On Wednesday, October 13, Egyptologist and author Dr. Bob Brier will give a talk about his most recent book The Luxor Obelisk and Its Voyage to Paris (AUC Press, 2021) in the Main Lecture Hall of Cairo’s National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Fustat.
The event, organized by NMEC and AUC Press, is open to the public. It will begin at 6:30pm and will include a Q&A session. Due to limited seating, attendees must RSVP via Whatsapp at 01222612192 or book through an online form https://forms.gle/xsjJyz2NEo1wRAiE8.
The Luxor Obelisk and Its Voyage to Paris by Apollinaire Lebas, introduced and translated from French by Bob Brier and Colette Fossez Sumner, recounts the epic voyage of one of Egypt’s treasures to the French capital. Transporting the two-hundred-and-fifty-ton Luxor obelisk from Egypt to Paris was one of the great engineering triumphs of the early nineteenth century. No obelisk this size had left Egypt in nearly two thousand years, and the task of bringing it fell to a young engineer, Apollinaire Lebas, a man of extraordinary resolve and ability. On October 25, 1836 before two hundred thousand cheering Parisians, Lebas raised his obelisk. In the nineteenth century three massive obelisks left Egypt for Paris, London, and New York. The story of the Paris obelisk, despite being the first of the three to be moved, is not well known to the English-speaking world.
Dr. Bob Brier, recognized as one of the world’s foremost Egyptologists, will talk about how Lebas faced and overcame innumerable obstacles, including an outbreak of the plague among his team, in order to sail down the Nile and bring the Luxor obelisk to Paris, where it stands today in Place de la Concorde. During his lecture, Dr. Brier will also look at why so little is known about Lebas’s engineering feat, ask whether Lebas really did try to raise the obelisk in Paris using a steam engine, and discuss why they failed to take the Alexandria obelisk.
As Senior Research Fellow at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Brier conducts pioneering research in mummification practices and has investigated some of the world’s most famous mummies, including King Tut, Vladimir Lenin, Ramesses the Great, Eva Peron (Evita), Marquise Tai (Chinese noblewoman), and the Medici family of Renaissance Italy.
In 1994 Dr. Brier became the first person in two thousand years to mummify a human cadaver using the exact techniques of the ancient Egyptians. This research was the subject of a National Geographic TV special titled “Mr. Mummy.” He was the host of several award-winning television specials for TLC, including “Pyramids, Mummies & Tombs” and “Mummy Detective.” More recently, National Geographic TV presented his research in a documentary called “Secret of the Great Pyramid,” discussing a new theory of how the Great Pyramid of Giza was built. Dr. Brier’s research has been featured in such media venues as CNN, 60 Minutes, and The New York Times.