Burckhardt, Johann Ludwig°

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BURCKHARDT, JOHANN LUDWIG ° (1784–1817), Swiss Orientalist and explorer. Burckhardt specialized in Oriental studies in Leipzig and in Goettingen. In 1809, he set out on behalf of the British Society for African Exploration for Aleppo (Syria), where he mastered the Muslim way of life so well that he was able to travel through Arab lands under the name of Ibrahim ibn Abdullah, without arousing any suspicion. Burckhardt visited Palmyra, Damascus, the Lebanon, and afterward the Hauran. From there he proceeded to Safed, Tiberias, Nazareth, Beth-Shean, and by way of the Sinai Peninsula, to Cairo. Reports on his journey based on his personal notes were published between 1819 and 1830. One of these monographs (London, 1822) is a description of his travels in Syria and the Holy Land. Burckhardt paid special attention to the layout of the ancient cities which he visited, and to the Greek and Latin inscriptions. From Burckhardt the Europeans first learned of the antiquities of Petra (see also *Seetzen). Burckhardt also was the first to draw an accurate map of the Gulf of Elath. He died in Cairo, possibly by poison.


Beitraege zu Burckhardts Leben und Charakter… (1828); A. Crichton, Memoir of Burckhardt (1843).

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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Burckhardt, Johann Ludwig°

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