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The Obelisk and the Englishman: The Pioneering Discoveries of Egyptologist William Bankes

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  8 reviews
William John Bankes (1786 – 1855) was a pioneer in the nascent study of the language, history, and civilization of ancient Egypt. At the Abydos Temple he discovered the King List — a wall of cartouches listing Egyptian kings in chronological order — which was vital to the decoding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. At Philae he uncovered a fallen obelisk, which he arranged to be tra ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Prometheus Books
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Michele
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The subtitle should have been the focus of this book rather than the meandering/tangential detour this author took to discuss Bankes friendship/relationship with Lord Byron. While that is an interesting segue, it distracted from where this book should have explored and documented. This is the reason I marked this book down two stars from five because the author honestly could have separated the Byron/Bankes angle into a separate book.
Sarah
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Often I end up giving books three stars because they’re badly written but an interesting subject. However in this case the author manages to suck all interest out of the subject so 2 stars only. Felt like giving up a number of times. The author seems to be determined to put in all the facts she’s acquired at the expense of any narrative.
Shawna Corner
Jun 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not sure where this is going.
Bill Sleeman
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it

The Obelisk and the Englishman: The Pioneering Discoveries of Egyptologist William Bankes by Dorothy U. Seyler proved to be a fascinating read. I picked this up on a whim at the public library – on the end cap display (good marketing BCPL) with no prior knowledge of Bankes or his career. Seyler did a fine job weaving together his personal challenges, his friendship with Lord Byron (who was a real cad to Bankes…find out for yourself by reading the book) and the untimely end of Bankes public care

...more
Argum
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not quite what I expected, but interesting nonetheless. Not entirely sure why so much effort is focused on Byron relationship. Otherwise Bankes is quite an interesting character and early Egyptology is fascinating. I get that homosexuality shaped his late life at a minimum, but the heavy focus on speculative relationships in his youth and especially with Byron is just strange fit in the overall narrative
Robert Paul Olsen
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Another sad tale about how this race of ours treats people who are different. An intelligent well cultured human being is forced to live in fear of being hung for loving as he chooses, yet William Bankes always rises up to the face of adversity through his talents and discoveries. I could see it being a better read told differently but it still makes you think!
Jbondandrews
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly a very good read. A pity that the man who helped to shape Egyptology was exiled from England by their ignorance and homophobic Victorian values.
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Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Dorothy U. Seyler
ΦBK, College of William and Mary, 1959
Author

From the publisher: William John Bankes (1786–1855) was a pioneer in the nascent study of the language, history, and civilization of ancient Egypt. At the Abydos Temple he discovered the King List — a wall of cartouches listing Egyptian kings in chronological order — which was vital to the decoding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. At Philae he uncovered a fallen obelisk, which he arranged to be transported back to England. And in modern-day J
...more
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