WI: European Philegyptianism instead of Philhellenism, Western volunteers join Muhammad Ali Pasha

At the beginning of the 19th century, "Egyptomania" began to abound in Europe, as archaeologists continued to discover new artifacts, tombs. As linguists translated Coptic and old hieroglyphics to decipher the writings of the Ancient Egyptians, interest in the ancient history of Egypt grew.

This wasn't too much different than Philhellenism, which was quite anachronistic to the state of Greece at the Greek War of Independence, yet nonetheless led to a wave of foreign support.

With Muhammad Ali Pasha's modernizing Egyptian state rising in the early 19th century, is it possible that wealthy Western volunteers like Lord Byron could have fought against the Ottomans in Egypt, instead of Greece? What about the veterans of the Grande Armee, and other demobilized soldiers of the Napoleonic wars, being recruited in Egypt?

(European soldiers of the era fighting for a non-European state is possible. Indian states prior to the British conquest of India recruited European mercenaries, such as Portuguese, Germans, French, English. These mercenaries often converted to Islam. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, so many Europeans took up service at the Mughal Army that a distinct suburb was built for them outside Delhi named Firingipura.)
 
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Its to do with how differently those two things were seen. Egyptomania was about the exotic other - the Egyptians as mystical and different, a source of romance and oriental fascination. Philhellenism, whilst also sharing some of those exotic qualities, was more "knowable" to Europeans at the time fed on an Enlightenment belief that Greek (and Roman) culture were the basis of modern European culture.

Its also about race - its much easier to sympathise with the fellow-European (and fellow Christian) Greeks in their struggle against the savage Turks (see Delacroix's Greece on the Ruins of Missalonghi for the classic image of the white woman threatened by the victorious ethnic "other") than it would be for Europeans to feel attached to Egypt's struggle against the Ottomans.

Also, Ali Pasha wasn't organising a dramatic revolution, as the Greeks were thought to be doing, so didn't have that romantic attachment going for him.

There's no reason why mercenaries and rich outsiders couldn't become attached to the modernizing Egyptian state (it did happen with General Gordon and the French Saint-Simonians who built the Suez Canal later on in the c19th). I'm just outlining the differences between what drew adventurers to the Greek struggle and not the Egyptian one.
 
I think part of the issue is that MAP's modernisation didn't show any imagery or culture that fit what Europeans were Egyptomanic about whereas the Philhellenes could claim demokrateia in the Greek situation.
 
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