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The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra

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Toby Wilkinson combines grand narrative sweep with detailed knowledge of hieroglyphs and the iconography of power, to reveal ancient Egypt in all its complexity. We see the relentless propaganda, the cut-throat politics, the brutality and repression that lay behind the appearance of unchanging monarchy.


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Toby Wilkinson combines grand narrative sweep with detailed knowledge of hieroglyphs and the iconography of power, to reveal ancient Egypt in all its complexity. We see the relentless propaganda, the cut-throat politics, the brutality and repression that lay behind the appearance of unchanging monarchy.

30 review for The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont

    At the end of this week I’m leaving on a long planned trip to Egypt, one that will take me from the Great Pyramid at Giza in the north to the temple of Abu Simbel in the south, from Lower Egypt to Upper Egypt. And just to confuse you the former is the north and the latter the south! It’s the ancient Egyptian view of the world, you see, all upside down. A lot of my extramural reading for the past while has been dedicated to books with an Egyptian theme, including Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Qua At the end of this week I’m leaving on a long planned trip to Egypt, one that will take me from the Great Pyramid at Giza in the north to the temple of Abu Simbel in the south, from Lower Egypt to Upper Egypt. And just to confuse you the former is the north and the latter the south! It’s the ancient Egyptian view of the world, you see, all upside down. A lot of my extramural reading for the past while has been dedicated to books with an Egyptian theme, including Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, Olivia Manning’s Levant Trilogy (what a super and sadly neglected writer she is) and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk, the first in the Cairo Trilogy. Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile is ready to be packed because I really want to read that sailing down the Nile. It will be yet another literary milestone for me, having read The Quite American in Saigon and Our Man in Havana in Havana! But it’s the history of ancient Egypt that I really wanted to get close to. I know ‘bleeding chunks’ already; I imagine most people know something, even if it’s only smatterings about Tutankhamen, buried treasure and mummies curses! What I needed, though, was a decent overview, one that would take me through the whole spectrum of Egyptian history, which is precisely why I alighted on The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson. This is a good book for a general audience, for people like me, coming to find a pattern in the pieces of a mosaic. The title is a little misleading, in that the Egypt of the pharaohs, beginning with the formation of the kingdom under Narmer in 2950BC, rose and fell and rose and fell and rose and fell, time and again. The wheel of history has never being better illustrated, from the Old Kingdom through the Middle Kingdom to the New Kingdom with several intermediate periods between. Add to that over thirty dynasties then one begins to appreciate the sheer scale of things, the breathtaking passage of time. For me it really is sobering to think that over a thousand years separates Narmer from Ramesses II, the Ozymandius of Shelly’s poem; that Cleopatra, the final independent ruler of Egypt (actually from a dynasty of Greek interlopers), was as far removed from the founder as modern England is from the builders of Stonehenge. At just over 500 pages Wilkinson tells his story well, in an easy and, at points, highly discursive manner. I dare say purists will find all sorts of faults but I enjoyed it. It’s the kind of book that leaves one wanting to know more, which is all to the good. The story is a complicated one. The sheer number of rulers, dynasties, ups, downs, ins, outs and transitions tends to leave one a little breathless. I found myself continually turning back to the timeline, helpfully provided at the beginning, just to put people and events into context. There are weaknesses. Given that religion played such an important part in Egyptian history a dedicated chapter on the main gods, forms of worship and patterns of belief would have been useful. It’s all there, certainly, but in quite a fragmented manner, scattered about like shards of pottery. Still, all criticism aside, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt served its purpose and served it well. I now have a framework in my head which will allow me to put the traces and fragments I hope see on my travels in proper context. And that is exactly what I was looking for, a handy guidebook to one of the most beguiling phases in the history of civilization.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. My professor may have derisively called it "popular history", but I still love this book. From first picking it up, it became hard every time I had to put it down. The combination of fluid, easy writing and the fact that this book is packed to the rafters with interesting, engaging material meant it quickly became a page-turner. Toby Wilkinson does chronicle pharaonic Egypt chronologically from pre-dynastic period to annexation into the Roman empire, a f I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. My professor may have derisively called it "popular history", but I still love this book. From first picking it up, it became hard every time I had to put it down. The combination of fluid, easy writing and the fact that this book is packed to the rafters with interesting, engaging material meant it quickly became a page-turner. Toby Wilkinson does chronicle pharaonic Egypt chronologically from pre-dynastic period to annexation into the Roman empire, a format which is apparently "simplistic", but which to me seems clear and logical, and allows the reader to comprehend later events in their proper context, building upon past precedents, and demonstrating how pharaonic Egypt shifted and evolved over its duration. This may be a popular history, but Wilkinson also writes in academia, and knows his stuff – the bibliography provides every possible authoritative work that a reader might wish for to engage in further study of the topics presented, and, as a new publication with a professional academic for an author, the book is tightly researched and up-to-date. In a bit of a glass-half-full-or-glass-half-empty situation, there were certain areas where I felt like Wilkinson provided only an overview and I wanted to know more, but on the other hand at other times Wilkinson provided me with all sorts of new information and interpretations – this is a bit of a unique situation to me though, creating the false impression of patchiness in the book, since the areas I felt were a little bit skimmed and wanted to know more about were areas of my specialist study. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt is the definitive overview of pharaonic Egypt, highly recommended for beginners and amateurs, and it’s not too bad at teaching established specialists a few new things too! 9 out of 10.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    By its nature The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt skips over a lot of history but as an introduction to the five-millennia-long history of Egypt - up to the Roman conquest in 31 BC - Toby Wilkinson's effort excels. If you want to know the details of a particular era, the book's near-80 pages of notes and bibliography provide a rich vein to mine. While I am familiar with the general outline of Egyptian history, every section had something new to say to me that enriched my understanding or revealed By its nature The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt skips over a lot of history but as an introduction to the five-millennia-long history of Egypt - up to the Roman conquest in 31 BC - Toby Wilkinson's effort excels. If you want to know the details of a particular era, the book's near-80 pages of notes and bibliography provide a rich vein to mine. While I am familiar with the general outline of Egyptian history, every section had something new to say to me that enriched my understanding or revealed some aspect I hadn't considered or known. A few of the many examples I could list include the political unification of the Nile Valley c. 3000 BC. It began with the rise of three power centers (Tjeni, Nubt and Nekhen) and ended when Tjeni's ruler (the man we know as Narmer or Menes) conquered his rivals to inaugurate the First Dynasty. From its birth, Egypt displayed many of the stereotypical images moderns associate with it, including the absolute despotism of the pharaohs. Or there's Hatshepsut, the famous female pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Her rule is justly famous but she was only one in a line of powerful women who played significant roles in the government. Then there is Wilkinson's focus on the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten's dictatorship and fanatical monotheism, rather than on the usual emphasis on his possible role in Jewish history. (And, returning to remarkable females, it's possible that Nefertiti reigned as pharaoh for several years after his death.) Another interesting period comprised the reigns of the 25th Dynasty's pharaohs, Kushites who conquered Egypt - ironically - in a religiously motivated campaign to restore the proper worship of Amun. And as a final example, it's instructive to see the Persian and Macedonian conquests through Egyptian eyes: Wedjahorresnet, an offical who collaborated with the Persian regime and convinced Cambyses to adopt pharaonic regalia, and Sematawytefnakht, who witnessed Alexander's victory over Darius. This is a very readable and interesting synopsis of a land and people that deserve to be better known, and comes highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    Very good one-volume overview of Ancient Egyptian history, in contrast to multivolume works, or watered-down picture books. Covers some 4970 years, from unification of Upper/Lower Egypt to fall of Cleopatra. Does good job of incorporating some new conjectures as well as recent archaeological discoveries. Does tend to focus on dynastic elements a bit much, but does cover a lot of ground and does so very well, so some things may be excused. It may well be all that we know about some eras. Author ch Very good one-volume overview of Ancient Egyptian history, in contrast to multivolume works, or watered-down picture books. Covers some 4970 years, from unification of Upper/Lower Egypt to fall of Cleopatra. Does good job of incorporating some new conjectures as well as recent archaeological discoveries. Does tend to focus on dynastic elements a bit much, but does cover a lot of ground and does so very well, so some things may be excused. It may well be all that we know about some eras. Author characterizes ancient Egypt as a 'superpower' and a 'nation-state', both of which are debatable. A very enlightening book. Resurrected my knowledge and interest of ancient Egypt from the mummy's tomb (pun intended).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Netta

