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Marcus SimaikaFather of Coptic Archaeology$
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Samir Simaika and Nevine Henein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789774168239

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774168239.001.0001

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A Crumbling Heritage

A Crumbling Heritage

(p.121) 13 A Crumbling Heritage
Marcus Simaika

Samir Simaika

Nevine Henein

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter discusses Marcus Simaika's efforts to preserve the ancient Coptic churches that had been subjected to destruction and damage. In the preface to his book A Brief Guide to the Coptic Museum and to the Principal Ancient Churches of Cairo, Simaika addressed the importance of Coptic antiquities. He divided Coptic art into two main periods: the first spanned the era from the fourth to the tenth centuries, and the second period extended from the tenth century. During his stay at Alfred J. Butler's house in Oxford in the fall of 1890, Simaika warned both Butler and Somers Clarke of the danger to the ancient Coptic churches from well-meaning but misguided benefactors who wanted to replace these priceless monuments with Italian marbled structures in the Greek style. Simaika proposed that these churches be placed under the control of the “Committee for the Preservation of Arab Art.”

Keywords:   destruction, damage, Marcus Simaika, Coptic churches, Coptic antiquities, Coptic art, Somers Clarke, Committee for the Preservation of Arab Art

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