November 2012 | Nate Pedersen

Emir Donates 4,000 Rare Books to Egyptian Library

Description_de_l'Egypte,_1823(1).pngLast year, the library at the Institute of Egypt in Cairo caught fire in the midst of revolutionary fighting.  Several thousand rare books and manuscripts were burnt beyond repair.  In an effort to amend the loss, the Emir of Sharjah Emirate, part of the United Arab Emirates, will be donating 4,000 rare books from his personal collection to the Cairo library.

Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Emir of Sharjah and a historian himself, announced his decision on Wednesday at the opening of the 31st annual Sharjah International Book Fair.  He made his donation in honor of the major role played by the Institute of Egypt, since its founding by Napoleon, in the dissemination of scientific knowledge across northern Africa and the Middle East.

Among the donations are a copy of Description de l'Egypt, written during the French expedition to Egypt between 1798 and 1801, and published between 1809 and 1829. The massive, multi-volume work was an all-encompassing scientific description of modern and ancient Egypt, complete with generous illustrations. Description de l'Egypt was written collaboratively by about 160 scientists who accompanied Napoleon on his Egyptian expedition.  Approximately 2000 artists were also involved in its production.

desegypt.jpgThe Institute's original manuscript copy of Description de l'Egypt was one of the casualties of the 2011 fire. 

A variety of other rare maps, journals, and books - many from before 1860 - will also be included in the Emir's donation.

(Images from Wikipedia and OpenLibrary)