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Temple of the World: Sanctuaries, Cults, and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt Hardcover – 15 Dec 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (15 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9774165632
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774165634
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.6 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 775,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Miroslav Verner is an Egyptologist, archaeologist, and epigrapher who has been working in archaeological excavation and research in Egypt since 1964, and has published thirteen academic monographs, mainly in foreign languages, and over a hundred and twenty academic articles. For many years he has contributed to popularizing Egyptology not only through articles and books (including Abusir: Realm of Osiris, AUC Press 2002), but also in television programs and documentary films. He is currently directing the Czech archaeological excavations in Abusir. Anna Bryson-Gustova, who has a BA and DPhil in history from Oxford University, has lived in the Czech Republic for twenty years. She is a writer, editor, and translator in the field of history and culture.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ancient Egypt Magazine on 11 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Egypt’s major religious centres are the subjects of this accessible and indepth guide for the general reader by Miroslav Verner. Combining archaeological and epigraphic findings with the latest research on religious ideas and cults, Verner seeks to recreate the Egyptian temple not just as a collection of architectural structures, but as a living entity: a stage for great religious festivals, a centre for priestly ritual, an economic powerhouse and an integral part of the ancient Egyptian community.

From the sparse ruins of Heliopolis, the City of the Sun (where Atum created the world, Seth and Horus fought for rule of Egypt and where little more than a Senusret I obelisk now remains) to the great Karnak “Most Esteemed of Places”, domain of Amun (who by the New Kingdom owned in excess of 591,000 acres of land, more than 420,000 head of livestock, 83 boats, 433 gardens and more than 81,000 priests and employees), Verner explores the development of these temple complexes, the major architectural structures and the history of their archaeological exploration, set in the context of their spiritual and cultural significance.

The major centres of Memphis (the white walled fortress), Hermopolis (city of the eight creator gods), Amarna, Tanis, Abydos, Abu Simbel, Luxor Temple, Philae, Edfu, Dendera and Alexandria are all included, together with an introductory chapter discussing the concept of the Egyptian temple as the home of the gods, its structure and alignment and the activities carried out within. There are also five themed “excursi” to explore the festival calendar, the great festivals (such as the Opet), the myth of Osiris, Hathor Lady of Turquoise and a brief overall history of temple development.

With extensive bibliography and hundreds of diagrams and colour photographs, this is an indispensable guide to the great temples of Egypt.
Reviewed by ancientegyptmagazine dot com
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By alison cox on 14 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent, well-illustrated overview of ancient Egyptian temple sites.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By LMG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At over 600 pages long, this is a scholarly yet easily readable book (for a specialist audience) that discusses and describes in great detail the temples, rituals, festivals, and mysteries of the greatest cities of Ancient Egypt. Written by the Czech Egyptologist Miroslav Verner, TEMPLE OF THE WORLD goes far beyond a mere discussion of Egyptian temple architecture. After lengthy introductory material, Verner explores the totality of architectural institutions from most ancient Heliopolis (On) to Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great. Encyclopedic in nature, the book is overflowing with an abundance of information that is clearly organized and presented in depth. Key drawings and magnificent color photographs are to be found throughout the book and complement and supplement the rich text.

The book is arranged chronologically and extends from the Old Kingdom down through the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The major gods and goddesses of each site are detailed along with their associated festivals. There is even a "Final Excursus" which is basically an outline architectural history of the ancient Egyptian temple. The general reader might even wish to read this section first. It is lucid and up to date. There is a 10 page Glossary and a 10 page Chronological Table at the end, followed by an enormous 20 page Bibliography.

The high price of the book may seem offputting. However, the quantitative and qualitative information contained therein along with the superb illustrative material actually make the book seem inexpensive compared to so many others.

