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Prisse was a member of numerous learned societies and co-founded, with Dr.Henry Abbott of New York, the Literary Society of Cairo.His ingenious proposals for managing Egypt’s water resources – dikes in place of a dam, a canal from Cairo to Alexandria, drainage and cultivation techniques for the lakes of northern Egypt- were met by bureaucratic indifference or, worse, the view that he was simply too young to design and implement such projects.By 1836, frustrated by futile efforts and following a quarrel with the commanding general of the School of Infantry, he resigned to devote himself entirely to archeological research.As a youth he dreamed of exploring the Orient, and at 19 began travelling to Greece and Palestine.Over the next 40 years he explored Syria, Arabia, Persia, and resided in Egypt and Algeria.
For a time, he taught topography at the Djihad-Abad Military Academy; when it closed, he became a lecturer in fortifications at the School of Infantry at Damietta.
We will present splendid reproductions of the monuments, objects of art and luxury, which provide evidence of an advanced civilization, the influence of which has been felt even in Europe.” – text from TASCHEN He was, in many ways, a paradox.
An artist of consummate skill, he was also a writer, scientist, scholar, engineer and linguist, a genius who spent much of his life among the illiterate.
With Luxor as his base, Prisse embarked on grueling travels for the next seven years, encompassing Nubia and Abyssinia, Syria, Palestine, Persia, Turkey and Arabia, where he visited the holy cities of Makkah and Madina.
Stoic in privation, fluent in local dialects, dressed in local clothing and Muslim in his manner, he was able to move unobtrusively, studying and recording the archeology and sketching from life the astonishing sights that swirled around him.