The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt uniquely covers 700,000 years of ancient Egypt, from c. 700,000 BC to AD 311. Following the story from the Egyptians' prehistoric origins to their conquest by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, this book resurrects a fascinating society replete with remarkable historical information. It investigates such subjects as the changing nature of life and death in the Nile valley to some of the earliest masterpieces of art, architecture, and literature in the ancient world. The authors--an international team of experts working at the cutting edge of their particular fields--outline the principal sequence of political events, including detailed examinations of the three so-called 'intermediate periods' which were previously regarded as 'dark ages' and are only now beginning to be better understood. They also examine cultural and social patterns, including stylistic developments in art and literature. Addressing the issues surrounding this distinctive culture, vividly relating the rise and fall of ruling dynasties, exploring colorful personalities, and uncovering surprising facts, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt is certain to enrich our understanding of this endlessly intriguing civilization.
"Brimming with...intriguing facts...also provides a first-rate overview of le progrès Egyptien--from the period when Homo erectus first stalked the land right up to Octavian's triumphant entry into Egypt in 30 BC."--The Times (London) (on the previous edition)
One of the most vexing problems in Egyptology is the question of establishing reliable chronologies, whether through relative methods such as stratigraphy and the dating of artifacts or through more absolute time horizons established by astronomical ephemera or radiometric dating. In this overview of ancient Egypt--meant for advanced students, but accessible to general readers with an interest in the area--Ian Shaw and 13 contributors pay close attention to issues of chronology, reconciling conflicts of dating that mark older scholarship.
While doing so, they address other problems in the study of ancient Egypt, such as the lack of material evidence of early humans in the region and the increasing destruction of sites in the face of contemporary urban growth. Elsewhere, they remark on the principal developments that distinguish periods in Egyptian prehistory, such as the Old Kingdom's use of large-scale building projects to consolidate power and "remind people of the greatness of pharaonic civilization," and the Middle and New kingdoms' apparent openness to foreigners, which lent Egypt a cosmopolitan, multicultural air that persisted for centuries during long periods of domination by outside powers such as Persia and Rome. Highly useful as a reference and survey, this handsomely illustrated book is a fine addition to any Egyptophile's collection. --Gregory McNameePrice: $12.99
- Oxford University Press