    The very first thing you have to know about this book is that it mimics Ancient Egypt by being mostly centered around the king and his (sometimes hers) glory. It gives readers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put themselves in ancient Egyptian’s shoes and imagine how commoners must have lived with kings so distant, appearing out of nowhere and disappearing into mighty, glorious, god-like nothing, leaving a legacy of shattered dreams and unfulfilled desires to overtake gods. I presume, entitli The very first thing you have to know about this book is that it mimics Ancient Egypt by being mostly centered around the king and his (sometimes hers) glory. It gives readers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put themselves in ancient Egyptian’s shoes and imagine how commoners must have lived with kings so distant, appearing out of nowhere and disappearing into mighty, glorious, god-like nothing, leaving a legacy of shattered dreams and unfulfilled desires to overtake gods. I presume, entitling the book The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt Kingship would have done it more justice. Anyway, speaking of books on Ancient Egypt (and the ancient Near East in general), we are rarely here for commoners, aren’t we? I wonder what kind of reader Mr Wilkinson had in mind writing his book. Was it “an experienced reader” with immense knowledge of the ancient Near East? Then Mr Wilkinson should have known better because “an experienced reader” would be unbearably bored by the end of the first chapter. For “an experienced reader” Mr Wilkinson’s book, most likely, is nothing more than seemingly endless and yet surprisingly brief chatter about power, philosophy of ancient kingship and propaganda with tiny scraps of actual history here and there. Well, maybe this book wasn’t designed for “an experienced reader”, on the contrary, its primary audience is “a devoted beginner” – someone who’s very interested in the ancient Near East and Ancient Egypt in particular and eager to absorb information. If so, then again, Mr Wilkinson should have known better because “a devoted beginner” would be unbearably bored by the end of the first chapter. For “a devoted beginner” Mr Wilkinson’s book, most likely, is nothing more than endless stream of the unknown – names, toponyms, references to mysterious conflicts and agreements, gods, kings etc. Well, maybe this book wasn’t designed for “a devoted beginner”. Maybe I exaggerate, and the primary audience of this book is someone who’s in between “a devoted beginner” and “an experienced reader”. It’s possible, but as you might have already guessed, if so, Wilkinson should have known better. Being that “someone in between” in question, I can give you a couple of reasons why I think so. I picked this book to enhance my knowledge of Ancient Egypt history. It means that I have already been familiar with its rulers, gods, art, culture and what Mr Wilkinson loves to call “propaganda”. I’d expected this book to give me some more background information, to shape and structure the information that I have so as to get a full picture, and I got none of that. It’s sad to admit that there’s no balance between entertaining musings and useful information – I call this type of books “a never-ending-preface” books. They are usually fun to read, very quotable and seemingly friendly (till you stumble upon the unknown) as prefaces are, but they leave nothing except even more questions, because “the real” part of the book, where normally you’d get the information, does not exist. Instead of giving context and background information about the ancient Near East and relations between its parts, kingship and commoners, Mr Wilkinson leaves his readers with a few useless maps and illustrations which apparently were supposed to help readers navigate in the ocean of either too detailed chapters or too brief. And yet, I have to give Mr Wilkinson credit for the impressive amount of work that he did. It’s palpable that The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt is backed up with many years of research and vast knowledge. Writing a book which covers history of the region from 3000 BC to 30 BC and stays fascinating and readable all along is every scholar’s sweet Utopia, to which Mr Wilkinson came quite close.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James F

