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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important and interesting book, 8 Jun 2009
This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Joyce Tyldesley is a British scholar, who has written several books about ancient Egypt, including:

* Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh

* Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen

* Ramesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh

* Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt

Her book about the queens of Egypt opens with an introduction about royal consorts and female kings (15 pages). The main text is divided into six chapters:

Chapter # 1: Dynasties 0-2. The First Queens - The Early Dynastic Period

Chapter # 2: Dynasties 3-8. Queens of the Pyramid Age - The Old Kingdom

Chapter # 3: Dynasties 9-17. Chaos and Rebirth - The First Intermediate Period, Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period

Chapter # 4: Dynasties 18-20. Queens of the Empire - The New Kingdom

Chapter # 5: Dynasties 21-31. Weakened Royal Power - The Third Intermediate Period and Late Period

Chapter # 6: The Last Queens of Egypt - The Macedonian and Ptolemaic Periods

The book concludes with a reference section where we find a chronology, notes, bibliography, illustration credits and an index.

There are 273 illustrations, 173 in colour.

Today, nobody can write a biography (in the modern sense of the word) of any Egyptian queen. There is not enough information. In some cases we have a name, a tomb, a portrait and maybe other items. In a few cases we have more than that. But in many cases we have less or simply nothing. So it is not an easy job to write a book about the queens of ancient Egypt. Tyldesley mentions the problem in a separate sidebar on page 19:

"For all periods we are lacking the personal records that would really make the queens come alive for modern readers."

In the long line of Egyptian queens, four persons stand out, because of who they were; because of who their husbands (or partners) were; and because fate has given us a good deal of historical evidence about them:

# 1 is Hatshepsut (pages 94-109). [In her 1998 book about this queen, Tyldesley used an unusual spelling of the name: Hatchepsut. In this book about all the queens, she follows the conventional English spelling: Hatshepsut.] When her husband (Thutmose II) died, her stepson (Thutmose III) was too young to rule, so she ruled in his place; first as a queen, but later as a king. She was a female pharaoh.

# 2 is Nefertiti (pages 125-134). She was married to Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten; who changed the Egyptian religion; and who moved the capital to Amarna. The portrait of her that was found in 1912 is considered as one of the most beautiful and important works of art in the whole world.

# 3 is Nefertari (pages 145-153). She was married to Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, who ruled Egypt for more than 60 years. At Abu Simbel, in the south of Egypt, he built two impressive temples: one for himself and one that is dedicated to Nefertari.

# 4 is Cleopatra (pages 201-209). She was the last queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty. First, she teamed up with the Roman politician Gajus Julius Caesar; they had a son. After his death in 44 BC, she teamed up with another Roman politician, Mark Antony (whose Latin name is Marcus Antonius); they had three children.

Tyldesley seems to be very familiar with Egyptian history, but there is a mistake on page 199 where she writes: "After the death of Ptolemy IX in 62 BC, the widowed Berenice III took her father's throne."

The date is wrong. Berenice III was married three times: the first time to her uncle Ptolemy X (who died in 88 BC); the second time to her father Ptolemy IX (who died in 81); the third time to her stepson Ptolemy XI (who was killed in 80 BC a few days after he had killed his wife). No king named Ptolemy died in 62 BC. Certainly, Berenice III did not do anything in that year: she had been dead for 18 years. Everything else in this book seems to be correct. Therefore this mistake is all the more perplexing.

The Italian Egyptologist Rosanna Pirelli has written a book about the same topic: Queens of Ancient Egypt (Treasures of Ancient Egypt).

Pirelli's book was published by White Star in 2008, while Tyldesley's book was published by Thames & Hudson in 2006. It is natural to compare the two books with each other.

The one from White Star is almost twice as big as the one from Thames & Hudson (27 x 37 cm against 27 x 20 cm), and it is longer (272 against 224 pages). But I cannot say that one book is better than the other.

[For more details about Pirelli's book, see my review on this website.]

Inevitably, many motives can be found in both books. For reasons of space, I will mention only a few cases here:

* The statue of Menkaure and his wife Khamerernebty II; today in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

* The alabaster statue of Ankhnespepi II and her son Pepi II; today in the Brooklyn Museum.

* The back panel of "the Golden Throne" showing Tutankhamun sitting and his wife Ankhesenamun standing; today in the Cairo Museum.

Tyldesley's chronicle of the queens of ancient Egypt is an important and interesting book. The material is well organised, and the text is written by an author who knows what she is talking about; in addition, there are many fine illustrations, more than half of them in colour. If you want to study ancient Egypt, this book is recommended for you.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHROICLES OF THE QUEENS OF EGYPT, 13 July 2009
By 
J. D. Allan (SOUTHAMPTON,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
HAVING PURCHASED CHRONICLES OF THE PHAROHS,I BOUGHT THIS BOOK AS WELL,AND THIS IS THE PERFECT COMPANION,ITS BRILLIANT AND GIVES A LOT OF INFORMATION,YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED I RECOMMEND YOU BUY BOTH
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 3 Nov 2014
By 
P. Meier "pm" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Very good and clear layout with accurate presentations and extremely readeable
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Prompt & accurate service, brand new item as described!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 14 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Details of Egyptian I hadn't heard of before. Very good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 10 Oct 2014
This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Very good compliments the other books in series
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Egyptian Queens, 5 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt: From Early Dynastic Times to the Death of Cleopatra (Chronicles) (Hardcover)
I am afraid that I cannot review this book as it was a present for a good friend. I did know that she had seen the book and liked it; she is very much into ancient egypt. She said that it was informative and she just loved the illustrations. Apparently, most publications deal with the Pharaohs and not the Queens, this book joins up the dots.
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