Napoleon in Egypt : The Battle
of the Pyramids ( July 1798)
Certainly Bonaparte held high hopes of advancing both his
own status and expanding the French Empire. Despite the
fact that the military Campaign was a failure, when the
French Fleet was destroyed by Lord Nelson and the
British Navy at Aboukir in the Battle of the Nile
(effectively blockading the Army of the Orient in Egypt),
the Egyptian Campaign acquired legendary status.
Napoleon and his personal body-guard, Raza Roustam,
as well as a number of the captured Mamelukes, departed
Egypt in 1799 - while the majority of the army were repatriated
back to France by the British Navy following the final defeat
of the French forces in Egypt in 1801. Nevertheless, the
Egyptian Campaign entered into the popular imagination.
One hundred and fifty-four scholars from every profession –
from archaeology to architecture, medicine to geography,
and engineering to lexicography – had accompanied Napoleon
to Egypt as part of this expedition. Their scientific studies of
both ancient and modern Egypt, together with the legendary
status of the Battle of the Pyramids, established a mystique
embracing both the Pharaohs and the exotic Orient.