Ancient Egypt (French) Hardcover – 31 Mar 1997
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"The writing is based on the latest historical research and archaeological finds, offering readers a penetrating look at the daily life of both royalty and commoner." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
David P. Silverman is currently Curator-in-Charge of the Egyptian Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Chairman of the university's Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. His many previous books include Language and Writing in Ancient Egypt, Religion in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egyptian Kingship, and Masterpieces of Tutankhamun. His fieldwork includes the co-directorship of the University of Pennsylvania/Boston Museum of Fine Arts expedition to record the tombs of the Old and Middle Kingdoms (ca. 2625-1530 BCE).
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It covers all the various dynasties, has an overview of the entire history (4000+ years of it) and sections on religious belief, the importance of the belief in the afterlife, their language, written (hieroglyphs and demotic (demotic is more like short hand and almost looks like our cursive writing...much easier and simpler than hieroglyphs!) Mathematics, astronomy, medicine, the building of the pyramids--- every aspect is thoroughly discussed by an expert in the field of Egyptology.
Each chapter (there are 15) is written by a different specialist in the field of Egyptology. Their credentials are listed in the dust jacket cover. They hold many different titles, are professors, university and museum curators, and all are experts in their given field. (Such as Dr Ian Shaw, editor of the Oxford History of Ancint Egypt who wrote the chapter called "The Settled World".) Or Dr Zahi Hawass, the head of the Cairo Museum and of Egyptian antiquities in Egypt, who wrote the chapter on the Pyramids.
The chapter headings include "The Celestial Realm", "Egyptian Art", "Women in Egypt", "Egypt and the World Beyond", and many more. Aside from the wealth of written knowledge, every single page has two or more lovely illustrations and photographs of the best of the artwork, tomb painting, statuary, jewelry, etc to illustrate what is being discussed.
This may be the one book on ancient Egypt to have if you can only have just one.Read more ›
I suppose I should have expected this from so basic an introduction. It covers thousands of years in a few paragraphs. Indeed, each page is formulaic with a single subject (e.g. Houses of the Gods) and two inserts to break up two or three paragraphs of crude description. That makes for an exceptionally dull and elementary read, really about the 9th grade level.
You get a description of the grand outlines. There were 3 kingdoms in Ancient Egypt, with 2 in-between periods during which authority broke down due to the centrifugal forces of strong local governors. Art was not aesthetic, but an expression of religious belief and ritual, incorporated into every object. Their mythology was similar to that of the Greeks, some would say they influenced each other; the sky was seen as water because it was blue. In addition to maintaining security, Pharoahs acted as priests to maintain balance in the universe; mummified, they went to the next life as rich men. The language was "related" to Arabic and Hebrew, though further explanation is frustratingly omitted. Much of the space in the book is taken up by listings of names of people and places, which are meaningless.
While the basics are there, as a reading experience this is worse than dull. It can kill the reader's interest in a subject. Not recommended, except as a dictionary. While I have not yet found a good history of Egypt, there must be better ones out there somewhere.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Well, of course there is. The problem is finding it. This collection of essays uses words, pictures, artwork and imaginative reconstructions to describe the ancient world ruled by gods and which built monuments that have lasted millennia.
The book's 15 chapters opens all aspects of the Nile kingdom's world. In addition to the expected sections on the pyramids, its hieroglyphs and Pharaohs, "Ancient Egypt" also delves into religious beliefs, political campaigns, the role of women, the development of towns and trade and the daily rituals of its people.
Wrapped around the text are superlative photographs, shorter articles about equally fascinating subjects (a profile of Ramesses the Great in the section on Pharaohs, for example, or on the "letters" to the dead, written on simple pottery bowls and deposited in the tomb or coffin), plenty of colorful reproductions of Egyptian art so vivid that the course of individual brush-strokes could be seen, and commissioned drawings giving theories of how pyramids were built, and what the Temple of Karnak must have looked like at its height.
But what really shines are the little touches. A closeup of an Egyptian artist, his scruffy hair and scraggy beard making him look like a New York bohemian, using an odd-shaped tool on a wooden beam; the vivid face of a long-dead woman painted on a board and included with her mummy wrappings, gazing at the reader with the poise of nobility; a piece of prose passed among the scribes that mocks all other trades ("the potter is under the soil, although he stands among the living / He grubs in the mud more than a pig in order to bake his pots"); a drawing of a fortress built to impress the Nubians in southern Egypt, looking for all the world, with its towers and crenellations like something out of medieval Europe.
So much about ancient Egypt seems so familiar, but, really, we were just watching "The Ten Commandments," or remembering the villain King Tut from the old Batman TV show."Ancient Egypt" shows us what we were missing.