There is nothing like a Dane… Frederic L. Norden at Antinoe in 1737

Another early traveller who voyaged up the Nile in 1737-8[1] was the Danish naval officer, Capt. Frederic L. Norden.  His Voyage d’Egypte et de Nubie, vol. 2, Copenhagen (1755) describes his trip, and mentions Antinoupolis during the account for Tuesday 26 November 1737.[2]  Sadly it does not give us much.

Here is an excerpt of plate 79, showing Antinoe.  Sadly this section of a river  map is all that Nordern gives us by way of illustration.

His written note, on p.131, gives us no more than Fr. Siccard did almost a century earlier.

On the other side of the river, with its mosque, stands the town of Sheikh Abadé, once Antinoé, capital of the Lesser Thebaid.  Various antiquities can be seen, which are not built of the enormous stones of which the buildings of the ancient Egyptians are composed; but rather with stones of moderate size, like those used to build the triumphal arches in Rome.  Among the ruins are three large gates, the first of which is adorned with fluted columns of the Corinthian order, the other two, which correspond to the first, have much less ornamentation.  These ruins of ancient Antinoé are at the foot of the mountains, and close to the Nile.  The walls of the houses were built of brick, which are still as red today as if they had been recently manufactured.  It looks as if the village of Rodda, mentioned a little earlier, was the Mokkias of Antinoé.[3]

Other than the remark about the bricks, we learn little that is new.  But I suspect that Mr Norden did not step off his boat; or not much.

The illustrations in general look as if they reproduce the sketches made on the spot.  Many are just  landscapes from the Nile, but the most interesting are from Luxor, and after.  Here is one of Luxor temple, as he saw it.

Frederic Norden, Luxor Temple, 1737
Frederic Norden, Luxor Temple, 1737

The statues were buried up to their breasts in debris at this time, of course.

An interesting book, but not of great value for our knowledge of Antinoupolis.

  1. [1]The date is from Wikipedia, so beware.
  2. [2]A 1757 English version is online here, but omits much.  Antinoe is vol.2, p.28.
  3. [3]“De l’autre côté du fleuve, s’élève avec sa mosquée la ville de SCHECH ABADE, autrefois Antinoé, capitale de la Basse-Thebaîde. On y apperçoit diverses antiquités, où l’on n’a pas employé de ces pierres énormes, dont les edifices des anciens Egyptiens font composes; mais des pierres d’une grandeur médiocre, & à peu près telles que celles dont on a fait usage pour bâtir les Arcs de triomphe â Rome. On remarque principalement, parmi lés ruines, trois grandes portes, dont la première est ornée de colonnes de l’ordre Corinthien, cannelées: les deux autres, qui répondent à la première, ont beaucoup moins d’ornemens. Ces ruines de l’ancienne Antinoé sont au pied des Montagnes, & voisines du Nil. Les murailles des maisons avoient été construites de briques, qui se trouvent encore aujourdhui aussi rouges, que si on ne faisait que de les fabriquer. Il y a grande apparence, que le village de Rodda, dont fai parlé un peu plus haut, était le Mokkias d’Antinoé.

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