    Despite its length, and the claims on the jacket flap, this book is definitely a popularization and not (as I had hoped it might be) a more up to date replacement for the earlier standard histories, such as the one author book by Nicolas Grimal or the collaborative Oxford history edited by Ian Shaw. The sketchy and vague coverage of the predynastic and early dynastic period was particularly disappointing, since this is the area the author is an expert on, and perhaps the one where the most excit Despite its length, and the claims on the jacket flap, this book is definitely a popularization and not (as I had hoped it might be) a more up to date replacement for the earlier standard histories, such as the one author book by Nicolas Grimal or the collaborative Oxford history edited by Ian Shaw. The sketchy and vague coverage of the predynastic and early dynastic period was particularly disappointing, since this is the area the author is an expert on, and perhaps the one where the most exciting discoveries are taking place, and where the earlier books are the most out of date; this book was not anywhere near the level of his own Early Dynastic Egypt. The Old and Middle Kingdoms are covered in about the detail one would expect from a popular book; the New Kingdom is more fully treated, the Late Period was covered in more depth than I expected, while the two brief chapters allotted to the Ptolemaic period are obviously inadequate -- he would have done better to have stopped in 332 BCE as most books on ancient Egypt do. Much of the length is due to the fact that this is a "thesis" book -- Wilkinson is concerned with hammering us over the head with his original and highly unsuspected discovery that ancient Egypt was -- gasp! -- not a modern liberal democracy! Actually, a book that showed how and why the Egyptian monarchy oppressed the peasantry or what the royal ideology was about and how it developed would be useful; Wilkinson's strangely passionate but superficial and often anachronistically expressed rhetoric is not. (For a more sophisticated discussion of the ideology of the pharaohs one could still go to the somewhat earlier The Mind of Egypt by Jan Assmann, or even to the classic nearly seventy year old Kingship and the Gods by Henri Frankfort.) What I missed totally was any serious discussion of the Egyptian economy, agricultural production, or their link with the organization of the monarchy -- there are just repeated cliches about the topography of the Nile Valley leading naturally to despotism. Even the old "hydraulic hypothesis" of the fifties was less simplistic than that. There were a lot of new perspectives and much new research in the first decade of the new millenium; there are bibligraphic references to this work in the notes, but not much has made its way into the text. As a popularization, this is somewhat worthwhile and certainly the most up to date book of its length, and I would recommend it to a beginner who wants something a little more substantial than the books by Barbara Merz but not really scholarly; for anyone who has read the earlier works mentioned there is not much reason to read this one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    kaśyap

    A very good narrative of ancient Egyptian history. Gives a mainly political and economic overview of the period from the first king Narmer and the unification of the two lands to the fall of the last queen Cleopatra ( with a sketchy coverage of the predynastic period). The author has a good narrative style that flows through the various dynasties without getting bogged down, and their socioeconomic, religious and foreign policies and how they influenced and changed Egypt. While it doesn't go deep A very good narrative of ancient Egyptian history. Gives a mainly political and economic overview of the period from the first king Narmer and the unification of the two lands to the fall of the last queen Cleopatra ( with a sketchy coverage of the predynastic period). The author has a good narrative style that flows through the various dynasties without getting bogged down, and their socioeconomic, religious and foreign policies and how they influenced and changed Egypt. While it doesn't go deep into the study of ideology of the Egyptian kingship, it does a good job in showing how the institute of the divine kingship in Egypt has evolved and varied over the period of 3000 years, and also provides some overview of the changes in the mortuary cults and the forms of worship like the democratisation of "afterlife". There are some passages that deal with the soldiers, peasants and the craftsmen, but this book doesn't really shed much light on the daily life of the commoners. On the whole this serves very well as a good sweeping overview of Ancient Egyptian history for a beginner and the author provided extensive notes and bibliographical information at the end for deeper study.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter Mcloughlin

    I have neglected Ancient Egypt in my previous perusals of the ancient world but this book has sparked a bit more interest in this civilization. This book is well written in an style which holds my interest. The author does a good job of giving a lively history of the gift of the Nile from neolithic times until the fall of Cleopatra and Anthony at Actium. Even if you aren't into Egyptian history like me this book is worth your time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Kammer

    Das Buch hat mich ziemlich lange begleitet - was aber nicht heisst, dass es schlecht ist. Ich finde es sogar sehr gut. Schon seit Jahren interessiere ich mich für Ägypten und war daher sehr gespannt, was mich für Informationen erwarten. Und die Informationen sind sehr umfangreich - von der Entstehung des alten Ägyptens bis zu seinem Untergang (wie der Buchtitel schon sagt). Man wird durch die verschiedenen Dynastien geführt, was in ihnen passiert ist und wie sich Ägypten an sich entwickelt hat. Seh Das Buch hat mich ziemlich lange begleitet - was aber nicht heisst, dass es schlecht ist. Ich finde es sogar sehr gut. Schon seit Jahren interessiere ich mich für Ägypten und war daher sehr gespannt, was mich für Informationen erwarten. Und die Informationen sind sehr umfangreich - von der Entstehung des alten Ägyptens bis zu seinem Untergang (wie der Buchtitel schon sagt). Man wird durch die verschiedenen Dynastien geführt, was in ihnen passiert ist und wie sich Ägypten an sich entwickelt hat. Sehr viele Herrscher, Könige und Pharaone werden vorgestellt - so viele, dass ich sie mir gar nicht alle merken kann. Natürlich ist darunter auch Tutanchamun, der wohl berühmteste Pharao. Ich finde die Informationen in dem Buch wirklich sehr gut, auch wenn es sehr viel auf einmal ist. Daher werde ich das Buch bestimmt noch mehrmals in die Hände nehmen und es lesen, damit ich das ganze besser verinnerlichen kann. Mir hat der Schreibstil gut gefallen, auch wenn es ab und an ein wenig trocken gewirkt hat. Das liegt, wie erwähnt, dass man sehr viele Informationen erhält. Interessant für mich war zu erfahren, wie gross die Distanz zwischen Königen und Untertanen war. Es ist erschreckend, wie gut es die Herrscher hatte und wie das Volk dafür leiden musste. Solche Dinge werden gerne 'vergessen' und in diesem Buch wird auch dieser Aspekt sachlich dargestellt. Was mir sehr gut gefällt, ist die Übersicht im Anhang von den Dynastien und den verschiedenen Herrschern - wirklich klasse und es hilft, den Überblick zu behalten. Auch die diversen Abbildungen finde ich super und geben einen Einblick in die jeweilige Zeit. Fazit Für jeden, der sich für das alte Ägypten interessiert und vor einem Faktenreichen, gut recherchierten Buch nicht zurückschreckt, kann ich 'Aufstieg und Fall des alten Ägyptens' nur empfehlen. Für mich bekommt das Buch 5 Sterne.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Interesting and somewhat detailed look at Ancient Egypt. I knew more about Egypt of the Ptolemies so I learned quite a bit about the Old and Middle Kingdoms. I realize this is more a 'popular' history, but that's what I was looking for.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Starling

