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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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Story

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An Incredible Journey Through an Incredible Time

Professor Brier is, simply put, an astounding intellectual, speaker and story teller. Do yourself a favor and get this course.

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  • Flavius
  • Morro Bay, CA, United States
  • 10-24-17

Informative, Generous & Fun

I wasn't sure I'd have the stamina for a 48-episode course on Ancient Egypt. I thought I might become confused by the sheer scope of the timeline or be bored by professorial flights into minutia. Happily, I couldn't have been more wrong.

This is a very worthwhile course. Professor Brier is knowledgeable, engaging and obviously enthusiastic about Egyptology. After listening to the course, I feel I have a better understanding not only of ancient Egyptian history and customs, but also how ancient Egypt has helped in the development of our modern society.

Despite the progression of names & dynasties, Prof. Brier does an excellent job of reviewing important information from previous lectures. This helps to keep the myriad of historical figures (many sharing the same or similar names) distinct from one another.

The course breathes life into a too-often lifeless period in history. Highly recommended.

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Truly excellent

This was the first Great Courses lecture I purchased and it took me longer than expected to finish, but every minute was worth it. Dr. Brier is one of the most engaging instructors I've encountered and I've now purchased two of his books, just because the course was so interesting. What I loved was the mix of thematic topics with detailed history. So often if you go to a conventional bookstore, you'll find plenty of books on Egyptology that focus on religion and artifacts as if they are all static and timeless. I'm sure there are more chronology-oriented books out there, but without an overview, it can be difficult for a novice to know where to begin. Dr. Brier covered all of the amazing cultural developments and his expertise in mummies makes for a fascinating series of lectures midway through, but he also puts all of this in context of the real pharaohs, royal women, priests, and other human lives for whom they were important. The most exciting thing was that this course left me confident enough to include two lectures on ancient Egypt in my own undergraduate Western Civ course, and it was thrilling to see how my students lit up when we talked about Sneferu's pyramids, Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, and King Tut. This is one of the best history courses TGC offers, and I highly recommend it!

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I hear wonderful things!

Prof. Brier makes Egypt magnificent with his passion for this ancient history. Learned a great deal from this course. I spent a month in Egypt years ago, so my recollections had a resurrection of a different kind. Time to go back again and look with renewed knowledge.

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A Rather Biased Review

I loved these lectures and I was surprised how much I actually learned as in new material. I have read about Ancient Egypt for much of my life and grew up watching and rewatching the Great Egyptians series on TLC (we had taped them).

My one knock on it, is that it doesn't go into as much detail as I would like from time to time. But this was no doubt intentional. There's not a lot on the social relations of normal society or the lives of tradesmen. Yet he does cover thousands of years of history and does so with entertainment in mind.

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Constant Replay

The professor that reads this is really passionate about the subject, he has tons of personal anecdotes that make the lectures more compelling, they're so detailed that I'm constantly coming back and learning more each time. This is a fantastic lecture for anyone interested in Ancient Egypt.

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Amazing to trip to the most fascinating civilization

I've always loved Egypt, but had never studied about it apart from school lessons when I was a teenager.
Professor Bob explains thousands of Egyptian's history in a light, humorous and understandable way. He has a great chronological approach with great sidetracks.
From Narmer's beginning to Cleopatra's downfall, you are 20 hours or so apart from falling in love with Egypt and all their amazing heritage.

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Very interesting and informative

I've always been interested in the history of Egypt and enjoyed listening. This lecture was very informative and can't wait to start another.

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Outstanding series!

Knowing little about ancient Egypt prior to this course I can confidently say I left knowing far more than when I started. But, in addition to just learning facts and history, I can also say it motivated me to go out and get some books to learn more about this amazing, fascinating place!

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Bob Brier is always fantastic!!!

Bob Brier is a very entertaining and down to earth person. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in ancient Egypt.