TRAVELLING, CHISEL IN HAND…
First, an apology to those who commented on my last post, on 10th November. Sorry I didn’t respond. My excuse – and it’s a good one, I reckon – is that I was on my way to Egypt at the time and didn’t have access to the internet.
Which brings me to the subject of this post. Any one who has visited Pompeii will know that graffiti is everywhere. It’s not just a modern thing.
One of the things I learned on my Nile trip was that 19th century travellers all seemed to journey with a chisel in their pocket. The graffiti are everywhere. Look at this, for example, from the temple of Philae at Aswan:
You’ll notice that Mr Cradock was there in April 1823 as was another with an indecipherable name. There was also a gentleman from Rome whose name seems to be something like Cav. D Riga. A cavalryman, or perhaps an Italian knight?
Another interesting example from Philae is this, which was done by the French Navy in order to show how good their navigation was. The numbers at the bottom are the latitutude and longitude of Philae. The numbers are actually wrong! That’s because the temple was moved to a different, higher island, in order to avoid the rising waters of Aswan when the High Dam was built. The original numbers were right at the time, I understand.
You’ll note, too, that the heading is R. F. (which I assume to be République Française) and the year is seven – an 7 – which should be 1799 or thereabouts. That’s round about the time of the Battle of the Nile (1798) which, as I’m sure you’ll recall, the Royal Navy won, under Nelson.
Men were not the only graffiti culprits. I found one example of a female working with her chisel, also at Philae. The lady in question was called Sarah Day. And above her is a very decorative mark from a certain Mr Hughes in 1822. Were they there together? Impossible to tell, since Sarah didn’t put a date.
I am also proud to say that I overcame my fear of heights enough to go up in a balloon to see the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor at sunrise. Isn’t it stunning?