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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter focuses on the perception of ancient Egypt and its culture through the eyes of Renaissance scholars and humanists. They could have known ancient Egypt from personal experience, including travels to Egypt or visits to Egyptian monuments that had been brought to Italy in the Roman period. The hieroglyphic script engraved into obelisks became a source of inspiration for the emblematics, but in fact never led to any successful attempt to decipher the ancient script. The symbolic approach to hieroglyphs was also supported by the philosophical trend of the time, Hermetism. It was a “construct” of Late Antiquity, resurrected and elaborated by Renaissance humanists, who were able to apply it to various branches of Renaissance science.

Keywords: Renaissance, Egypt, Hermetism, emblematics, obelisk, travel, humanist, hieroglyph

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