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
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.)
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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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.
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.
"Informative and accessible"
Professor Brier has a nice way of drawing the listener in and conveying his own enthusiasm and knowledge. It is broken down into manageable chunks and the listener is never overwhelmed with superfluous information.
As this is an historical text, this question is somewhat irrelevant. There are many, many historical figures described in the book. I do quite like Akhenaten though.
Again, this question isn't applicable to this text.
No! There are 48 lectures, the majority of which are 30 minutes in duration.
The publishers try to maintain the illusion that Professor Brier is talking to a lecture theatre full of students and we are lucky enough to be able to sit in! Alas, this isn't the case and I'm not convinced there is a need for canned applause at the beginning and the end of each lecture.
Professor Brier has a languid delivery which may not be to everyone's taste but I quite liked it. As another reviewer has noted, he does tend to repeat things quite a bit and some of his theories have, since the book was published, proved to be nonsense (the murder of Tutankhamun for instance.)
There are a couple of lectures that I think could have been omitted (magic in Ancient Egypt for instance - unremittingly dull) but, all things considered, this a fantastic and informative set of lectures that I found very interesting.
"It's true - I wish all lectures were like this!"
Having just finished the last of the 48 lectures, I'm a little dazed by the amount I feel I've absorbed! Despite the length, and what you might think is quite a dry subject (no pun intended - in fact one of the things that might surprise you is how afraid the Egyptians were of the desert!) - I actually want to listen again soon and try and memorise every Pharaoh! The facts are presented with just the right amount of fun, of reminding you who is who and what is what, so you're never lost, and with such genuine enthusiasm that you find yourself smiling as you hear about the different 'characters'. The subject is fleshed out beautifully by Professor Brier's asides (obelisks, medicine, mummies - his speciality, though at times when he describes his modern-day experiments, it's not for the faint of heart!) - one of my favourite parts was his description of bringing an obelisk to New York on a budget - and I certainly will never forget his explanation as to how they were carved!
I'm not ashamed to say that I love this narrator, and only wish that other readers could bring to their undoubted knowledge this feeling of companionship!
My first purchase from the Great Courses series was their shorter series, The Historical Jesus - and whilst the subject was interesting, and again, it revealed some historical truths that were at points startling, it didn't have the magic this one did - again, I can only attribute this to narration.
I have not, but certainly would in future! I may in fact go out of my way to find him!
This series makes history manageable - over 3000 years of history (in fact, he does cheekily go back to, if I remember rightly, about 700,000 BC for a while!) in just over 24 hours leaves you not only wiser, but with a profound respect for anyone who would take on the challenge of Egypt's history - let alone those early archaeologists, crawling into collapsed tunnels to discover complexes sometimes more than 130m long, dug into the bedrock, or containing perhaps 150 rooms. And the architecture above ground I couldn't begin to describe here. Maybe if I hint that one temple had columns on the top of which 100 men could stand, you'll want to learn more about this fantastic civilisation.
It's a real ten out of ten listen. Sometimes I'd find out something so amazing, I'd have to call someone just to tell them about it.
Thanks again, professor!
"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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