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."
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
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.
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.
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.
"Ancient Egypt brought to life !"
Lectures covering 3000 years of ancient history could be pretty dull but with Bob Brier they really come to life. I loved these lectures ! He delivers the material with a conversational style that I found very engaging. It is true that there's the same piece of music at the beginning of each half hour lecture and canned applause at the end which some people have disliked but I found them useful 'punctuation' for the series. Also Bob recaps quite often - personally I found this very helpful especially with such a long historic span and 24 hours of audio book but again I can see this might irritate some listeners.
I would not recommend these lectures as a first introduction to ancient Egypt. If you really don't know much at all I'd recommend getting a 'coffee table' book lavishly illustrated in colour and a bit of text to whet your apatite. If that fascinates you and you want to learn more then these lectures are an ideal follow on. Also, do remember to download the pdf file of lecture notes that go with the course, reading these really helps consolidate what you have heard.
All in all I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed these lectures and they are fantastic value - highly recommended
"Couldn't stop listening!"
Every part was interesting and I didn't feel bored by any of the facts of anecdotes that were told- everything was relevant but also exciting.
His enthusiasm is contagious and by the end I felt as if I was one of his students. I really enjoyed the way he explained everything- he was relaxed and informal and nothing was too hard to understand.
You'll be hooked!!! (by the nose and then your brains removed in the mummification process)
Excellent series of lectures! I'm sad it ended but I will probably listen again soon.
"One word: Fantastic!"
this is the first of the great courses series that i listened to and i very happy i started with this lecture.
I never knew much about Egyptian history but thought I'd give it a go. it gives a very thorough overview about thousands of years of history in an easy to follow manner.
Cleopatra - she is as Egyptian as they come and her life would probably made a premium modern day soap opera :)
his enthusiasm. he really knows what he talks about and has a very understandable approach in his lectures.
i listened to the entire lecture in about two - three weeks
that would probably be impossible, seeing that there are 48 lectures, but i listened every day to it, so i guess i did it in as close to one sitting as possible
I loved every single minute of this lecture. Utterly addictive listening. I found myself saying "wow" out loud too many times to count. Can't wait to listen from the start all over again.
The gods, the pharaohs, the explorers and Bob Brier himself... Bob really gets his hands dirty.
He is contagiously enthusiastic. Also thankfully he uses a brevity of language that really packs in the info without it getting boring. Bob's great.
Easily the best thing I've found on audible so far.
"Bit too long!"
This was a good course but it felt like it was a course that had been stretched out and it could easily have been two thirds of the length that it actually was. I also felt that different theories and explanations were not considered, compared and explained enough.
Good in places but was a bit one dimensional.
Not the best course on ancient history in the Great Courses series by any means.
Most excellent. I am going to miss being in the midst of it all. Really gripping stuff.
This is one of the best.
There are other excellent 24 hour lecture sets on Ancient History in The Great Courses (Greg Aldrete, Robert Garland) but Bob Brier really makes this course unique and difficult to compare. For the full 24 hours he maintains a sense of intimacy and informality. It is a very special listen.
Obelisks. Who knew they were so interesting?
Gold! Murders! Obelisks! Come and see the most expensive film ever made.
I want to go to Egypt and dig it up.
"If you like Egypt then this is for you great read."
Amazing books very insightful just starting it again from the very start ...
Hope you have a good listening experience
Good, would like more tangents. If you get it, you will enjoy, learnt a lot.
"Easy listening and fascinating"
The Professor had an excellent tone for listening to so many lectures, kept me interested all the way to the end.
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