and countries. Dept. II: History of the discovery of the individual continents. Leipzig 1882, (reprint Meridian, Amsterdam 1961)
  • Fritz Embacher: The most important research trips of the nineteenth century in a synchronistic overview. Vieweg, Braunschweig 1880.
  • Michael Fisch: "I'm going to report in detail about Egypt". Egypt in German travel literature (1899-1999). (Contributions to transcultural science, Volume 8.) Weidler, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-89693-735-3
  • Joachim Heinrich Jäck: Pocket library of the most important and interesting sea and land trips. From the invention of the art of printing to our times. Hood knitter, Nuremberg 1827f.
  • Paul Kainbacher : The exploration of Africa. The Africa literature on geography and travel before 1945 . Baden 1998–1999; 3rd expanded and corrected edition 2002; 4th revised and expanded edition 2016, ISBN 978-3-9501302-9-4 .
  • Martin R. Kalfatovic: Nile notes of a howadji. A bibliography of travelers' tales from Egypt, from the earliest time to 1918. The Scarecrow Press, Metuchen NJ / London 1992, ISBN 978-0-8108-2541-3 .
  • Gottfried Mälzer, Franz Wilhelm Asbeck: Travel to the time of Napoleon. A documentation of the collection of the Lower Franconian District President von Asbeck (1760-1826) in the University Library of Würzburg on the occasion of their exhibition compiled by Gottfried Mälzer. Echter, Würzburg 1984, ISBN 978-3-920153-92-6 .
  • Christian Halm, Werner Paravicini: European travel reports of the late Middle Ages. An analytical bibliography. Part 1: German travel reports edited by Christian Halm (= Kieler Werkstücke; Series D, Contributions to the European History of the Late Middle Ages. Vol. 5). Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1994, ISBN 978-3-631-47130-2 .
  • Heinrich Pleticha, Siegfried Augustin : Lexicon of adventure and travel literature from Africa to Winnetou. Erdmann, Stuttgart / Vienna / Bern 1999, ISBN 978-3-522-60002-6 .

Web links

Wikivoyage: Egypt  Travel Guide