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Clermont-Ganneau's Visit to Cyrenaica in 1895

  • Olivier Masson and Joyce Reynolds


The official visit to Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Crete and Tunisia made in 1895 by the French orientalist Charles Clermont-Ganneau (1845–1923) seems to have been quite forgotten, apart from a brief note by F. Chamoux (Cyrène sous la monarchie des Battiades, 1953, 19, n.5) describing the acquisition of certain antiquities by the Museum of the Louvre. Clermont-Ganneau himself produced no report. His references to his journey were brief and scattered (thus CRAI 1901, 42–3; Rec. Arch. Orient. VI, 1905, 53) and his publication was limited to illustrations without comment in his Album d'antiquités orientales, recueil de monuments inédits ou peu connus (Paris, Leroux, 1897), an uncompleted piece of work of which only plates I–II (Neirab), III–VI (Cyrenaica, miscellaneous objects), VII (Crete), and XLIII–L (Syria, Cyprus, Nendjirli, Malta etc.) ever appeared.

Thanks to the help of Mr. Bernard Delavault, an unpublished file has now come to light in the office of the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, which fortunately supplements the record. It includes sixteen pages of an unfinished manuscript report of the 1895 journey by Clermont-Ganneau, together with a number of transcriptions and letters which contain interesting information.

Clermont-Ganneau left Paris on 17th January and returned on 7th April, having made stops of some duration at Tunis, Malta, Tripoli in Libya (where he collected antiquities, including coins), Benghazi (where he spent a fortnight), Crete (his travels in the island, which lasted for twenty-five days, will be described elsewhere), Alexandria; then Malta and Tripoli both for the second time, Homs (for a visit to Lepcis Magna), Gabès, Sfax, Sousse and Tunis again. Conditions in Cyrenaica made it impossible for him to get to the Cyrene area as he had hoped, and this accounts for the length of his stay at Benghazi where he collected the documents which are the subject of this paper; for while there he bought or was given antiquities which went to the Louvre and acquired from various sources copies of inscriptions.


Clermont-Ganneau's Visit to Cyrenaica in 1895

  • Olivier Masson and Joyce Reynolds


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