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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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Kilgore Trout 02-09-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging, but I have one caveat"

    This is a very enjoyable lecture, which I've listened to several times. Dr. Brier is passionate and knowledgeable. His enthusiasm keeps you in the moment.

    My one caveat is that there is a section where he speaks about biblical characters as though they are genuine historical figures. This is a huge turn off, as it is NOT historically accurate. In my relistenings, I skip these couple lectures.

    Other than that, it's a great lecture, told well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yoshi 06-19-14
    Yoshi 06-19-14
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    "Really nice overview, very Relaxing"

    I love listening to this right before I go to bed. It's nice and lulling and the professor gives you a good overview of Egypt. He tells you interesting little stories, and also is very clear when he is giving opinion and when he is giving fact. This is highly enjoyable, and I would recommend this to any one!

    Word of warning, he has a very distinct and thick accent. Prepare for him you say "you know?" at least 5 times a lecture. But he does sound very friendly.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cody 10-14-16
    Cody 10-14-16 Member Since 2017
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    "So conflicted about this. . ."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This document is about 95% great material, and 5% bullshit. While I assume Prof. Brier is only editorializing stuff to make people excited, making claims that modern Jewry is because of a small sect from Upper Egypt and nothing to do with Cyrus, the Persian colonization of Asia Minor, and the Romans comes off as stupid. Similarly, his claims that modern paper is a direct evolution of papyrus ignores China completely and reeks of either unprofessional views or Western-centric thought which is inexcusable in this century.

    I stress, most of this is great, but there is just enough bullshit that left me feeling cheated.


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

    As stated above, 95% of this is great. He goes into a lot of details about aspects of Egyptian society and history you don't normally get into which I loved. Then there was the comments stating that Egypt was great because nobody else made the Great Pyramids of Giza, two which I said "No Shit!" in heavy sarcastic views (ignoring the great baths of Mohenjo Daro, the Ziggurats of Mesopotamia, etc). Stating something is great because of an arbitrary value is bad science.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I have stated above that Dr. Brier throws in his exaggerations (or, at least highly suspect theories as facts) in just enough that I actually start to question his authority on some other matters. I knew enough otherwise to figure he was attempting to go for hyperbole rather than lies, but at times (especially in the first and last lecture) he comes across as the father from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and I wouldn't have been surprised if he tied the invention of Windex to the Egyptians.


    Did The History of Ancient Egypt inspire you to do anything?

    I found the program very inspiring and informative on the subject of Egypt.


    Any additional comments?

    I think I made my point ;)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin 08-16-15
    Kristin 08-16-15
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    "So much promise that wasn't realized"
    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This series seemed to be telling two different stories at the same time - 1) the story of ancient Egypt, and 2) the story of the discovery/archaeology of ancient Egypt. These are not the same story. Multiple lectures were spent on the adventure tales of how some 19th century european explorer discovered a certain site and things like that, which is not why I came to this podcast. It's not that it's not a story worth telling, but it doesn't have anything to do with the actual history of *ancient* Egypt.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator needs some coaching on audio recordings. He was definitely knowledgeable, but his constant mouth/spit sounds, as well as repeating the same phrases over and over and over again made it extremely frustrating to listen to.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chrobry 08-15-15
    Chrobry 08-15-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Very informative, but a bit biased."
    Where does The History of Ancient Egypt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Pretty high, well done.


    What did you like best about this story?

    New Kingdom presentation.


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

    Love of the subject, and great presentation.


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

    There were quite a few such as discussion about death of a child by one of the old scrolls.


    Any additional comments?

    Great, I recommend it highly. My only real objection was that Professor Brier loves the subject a bit too much. He has no real sense of objectivism in his material. This isn't really a major objection, but it would be nice if he recognized the weaknesses of Ancient Egypt as well as its strengths.

    However the above shouldn't be taken too hard, it is a great presentation and great material by someone who LOVES the subject. Give it a go, you love it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Charlotte, NC 07-23-14
    Steve Charlotte, NC 07-23-14 Member Since 2011
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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
  •  
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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  • Andrew M
    London
    10/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fascinating, and a joy to listen to"
    Where does The History of Ancient Egypt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the best


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the narrator and of course all the Pharaohs- and explorers


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

    voice, pace, content


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

    Egypt- the first civilisation


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    10/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling, Fascinating, Educational"

    This is a really great lecture series. Fascinating material that is wonderfully presented. The lecturer's personality really comes through. I knew very little about Ancient Egypt before starting this and the course really gripped me. It is roughly chronological but with a few tangential lectures focussing on specific topics (e.g. mummies). At 48 lectures it is a long course, but for me the time really sped by. Highly recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Molly Moon
    4/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    I have an interest in the subject and was pleased to see this series of lectures. I started listening and very soon my husband was drawn in too; we both enjoyed it immensely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • gi
    10/27/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful Lecture"

    I purchased this lecture because I was going for a short trip to Egypt and wanting to understand a little bit about Egypt.
    I got more than that, I seriously got hooked to learn more and really enjoyed this Professor Brier. I wish I could attend his lecture in person one day and can have a tea with him.
    His goal has been met on me; I was the guide for my husband as we stroll through the great pyramids of Giza sand Cairo museum.
    Thank you Professor Brier.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Extremely Intteresting and a Joy to Listen To"
    What did you like most about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    The narrator/lecturer obviously has a great passion for the subject and it was infectious to the listener.


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

    The stories of the early pharaohs.


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

    n/a


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Niall
    1/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very enjoyable listening & learning experience"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would definitely recommend this to a friend. While after a while, the canned applause and the music at the start can start to grate, the enthusiasm of the speaker shines through the delivery as well as his sense of humour. I learned a great deal from this course and was greatly entertained by it. What more can you ask for?


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

    None, so far


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

    Enthusiasm for the subject, fascination about an ancient civilization and an infectious sense of humour


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

    There was the odd snicker from something Prof, Brier said, but it was more I guess a morbid fascination with the subjects covered


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew J Nolan
    10/18/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very good"

    This course is an excellent way to learn about ancient Egypt. The lectures are never boring and the lecturer has a conversational tone. A great course and a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr Nik Jewell
    9/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Masterclass"

    An exceptionally good course.

    Prof Brier is a brilliant lecturer (speaking as a former lecturer myself). He conveys interest and genuine enthusiasm for his subject and his deep knowledge and expertise are readily apparent.

    A great historical survey interspersed with forays into side themes including a very interesting series on mummies on which he is a acknowledged expert as somebody who has created one himself.

    By far the best of The Great Courses I have listened to thus far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • gspice2
    12/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous!"
    What did you like most about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    This was so interesting, absorbing and easy to listen to that I was gutted when I got to the end. I am a bit of an Egyptophile, and this lecture filled in some of the gaps for me, and explained things and places that I have already visited and made me want to go back again.
    It's a fascinating insight into the Egyptian civilisation, from everyday life (and death) to how to choose the next Pharoah, and how to write your name in heiroglyphs.
    There are notes provided with this publication - they will be in your library - which I didn't realise at first, but it didn't matter as I mainly listened in the car!
    Professor Bob Brier obviously loves and knows his subject inside out, and he delivers the lectures incredibly well.
    I loved this, will listen to it again sooner rather than later, and have already purchased further titles.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • flibbix55
    11/15/16
    Overall
    "Couldn't stop listening"

    Absolutely fascinating. I only knew a little about the more famous parts of Egypt history but this has been an amazing experience that has opened my eys to the true Wonder of Egypt...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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