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20 printing lettres

20 printing lettres
© BA Antiquities Museum/M. Mounir


showcase 31

20 printing lettres

Category:
Tools and equipment, writing and drawing equipment, metal type pieces
Date:
Ottoman Period (1517-1922)
Provenance:
Lower Egypt, Alexandria, Abukir
Material(s):
Non-organic material, metal, lead
Hall:
Islamic Antiquities, showcase 31


Description

A collection of printing letters left behind by the French Expedition to Egypt on arrival in 1798.  The expedition was equipped with two presses, one with Arabic letters and the other with Latin characters.  These printing presses were used by the scientists of the "Institut d'Égypte" who accompanied Napoleon during his invasion of Egypt  They studied many aspects and published their work in a book entitled "Description de l'Égypte".  The presses were also printing pamphlets to be distributed among the native Egyptians and orders by the army's leadership.

Story of the Find

The naval battle of Abou Kir between the British forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson and the French navy in 1798 destroyed much of the French fleet.  Efforts to dig up Napoleon's fleet were undertaken in 1965, in which the diver and amateur archaeologist, Kamel Aboul Sa'dat took part.  The dives located three sunken ships, namely the "L'Orient", "Artémise" and "La Sérieuse ".  The excavation took place in 1998 which resulted in the salvaging of 241 pieces of French, Austrian, Maltese and Islamic coins, in addition to more than 400 pieces of silver, copper and bronze coins.  Seals, dining utensils and writing equipment were also found.

The Battle Of The Nile (known in Arabic as the Battle of Abou Kir)

The French Expedition sailed to Egypt on board of thirteen ships, nine of which were equipped with seventy four canons and three carrying eighty canons. The flagship "L'Orient" had one hundred and twenty canons.

The British navy comprised thirteen ships, each equipped with seventy four canons.  The British managed to sink seven French ships, including the flagship "L'Orient".  They are all lying on the sea floor of the 'dead' sea in the Bay of Abou Kir.  It is possible that the designation of 'dead' sea is in reference to the bay being the cemetery for these ships.

The reason behind the defeat of the French and the destruction of their fleet lies in the difference in efficiency between Nelson and Brueys D'Aigalliers.  The British ships were quicker and lighter than the French ships, in addition to the fact that the British fleet manoeuvred in deep waters outside the bay.


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • إبراهيم عبده. تاريخ الطباعة والصحافة في مصر خلال الحملة الفرنسية 1798-1801. الطبعة الثانية. القاهرة: مكتبة الآداب، 1949.
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