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9 Algeria and Tunisia on Display

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Chapter Summary

The French army officers continued their interest in antiquities, both in Algeria and in Tunisia, and were well-supplied with reference books; Roman roads, sometimes a useful tool for underlining the primitive nature of French communications were frequently rediscovered, as well as mosaics, and the foundations of monuments - more stark contrasts with what the French were erecting. As early as 1842, enormous cases of antiquities were arriving in Paris, and the quality of finds at Cherchell was dawning on scholars. Cardinal Lavigerie promoted Carthage and its excavation, as we have seen; but far greater than his interest in mere loot was the prestige of France: "Elle ne doit pas se laisser précéder par les autres nations, dans les recherches d'art, d'histoire, d'archéologie, auxquelles cette terre convie tous ses visiteurs". By the beginning of the 20th century, the scholars had the history of French Algeria suitably sanitised.

Keywords: Algeria; Cardinal Lavigerie; Cherchell; French army; Roman roads; Tunisia

10.1163/9789004271630_011
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