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The Shining Ones: An Etymological Essay on the Amazigh Roots of Egyptian Civilization Hardcover – 1 Dec 2000

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A major disappointment 4 May 2012
By Jim Dalton - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Study of the predynastic development of the ancient Egyptian civilization is currently an exciting field; climatological research has shown that up to five or six thousand years ago the Sahara Desert was a relatively fertile grassland, whose gradual dessication forced human settlers eastward to the oases of Siwa, Kharga and the Fayuum, and beyond into the fertile valley of the Nile itself. This movement can be traced through such archaeological remains as rock art, stone tools, and pottery styles. Although E.A. Wallis Budge roundly declared over a hundred years ago that the "Egyptian language is an African language", linguistic traces of the eastward settlement are harder to come by, since, aside from Egypt, the languages of Saharan Africa were not written down until relatively recent times, perhaps the 3rd century B.C. or later. The Shining Ones by Helene Hagan attempts to demonstrate a close linguistic kinship between the ancient Egyptian language and modern Tamazight, the language of the Amazigh or "Berbers" of North Africa- an exciting project indeed, especially for a student of ancient languages like myself. I am sorry, then, to report that this book is godawful- aside from the pompous and, at times, almost incoherent writing style, the book is littered with grotesque factual errors: as when Ms. Hagan states that "the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty inaugurated by Alexander the Great reigned in Egypt from 600 B.C. to 200 B.C.". Alexander conquered Egypt in 332 B.C. and Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler, died in 30 B.C.. Ms. Hagan goes on to remark that "the Roman colonization in the vicinity of Alexandria about 100 A.D.". In fact Egypt remained a Roman/Byzantine province until it fell to the Muslim Arabs in 641 A.D.. Ms. Hagan does no better when she turns to the subject of the ancient Egyptian religion; she claims that the figure of the sun god Ra, identified with the pharaoh and exalted in scriptures since the Pyramid Texts of the 5th Dynasty if not before, "did not take hold in Egypt as a state god until the late historic time of the Persian period". I could extend the tally of errors indefinitely but I will refrain. Ms. Hagan does no better as an etymologist; cherry-picking words from the ancient Egyptian language and scouring Tamazight for any word that sounds halfway similar and has at least some vague similarity in meaning. I am sorry, but this is not how etymology is done. As I noted above, the linguistic origins of the ancient Egyptian language are a fascinating and somewhat mysterious topic, well deserving of a work of serious research. This book ain't it.
1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
NOT WORTH PRICE 31 Dec. 2007
By T. L. Rawlings - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Sent the book back when I saw how small it was. It would have been better if it had been $12.95. Book was definitely not worth $30.
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