Giovanni Battista Belzoni - A Real Life Indiana Jones
The protagonist of today's, story discovered, ancient tombs, explored. Secret, passages, inside pyramids. And recovered, artifacts, as old, as time itself and. He did all of this while also getting into fistfights foiling. Assassination, attempts with his trusty, whip dodging, bullets amongst, Egyptian, ruins and facing, the opposition, of a French rival, now this point it might sound rather familiar to you but no we're not talking about Indiana, Jones, we don't do fictional, characters here on biographic, swell we, sometimes do but we're pretty sly about it nope, today's video is about Giovanni. Battista. Belzoni. The Italian. Circus strongman adventurer. Explorer. Tomb Raider early, archaeologist, and the father, of modern. Egyptology. Giovanni. Battista belzoni. Was born giovanni battista ball zone on the 5th of november, 1778. In Padua, northern, Italy back then a part of the independent, Republic of Venice all we know his family is that his father was a barber and that, he shared a home with 13, siblings he, displayed signs of rebellion, and lust, for adventure at a very early age he, was 13 when B rebelled against his father's wishes that, he apprenticed as a bother, and he, ran away from home dragging, with him his younger brother of just, 9 what, was their objective, well that was to reach Rome, the, Eternal City. After, days, of endless walking, they finally got there or so. They thought they were actually, in Bologna. 400, kilometers north of Rome definitely. Not a bad start for someone, who would become famous for being an explorer, Giovanni. Or gia batter as his brother, used to call him he did not surrender three, years later with the help of an aristocratic, friends he finally. Made it to Rome yes at last, and then his dreams came true because. He became a barber, I mean there's nothing wrong with barbers, don't get me wrong I don't mean any disrespect. But it's not exactly what he wanted to do in fact that's, kind of why he left in the first place so Jia bata at this point had started to show an interest in the new science of hydraulic. Engineering, but he did not have the occasion, to put this into practice yet, then at the age of 18 his girlfriend, she loves him his totally, rational and measured, reaction to this was to take religious, vows and, become, a Capuchin. Friar it was with the monks that he first put into practice his love of hydraulics. By building, wells and irrigation systems for the convent Jia bata at a restless. Soul and he soon had outgrown the. Convent life quite, literally, he had become a giant, of six foot seven or about, two meters, and he was almost as wide and as, strong as an ox this was just not really very credible, as a contemplative, monk, but good news is history, came to the rescue because Napoleon. Entered Rome in 1798. And dissolved. All religious. Orders Jia wata had the chance to join the French army that he sided with the Prussians, instead. Whilst. Traveling, Europe with the Prussian army gia bata realized, that he was very popular at, country fairs because of his size and people they were willing to pay to see him he also had, perfected, his hydraulic, skills creating, small shows with musical, fountains, and magic, lanterns, at some points in the early 1800s, he, had left the army and he made his way to the Netherlands, and he funded, his travels, with his shows it was after one of these shows that he added a slight, misunderstanding, with. Some French soldiers, the details are not known except.
That G about the Giants apparently battered. The soldiers that, meant he had to flee to the only place in Europe when a Poland's armies couldn't reach him and that was of course Great. Britain the first thing gia bata did was change his surname from Bull's own to belzoni, you see this lad he also had brains, the surname Bulls own sounded, suspiciously, Spanish, to untrained, English ears and Spain was an ally of Napoleon, at the time then, he had to ensure a livelihood, for himself, and for his newly, wedded bride Sarah, his engineering skills but not appreciated, so gia bata put into place Plan B in 1803 he became a circus, strongman with, the name of the Patagonian. Samson, he later became, known as the, Roman Hercules, the highlight of his show was the human pyramid, during, this act belzoni, would walk around the stage carrying, 12 grown, men on his back then, sarah would climb up onto the top of the pyramid waving, a crimson, flag. Other acts included juggling flags while carrying seven, men or lifting, a cannon, by its muzzle the, show also included a performance of musical, glasses and, a magic, lantern display, proving, that this giant had more intellectual, ambitions, than, it transpired, Belle's only became very popular and he and Sarah started, touring circuses, and theaters all across Europe from Edinburgh, to Madrid. From Lisbon. To Naples it was during one of these travels, that his life was going to change direction once, again. In. February. Of 1815. Belle journey and his wife they were sailing back from Naples, when their ship was forced to dock in Malta, Napoleon, had just fled from his exile in Elba in the British Navy and the Mediterranean, was inspecting, all suspicious. Vessels