Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Comte d'Entraigues's Itinerary in Egypt

Despite the brevity of the Comte's stay, d'Entraigues' itinerary provides a list of at least some of the locations within Egypt at which Adanson was also certainly present. D'Entraigues' first excursion was to cross the desert from Alexandria to the monastery of St. Macarius, where he claimed to have found precious Greek manuscripts in the monks' library. Heading back into the Delta, they stopped at Rosetta to embark on the Nile. They then proceeded to Cairo by boat, where they stayed in the oquelle of the French merchants who had chosen to remain, despite the recent removal of the consulate and its protection. D'Entraigues' next excursion took them to Suez, from where they climbed Mt. Horeb and Mt. Sinai. Although d'Entraigues had intended to journey as far south as the cataracts, he was prevented from doing so by Hassan bey Djeddauoui, a local power who was encamped near Edfu. The Comte claimed to make it as far south as Thebes, but Auriant suggests it is more likely that he could not proceed further than Antinoe.' Disappointed with his trip, d'Entraigues returned to Constantinople at the end of February, carrying with him a portfolio of Adanson's drawings to supplement his own notebooks of observations. Beyond the bare facts of Adanson's travel within Egypt, d'Entraigues' account also reveals a certain amount of insight into Adanson's personal interests and skills. Despite the mediocre assessments that seemed to hound him from his school days and on into his career, Adanson was nevertheless designated as the guide for the ambassador's own nephew who, in his turn, was favorably impressed with Adanson's abilities. [Travellers in the East p. 85]

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