    I read this in a library copy. I was rather surprised to see it there. Frankly books about ancient history written for the general reader have been out of favor for a couple of decades, except for American history. This is a full scale history of Ancient Egypt, starting very early in pre-history and going to the death of Cleopatra. I'm not sure when the last book of this type was written, but I think it might have been before World War I (and that is WW I and not WW II). A lot has changed in what I read this in a library copy. I was rather surprised to see it there. Frankly books about ancient history written for the general reader have been out of favor for a couple of decades, except for American history. This is a full scale history of Ancient Egypt, starting very early in pre-history and going to the death of Cleopatra. I'm not sure when the last book of this type was written, but I think it might have been before World War I (and that is WW I and not WW II). A lot has changed in what we know about Ancient Egypt, and the ancient world in general in the last century. For the most part, Wilkinson talks about the usual political history stuff. But he also puts in some paragraphs about what life must have been like for the average person in a world where they have no control over any part of their lives. For example, he points out that wall paintings at Armarna show a lot of police action going on. And those policemen have batons. And they probably USED them. There are some people who see any mention of this kind of thing as being negative. I think it is just a reaction to the histories written 50 to 100 years ago where nothing negative was mentioned at all. Egypt was a dictatorship and not a utopia. And I didn't find his occasionally writing about that negative. It is so good to have something new in this field. And it is worth reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    A little over two weeks, and I’ve covered a little under 3000 years of history. Seems like a fair trade to me. I enjoyed Wilkinson’s history of Egypt. I think my rating more has to do with a list of minor cons that added up for me, but overall it should be understood that the book is well written and worth most people’s time. Covering 3000 years of history in a single volume would be a difficult balancing act, and Wilkinson plays quite the acrobat here. In terms of “here is what happened at a gi A little over two weeks, and I’ve covered a little under 3000 years of history. Seems like a fair trade to me. I enjoyed Wilkinson’s history of Egypt. I think my rating more has to do with a list of minor cons that added up for me, but overall it should be understood that the book is well written and worth most people’s time. Covering 3000 years of history in a single volume would be a difficult balancing act, and Wilkinson plays quite the acrobat here. In terms of “here is what happened at a given point in time and how past forces impacted it,” this is a solidly written history. But if you’re looking for anything beyond that, you’re going to need to look somewhere else. I wasn’t, so I was pleased, but I’d be lying if I said his book doesn’t feel a bit reductive. It needed to be because of its subject, but still that’s something to consider. It can be a pro and a con that this reads like a well written textbook. Personally, I needed this sort of historical context in order to study archaeological sites and social trends in Egypt, but this book offers none of what I see as the most interesting parts of history. The content is the same as you’d find in a very basic textbook, just written better. I liked this, but I think most would cringe at that. The aim the introduction set out did not fit the tone of the book. He presents Egypt as a very bleak place to live in the introduction, and I was really interested in that idea, although I didn’t see it played out in the book very well. This is because the focus is almost entirely on kings and their deeds-described as “glory days” very often- and when the common people do make an appearance they feel a bit caricature-y. I’m sure there’s some sort of interesting debates and scholarship about the Egyptian peasantry, and it’s not a complete agreement of “life meant nothing,” in the scholarly world. Wilkinson doesn’t point out his contemporaries’ views too often and that’s a problem. I also found the weird inputs of French a little off; that’s just me, I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe that’s because I’m used to seeing Latin all over the place. It just didn’t jive well with the rest of the text. Overall, if you want a very basic history of Egypt, this isn’t a bad place to start. However, don’t expect to read this and suddenly know everything, and expect to read more. Wilkinson’s extensive bibliography can help with that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rindis

    Like a lot of people, ancient Egypt has always had a fascination for me, and being a history buff, I've picked up a decent amount of knowledge on the subject over the years. But, I've never had any one great source for what is quite a lot of history, and Toby Wilkinson's book serves the purpose very well. One advantage of it is that instead of just being Dynastic Egypt, the text runs all the way from what we know of pre-sedentary societies in the area (all-new to me), to the death of Cleopatra, a Like a lot of people, ancient Egypt has always had a fascination for me, and being a history buff, I've picked up a decent amount of knowledge on the subject over the years. But, I've never had any one great source for what is quite a lot of history, and Toby Wilkinson's book serves the purpose very well. One advantage of it is that instead of just being Dynastic Egypt, the text runs all the way from what we know of pre-sedentary societies in the area (all-new to me), to the death of Cleopatra, and the end of Egypt as any sort of independent entity until modern times. Coverage naturally varies depending on how much is known, with the usual suspects of the early I Dynasty and the XVIII Dynasty getting a lot of attention. Normally, I don't see much about the period between the XIX Dynasty and the Ptolemaic period, so the expanded scope was appreciated. The book is clear, concise, and well-written, and as an introductory overview stays well away from any sort of controversies, or discussion of trends of thought in Egyptology, even when those bear directly on text. The greatest example of this was having to look up Ptolemy VII separately to find out that he may not have reigned/existed at all, and if he did it was a very short while (say a month); but the book talks about Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII in the same paragraph, and doesn't think to note the reason why there's a missing number. There is a stated attempt to point out forms of repression and absolutism inherent in the governmental system, but it's not all that well explored, and (since its what we have records of) the book tends to gloss over parts of that anyway in its narration of the doings of high officials and armies. In addition to the standard bibliography, there's a fairly extensive collection of color photographs (a number of black-and-white ones are scattered throughout) at the end of the (Kindle) book. They aren't bad on a smaller screen, and are big enough to view comfortably on my desktop monitor. There's also a lot of notes for further reading on specific subjects; unfortunately, at least in the Kindle version the names of books are not italicized, making them harder to pick out of the text, and the sources of articles mentioned are not given. What actually makes me unhappy, is that the reading is almost all for particular subjects, instead of anything that just breaks down to the next level of overview, i.e., suggestions for the Old Kingdom as a whole. There's some talk about the various trade routes around the Nile, which help explain the importance of certain areas, and at least mention of the fact that the Nile Delta was more important that it seems, simply because it's much harder to do archaeology there. But, while lacking a means of easy access to the next level of detail, there is plenty here, and it is overall a well-put together look at around 3000 years of history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Bohnert

