Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.
Yet even after deciphering its hieroglyphs, and marveling at its scarabs, mummies, obelisks, and sphinxes, Egyptian civilization remains one of history's most mysterious, as "other" as it is extraordinary. This chronological survey presents the complete history of ancient Egypt's three great Kingdoms: the Old Kingdom, when the pyramids were built and Egypt became a nation under the supreme rule of the pharaoh and the rules of Egyptian art were established; the Middle Kingdom, when Egypt was a nation fighting to restore its greatness; and the New Kingdom, when all the names we know today-Hatshepsut, Tutankhamen, Ramses the Great, Cleopatra, and others-first appeared. Professor Brier's 48 lectures glisten with the kind of vivid anecdotes and human glimpses that make this ancient world breathe again.
"The fun of history is in the details," he notes. "Knowing that Ramses the Great was crippled by arthritis for the last decade of his long life makes us more sympathetic to the boastful monarch who fathered more than 100 children. If we understand what it was like to be a miner sent to the turquoise mines in the Sinai mountains in the summer, we will feel a kinship with our long-dead counterparts."
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
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 love the way Professor Bob relates the information. He makes it sound like an interesting story rather than boring history.
It was all interesting.
I keep listening to the lectures over and over again. I find the stories fascinating and the narration excellent. You can tell that Professor Bob loves his work and the subject of Egypt. What an inspiring professor. We need more educators like him.
These lectures are incredible. I have done a few of the Great Courses series here on audible, and I am usually bored and a little lost by the last few lectures. I had the opposite experience with this one...I was actually more enthralled and intrigued as they went on, and I mourned the last lecture when it was over because I didn't want the story to end!! So much magic, intrigue, mystery and drama. I can't say enough good things about this. It was so good that I'm actually starting it over to listen to it again. I never knew I would be so into Egyptology, but really, what's not to like?? It's amazing!! Bob Brier does a wonderful job, he is fun to listen to, New York accent and all. Truly amazing stuff here.
Cleopatra and Hatshepsut...girl power!! Snefru and Rameses the Great were awesome too! Really all the "characters" presented here are super interesting.
He seems really passionate about what he's taking about. He is never boring.
I constantly found myself saying "woooow" and "cooool" out loud while listening to these lectures on my headphones, eliciting some strange looks from my boyfriend.
Just listen, and become obsessed!! I did!!
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.
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.
"This guy is special!"
YES! No feeble words of mine can express how much I like this series of lectures. Like Egypt? this guy is the best. Nuff said.
Good value first class
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