Saturday, November 26, 2005

Researchers to look into Victorian historical 'truths'

"Cambridge academics have scored a £1m grant to find out how much the Victorians reinvented history. Classicists, historians, philosophers and English researchers at the university will team up to decipher how pre-Victorian history has been "filtered" through Victorian eyes to see whether there is room to reinterpret everything from the debauchery of the Middle Ages to the glamour of ancient Egypt. . . . Some variations in historical interpretations that the academics will be looking at include: The were two principal discoveries of ancient Egyptian remains, in 1880 and then 1920. Each led to completely different interpretations about what life in ancient Egypt was like. In 1880 when the Victorians discovered Tutankhamun's predecessor Akhenaten, they interpreted their findings to show that the Egyptians were conservative - they emphasised how they rejected the old gods and discovered one god, as well as values of truth and beauty, respectability and honour. It was some contrast to the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the 1920s which led to a glamorous reinvention of Egypt as glittery and exotic and brutal, like something out of a Hollywood film."
A short but fascinating article. See the full report on the Guardian website at the above URL.

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