Napoleons Obsession: The Quest for Egypt

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History Documentary narrated by Bob Brier and published by Discovery Channel in 1999 - Chinese, English Multilanguage narration

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Image: Napoleons-Obsession-The-Quest-for-Egypt-Cover.jpg

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"Napoleon's Obsession: The Quest for Egypt" details the real facts behind a little-known account in Napoleon's illustrious military career. Those who do know of the French leader's invasion of Egypt, and the so-called Battle of the Pyramids, may have fallen victim to one of the best public relations campaigns in history. As we learn in this documentary, hosted by renown Egyptologist Bob Brier, Bonaparte's attempt to conquer Eqypt was nothing short of an exercise in vanity. By 1798, General Bonaparte was looking for new military challenges after conquering Europe. He turned his sights on the historical and symbolic wealth of Egypt and The East. Economical with everything except the lives of his men, Bonaparte was ill prepared for this invasion and marched his troops from Alexandria through 130-degree desert heat in woolen uniforms and with very little water. Napoleon had a few victories, including a melee against the defending Mamelukes of Cairo, which became know as the Battle of the Pyramids (in reality, it was fought in a melon patch, miles from the city). On the whole, the campaign was disastrous; the French Fleet had a nasty encounter with Admiral Nelson, and the troops were stranded in Egypt without reinforcements or supplies. Napoleon's reaction? He commissioned paintings of victories and wrote glowing letters. He even returned to France a hero after sneaking out of Egypt in the middle of the night, leaving his men behind, and not even informing his second in command. Thankfully, Brier reminds us several times throughout the production of the practical contributions Napoleon made from this ill-conceived campaign. To Egypt he brought several artists, scholars and scientists and established the Institut de l'Egypte. Their work and the soldiers' looting led to the discovery of the Rosetta stone and the birth of modern Egyptology. But while these contributions are impressive, Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt included horrible atrocities against Turkish civilians. Still, Brier's enthusiasm brings to life the many illustrations, some by Institut de l'Egypte's own Vivant Denon, which are combined with stunning footage of Egypt and the landscapes and sites along the French army's campaign road. In addition, crisp editing by James Marshall and concise direction by Peter Spry-Leverton make for an informative and handsomely packed hour of entertainment.

Directed and produced by Peter Spry-Leverton Narrated by Bob Brier Music by Toby Langton-Gilks Edited by James Marshall 50 minutes, English and Mandarin Chinese dual audio, 1999

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Image: Napoleons-Obsession-The-Quest-for-Egypt-Screen0.jpg

[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: DivX
  • Video Bitrate: 1557 Kbps
  • Video Resolution: 640x382
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 1.68 / ~5:3
  • Video Framerate: 29.97
  • Quality Factor: 0.21 b/px
  • Audio1: English (subs included separately)
  • Audio1 Codec: Dolby AC3
  • Audio1 Bitrate: 256 kb/s @ 48KHz
  • Audio1 Channels: 2
  • Audio2: Mandarin Chinese
  • Audio2 Codec: Dolby AC3
  • Audio2 Bitrate: 256 kb/s @ 48KHz
  • Audio2 Channels: 2
  • Runtime per Part: 50 minutes
  • Number of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 746 MB (1/6 DVDR)
  • Ripped by: PolarBear

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