Antique Travel Reports

Halte de l'armée française à Syène 2 février 1799

In this category we want to introduce and present the lives of antique travelers and their accounts of the journeys they made through Egypt, especially around the First Cataract. Aswan, Roman Syene, had been a place of fascination to many ancient and modern travelers. Beginning in 430 BCE with the so-called ‘father of history’ Herodotus we journey, alongside many different people with a variety of ethnical and social backgrounds, into the 20th century.

The focus will be on the Coptic Christian travelers from the 5th to the 9th century, and excavators that worked in and around Syene. To see what they saw, to experience what documentary sources can only hardly grasp – that is the aim of this section. We want to comment and discuss these antique travel reports and highlight their importance over time.

Travelers and Mentions

Antique Travelers and Historians who mentioned Aswan:

Medieval Writers and Historians who mentioned Aswan:

  • Al-Maqrizi (wrote before 1442)
  • Ibn Salim al-Aswani (probably 975 CE)
  • Leo Africanus (1517)

Modern Travelers to Aswan:

Baedeker Travel Guides:

  • Ägypten, 1st Volume: Unter-Ägypten bis zum Fayûm und die Sinai-Halbinsel
    • 1st Edition (1877)
  • Ägypten, 1st Volume: Unter-Ägypten und die Sinai-Halbinsel
    • 2nd Edition (1885)
    • 3rd Edition (1894)
  • Egypt, 2nd Volume: Upper Egypt and Nubia as far as the second cataract
  • Ägypten
    • 4th Edition (1897)
    • 5th Edition (1902)
  • Ägypten und der Sudân
    • 6th Edition (1906)
    • 6th Edition (1906), with postscripts until 1910
    • 7th Edition (1913)
    • 8th Edition (1928)