I would have appreciated a bigger picture narrative and assessment of ancient Egypt, rather than one that focuses so much on archaeology.
There is far too much focus on the minutiae of the archeological record.
Yes; a book that gives a better overview of Egyptian politics, economics and society.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
When it comes to fantasy archeologists, no one comes close to Harrison Ford's 'Dr. Henry Walton 'Indiana' Jones, Jr. ("Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", 1994, and etc.). In real life, Egypt's former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass has the fedora and matinee screen idol presence, but Great Courses Lecturer Bob Brier is the dashing adventurer and clever thinker.
When Brier talks about pyramids, temples and tombs, it's with the familiarity of someone who's been in them so many times, he knows all the secret hiding places, and maybe - just maybe - is making arrangements for a sarcophagus of his own. He dishes about pharaohs, families, feuds and fashion like Cleopatra wad a Kardashian sister. Ancient Egypt - especially during the reign of Rameses the Great felt real to me.
Brier starts with prehistoric Egypt and moves to Narmer, arguably the first Pharaoh around 3,000 BCE; and moves to the last dynasty, which ended almost at the same time Jesus was born. There are separate chapters on the Rosetta Stone and hieroglyphs; Biblical Egyptian history; and mummification. Brier's an expert on that - he made a mummy in 1994. That's in this Great Courses "The History of Ancient Egypt".
48 lectures sounds like a lot (pun intended!) but that's 3000 years and the start of organized civilization and recorded history.
Brier's really enthusiastic about Egyptology, and it's easy to imagine him animatedly lecturing in front of a college classroom. He does have a heavy New York accent, but he's so thrilled with what he's teaching, I forgot about that. Unfortunately, he does have a verbal tic that I noticed eventually - he uses the word 'right' as a bridge. Better than 'like', I guess. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I listened to it like most Great Courses - one lecture a day, on the way home from work. I was so interested in this one, I finished the whole course in 3 1/2 weeks.
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I have always loved ancient Egypt. It seems so distant, alien almost magical. This magnificent lecture cycle brings this world to vibrant life. The danger of going in depth in history is that it can get dull. At no point does this epic set become boring. The author and presenter Professor Bob Brier sounds like your average New Joysey taxi driver which is charming and always interesting. He makes the content approachable, even fun. It’s fascinating at every turn. He plots the 3,000 years of the oldest greatest civilization on earth in fulfilling, thought provoking detail. If you have any interest in this area you will be delighted, even if you have never gotten further than India Jones in archeology you will be highly entertained. Give it a shot. It’s a ton of very interesting content for a single credit. There can be no better way to soak up a commute than 24 solid hours of ancient history made comprehensible to the modern mind.
Bob Brier's enthusiasm for Ancient Egypt is absolutely infectious. I am not familiar with the print version, but the way he delivers this series of lectures certainly made a lasting impression on me.
The entire series was memorable to me, but the one thing that I did not realize but still find striking is the scale (time) of the Egyptian empire. Sneferu (the first Pharaoh to successfully build pyramids), was about 1300 years before King Tut. King Tut was about 1300 years before Cleopatra. On a timeline, Cleopatra is about 600 years closer to us than she was to Sneferu. I listened to this book 1 year ago and this fact still amazes me!
The print version would certainly still be interesting, but it may not be as enjoyable without Bob Brier's obvious passion for and deep understanding of Ancient Egypt.
Prof. Brier is very good a relaying infomation in a fun energetic way. I feel he had perfect pacing in delivery of the lessons.
While listening to the audiobook I found myself exercising a little bit long just to finish a chapter and start a new one. (Any Professor that can do that must be good.)
Lots of great information presented in an entertaining and easy to digest manner.
There were so many stories with multiple interpretations allowing you to make up your own mind.
Prof. Bob Brier is a passionate storyteller about Egypt. He makes history fun to listen to. You get the sense of sitting around a fire while your uncle who happens to be an amazing historian regales you with ancient tales of Egypt.
I'd like to but not quite possible since it's 24 hours long. It's a very fast 24 hours though.
This rekindled my love of Egyptian history. I visited some Egyptian collections here in NYC after listening to this and the carvings and paintings seemed to come to life as the stories replayed in my head. Highly recommend this to any fans of Egyptian history or history in general.
yes, very interesting author know his stuff and is excited about it
only 1 character
Very interesting and comprehensive author doesn't repeat himself though and keeps the subject interesting.
Yes. Even thought the entire thing is over 24 hours long, I would definitely listen to it again just so that I can reabsorb some of the information.
I don't think I ever realized how long Egyptian history is. Cleopatra is closer in history to us than she was to the pyramid builders.
He is extremely knowledgeable about the subject, but makes it interesting and accessible to the person who doesn't know a lot about Egyptian history.
I highly recommend this to anyone who has a passing interest in Ancient History.
Professor Brier made comprehensible an incredible span of history. The lectures were enjoyable, informative, and accomplished Brier’s goal of stimulating further interest in Egyptology. I had little to no background in Egyptian history, but completed the lectures feeling I had built a solid foundation and understanding of ancient Egyptian history, art and culture. Each of the 48 lectures was well worth the time I invested. Professor Brier presented a sweeping history, acknowledging areas where academics were strong or spotty, presenting various theories and interpretations, and balancing his own ideas with opposing or different theories. I would highly recommend this lecture for any novice interested in this ancient and mysterious land.
Prof Brier is simply brilliant. I listen to, and read a LOT of history, but this man is truly gifted - he makes all the events memorable, and intersperses the material with trivia that is soooo fascinating. What makes this experience exceptional is A) Prof Brier's encyclopaedic grasp of the material, b) he is in love with ancient Egypt and his enthusiasm is really infectious c) he repeats salient parts so that even those with dodgy memories can easily recall facts. and d) egypt is truly the beginning of all civilisations - the most successful and long lived civilisation on the planet... understanding Egypt is part of understanding who we are, and how we got to this point. One hesitation - to a non American Prof Brier has such a thick Noooo Yorke accent he sounds like Kermit the frog - when you start. Then you start to love him and Brooklyn is forgiven. Ps this is the man who has used ancient techniques and successfully mummified a modern (dead) human. Thats dedication for you.