This book, drawing on Marcus Simaika's memoirs, explores several important themes in modern Egyptian history, including the causes and consequences of the Coptic Congress of 1911; what happened to Coptic antiquities in the decade between the Coptic monuments being brought under the Committee for the Preservation of Arab Art's (Comité) jurisdiction in 1896 and Simaika's accession to a seat on the Comité; and the politics surrounding the nationalization of the Coptic Museum in 1931. This introduction provides an overview of the founding of the Coptic Museum and the development of Coptic archaeology and heritage studies, shifting balances in the interaction of clergymen and the lay Coptic community, and the evolution of Coptic/Muslim relations. It also considers Simaika's achievements in Coptic archaeology, especially the founding of the Coptic Museum.
Keywords: nationalization, Marcus Simaika, Egypt, Coptic Congress, Coptic antiquities, Committee for the Preservation of Arab Art, Coptic Museum, Coptic archaeology, Coptic community, Coptic–Muslim relations
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