The Description of Egypt

In 1798, 46 students and alumni, along with 10 professors accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte on his expedition to Egypt. Napoleon then decided in 1802 that "the essays, plans, drawings and generally all results relating to science and the arts obtained during the Egyptian expedition [should] be published at the expense of the government", entrusting the task to a group of people who formed the "Egypt Commission". The Great Work on Egypt was given its official title in 1810: Description of Egypt, or Compendium of Observations and Research Carried Out in Egypt During the Expedition of the French Army, Published by Order of H.M. Napoleon the Great. Divided into three parts—Antiquities, Modern State and Natural History—the work comprises 10 volumes, with texts written by 43 authors and illustrated with 841 plates in black and white and in color. École Polytechnique’s heritage collection includes an original edition of this work, given to l’X by Napoleon during his visit in 1815.