it was in Malta that Belle Jolie met by total, chance one mr., Baggesen, envy, of Muhammad, Ali Pasha, the Viceroy of, Egypt Muhammad. Ali was one of those characters, who treat life like, an all-you-can-eat buffet of. Albanian, origin he travelled to Egypt in 1801, to fight against Napoleon, with his band of mercenaries, he had quickly risen through the ranks becoming Viceroy, in Cairo, formally, subordinate, to the Ottoman, Sultan, in Istanbul, berths in fact the true ruler, of the country doing, as he pleased including, keeping a vast, harem, of wives and concubines and, siring, ninety-five. Children. In addition to single-handedly contributing. To the demographic, growth of Egypt, the Pasha was also concerned, with growing, its economy. He had undertaken a vast modernization, programme of Egypt's agriculture. Focusing, on cash crops like cotton and tobacco that, required complex, irrigation systems. So, as you might imagine hydraulic, experts were somewhat in high demand, well journey it was at this time a successful. Showman but the lure of his first love, hydraulics, it was irresistible he, jumped to the occasion, and sold his services, to Backhouse claiming that he had designed an irrigation, wheel six times as efficient as the ones currently in use in the spring of 1815. Well journey his wife Sarah and a young Irish assistant, called James curtain they landed in Cairo Cairo, and all of Egypt at that time was a dangerous place even if the Pasha welcome to Europeans, they were not seen favorably, by the majority, of the population and, that included. The ruling elite they were suspicious and, rightly so of their, colonial ambitions so, two nations, were, particularly active in the Egyptian theater Great. Britain and France, their, aim was to extend their influence over the Pasha and the country's economy but, most, of all it was to raid as many ancient, Egyptian artifacts, as possible, to meet the demands of museums, and private, collectors, back home, the paschal welcomed belt Czerny with open, arms but the giant found out that his will was not intended, to raise the waters of the mighty Nile to irrigate, the desert its aim was simply, to feed the fountains adorning, Viceroy, Horan the wheel did, work six times better as promised, but during, its inauguration, a prank by some of the courtiers, resulted, in it almost crushing, bells oneis assistant, James Curtain it was almost the final curtain, for curtain when the Italian lept into the canal and thanks, to his enormous strength he stopped the wheel just, in time the, wheel unfortunately. It broke down marking. The ends, of belzoni hydraulic, career in Egypt so, well, what now. Mohammed. Ali took pity on belzoni, and his wife and introduced, them to the British consul Sir Henry salt, salt, had been tasked by the crown to collect statues, sarcophagi. And other pieces to replenish the Egyptian collection at the British Museum which. At that time was, lagging behind that, of their mortal, rivals, the Louvre, museum, in Paris salts. Counterpart, in the French Camp was consul Bernardin or draw vetti born.
In Turin in northern italy draw vetti had fought, alongside napoleon. Against, the hated Austrians his military prowess had earned him a french citizenship, and given him a taste for the use of explosives, muskets. And the services of cutthroats, now I should clarify at, this point that neither of these guys nor, their employees, were archeologists. Let alone, Egyptologists. These were just glorified tomb, raiders and art thieves, with little respects, or knowledge, of the culture that they were plundering, Henry salts was looking for a strong and a, resolute, man who could succeed, where drove, Ettie had failed he, wanted someone to collect a giant, bust of the pharaoh, ramses ii. From the ruins, of ancient Thebes in, southern egypt he then wanted that loaded onto a boat on the Nile and transported. To Cairo. The French consoles, had even drilled a hole into the king's head loaded, it with explosives, and tried, to blow, it apart into two pieces so that it was easier to carry it didn't work and the statue it remained intact. Salt. Gave belzoni, a very detailed set, of instructions. For his recovery mission, the last of these instructions, was don't. Drop, it in the nile belzoni. Could not wait to face the stone giants, and he left the Thebes immediately, he soon realized, that the only way to shift the 9 foot tall 7, ton heavy statue across five miles, of sands was to use the same technology used, by the ancient, Egyptians. A wooden, sled ropes, and sheep. Later now it wasn't known tactic, employed by, Trivedi that he would send his agents, to stir dissent, among the locals to hinder his rivals efforts this may explain why during, the first days of the thebes expedition. Some of bells oneis hired workers, they turned against him the leaders of the rebels attacked him with a dagger the, italian giant he coolly disarmed, them knocked them out cold and, lifted, them by their ankles and swung them around in order to inflict blows on the other attackers now, it's important we point out that we have by graphics we don't, endorse, this as a method of resolving trade, disputes, but, we have to admit that as far as self-defense goes pretty, badass.
