ON entering his museum, one is welcomed by two bronze statues of cherubim, representing messengers of thought and culture bearing torches of enlightenment. There is also a large statue of him, created by late Egyptian sculptor Gamal el-Seguini, which is a replica of a bronze statue the Italian Government commissioned in 1962 to be erected in the Villa Borghese Park in Rome, alongside statues of a number of the world's geniuses.
Ahmed Shawqi (1868-1932), popularly known as ' The Prince of Poets' in Arabic, was one of the greatest Arabic poets and a dramatist who pioneered the modern Egyptian literary movement, notably introducing the genre of poetic epics to the Arabic literary tradition.
The museum, his last home, is located in a street named after him, off Nile St., Giza. Previously Shawqi lived in a house in a suburb of Cairo called el-Matariya, which location he selected for its proximity to the Qubba Palace, the royal seat of Khedive Abbas of Egypt, who was a close friend.
It was not merely Shawqi's home but also a hub of poets, playwrights, musicians and singers as well as a meeting place for statesmen, pressmen and other dignitaries.
On the outbreak of World War I, Britain proclaimed Egypt as a British protectorate. Khedive Abbas, who was in a visit to Turkey lost his throne and was banned from entry into Egypt, being replaced by Sultan Hussein Kamel as the Khedive of Egypt.
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