The land of pyramids and sphinxes, pharaohs and goddesses, Egypt has been a source of awe and fascination from the time of the ancient Greeks to the twenty-first century. In Egyptomania, Ronald H. Fritze takes us on a historical journey to unearth the Egypt of the past, a place inhabited by strange gods, powerful magic, spell-binding hieroglyphs, and the uncanny, mummified remains of ancient people. Walking among monumental obelisks and through the dark corridors of long-sealed tombs, he reveals a long-standing fascination with an Egypt of incredible wonder and mystery.
As Fritze shows, Egypt has exerted a powerful force on our imagination. Medieval Christians considered it a holy land with many connections to biblical lore, while medieval Muslims were intrigued by its towering monuments, esoteric sciences, and hidden treasures. People of the Renaissance sought Hermes Trismegistus as the ancient originator of astrology, alchemy, and magic, and those of the Baroque pondered the ciphers of the hieroglyphs. Even the ever-practical Napoleon was enchanted by it, setting out in a costly campaign to walk in the footsteps of Alexander the Great through its valleys, by then considered the cradle of Western civilization. And of course the modern era is one still susceptible to the lure of undiscovered tombs and the curses of pharaohs cast on covetous archeologists.
Raising ancient Egyptian art and architecture into the light of succeeding history, Fritze offers a portrait of an ancient place and culture that has remained alive through millennia, influencing everything from religion to philosophy to literature to science to popular culture.