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29 October 2014
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Giovanni Belzoni And Ramesses The Great


Giovanni Belzoni and Ramesses the Great


This is the story of two men who lived 3,000 years apart but were united by some of Egypt's most splendid monuments and through an insatiable desire for fame.


'The Great Belzoni' was a jack-of-all-trades, a circus strongman, an actor and a hydraulic engineer, but above all, he was a diehard adventurer.


His story of archaeological adventure is the closest thing to Indiana Jones, except that Belzoni's story is too strange for fiction.


Giovanni Battista Belzoni was born on 15 November 1778 in Padua, in North Western Italy. In 1803, aged just 16, his quest for adventure brought him to England, and by means of his gigantic physique, he earned a living in circuses in England, Spain and Portugal where he was billed as 'The Great Belzoni'.


His determination and maverick skills were amazing: he even played Macbeth in Plymouth, despite having a very strong Italian accent.


It was in England that he met and married an Irish woman named Sarah Banne. She was happy to live an extremely unorthodox way of life, travelling with him and content to remain alone when necessary.


She was also fully capable of setting off on her own adventures. During their travels, the couple picked up a manservant named James Curtin.


After a stint in Amsterdam learning to be a hydraulic engineer, Belzoni heard that the Pasha of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, was keen to build a 'water-lifting device'.


It was then, in 1815, that fate and fortune drove the strange Belzoni 'troop' to Cairo and Belzoni's new career was about to be decided…



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