Collection Naville MSS - Édouard Naville Collection

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Naville MSS


Édouard Naville Collection


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Biographical history

Swiss Egyptologist and Biblical scholar; he was born in Geneva, 14 June 1844, son of Adrien N. and Sophia Rigaud; he prepared himself for his work with unusual thoroughness, being educated at the University of Geneva, King's College, London, and the Universities of Bonn, Paris, and Berlin, 1865-8; he first worked entirely on the philological side and first visited Egypt in 1865, when he copied the Horus texts at Edfu; he studied under Lepsius and was his literary executor, bringing out the 5 vols. of notes to the Denkmaler with Borchardt Sethe, and other helpers; as a captain in the Swiss army during the Franco-Prussian war he helped to escort prisoners of Bourbaki's army into Switzerland after their defeat by von Werder near Dijon, 1870-1; he next worked on the solar texts and the Book of the Dead, publishing important works in these fields, and later, with Schiaparelli, helped Lefebure on the publication of the tomb of Seti I at Thebes; he was the first excavator of the EEF and had already acquired a European reputation when he was invited to dig for the newly founded Society in 1882; he excavated at Tell el-Maskhuta, 1883, the report for this work establishing the format for future publications of this type; he excavated and explored the Wadi Tumilat, 1885-6, the area at the west end of which he identified as the Biblical land of Goshen; excavated at Bubastis, 1886-9; from here and other sites Naville brought back among other objects the colossal granite head of Amenemhat III now in the British Museum (EA 1063), and huge columns and Hathor-capitals which went to Cairo, London, and museums such as Boston in America; excavated at Tell el-Yahudiya, 1887, Saft el-Hinna, 1887, Ahnas (Herakleopolis), 1890-1, Mendes and Tell Mukdam, 1892, in all about 10 Delta sites; he next went to Upper Egypt to excavate Deir el-Bahari, 1893-6, helped by D. G. Hogarth, Somers Clarke, and H. Carter; returning to the field some years later he cleared the Menthuhotep temple with H. R. Hall, 1903-7; Naville had been brought up in the old-fashioned school of Mariette and Maspero and liked to work on great temples and large monuments, unlike Petrie, but he did make a further examination of the royal necropolis at Abydos, 1910; his last great piece of field-work was the excavation of the Osireion, with G. A. Wainwright and Capt. Gibson, which was left unfinished at the outbreak of war in 1914; he married Marguerite, daughter of Count Alexandre de Pourtales, 1873, a talented artist who executed the plates for most of his publications; she died 14 Dec. 1930; during his long life he acquired many hons. and distinctions; DCL; LLD; PhD; DLitt; DTheol; Hon. FSA; Fellow of King's Coll. London; for. Assoc. Institute of France; member hist.-philos. class of the Videnskabs - Selskabet of Christiana; For. Member Budapest Acad.; Acad. Vienna; Corr. Acad. of Hist. Madrid; Hon. Member Inter. Comm. Red Cross; Hon. Knight of Grace of Order of St. John of Jerusalem; Commander of the Crown of Italy; Officer Legion d'honneur; Knight of the Red Eagle, Prussia and Polar Star, Sweden; Hon. Prof. University of Geneva; Naville firmly opposed the Berlin School on their views of the Semitic aspect of Egyptian language; he possessed a formidable intelligence and could argue his case extremely effectively; he has been proved right in some controversies such as that with Sethe on the Tuthmoside succession, and his theories on the Exodus and its route still remain fundamental in this subject; he published innumerable articles, reviews and books, including The Mound of the Jew and the city of Onias. Belbeis, Samanood, Abusir, Tukh el Karmus. 1887, 1890; The Festival-Hall of Osorkon II in the Great Temple of Bubastis, 1887-89, 1892; Ahnas el Medineh (Heracleopolis Magna). With chapters on Mendes, the nome of Thoth, and Leontopolis, 1894; The Temple of Deir el Bahari, Introductory Memoir, 1894; The Temple of Deir el Bahari, royal fol., 6 vols. 1895-1908; The Xlth Dynasty Temple at Deir el-Bahari, 3 vols., with H. R. Hall and others, 1907-13; The Cemeteries of Abydos, pt. 1, with T. E. Peet, H. R. Hall, and K. Haddon, 1914.

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Original drawings for The Temple of Deir el Bahari.

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  • Shelf: 1701-1703