Monday, April 15, 2013

Napoleon's General Dejean - one of the greatest beetle collectors

Reviewing the work of one of the greatest beetle collectors: Napoleon's General Dejean

Napoleon was a big collector, mounting The Egyptian Campaign in 1799 to take Cairo and have a look at the Great Pyramids. He carried a force of 160 artists and scholars with him in the desert to complete the master work entitled Description de l'Égypte (Description of Egypt) in 37 volumes, filled with the most beautiful drawings of everything in the Great Pyramid complex - hieroglyphs, the sphinx – drawn with the greatest detail.

                Napoleon in Cairo

General Dejean was also on the Egyptian Expedition with Napoleon, and he too was a collector – amassing more than 118,000 bugs in 30,000 species over his lifetime. He was known to interrupt his soldiering duties to pick up an interesting bug.

Scientists are currently editing Dejean's books to include the complete genus and species description for the specimens in his collection, which appears in three separate volumes.

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