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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

xs                             Introduction
derived from the texts, which now began to yield meaning, to
enable students to catch up with the guess-work that had done
duty for Egyptology while only buildings and an entirely hap-
hazard assortment of antiquities were available, the true per-
spective was assured from then on.
If our knowledge of Ancient Egypt had to wait in the first
instance on the recovery of the ability to read her contemporary
written documents, it depended by no means on that alone.
On the contrary, the whole history of that study since Cham-
pollion announced his decipherment of the hieroglyphs in 1823,
and indeed from the time of Napoleon's expedition with its
attendant body of savants at the end of the previous century,
has been the gradual synthesizing of its three different aspects;
the philological, archaeological, and aesthetic. It has taken over
a century for the specialist students of these different aspects to
discipline themselves to the necessary co-operation, and in the
interval one or another party has ruled the field. This may well
have been inevitable, for obsessional types were required to
overcome the inertia of governments, inadequate finance, and
other forms of obstruction, and some of the greatest names in
nineteenth-century Egyptology were those of men willing to
see one or another branch of their subject neglected for the sake
of their own vision. It is only recently that general assent has
been given to the proposition that the critical appreciation of
art forms and of style, the interpretive reconstruction of life
from material remains, and the translation and evaluation of
contemporary writing are interdependent as means to the
recovery of the whole Egyptian scene.
S. R. K. GLANVILLE