, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 509–530 | Cite as

The cipher of the zodiac

Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz: The zodiac of Paris: How an improbable controversy over an ancient Egyptian artifact provoked a modern debate between religion and science. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010, vi+428pp, $35.00, £24.95 HB
  • Robert FoxEmail author
  • Charles C. Gillispie
  • Theresa Levitt
  • David Aubin
  • Jed Z. Buchwald
  • Diane Greco Josefowicz
Book Symposium

Robert Fox

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian expedition of 1798 sparked off an infatuation with Egypt at all levels of French society. By engaging some of France’s leading savantsto accompany the fifty-five thousand troops who landed in Alexandria, Bonaparte endowed what was essentially a military campaign aimed at disrupting British trade routes to the East with a higher cultural purpose. A people that had languished under centuries of Mameluke rule would be shown the blessings of French culture, and Egypt would be restored in all its ancient glory. Within less than two months of the fleet’s landing, an Institut d’Égypte with twenty-six founder members had been established in Cairo, on the model of the Institut de France, and on into the autumn of 1799 scholars, artists, scientists, and engineers set to studying the flora, fauna, and antiquities of a country whose people they disdained but whose distant past enthralled them. Their endeavours were arduous and short-lived. The Institut...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Fox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles C. Gillispie
    • 2
  • Theresa Levitt
    • 3
  • David Aubin
    • 4
  • Jed Z. Buchwald
    • 5
  • Diane Greco Josefowicz
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of HistoryOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  2. 2.Program in History of Science, Department of HistoryPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Department of HistoryUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA
  4. 4.Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, Histoire des sciences mathématiqueUPMC - case postale 247Paris cedex 05France
  5. 5.Humanities and Social Sciences 101-40CaltechPasadenaUSA
  6. 6.Writing Program, College of Arts and SciencesBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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