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A Popular Account Of The Ancient Egyptians: Volumes 1&2 -Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson F.R.S.

THE present account of the “Ancient Egyptians” is chiefly an abridgment of that written by me in 1836; to which I have added other matter, in consequence of my having re-visited Egypt, and later discoveries having been made, since that time.

I have here and there introduced some remarks relating to the Greeks, thinking that a comparison of the habits and arts of other people, with those of the Egyptians, may be interesting; and the impulse now given to taste in England has induced me to add some observations on decorative art, as well as on colour, form, and proportion, so well understood in ancient times. And as many of the ideas now gaining ground in this country, regarding colour, adaptability of materials, the non-imitation of natural objects for ornamental purposes, and certain rules to be observed in decorative works, have long been advocated by me, and properly belong to the subject of Egypt, I think the opportunity well suited for expressing my opinion upon them; while I rejoice that public attention has been invited to take a proper view of the mode of improving taste.

Attention being now directed towards the question of the precious metals, some observations, on the comparative wealth of ancient and modern times, have also appeared to be not out of place.

Of the Religion and History of Egypt, I have only introduced what is necessary for explaining some points connected with them; being persuaded that a detailed account of those subjects would not be generally attractive, and might be omitted in a work not intended to treat of what is still open to conjecture. For the same reason I have abstained from all doubtful questions respecting the customs of the Egyptians; and have confined myself to as short a notice of them as possible.

References too are mostly omitted, having been given before.

Several new woodcuts have been added, and others have been introduced instead of some of the lithographic plates in the previous work; and as an Index is more useful than a mere list of contents, I have given a very copious one, which will be found to contain all the most important references.

August, 1853.








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