Institut d'Égypte  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Institut d’Égypte was a learned academy formed by Napoleon Bonaparte to carry out research during his Egyptian campaign.

Early work

It first met on 24 August 1798, with Gaspard Monge as president, Bonaparte himself as vice-president and Joseph Fourier and Costaz as secretaries. It had 48 scholars and as with the Institut de France these were organised into sections. It had 48 members, divided up as follows:

The Institut capitalised on the scholars' work and - in a precolonial logic - technically developed Egypt so as to support the French expeditionary force. On 22 November 1799 the Institut took the decision to collect and publish its scholar's work as the Description de l'Égypte. The Institut lasted until its 47th and final meeting on 21 March 1801.

Resumption of activities

The Institut d'Égypte's activities resumed in 1836 under the name of The Egyptian Society. The work was carried out by French, German and English scholars. It was transferred to Alexandria in 1859, and its name was again changed, this time to Institut Égyptien. The new Institut functioned under the auspices of Egypt's viceroy Sa'id Pasha, and had several prominent members, notably the German botanist Georg August Schweinfurth as well as Egyptologists Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero. Later members included Ahmed Kamal, Egypt's first native Egyptologist, as well as Ahmad Zaki Pasha, a pioneering philologist.

The Institut returned to Cairo in 1880. Its previous name was restored by a royal decree in 1918. Henceforth, it was directly under the Royal Palace's auspices. Some of the Institut's more recent members include famed scholar Taha Hussein.

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