See this man and his magnificent turban? This is Giovanni Batista Belzoni! He was a six-foot-seven strongman with a travelling circus until he ended up in Egypt to show off his engineering skills to the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. Yep, he wasn’t just muscles. He’d worked out a hydrolics system that would raise the waters of a little river known as THE NILE! The job didn’t pan out ,but did that bum out the Great Belzoni and his chameleon-collecting, cross-dressing wife, Sarah? No it did not! Instead they set off down the nile, fell in love with Egypt and became archeologists.
Have you ever seen the statue of Ramses II in the British Museum? You know how it got there. Let me give you a hint. 130 men, a pully and log system and all of engineering skills that sit under that fancy headwear. He also had to fight off some gun-toting frenchmen who also wanted the giant statute! There is a reason “The Young Memnon” isn’t in a French Museum. In fact a fair slab of the stuff found in the British museum is all there thanks to him.
You know the Pyramid of Khafre? Guess who was the first European inside that baby in thousands of years? Was it the french who wanted to blow the entrance open with dynomite? Was it the English who kept taking credit for Belzoni’s awesome discoveries? Or was it a giant bearded Italian strongman who used nothing but his enginuity (and a battering ram). And he made sure Henry Salt couldn’t take all the credit like he did for some of Belzoni’s other finds, the Italian wrote BELZONI WAS HERE in giant undesputible letters on the wall. Most historians frown on him for this, but then again most historians weren’t the first inside a freakin’ pyramid.
He was also the first inside the Tomb of Seti I, also known as KV17. Go look it up. We’ll wait. Yep. See that Egyptian splendor. All found by Belzoni.
To sum up. Imagine Indianna Jones as an Goliathian Italian Strongman who blew his way into tombs with battering rams and had brawls with other archeologists who tried to touch his stuff. That’s Belzoni.
My kind of man.