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The tomb of Alexander

Author: Clarke, Edward Daniel
Year: 1805
Edition: First edition
Publisher: Cambridge: J. Mawman in the Poultry
Category: Africa North
Price: € 2,000.-

 
 
Subtitled: A dissertation on the sarcophagus brought from Alexandria and now in the British Museum.
Extra bound in at the beginning, with a separate title page, is the extremely rare pamphlet: "A letter addressed to the gentlemen of the British Museum by the author of the dissertation on the Alexandrian Sarcophagus.", dated 1807 and printed in Cambridge by R. Watts, printer to the university.

Contemporary boards, spine rebacked and corners strengthened in calf, gilt titles on spine, 4to, pp. viii (the letter), [6], [5], 6-161, (1), errata page.

Occasionally some browning, an unobtrusive waterstain in the bottom margins throughout. Minor edge-wear to the boards.
Original endpapers, with the armorial bookplate of William Battell with the motto "Certa bonum certamen", preserved. There is another armorial bookplate at the front fly-leave of H.F. Davies, Elmley Castle.
Engraved frontispiece plus 4 full page plates hors texte, of which one printed in green, all protected by tissue guards.

Edward Daniel Clarke, a Fellow of Jesus College at Cambridge University, together with a friend visited Egypt in 1801. There a war between the Napoleonic forces and the British was going on.
So when news reached Cairo on the 31st August about a treaty being negotiated in Alexandria, Clarke hurried to inform the British commander in Egypt, general Hutchinson, about the information Carlo Rosetti, the imperial consul, had given him regarding Egyptian antiquities to be shipped from Alexandria to France, including the famous Rosetta Stone.
Included as well was a green sarcophagus which for many centuries had been regarded as the tomb of Alexander the Great, the founder of the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Once Champollion had deciphered the Rosetta Stone (actually he had to use a copy, the original being in the British Museum) it became clear that the hieroglyphs carved on it, proclaimed it to have belonged to Pharaoh Nectanebo II and probably, due both to its outstanding beauty and availability, had been used as a tomb for several others afterwards. To this very day the issue where the body of Alexander the Great has been buried, remains unresolved.
Due to the efforts of Clarke, both this sarcophagus and the Rosetta Stone were shipped to London where they still remain in the British Museum.

What makes this copy special is that the extremely rare letter, first printed two years after the book was published, has been bound in as per the wish as expressed in here by the author.

Prince Ibrahim-Hilmy I, p. 136 (Both, book & letter).


Click on a picture to enlarge.


 


 

 

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