Belgian expansionism and the making of Egyptology, 1830-1952

Gert Huskens: Leopold II's moment in the sun.

'Leopold II 2. - Prospection du monde', Chromos Liebig. Potages Liebig en boîtes: recettes de maîtres-queux, Série 1714, 1959.

According to the weather forecasts, we will reach temperatures around 38°C this week. One can say it is almost starting to feel like you are in Egypt! While some of us have serious difficulties standing the heath, Leopold II seemed to have fewer problems with the sun. Thanks to the meticulous transcription of Leopold II's Notes du voyage en Égypte, 1862-1863 by Bernard Van Rinsveld we are now able to know how the Belgian king coped with the Egyptian circumstances during his second trip to Egypt in 1862-1863. At the end of his stay in Egypt in 1863, Leopold II wrote the following in his travel diary.

" Adieu Hélas, soleil d’Égypte, grand astre dont les rayons divins vont …réchauffer ce sol que tu aimes à caresser de ta chaude et vivifiante Haleine. Soleil, première nourriture de l’homme, grande décoration de l’Orient où il remplace tout ce que le Nord possède. Je comprends que l’on t’adore et moi-même je rends grâce au Créateur au nom de mes membres affaiblis chaque fois que je ressens ton action toute-puissante ! ! ! ! ! "  

[English translation]

" Alas, goodbye, sun of Egypt, grand star of which the holy rays reheat the soil you love to caress with your heat and vibrant breath. Sun, the first and foremost nourishment of men, grand decoration of the Orient where it replaces everything the North possesses. I understand that they adore you and I myself am very grateful to the Creator in name of my weakened fellow companions each time I sense your almighty deeds ! ! ! ! ! "

(Notes du voyage en Égypte, 1862-1863, f° 80, a) 


[FORTHCOMING ] Bernard Van Rinsveld, 'Le Duc De Brabant, Futur Léopold II, Ses Voyages Et L’Égypte Au Travers Des Achives Du Fonds Goffinet', Acta Orientalia Belgica, 33 (2020), p. 6.

O. Defrance, ‘Je voudrais être Vice-Roi d’Égypte ’. Le journal de voyage du duc de Brabant 1862-1863, Fondation Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles, 2018, 98.

Image: 'Leopold II 2. - Prospection du monde', Chromos Liebig. Potages Liebig en boîtes: recettes de maîtres-queux, Série 1714, 1959.

Gert Huskens

24 Jul 2019 (11:33)