The Rebellion it was quelled and after, three weeks of hard work ramses, ii gigantic. Head was sailing, down river towards, cairo it did not drop in the nile and escorted, by the great belzoni, the bust made it all the way back to england ramasees, the seconds head it still, sits today at, the British Museum. In. The summer of 1817. Belzoni, was back in Egypt's, now heading for his second expedition to unearth the legendary, temple of Abu. Simbel, the, colossal structure, at the time was almost completely, buried in sands with just one head poking out of the sand belt Vernie was escorted, by two British, Navy officers, James Irby and Charles, Mangal, these two were not really interested, in ancient Egyptian architecture, they, had joined with the hope of doing what every, British gentleman, of that time was expected, to do get, into a firefight, with. The French the party did not have to face Trivette either but rather a giant, dune covering, the temples entrance after. Six weeks of constant digging, under the fierce, summer Sun on the 1st of August, 1817. For, three Europeans, and, the local laborers finally. Entered one of the grandest, temples, of ancient times the, first humans, to do so in more than 3,000. Years belzoni, found out that the were no, jewels mummies, or statues, to be seized but, he, did not leave completely, empty-handed he drafted a detailed map of the temple noting all measurements, and proportions. Of note, this, is the detail that set him apart from other grave robbers he had a desire to acquire, knowledge and understands. The art and architecture of the ancient, Egyptian. Civilization. But. They also had, to make a living so he returned to Thebes to look for more statues on behalf of salt and the British Museum when he got there he was met by a bad surprise the site had been taken over by a party, of French diggers, belzoni. Who was well known to them and he knew he better avoid them but he was spotted Reddy's, men had firearms and so is forced to flee during, the chase through the ruins of Thebes one of the French fired his pistol narrowly. Missing, the giant man the, Italian wrote to consult Henry salt in Cairo things they were getting dangerous, for him and as an agent of his Majesty's, consular, services, he had every, right to demand armed, protection. The thieves chase was not the only instance in which belzoni, had reason to fear for his life once, in the port of Alexandria he had been approached by drew vetti's interpreter, a fellow Italian who had told him in pair terms if. I see you around one, of our sights I'll slit, your throat in, another occasion belzoni, was riding, through the streets of cairo when he was aggressively. Confronted, by an egyptian officer demanding, passage, through an alley the officer did not wait for an answer and delivered, a blow to belzoni, stomach, the giant a simply, did not flinch, not, being accustomed to put up with such situations, I returned, the compliment and struck, him with my whip across his shoulders, the officer then took his pistol and shot at belzoni, but the Italian dodged the bullet and it, went on to hit another soldier, who was approaching him from behind. During. A later exploration. To the oasis, of alka saw his two local guides tried, to kill belzoni, in his sleep once again he was quick to reactant strangled, the two assassins, in self-defense, and it's at this point that we have to wonder did these people really see no risk in attacking a 6 foot 7 inch strong man I mean there, are risks, involved with such an endeavor but, anyway belzoni he didn't always have the upper hand in yet another mission he had collected a monumental.
