The Forgotten Scholar: Georg Zoëga (1755-1809)

At the Dawn of Egyptology and Coptic Studies


Renowned for his work within the fields of Numismatics, Archaeology, Egyptology and Coptic studies, Georg Zoëga was a figure of outstanding importance both in Rome and in Europe, at the end of the eighteenth century. Although highly valued by his contemporaries, Zoëga’s scientific legacy fell almost entirely into oblivion with the end of the Enlightenment. The Forgotten Scholar: Georg Zoëga (1755-1819): At the Dawn of Egyptology and Coptic Studies represents an exceptional occasion to rediscover the largely unknown scientific legacy of this Danish scholar consisting of hundreds of letters, drawings, sketches, notes, and other documents, mainly preserved in the Royal Library and in the Thorvaldsen Museum of Copenhagen.
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Biographical Note

Karen Ascani, M.A. (1969) University of Copenhagen. She has published articles on Georg Zoëga and his time and is the editor (together with Ø. Andreasen (†)) of his Briefe und Dokumente II-V including an index which also covers volume I (1967) (University Press of Southern Denmark 2013).

Paola Buzi, Ph.D (2002), is Assistant Professor of Egyptology and Coptic Culture at the Sapienza University of Rome. She combines the study of Coptic literature and codicology with the field work in the Fayyum and Asyut. She has published several monographs and articles in reviewed journals, including some catalogues of Coptic manuscripts.

Daniela Picchi, board-member of CIPEG - ICOM (2013), is Head of the Egyptian Collection at the Archaeological Museum of Bologna (2006). She combines the museological activities with the study of the history of collecting as well as field work at Saqqara. She has published several monographs and articles, as well as exhibition catalogues.

Table of contents

Preface K. Ascani, P. Buzi, D. Picchi
Zoëga and His Time
Chapter 1: Georg Koës and Zoëga’s manuscripts preserved in the Royal Library in Copenhagen I. Boserup
Chapter 2: Relics of a friendship. Objects from Georg Zoëga’s estate in Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen K. Bøggild Johannsen
Chapter 3: Georg Zoëga in lettere K. Ascani
Chapter 4: Georg Zoëga und Christian Gottlob Heyne D. Graepler
Chapter 5: Zoëga e la filologia A. Bausi
Chapter 6: Zoëga as art critic J. Svenningsen
Chapter 7: An antiquarian depicted. The visual reception of Georg Zoëga A. Haslund Hansen
Chapter 8: Georg Zoëga and Friedrich Münter. The significance of their relationship T. Fischer-Hansen
Zoëga and Numismatic Studies
Chapter 9: Zoëga studente di numismatica. Il soggiorno a Vienna (1782) e i contatti con Joseph Eckhel D. Williams, B. Woytek
Chapter 10: Zoëga, pionnier de la numismatique alexandrine L. Bricault
Zoëga and the Origins of Egyptology
Chapter 11: On the origins of an Egyptologist T. Christiansen
Chapter 12: In visita alla ‘Grande Galleria’: l’antico Egitto a Firenze M. C. Guidotti
Chapter 13: The Egyptian antiquities of Bologna and Venice at Zoëga’s time D. Picchi
Chapter 14: Georg Zoëga and the Borgia collection of Egyptian antiquities: cataloguing as a method R. Pirelli, S. Mainieri
Chapter 15: A concealed attempt at deciphering hieroglyphs P. J. Frandsen
Chapter 16: “Covered with the rust of Egyptian antiquity”: Thomas Ford Hill and the decipherment of hieroglyphs P. Usick
Chapter 17: De origine et usu obeliscorum: some notes on an eighteenth-century Egyptological study E. Ciampini
Zoëga and the Origins of Coptic Studies
Chapter 18: Gli studi copti fino a Zoëga T. Orlandi
Chapter 19: Chénouté et Zoëga : l’auteur majeur de la littérature copte révélé par le savant danois A. Boud’hors
Chapter 20: The Catalogus codicum copticorum manu scriptorum qui in Museo Borgiano Velitris adservantur. Genesis of a masterpiece P. Buzi
Zoëga and Rome
Chapter 21: Il collezionismo di orientalia nella Roma di Pio VI B. Palma Venetucci
Chapter 22: Georg Zoëga e gli scavi nel territorio laziale B. Cacciotti
Chapter 23: Friederike Brun, Elisa von der Recke and Georg Zoëga: Members of the ‘Universitas of Rome’ A. Müller


All interested in Egyptology, Coptic Studies, Archival Studies, History of Collecting, Numismatics, History of Art, Philology and Archaeology.


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