    I learned a great deal about ancient Egypt. I've long been fascinated and have watched countless TV programs dealing with ancient Egypt. Sadly, I've never visited this fascinating land.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Bunny

    Huge, fascinating, and well written. I personally found it lagged a little during the Libyan and Kushite chapters, but overall it was remarkably well done, and at certain points I would even call it a page turner. Wilkinson does have a very realistic view of the Ancient Egyptians, and doesn't hesitate to call a spade a spade- or a Pharaoh a totalitarian tyrant. He spells out the entire history of Ancient Egypt beautifully, however, and really gives you a sense of context for all of the rulers an Huge, fascinating, and well written. I personally found it lagged a little during the Libyan and Kushite chapters, but overall it was remarkably well done, and at certain points I would even call it a page turner. Wilkinson does have a very realistic view of the Ancient Egyptians, and doesn't hesitate to call a spade a spade- or a Pharaoh a totalitarian tyrant. He spells out the entire history of Ancient Egypt beautifully, however, and really gives you a sense of context for all of the rulers and monuments and events. I'm really happy that I chose this book/tome as my first comprehensive survey of Egyptian/Pharaonic history. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jayeeta

    Brushing up my Egyptian History - check! Egypt - here I come! This book is very comprehensive and really goes detailed into each of the dynasties, their socio-economic, foreign, religious policies that influences modern day society and societal structure & norms. It's super slow and one needs to be patient with it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    An enjoyable and through romp through the entire history of ancient Egypt, and I could not help but pause at several points along the way to think about the strong continuity shown in this history between ancient and modern events. The author himself marvels at it from time to time, using the famous French phrase "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" (The more things change the more they stay the same) to describe his own feelings. Given current events in Egypt, I found much in this long bu An enjoyable and through romp through the entire history of ancient Egypt, and I could not help but pause at several points along the way to think about the strong continuity shown in this history between ancient and modern events. The author himself marvels at it from time to time, using the famous French phrase "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" (The more things change the more they stay the same) to describe his own feelings. Given current events in Egypt, I found much in this long but well-written history particularly fascinating, and I wonder if, in the future, another historian will call the modern Egyptian efforts to throw off their recent forms of governance another "Intermediate Period" in the long, deep, and fertile history of that civilization. After reading this book, I am truly impressed by just how Arab the country has become since its long ago pharaonic days. I wonder if this Arab overlay over their native culture is truly unshakable, or if, like the Christian overlay they once had, they will find themselves shaking it off in their next dynasty, and reverting to something more in line with their own place in the modern world and perhaps, with their own underlying ancient and robust culture. If history is any guide, then the next stable government to arise and restore order in Egypt will be headed by another strong dictator who will arise from their military but have the backing of their religious leaders, and will further be backed either openly or secretly by a powerful foreign country or coalition whose gain will be to exploit Egypt for their own benefit and to the continued impoverishment and enslavement of most ordinary Egyptians. The Egyptians will regain a law-and-order society, but at what cost? Whether modern Egypt can achieve prosperity free of being robbed by powerful foreigners is possible for this ancient land at the current time is unlikely - there are too many great powers in play looking greedily at the remaining resources in that part of the world. And Egypt is not strong enough or rich enough to play at that level right now, other than as a pawn. Some powers are just rising to the top (like ancient China, rising to predominance once again), while some are struggling to hang on (like the US and its "western" allies) and will see Egypt as a valuable "counter" in the international game of King of the Hill that is nearly as ancient as civilization itself. Egypt has been exploited by foreign powers for so long now, I wonder if it is even possible for their people to actually reclaim some measure of their ancient independence and predominance on the world stage - or are they so used to overt or covert foreign dominance as a precursor of having a well-ordered society that they cannot now summon any image of life as a truly free people and keep order at the same time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Hackney

    In the future, when someone uses the phrase, "monumental effort," I will think of this book. Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a summary history of the Egyptian civilization, from conception to Cleopatra. Aside from the scope of the work, coupled with actually having achieved it, the most remarkable thing about this book is that Mr. Wilkinson was able to craft such an accessible work. Even when faced with source material that was both sparse, thousands of years old and almost In the future, when someone uses the phrase, "monumental effort," I will think of this book. Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a summary history of the Egyptian civilization, from conception to Cleopatra. Aside from the scope of the work, coupled with actually having achieved it, the most remarkable thing about this book is that Mr. Wilkinson was able to craft such an accessible work. Even when faced with source material that was both sparse, thousands of years old and almost exclusively the output of dictatorial propaganda departments, Mr. Wilkinson created a narrative that is both engaging and enlightening for the everyday, non-academic reader. To give some perspective to the scale of the timeline involved, Thutmose IV, who reigned from 1399 BC to 1389 BC, excavated and restored the Great Sphinx of Giza, built by a previous Pharaoh, which was by then buried in shifting sands and already more than 1,000 years old. In today's world of countries that are mostly less than 300 years old, it is challenging to imagine unearthing a national monument 1,000 years old in a nation that would survive 1,000 years more. Thutmose IV is but one of 168 Pharaohs who are individually addressed in the book, along with relevant geopolitical and regional context for their times. Somehow, Mr. Wilkinson has derived, extracted and discovered anecdotes that illuminate the life and times of many of these pharaohs, from the famous, such as Tutankhamun and Cleopatra, to the obscure, such as Neferefra and Sobekemsaf II. While pedants may long for more detail and champions of a particular period, Kingdom or Pharaoh may wish for a more sympathetic endorsement, the overall tone of the book is even and mostly suitably detached, all while avoiding academic sterility. The flaw in this regard is the author's persistent hectoring of the ancient Egyptians for not being a replica of modern Sweden, along with its leading U.N. Gini index. Despite his sterling credentials, Mr. Wilkinson loses perspective and thus credible assessment of the realities of ancient societies when he repeatedly calls the ancient Egyptian theocratic dictatorships to task for not being more of a socialist paradise. It is hard to imagine how such a goal could have been either achieved or sustained in an era of almost universal illiteracy, cultural isolation and xenophobia. However, in the scope of a work of this magnitude, this is a minor quibble. It is daunting to even consider addressing, in a meaningful way, a time span of 3,000 years. Mr. Wilkinson has done so, and in a very readable and entertaining fashion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    The first three hundred pages are a marvel, a fascinating, entirely readable exploration of ancient Egyptian society. A pity that it descends in to the 'this happened and then this happened and then this happened' style that is the epitome of lazy histories. Like so many historians greater and lesser than he, Wilkinson gets lots in the details as the historical record becomes more clear in more modern times. (Only in a book on ancient Egypt is modern 800 BC...) Still, worth a read, especially if The first three hundred pages are a marvel, a fascinating, entirely readable exploration of ancient Egyptian society. A pity that it descends in to the 'this happened and then this happened and then this happened' style that is the epitome of lazy histories. Like so many historians greater and lesser than he, Wilkinson gets lots in the details as the historical record becomes more clear in more modern times. (Only in a book on ancient Egypt is modern 800 BC...) Still, worth a read, especially if -- like me -- you're off to Egypt in a matter of months to see all the things described. A decent primer. Plus, it has pictures!

