Ramses II: An Illustrated Biography Hardcover – 1 Oct 2007
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According to the front flyleaf "this scholarly yet accessible book" is "Written in a highly entertaining, anecdotal style. Ramses II can be read like a fascinating and informative novel." So it's an historical novel is it? Hardly "scholarly" when the bibliography lists only 10 books and articles (all by Desroches Noblecourt) and there is a complete absence of footnotes. Where, for example, did the author get the idea (pages 41 and 233) that the so-called "war crown" (kheperesh) was made out of ostrich-skin?
The author tells us (pages 196-197) that: "A number of likenesses of the king have been exhumed from the palm plantation of Memphis, including ... the very famous statue of Ramses now preserved in the Museo Egiziano [sic] of Turin." Oh really. According to that museum's "Art Treasures from the Museo Egizio", the statue came from Thebes as part of the later Drovetti Collection.
There are some full page photographs but most are quite small - many quite literally no bigger than a postage stamp. All of the photos have been sourced from photographic archives. (The book measures only 10 inches by 7 inches.)
The photo of Abu Simbel (page 117) is printed in error as a mirror image. Another photo (page 87) is captioned "Head of one of the colossal statues on the façade of the Great Temple, Abu Simpel [sic], Thebes-West." Again, the captions for a series of photos (pages 146, 149, 150-151) locate Abu Simbel at "Thebes-West".
There is a photo of a scimitar on page 65 which the caption describes as the "Harpe of Ramses II". A harpe is described on page 64 as a "stick or crook showing that Pharaoh leads his people like a shepherd." It's obviously the wrong image as the photo on page 102, captioned "Ramses receives the khepesh of victory from Amun", shows a scimitar.
The hardcover edition - printed in Italy - is nicely bound with sewn quires.
I didn't buy the book. I borrowed it from my local library.
The binding and paper are first class however, and the pictures very nice. It's too bad the writing is so poor.
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