They’re all in foreign countries. The five works of art top the Ministry of Antiquities’ wish list of ancient treasures sought to be returned to Egypt. The objects are
Bust of Nefertiti, now in the Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany
Rosetta Stone, now at the British Museum in London, England
Statue of Hemiunnu, architect of the Great Pyramid, now in the Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum in Hilesheim, Germany
Dendara Temple Zodiac, now at the Louvre in Paris, France
Bust of Ankhaf, Kephren’s pyramid builder, now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass., USA.
The folks pictured in the bottom right are the author of this quiz and his family, nearing the end of a 10-month stint in Egypt. We, too, have been away from our home in Massachusetts, USA. It is with some sadness that we leave the pleasant community of Maadi, our many fine friends, and a country, we trust, that is on a path to reconfirming its place among the great nations of the world.
38. What poem, commonly considered the best known work of a leading English Romantic poet, was inspired by a pharaoh?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #38
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Shelley composed the poem in 1817 as part of a sonnet-writing competition with friend Horace Smith. They are said to have been captivated by news of the British acquisition of a colossus of the powerful Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh, Ramesses II, whom the Greeks called Ozymandias.
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said–“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart….Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Reported in Egypt since ancient times, the hoopoe, or hod-hod in Arabic, derives its name from its call.
The hoopoe features prominently in mythology and literature. Ancient Egyptians believed it could locate underground water sources; the bird is mentioned in both the Bible and Quran; and the hoopoe plays a leading role in Aristophanes’ classical Greek comedy, The Birds.
The hoopoe with its striking coloration, crest and long beak is found year-round in Egypt.
36. What author’s philosophical memoir (pictured), received international attention when it was first released in December 2001?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #36
Ayman Al Zawahiri completed Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner, dubbed the “al-Qaeda Manifesto,” in the fall of 2001, while sheltered in an Afghanistan cave. The manuscript was delivered to the Saudi newpaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat for publication.
Zawahiri hails from a prominent Egyptian family of doctors, lawyers, and scholars. His grandfather was president of Cairo University and his great-uncle was Grand Imam of Al Azhar University. Zawahiri was himself a bright student, earning a medical degree in 1974.
A staunch Islamist, Zawahiri’s radicalization accelerated after his arrest and torture in 1981 for his membership in Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group found responsible for assassinating Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Under Zawahiri’s leadership, the network was later implicated in an infamous terrorist attack in Luxor, Egypt in 1997, and bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia for his role.
In 1998 Islamic Jihad merged with al-Qaeda and Zawahiri assumed the position of the organization’s ideological leader. He heads the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list.
35. Last month Egypt’s high court upheld a dress code rule imposed by several universities. What is the rule?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #35
A university is authorized to ban the niqab during exams ruled Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court. Officials imposed the ban out of concern that the niqab, a veil that covers the entire face except for the eyes, might facilitate cheating.
It has been estimated that about 90 percent of Egyptian women wear a head scarf, or hijab, while roughly 3 percent choose to wear the more conservative niqab. Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gom’aa has stated that the majority of Islamic scholars view the niqab as a tradition and not a religious obligation.
34. This symbol, which is used in several Middle Eastern countries, is named after what former Egyptian ruler?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #34
The Eagle of Saladin has been adopted as a symbol of Arab unity and is featured in Egypt’s coat of arms as well as in emblems of United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen.
Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub became Emir of Egypt in 1169 and went on to found the Ayyubid Muslim dynasty. He oversaw building of the Citadel of Cairo where an eagle was sculpted on the western wall, leading to its interpretation as Saladin’s personal symbol.
Following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, pan-Arabist Gamal Abdel Nasser introduced the Eagle of Saladin as the country’s national emblem.
The man is a junk peddler or dealer in used items. Junk peddlers regularly traverse the neighborhoods of Cairo buying and selling old stuff and cast-offs with a cry of “Bikya, bikya!” Bikya is short for rubabikya which is an arabicization of the Italian roba vecchia meaning old clothes.
The greens on the cart are not the peddler’s wares, but feed for the donkey.
32. What event, according to Winston Churchill, turned the tables in favor of the Allies in World War II?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #32
It may almost be said, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.”
So wrote Winston Churchill in The Hinge of Fate, the 4th volume of his Nobel Prize-winning chronicle of World War II.
He referred in particular to the Second Battle of El Alamein which was fought in Egypt’s Western Desert in the late fall of 1942 between the Allied Eighth Army commanded by Lt.-General Montgomery and the Panzer Army Africa under German General Rommel. The Allies succeeded in pushing Rommel back into Tunisia, where Axis forces surrendered in May 1943.
31. This artifact in the Egyptian Museum is the earliest known example of one of the greatest inventions of all time. What is it?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #31
This item, which dates back to the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1400 BC), is the earliest example of a water clock or clepsydra extant. A tiny whole in the bottom would regulate the flow of water so that time could be measured by observing the level of water in the bowl. It represents the first device for measuring time that did not rely on the sun.
This particular clock held 12 hours worth of water. It is truly among the great inventions of all time.
30. What death-defying fanciful beast is said to have visited ancient Egypt every half-millennium or so?
Answer to Egypt Quiz #30
The Phoenix was first reported to the western world by Greek historian Herodotus, who described a rare bird that nested in Arabia, and at the end of its lifespan of 500 years would give birth. The offspring would carry the remains of its father to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, northeast of present-day Cairo, and bury it in the temple of the sun god, Ra.
More recent popular myths have the Phoenix bursting into flames and then being reborn from the ashes. It was called “bennu” by the Egyptians.