  20. 4 out of 5

    DJ

    I really enjoyed this book,and was sorry to get to the end!If like me,you like Ancient History then I highly recommend it.It flows with ease through the many highs and lows the great Dynasties went through,and does not get bogged down with facts and figures the way that some History books can.At no time did I want to take a break from it,it felt like an exciting novel at times.You can not be anything but impressed by these amazing if also flawed people's and what they acheived.A fantastic read,now I really enjoyed this book,and was sorry to get to the end!If like me,you like Ancient History then I highly recommend it.It flows with ease through the many highs and lows the great Dynasties went through,and does not get bogged down with facts and figures the way that some History books can.At no time did I want to take a break from it,it felt like an exciting novel at times.You can not be anything but impressed by these amazing if also flawed people's and what they acheived.A fantastic read,now what next?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I really wanted to like this book, but... meh. It just wasn't engaging. The author is clearly VERY knowledgeable, his writing isn't too dense or anything, but... I think 3 millennia is simply too much for one book to cover without reading badly. I'm not giving it a star rating, because I don't feel I got far enough into it to really judge it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Seifert

    An excellent book that provides a survey-level analysis of the entire breadth of ancient Egyptian history. Covering something like 3000 years, the book traces the foundations of Egyptian culture and the development of Egyptian religion and government. While the book doesn't provide an exhaustive analysis of any specific period of time, it does delve deeper into the more important episodes and leaders in Egyptian history (like Ramsesses II, Thutmose III, and Amenhotep III). Ahkenaten receives a l An excellent book that provides a survey-level analysis of the entire breadth of ancient Egyptian history. Covering something like 3000 years, the book traces the foundations of Egyptian culture and the development of Egyptian religion and government. While the book doesn't provide an exhaustive analysis of any specific period of time, it does delve deeper into the more important episodes and leaders in Egyptian history (like Ramsesses II, Thutmose III, and Amenhotep III). Ahkenaten receives a lot of focus, which helps to showcase just how drastic his reign was in terms of its break with continuity of pharonic rule, particularly the religious aspect. I snatched this book, because the closest I got to Egyptian history was a Masters-level course on the Crusades, and by that point, Egypt had already passed through at least a half-dozen regimes. This book details classical Egypt, with all of its allure, mystic, and grandeur. The author does an excellent job of book-ending the history, as well as really selling the audience on the continual importance of Egpytian history, even two millennia after the last pharaoh passed into oblivion. Stylistically, the book is structured well and 'reads' very easily. Whether intentionally or not, the author wrote the text in a format that should be accessible to anyone. Images are scattered throughout the book itself, and there's not one, not two, but three sections of colored photos that highlight much of the preceding content. Each 'Part' of the book has a map of Egypt at that time, and the beginning of the book has a detailed list of the 30+ dynasties and the countless individuals who ruled over Egypt, providing a helpful reference point for the reader to check back to, in the event that one gets confused. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in a broad understanding of Egpyt, as the book separates the 3 kingdoms and the 'decline' period in very accessible and digestible pieces. This is a survey text, so perhaps someone crazing more analysis might get frustrated that there are only a few pages devoted to certain individuals, but for someone wanting to test their feet in the history of Egypt, this is an excellent overview and introduction.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lais Flores

    This is a really good summary of Ancient Egypt’s history for non historians, ideal if you want to have a fairly complete and interesting insight into this ancient civilization. The only criticism I have is that the text lacks some cross references with the photos - presented in three short sections of colored photo pages - and with the maps. That is, I would have liked to, as I read the book, have a reference to the page in which this or that monument or artifact is shown in a photo. As well as This is a really good summary of Ancient Egypt’s history for non historians, ideal if you want to have a fairly complete and interesting insight into this ancient civilization. The only criticism I have is that the text lacks some cross references with the photos - presented in three short sections of colored photo pages - and with the maps. That is, I would have liked to, as I read the book, have a reference to the page in which this or that monument or artifact is shown in a photo. As well as a reference to the page in which I can find a map which shows where the monuments or cities spoken of are. I also think it would have been necessary to add a note to each photo stating where that monument or artifact is to be found. Especially for the engravings and statues, it would have been important to say in which museum they’re currently exposed. These, I think, are important elements missing on this book. Luckily I can very easily look everything up on google with my phone, but it really wouldn’t have been hard to add this information in the book, and it would have made it a lot more usable as reference. But I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in ancient Egypt, and can easily give it four stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    This is a sweeping history of Egypt from 5000 BCE to the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. At times I felt overwhelmed by the level of detail and the steady parade of pharaoh after pharaoh. Nevertheless, I learned a great deal about Egyptian history. Some of my takeaways include understanding the scope of the building that went on, including temples that put Disney World to shame. I was also struck by the short lives of most of even the richest people. It seemed that few of the pharaohs lasted more This is a sweeping history of Egypt from 5000 BCE to the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. At times I felt overwhelmed by the level of detail and the steady parade of pharaoh after pharaoh. Nevertheless, I learned a great deal about Egyptian history. Some of my takeaways include understanding the scope of the building that went on, including temples that put Disney World to shame. I was also struck by the short lives of most of even the richest people. It seemed that few of the pharaohs lasted more than a few years. Most died, not from war, but from ordinary illnesses and few lived past early middle age. If you have the patience for a very long history of Egypt, this book is worth the effort.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Renae (Romantic Parvenu)

