Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Belzoni & the Pharoah's Colossal Head

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Loretta reports:

Giovanni Belzoni was one of the inspirations for the hero of my Egypt-set story, Mr. ImpossibleTransporting the colossal head was only one of Belzoni's many amazing adventures.

The Quarterly Review has afforded us, in several late numbers, a highly interesting and gratifying detail of the operations and discoveries, which have been conducted in Egypt, by several of our spirited and enterprising countrymen. . . Mr Salt* has been indefatigable in his exertions, and he has most fortunately found an assistant of Herculean strength of body, and of proportional energy of mind, in the person of Mr Belzoni. The head called a young Memnon,** now in the British Museum, which weighs eight or ten tons, and which is one of the very finest specimens of Egyptian sculpture now in existence, was a joint present of Mr Salt and Mr Burckhardt; and Mr Belzoni has the merit of having conducted the very difficult operation of bringing it down to the Nile. Mr Hamilton has conjectured that it may have belonged to the statue described by Philostratus as a Memnon of great beauty (Q. R. No. 36); but the remaining fragment of the hieroglyphical inscription agrees better with the name of another sovereign, apparently of the same family, who is represented in several other magnificent monuments at Thebes and elsewhere.
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, Enlarged and Improved, Edition 6, 1824
For more, please see the Quarterly Review’s (Vol. 24)  review of Belzoni’s book, which includes excerpts.  You can read Belzoni's Narrative online here and my post about his wife here.
*British Consul
**Ramses II (scholars had not yet deciphered hieroglyphs)


Anonymous said...

Very handsome guy, but, o, so young looking! I wonder if the beard was fake.
The artistic and architechural works made by the ancients is fantastic. Made without any modern tools or modern knowledge of engineering and math. Obviously they knew such things , they just hadn't named them yet.A great feat to bring it that distance.

I can usually only comment under Anonymous for some reason.

Marina said...

I saw this post, and immediately, before I read anything, I knew where to find this head!

I have sat underneath it, at the little bench seat just in front of it, at the British Museum. One time in particular, when I wanted to roam on and on in the museum, but my feet finally said, "No!" I took a break and contemplated the Pharoah, in all his glory.

Thanks for the information, and a pleasant memory of a time well-spent in London.
Enjoy your day!

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