It seems that the weather in Cairo is trying to welcome me back to the European temperatures and atmosphere. One of the coldest days in town, as my friends here say. However, there was the usual warm Egyptian welcome at the Coptic Museum this morning.
The purpose of my visit was the continuation of the study of the manuscripts from the Nubian monastery at Qasr El Wizz, and with the right contacts established, I am now more confident that when the material is located in the storerooms of the museum by the curators of the related collections, my research can proceed unimpeded.
The visit to the Coptic Museum also gave me the opportunity to walk once more in Old Cairo and catch some fine snapshots of one of the calmest points in the Egyptian metropolis.
Then, I remembered that in the previous visit with Henriette after the field season of 2009, we had seen in the Greek Orthodox cemetery the only present-day example I know of the use of an epigraphic tradition popular in Medieval Nubia: the cross-shaped inscription reading ΦΩΣ-ΖΩΗ that means LIGHT-LIFE (cfr. my paper at ACADEMIA.EDU).
It was just today that my friend VaD, the blogger of APOURO, posted in his entry dedicated to Sai and our work there, a tentative reconstruction I had made of one of the most elaborate examples of this Nubian epigraphic tradition.
The connection of Life and Light is not a Christian idea, since the rays of the sun have always been and will always remain the most important source of life on Earth. And their saluting of our horizon is undoubtedly one of the most catching images to conclude this year’s intinerary along the Nile Valley…
Tomorrow – the last day of my trip in Sudan and Egypt – a visit is planned with Flora and two colleagues of hers from the Greek School of Cairo to the monastery of Apa Antonios in the Eastern Desert. But I will keep the narration of the impressions and the posting of the material collected during this visit for an entry in the end of the month, when the Coptic church commemorates this very important saint (30th of January). In any case, my flight back to Bergen departs late in the night and there will hardly be any time for another blog entry before I return home and to the casual weekly posting in Medieval Sai Project…