    I really enjoyed this comprehensive history of Ancient Egypt. Wilkinson does a good job of covering everything important in an interesting way, and though I don't have much authority to say so, I felt that this was a fairly unbiased account. As someone whose knowledge of Ancient Egypt has been gleaned from lowkey wikipedia searches and various historical novels, I felt this was good for my "knowledge level" so to speak. It also helped me get a better sense of certain events in chronological conte I really enjoyed this comprehensive history of Ancient Egypt. Wilkinson does a good job of covering everything important in an interesting way, and though I don't have much authority to say so, I felt that this was a fairly unbiased account. As someone whose knowledge of Ancient Egypt has been gleaned from lowkey wikipedia searches and various historical novels, I felt this was good for my "knowledge level" so to speak. It also helped me get a better sense of certain events in chronological context. This was very good.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    A very well researched, well presented history of the ancient Egyptians. Really the best history of this culture I have ever read. Highly recommend.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Trenton Hayes

    Ancient Egypt is one of those ubiquitous and ill-known things with veneer of false familiarity. I read a bit of history, and for me, Egypt was King Tut, The old, Middle and New Kingdoms, and Cleopatra and the Egypt that comes down through the Greek and Roman Classics--Egypt the decadent; Egypt as Caesar's granary. I had no idea. When Cleopatra took her own life in 30-something BC, she stood at the end of a 3100 year tradition. So as much time and cultural distance separated Cleopatra from the firs Ancient Egypt is one of those ubiquitous and ill-known things with veneer of false familiarity. I read a bit of history, and for me, Egypt was King Tut, The old, Middle and New Kingdoms, and Cleopatra and the Egypt that comes down through the Greek and Roman Classics--Egypt the decadent; Egypt as Caesar's granary. I had no idea. When Cleopatra took her own life in 30-something BC, she stood at the end of a 3100 year tradition. So as much time and cultural distance separated Cleopatra from the first Pharaoh...as the time and distance between us and the end of the Minoan culture. Egypt is old; unnervingly so. This book begins to flesh out those fathomless abysms of time. SO MUCH HAPPENED. Three times the Egyptians rose into a flowering of Civilization; its hard to imagine that there where whole dark ages, akin to the 6-8th centuries in Europe, after the fall of Rome. Catastrophic, grievous break-downs of the social order. After centuries, Egypt would rise again, subtly different yet recognizably the same. And the scribes would record, and the stonemasons quarry, and the overseers would whip, and we catch a faint echo at a four thousand year remove. I was surprised at how recognizably authoritarian the government of Ancient Egypt was; not because I thought they were in any sense above such things morally, but authoritarianism would be difficult to maintain from the perspective of organization. But organized they undoubtedly were. One of the moments that really caught me was during one of the period periods of disintegration and decline, one of the warlords calling himself Pharoaoh instructed a minion to 'do that thing which you have never done before' which the author interprets as tomb robbing; stripping the valuable grave goods one of the innumerable burial sites happened more and more as nihilism hopelessness and social breakdown eroded Egyptian traditional life. Think of it. From their perspective, they were essentially pulling the soul of a departed venerated ancestor from the afterlife and extinguishing it. It would be something like me going and rifling Ben Franklin's tomb, pulling him from his rest in heaven and snuffing him out. The Egyptians cared deeply about the afterlife and ordered their whole society around mortuary practices--to fall to such a place, where they are eating their seed corn AND dishonoring their hallowed dead--it pained me even to read of it. Wilkingson does what some good historians do--he didn't intrude much. His prose is lively enough without drawing attention to itself, and he escorts you unobtrusively through the high points--only the very highest points, really; in a work covering 32 centuries even great monarchs are compressed to a few short paragraphs. He seems to have few intrusive tics, and I was drawn ever on, even as the narrative darkened, and Egypt came unmoored and fell under the foreign domination that didn't really end until the advent of Nasser. I will be seeking out more books on this subject. That is one of the highest praises one can offer a work of history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jan Derksen

