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The History of Ancient Egypt Lecture

The History of Ancient Egypt

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Sara M. Loera Long Beach, Ca. 08-10-14
    Sara M. Loera Long Beach, Ca. 08-10-14 Member Since 2016
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    "So, so good."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cleopatra and Hatshepsut...girl power!! Snefru and Rameses the Great were awesome too! Really all the "characters" presented here are super interesting.


    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    He seems really passionate about what he's taking about. He is never boring.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Just listen, and become obsessed!! I did!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Shatin, Hong Kong 08-07-14
    Stephen Shatin, Hong Kong 08-07-14 Member Since 2002
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    "Tombs, tombs, tombs"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would have appreciated a bigger picture narrative and assessment of ancient Egypt, rather than one that focuses so much on archaeology.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    There is far too much focus on the minutiae of the archeological record.


    Do you think The History of Ancient Egypt needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes; a book that gives a better overview of Egyptian politics, economics and society.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Charlotte, NC 07-23-14
    Steve Charlotte, NC 07-23-14 Member Since 2011

    smoore1883

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    "Quite possibly my favorite audio book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The History of Ancient Egypt to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Ancient Egypt?

    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!


    What does Professor Bob Brier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Scottsdale, AZ, United States 06-23-14
    Holly Scottsdale, AZ, United States 06-23-14
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    "Fun and Fascinating"
    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    Prof. Brier is very good a relaying infomation in a fun energetic way. I feel he had perfect pacing in delivery of the lessons.


    Any additional comments?

    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.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 05-24-14
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 05-24-14 Member Since 2012

    Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."

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    "The Real Indiana Jones"

    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.

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    17 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken 04-18-14
    Ken 04-18-14
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    "Brings Egypt to life"
    What did you love best about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    Lots of great information presented in an entertaining and easy to digest manner.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There were so many stories with multiple interpretations allowing you to make up your own mind.


    What does Professor Bob Brier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I'd like to but not quite possible since it's 24 hours long. It's a very fast 24 hours though.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hyrum Orem, UT, United States 04-18-14
    Hyrum Orem, UT, United States 04-18-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Great History of Ancient Egypt"
    Would you listen to The History of Ancient Egypt again? Why?

    yes, very interesting author know his stuff and is excited about it


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    King tut


    Which character – as performed by Professor Bob Brier – was your favorite?

    only 1 character


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the end


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting and comprehensive author doesn't repeat himself though and keeps the subject interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Kokomo, IN, United States 04-14-14
    Lisa Kokomo, IN, United States 04-14-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Spellbinding"
    Would you listen to The History of Ancient Egypt again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Ancient Egypt?

    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.


    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this to anyone who has a passing interest in Ancient History.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Miyahara 04-08-14 Member Since 2015
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    "A Great Foundation for Novices"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Perth, Australia 03-25-14
    Peter Perth, Australia 03-25-14
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    "The Mummies LIVE"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • J. Farmer
    uk
    3/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing"
    Would you listen to The History of Ancient Egypt again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The gods, the pharaohs, the explorers and Bob Brier himself... Bob really gets his hands dirty.


    What does Professor Bob Brier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Easily the best thing I've found on audible so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arnold Cossor
    11/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bit too long!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Good in places but was a bit one dimensional.

    Not the best course on ancient history in the Great Courses series by any means.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R. E. Beckett
    UK
    11/18/15
    Overall
    "Brill"

    Most excellent. I am going to miss being in the midst of it all. Really gripping stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ColonelJames
    9/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Uniquely Entertaining."
    Where does The History of Ancient Egypt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best.


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to, and why?

    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.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Obelisks. Who knew they were so interesting?


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Gold! Murders! Obelisks! Come and see the most expensive film ever made.


    Any additional comments?

    I want to go to Egypt and dig it up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jim bottle and a cork
    8/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good"

    Good, would like more tangents. If you get it, you will enjoy, learnt a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstie Adam
    UK
    4/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy listening and fascinating"
    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    The Professor had an excellent tone for listening to so many lectures, kept me interested all the way to the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jamie Wilkins
    Frome, United Kingdom
    4/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative and accessible"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Ancient Egypt the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Bob Brier – was your favourite?

    Again, this question isn't applicable to this text.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No! There are 48 lectures, the majority of which are 30 minutes in duration.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jodie
    Baldock, United Kingdom
    2/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's true - I wish all lectures were like this!"
    What did you like most about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    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!


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to, and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Bob Brier’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but certainly would in future! I may in fact go out of my way to find him!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    5/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This guy is special!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The History of Ancient Egypt to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to, and why?

    nothing


    Which character – as performed by Professor Bob Brier – was your favourite?

    N/a


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    N/a


    Any additional comments?

    Good value first class

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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