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Dr. [?] Athans

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Athans, Dr. The contributor has before him broadsheets of Turkish ballads that had sprung up before and during the Crimean War; he quotes from them at length. His ability to read Turkish and his knowledge of the Near East suggest that he may be Giovanni d' Athanasi, a Greek born about 1798 in Lemnos, who was for a time employed by Ernest Missett, British consul-general in Egypt. Before leaving Egypt in 1816, Missett recommended d' Athanasi "as interpreter in Arabic and Turkish" to Henry Salt, Missett's successor (d'Athanasi, Brief Account of the Researches and Discoveries in Upper Egypt, p. 4). Until Salt's death in 1827, d'Athanasi served as interpreter to Salt's secretary and as Salt's assistant in the excavation and collection of Egyptian antiquities. Salt's letters mention some of the discoveries made by d'Athanasi, whom Salt refers to as "Yanni" (Halls, Life and Correspondence of Henry Salt). Some years later, d'Athanasi went to England to assist Leigh Sotheby in drawing up the sale catalogue of one of Salt's collections. In 1836 he published A Brief Account of the Researches and Discoveries in Upper Egypt, Made under the Direction of Henry Salt, Esq., by Giovanni d' Athanasi. He formed also his own collection of Egyptian antiquities and of Etruscan ornaments.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971. 

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