    In deze meesterlijk geschiedenis van het oude Egypte vertelt Toby Wilkinson het verhaal van een van de grootste beschavingen die ooit hebben bestaan. De geschiedenis van het oude Egypte en de uitzonderlijke beschaving die gedurende drieduizend jaar bloeide langs de oevers van de Nijl, lijkt een spektakelstuk vol bijzondere gebeurtenissen: de bouw van de piramides, de verovering van Nubia, de kracht en schoonheid van Nefertiti, de invasie van Alexander de Grote en Cleopatras fatale relatie met R In deze meesterlijk geschiedenis van het oude Egypte vertelt Toby Wilkinson het verhaal van een van de grootste beschavingen die ooit hebben bestaan. De geschiedenis van het oude Egypte en de uitzonderlijke beschaving die gedurende drieduizend jaar bloeide langs de oevers van de Nijl, lijkt een spektakelstuk vol bijzondere gebeurtenissen: de bouw van de piramides, de verovering van Nubia, de kracht en schoonheid van Nefertiti, de invasie van Alexander de Grote en Cleopatras fatale relatie met Rome die leidde tot de val van de Ptolomeeën. De oude Egyptenaren waren de eerste groep mensen die een gemeenschappelijke cultuur, opvatting en identiteit deelden in een begrensd geografisch territorium dat bovendien bestuurd werd door één enkele politieke instantie. Het oude Egypte was daarmee de eerste natiestaat ter wereld die zich door zich te verenigen kon beschermen tegen vijandelijke krachten van buitenaf én van binnenuit. In dit magnifieke boek combineert Toby Wilkinson gedetailleerde kennis van het oude Egypte met een uiterst spannend verhaal dat leest als een epische roman. We lezen over de meedogenloze propaganda, de gewelddadige politiek, de wreedheid en de repressie die schuilgaat achter de verschijning van deze standvastige monarchie en de indrukwekkende architecturale en culturele successen waardoor zij zo beroemd is geworden. Deze grondige en kritische beschrijving van de geschiedenis van de beschaving en de grootmacht van het oude Egypte beperkt zich niet tot de bekende highlights, maar voegt juist veel onbekende informatie toe: over paleisrevoluties, het Egyptische leger, orakels als machtsmiddel en het lot van het gewone volk. De auteur, een Engelse egyptoloog, werkte mee aan de bekroonde BBC-documentaire over de piramide van Cheops en aan de 'Dictionary of Ancient Egypt' ('Het oude Egypte in woord en beeld', 2006)*. Hij weet publiek uitermate te boeien, dat merk je meteen als je dit boek leest: het is bijna een historische roman die je niet weg wilt leggen. De overzichtelijke lijst met dynastieen en historische gebeurtenissen is erg handig. Met afbeeldingen in zwart-wit en enkele katernen mooie kleurenfoto's met bijschriften, zoals van een papyruskaart met locaties van goudmijnen en steengroeven, beschouwd als de oudste topografische kaart ter wereld. Het boek wordt afgesloten met eindnoten, aanvullende noten, een uitgebreid literatuuroverzicht en een register. Paulien Andriessen (source: Bol.com)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mahmoud Ashour

    “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."Cicero "The study of ancient Egyptian civilization," Wilkinson writes, "exposes the devices by which people have been organized, cajoled, dominated, and subjugated down to the present day." The writer who is although a researcher and a doctor in Egyptology has done a monumental effort in condensing 3000 years in about half a thousand pages. I found many interesting parts in the book that resonates to 2010s history o “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."Cicero "The study of ancient Egyptian civilization," Wilkinson writes, "exposes the devices by which people have been organized, cajoled, dominated, and subjugated down to the present day." The writer who is although a researcher and a doctor in Egyptology has done a monumental effort in condensing 3000 years in about half a thousand pages. I found many interesting parts in the book that resonates to 2010s history of Egypt. "Military efficiency may have provided an effective short-term solution in times of dynastic turmoil, but over the course of several generations the militarization of politics merely entrenched the power of the army and weakened civil society, with damaging unforeseen consequences." "In the aftermath of Akhenaten's failed revolution (religious revolution), it took an army officer, Hormoheb, to restore order and self confidence to a shattered realm... The first step as always was to obtain a divine sanction for his regime" "He(Ramsees) had snatched at least a survival from the jaws of defeat, in a fully orchestrated barrage of propaganda compromising both art and literature the king broadcast his version of events throughout Egypt. he had the country's finest writers compose a factual prose account of the battle alongside an epic poem. both designed to celebrate the kings "great victory" over the Hittites." "In ancient Egypt, life was cheap." to cut it short, Ancient Egypt is not that much different than modern Egypt...the formula for ruling Egypt since the dawn of history is pretty simple a combination of religion manipulation and oppression would do the job. The rulers were able to do anything for maintaining power to an extent that one Ptolemy VIII kidnapped his own son and killed him and then sent his body-parts to his mother on her birthday in a throne battle. Through the pages of the book you view the birth of the Egyptian civilization when Menes created the first country known to man. consequently he shows its downs in the intermediate period and ups in the Late period which witnessed great achievements and ended in foreign occupation from Libyans, Kushities, Persians, Greeks and finally Romans where the book ends.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jerry-Book

    This book presents the latest research on ancient Egypt in an engaging fashion. It answers many questions: who was the first pharaoh, why did the pharaohs build pyramids, why did they stop, was the pharaoh's retainers executed and buried with him when he died, why were the Hitties successful in their attack on Egypt, who was the heretic pharaoh and why did he fail, why was Ramesses II the greatest pharaoh, why was his 67 reign a problem, which pharaoh became a "God" in his own lifetime, why was This book presents the latest research on ancient Egypt in an engaging fashion. It answers many questions: who was the first pharaoh, why did the pharaohs build pyramids, why did they stop, was the pharaoh's retainers executed and buried with him when he died, why were the Hitties successful in their attack on Egypt, who was the heretic pharaoh and why did he fail, why was Ramesses II the greatest pharaoh, why was his 67 reign a problem, which pharaoh became a "God" in his own lifetime, why was there a flowering of literature in the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom, why did Pepi II's six decades on the throne end the Old Kingdom, were the great pyramids built by slaves or craftsmen, what caused the development of hieroglyphic writing, why was cuneiform used in diplomatic correspondence, who was the man behind the Great Pyramid, was the afterlife just for the pharaoh or for everyone, did the Egyptians invent the "soul", the last judgment, one God, the resurrection, the afterlife, the struggle between good and evil, etc., could a commoner become a pharaoh, could a woman become a pharaoh, what was so impressive about Pharaoh Senusret III's reign and his sculptures, how did the Egyptians defeat the invasion of the Sea People when their opposition had better weapons and armor, how did the Egyptians free themselves from the Hyksos, why was Nubia a constant threat for the Egyptians, how did Thutmose III win the battle of Megiddo and was he the greatest pharaoh, did pharaohs rob from their predecessors to build their own memorials, why didn't the Egyptians establish colonies overseas like the Greeks, what was the significance of the Luxor Temple and why was it different from other temples, what was the importance of the ka and the ra, did tomb robbing defeat the pharaohs' claims for rebirth and an afterlife, were the Jews ever slaves of the pharaohs, why were all the great pharaohs removed from their graves and placed in a common cave, why is there only one reference to the Jews in Egyptian inscriptions (a 1208 BC reference to the tribe of Israel by Pharaoh Merenpath), and after 3,000 years what caused the fall of the Egyptian Empire.

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