Belzoni, Giovanni Battista, athlete and explorer, was born in 1778 at Padua. His parents were poor, and he began life with a view to entering the priesthood. Driven from Rome through the occupation of that city by the French in 1798, he ultimately in 1803 came to England, where he maintained himself by exhibiting his feats of strength in the streets. He was of immense size and corresponding strength, and found no difficulty in obtaining better employment. Meanwhile he had paid great attention to the study of mechanics, and in 1815 he submitted to Mehemet Ali, by invitation, a hydraulic machine for the purpose of raising the waters of the Nile. While in Egypt he devoted himself to the investigation of the antiquities of the country. He removed from Thebes and shipped to England the colossal statue of "Young Memnon," now in the British Museum; discovered the temple of Rameses II. at Abusimbel; opened the tomb of Psammetichus, the sarcophagus from which he sent to England; and penetrated for the first time King Chephren's pyramid. After further explorations he returned in 1816 to England and published the narrative of his operations and discoveries. In 1823 he died while on his way to Timbuctoo.