This is not a book designed to be read in just a few sittings. It requires careful and repeated reading, and the photographs should be studied and savored. I consider this book to be one of the best if not THE best of its type. It's also a pleasure to read so much about the religious architecture and ambience of Ancient Egypt without contending with the Pyramids and associated theories pertaining to their construction. This book truly brings Ancient Egypt back to life.
More selective than other overviews, with more detail on the chosen topics 17 Mar. 2015
By DAJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Rather than listing nearly every temple, as The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt does, Verner dedicates each chapter to a particularly influential or well-preserved group of temples. They're arranged in roughly chronological order based on when each city reached the height of its influence. Between the regular chapters are several excursuses, which in this case just means chapters that don't fit the regular organization scheme. The regular chapters cover Heliopolis, Memphis, Hermopolis, the temples of Amun (mainly those in Thebes), Amarna, Tanis, Abydos, Philae, Edfu, Dendera, and Alexandria; the excursuses discuss temple rituals, the festivals of Amun, the mythology surrounding Osiris, the temples dedicated to Hathor other than Dendera, and the way temple architecture evolved through history. Temples that don't fit into any of those categories are mentioned in passing or not at all, whereas the reader gets more depth on the chosen sites than in other overview books on Egyptian temples.

So if you want to get an impression of how temples in general worked by studying several of them in depth, this is the one to get. Temples of Ancient Egypt is organized by subject rather than by temple, and it gives similarly patchy coverage of temples overall. Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt, based on what I've heard about it, is a pretty thorough catalogue of all major ancient Egyptian sites, which obviously includes temples. And The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt is a sort of hybrid of all those approaches, which means it covers all the angles but loses some depth compared with the other books.
High-quality Content, Mediocre printing 20 Sept. 2014
By Paul E. Filmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful collection of art and information about the temple complexes of ancient Egypt. However the excellence of the content is somewhat marred by the printing: there are several instances of smearing or double printing. The pages are still legible, but it is offputting to see such poor quality control. The binding is well done, but the corners on the hardback had obviously seen some collisions.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Superior tome about Ancient Egyptian Temples, Ceremonies, and Religion 25 Jan. 2014
By Jason A. Voss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with every word written by the reviewer above, LMG, and would have written my review in almost exactly the same way. What I will add to the discussion about the fantastic Temple of the World is:

* Verner clearly is not just a scholar of Ancient Egypt, but also a lover of the culture. This shines through in his writing. Because of this enthusiasm the book is a page-turner as Verner's sense of wonder is shared with the reader.

* Verner presents the leading theories and conjectures about many Egyptologists' points of contention. This is a refreshing departure from the many Egyptologist works that present as fact what are actually preferred theories. This allows the reader to draw her or his own conclusions. Verner has painstakingly included these divergent points-of-view. I have read tens of thousands of pages about Ancient Egypt and much of the information lay scattered and disorganized in my memory. Sometimes I couldn't remember whether one theory was the accepted theory, or whether it was another. Verner's treatment of the subject as still subject to speculation and his full discussion of differing theories has clarified so much for me. Thank you.

* The paper quality, binding, high quality images, and photographic reproductions are amazing. Many of the images look as if you can step straight into them. This is not only due to the choice of images, but also to the superior layout of the images on the page. Fantastic. It puts almost all other Ancient Egypt books to shame.

I will close by quoting Verner's final words to the reader regarding what a study of Ancient Egypt can add to the world as they capture the essential spirit of the book:

"What can we add? Only that fortunately the fate of Egypt has not been as lamentable as Hermes Trismegistus prophesied. Furthermore, Jean-Francois Champollion managed to break the code and decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, and since then the stones and papyri have been speaking to us and giving their testimony. The cultural and spiritual riches of Alexandria and ancient Egypt at large live on - uncovered, discovered, explored, and brought to a wider public by Egyptologists. It is simply up to us to learn from the wisdom and beauty of this inheritance."

Jason Apollo Voss
Author of "The Intuitive Investor"
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
fantastic piece of scholarship 16 May 2013
By U.S. Citizen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is an amazing book. its the first history of ancient egyptian temples I've read that is actually detailed and includes specifics of how the temples actually worked rather than broad based generalities.

excellent work, hard to put down while you are reading it
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