Séthos. Histoire ou Vie tirée des monuments, anecdotes de l'ancienne Égypte, traduite d'un manuscrit grec  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Séthos. Histoire ou Vie tirée des monuments, anecdotes de l'ancienne Égypte, traduite d'un manuscrit grec is a book by French writer Jean Terrasson. This whose pseudo-Egyptian and occult work was later tapped by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for his opera The Magic Flute.

The book appeared in Paris in 1731 and in an English translation published in London by J. Walthoe in 1732.

According to the noted classicist Mary Lefkowitz, Sethos:

purports to be a translation of an ancient manuscript found in the library of an unnamed foreign nation that is "extremely jealous of this sort of treasure." The author is said to have been an anonymous Greek in the second century A.D. Here Terrasson is following the conventions of ancient writers of historical fictions, such as the author of the Hermetica, who pretend that their works are translations of ancient writings that no one but themselves has seen. But Terrasson is careful not to deceive his readers completely: he assures them that the work he has "translated" for them is a fiction; .... He assures them that although fictional, the story keeps close to ancient sources, which, for the reader's convenience, he cites throughout the text. But he also says that "it is natural to suppose" that his author had access to original sources (now lost), such as memoirs available in the sacred archives of Egypt, written by unknown priests who accompanied Sethos on his travels. The sophisticated reader would be amused by the notion that the anonymous author had consulted these otherwise unknown documents, but Terrasson gives no warning to less well-educated readers that there is in fact no reason to "suppose" that these documents ever existed.

This eighteenth century work of fiction is a primary source of Afrocentrism and of the kind of black history found in such popular books as Martin Bernal's Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, and George James's Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy Is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy.

It is also a key source of a popular web of conspiracy theories positing a secret pagan subculture or Freemasons, devotees of Satan, and environmentalists dedicated to the overthrow of Christianity.

Freemasons

Although at one time it was believed that Sethos was a source for Masonic rituals and ideas, it is now understood that Terrasson took the rituals of the Freemasons, already popular in the France of his day, and projected them backward into his imaginary Egyptian mystery cult.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Séthos. Histoire ou Vie tirée des monuments, anecdotes de l'ancienne Égypte, traduite d'un manuscrit grec" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools