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The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt

The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Tyldesley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Required reading for Egypt's imaginative tour guides (Sunday Times)

Tyldesley, by painstakingly analysing the myths and therefore the beliefs, of the ancient population, endeavours to get under the skin of Egyptian life ... befuddling myth-stories are clarified (Bettany Hughes The Times)

her great strength is her story-telling (Sunday Telegraph)

Product Description

From Herodotus to The Mummy, Western civilization has long been fascinated with the exotic myths and legends of Ancient Egypt but they have often been misunderstood. Here acclaimed Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley guides us through 3000 years of changing stories and, in retelling them, shows us what they mean. Gathered from pyramid friezes, archaological finds and contemporary documents, these vivid and strange stories explain everything from why the Nile flooded every year to their beliefs about what exactly happened after death and shed fascinating light on what life was like for both rich and poor.

Lavishly illustrated with colour pictures, maps and family trees, helpful glossaries explaining all the major gods and timelines of the Pharoahs and most importantly packed with unforgettable stories, this book offers the perfect introduction to Egyptian history and civilization.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3069 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (5 Aug 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,496 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joyce Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire. She studied archaeology at Liverpool and Oxford Universities, before writing a series of academic yet accessible books on ancient Egypt, including several books for children. Her 2008 book Cleopatra: Egypt's Last Queen was a Radio 4 "Book of the Week". Her 2012 book Tutankhamen's Curse (published as Tutankhamen in the USA), won the Felicia A. Holton Book Award of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Having taught prehistory at Liverpool University, Joyce currently teaches students througout the world on the innovative on-line Certificate and Diploma Courses in Egyptology, plus a series of Short Courses in Egyptology, at Manchester University.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful edition of Egyptian history 15 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The picture in the Amazon page doesn't do this book justice, it's a beautiful edition printed on very high quality paper with some fantastic illustrations which really brig some of these stories to life.

The writer focuses on primary sources which was refreshing. When I heard about this book I was worried it would be a silly rehash of "mummy" stories and Tutankhamun excavation myths. It is in fact much more academic in tone, but nonetheless very readable. I would say the myths and legends title is a little misleading as the content seems more about history and social history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tyldesley does it again. 16 Sep 2010
Joyce Tyldesley expands on her previous book "Tales from Ancient Egypt" to great effect. Translating herself she re tells the stories so they flow in English. An excellent book with interesting and relevant photographs taken by her husband Steteven Snape. As well as the contents being excellent the cover is exceptionally effective as well as being attractive.
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For anyone interested in ancient Egypt, it is often the mythology and the legends of the culture that can be the most difficult to grasp. They are frequently confusing – the confusion caused by the staggering time-span of the civilization of three thousand years.

Reliefs and inscriptions on temple and tomb walls and texts on papyrus all record aspects of the ancient religion and beliefs and the author has drawn from all the sources to present the myths and legends in an easily understood way.

After an introductory chapter giving a brief history of Egypt and explaining the chronology, the author looks at, in separate chapters: Creation, which relates the several creation myths; interestingly, although they differ, they were all thought to be valid by the ancient Egyptians.

Destruction, which looks at the myth of Osiris, the conflict of his son Horus with Seth and the important journey to the afterlife.

The Great Goddesses, which looks at various goddesses, including Sekhmet and the story of the Destruction of Mankind, and the story of Isis.

Finally, Heroes and Villains, which looks at stories concerning some of the kings of Egypt and the exploits and travels of Egyptians.

The myths and legends are all fascinating and this is a book that can be easily dipped into; each section can be read and enjoyed on its own merits.

Most importantly, the stories told here also help to bring ancient Egypt to life, revealing much about how the ancient Egyptians thought and about their fears and worries.

The book is illustrated, though it is difficult to illustrate some of the stories, something the ancient Egyptians themselves seem not to have done.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All thriller, no filler. 4 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this book as a gift for a friend who is in the midst of the Egyptian revolution. It then occurred to me that my entire knowledge of ancient Egypt comes to me from a childhood interest so I read it myself first. Rather than the basic guide I was expecting, I found one of the best popular academic books I've read in a very long time. It contains all the myths and legends that I was hoping to read about but also gives a real sense of where egyptology is now and how it developed, as well as evidence-based descriptions of ancient Egyptian culture, class-structure and worldview. Tyldesley's prose is compact yet clear, eminently readable, and it really feels like she wants to convey to you as much of her complex subject as she can. Considering the menagerie of peculiar names and colourful characters, such clarity is paramount to this book's success.

If you only read one Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt, make it the Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt.
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