Obelisk From the island of Falah on the Nile near aswan but, all of his hard work was to be in vain as vetti's men seize the obelisk by holding, the giant at gunpoint. And, now let's go back to meld, zonies message, to souls in August of 1817. This, is when salt laid, out his carts in reply he specified, that belzoni had not been employed officially, by the British governments or the British Museum, salt, considered, him to be his own private, employee, little, more than a mercenary, this made, a big difference it made belzoni disposable. And his findings were private, property insults. Hands the Italian was, not happy but he continued, his travels, away from, the dangers of Thieves his, next target well that was the legendary, Valley of the Kings where, he made some initial interesting. Discoveries, however, at this time hieroglyphs, had not yet been deciphered, so in fact he didn't really have any idea what, he had discovered as an example he once stumbled into the tomb of King Ibis, only, noted a wall painting of twelve baboons, therefore. He called it over tomb of the 12 monkeys now. Grace of movement as he might imagine was definitely, not his forte by, his own confession when leading arrest, inside, the same tomb I sought, a resting place and contrived, to sit but when my wage bore on the body of an Egyptian it crushed, it like a bandbox, I sunk among the broken mummies, with a crash of bones rags, and wooden, cases, every, step I took I crushed, a mummy in some, part or other so, yes in just a few moments he essentially destroyed, a museum's, worth of concepts as another example another time the Italian came across an ancient wall and ordered his workmen to open a passage using a sophisticated, scientific instrument, a battering. Ram his, experience, in the Valley of the Kings was, not all slapstick. However following, hints from local legends on the 6th of October 1817. He made his greatest, discovery, so far the entrance, to the tomb of Seti, the first a richly decorated sprawling. Burial, site the size of Sint Paul's Cathedral, in London the, monument is still also known as Bell's oneis tomb and was described, as the Sistine, Chapel, of ancient Egypt when news reached Cairo, and result organized a tour of the site with a group of British aristocrats. Who looked, down on Belt Zoni as a simple, hired hand this, was the end of the collaboration, between the two men but only realized that salt had been, in credit, for his achievements. With the British establishment, not, only, vast the console had failed to ship many of builds only specimens. To the British Museum and had been selling, them at private, auctions instead. The. Italian rescinded, his contract, with salt and continued, working on his own adding, another, string of explorations. Under his belt and then on the 2nd of March 1818. Was his last great achievement. Having visited the pyramids at giza belzoni. Became fascinated with, the pyramid of Heffron. This, was the second largest pyramid, and it was generally, recognized, as being, inaccessible, following, a hunch the Italian found a secret entrance on the north side of the building and crawling, inside it he came across a burial, chamber and toured, its subterranean section. To avoid having his discovery appropriated. By various salt, he quickly scrawled, on a wall discovered. By G, belzoni. 2nd, of March 1818. That in Italian it was like this. By. 1820, after five years of, adventures Belle journey and Sara were back in London, being a showman, to the core of the giant organized a spectacular. Live dissection. Of a mummy for the Royal College of Surgeons and, an exhibition, of Egyptian antiquities in Piccadilly both, were very popular, his main endeavor was to set the record straight with, salt and claim the credit that was due for his discoveries, he wrote an account of his adventure, entitled. Narratives. Of the operations, and recent discoveries, within the pyramids temples, tombs and excavations. In Egypt, and Nubia, and. Of. A journey to the coast of the Red Sea, in search of the ancient, Baroness, and another, to the Oasis, of Jupiter, Ammon, by, giovanni, battista. Belzoni. In two, volumes we're, going to assume that the first one there is the title the enormously.
Long Title, the book it had some success however, it seems that salt eventually, won this duel, of Fame until, recently most of Belzer knees recovered, artifacts at the British Museum were, still known as the, salt collection. In. The spring of 1823. Belzoni, left London for another adventure this time he was in search of the source of the river Niger in West Africa, and of the lost, city of Timbuktu in modern-day, Mali the, Italian was forced to take a long detour VAR SI because of a local war raging, in southern Morocco and so in November of 1823. He landed, in Benin, with a British, merchant, John, Huston, it was here that belzoni. Met his ultimate, foe ironically, for such a giant it was a tiny, creature that would succeed, where cutthroats. And French bullets had failed belzoni. Contracted, dysentery a bacterial, infection of the boughs highly, prevalent in tropical areas which in severe, cases may, cause death by dehydration and. This, was, one of those cases feeling, death creeping in the once mighty Roman Hercules, entrusted, an amethyst, to his companion, for it to be given to, his wife on the 3rd of December 1823. Giovanni battista belzoni. Died and was buried under, a tree in guava, Benin. Belzoni. Is considered, by part of the archaeological community as, a thief, and an, ignorant vandal, others, though they celebrate, him as an adventurous. Character who laid the foundations. For modern Egyptology. Many even see him as a source of inspiration even as a certain inspiration, perhaps, for, a Raider of the Lost Ark at least according, to some film critics we know where we stand on that one but we'd love to hear your views on the protagonist of today's video please do leave your comments below and as always like, and subscribe. And as, always thank. You for watching.