Cairo Lecture: Medieval Arabic Scholars and Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Presented by: Dr. Okasha El Daly

  • 6:00 PM EET
  • In PersonCairo Center
    2 Midan Simon Bolivar
    Garden City, Cairo Governorate 11461
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Lecture Information

Medieval Arabic scholars viewed Ancient Egypt as the land of science, magic, and wisdom. Many took deep interest in studying its past through the material remains dotting the Nile Valley in search for scientific knowledge. In particular, alchemists thought the ancient Egyptians hid their vast alchemical knowledge in the hieroglyphs on the wall of temples; thus many flocked to Egyptian temples to study their “Language of the Birds” as Egyptian hieroglyphs came to be known. Many scholars succeeded in deciphering several letters of the Egyptian alphabet about a millennium before Champollion, but the most important thing in studying medieval Arabic scholars’ interest in ancient Egypt is to follow the continuity of interest in, and admiration of, its past. This lecture will illustrate this continued interest using medieval Arabic manuscripts and ancient Egyptian materials. 

Speaker Bio

Dr. Okasha studied Egyptology at Cairo University and gained his PhD from the University College London (UCL) with a pioneering study of medieval Arabic writings on ancient Egypt, published by UCL in 2005 as “The Missing Millennium. Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings”. He has taught in the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Qatar and lectured in many Arab countries, the USA and Europe. He worked as Director of Projects at the Foundation for Science, Technology, and Civilization (UK) and Qatar Museums. He has authored, edited, and translated several works on ancient Egypt. He is currently Head of Acquisitions at Qatar University Press.