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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Islamic Period:  Diversity and Pluralism

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Modern Antiques

Modern Antiques

Archaeology played an important part in the national identities of Middle Easterners. However, the colonial powers were also very interested in the Middle Eastern history in ancient times. The interest increased after Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt (1798) and the new discoveries relating to Egypt’s past. In this 1806 cartoon "Modern Antiques,” Thomas Rowlandson satirizes the British enthusiasm for things ancient-Egyptian in the years after Napoleon's military expedition against Egypt.

For example, a woman wrote to the Morning Chronicle newspaper in 1805, complaining that "since this accursed Egyptian style came into fashion... my eldest boy rides on a sphinx instead of a rocking-horse, my youngest has a papboat in the shape of a crocodile, and my husband has built a water closet in the shape of a pyramid, and has his shirts marked with a lotus."

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