Ancient Egyptian MagicPaperback
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- Publisher: WILLIAM MORROW
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 150mm x 234mm x 18mm | 363g
- Publication date: 21 October 1999
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 0688007961
- ISBN 13: 9780688007966
- Illustrations note: Ill.
- Sales rank: 443,130
Ancient Egyptian Magic is the first authoritative modern work on the occult practices that pervaded all aspects of life in ancient Egypt. Based on fascinating archaeological discoveries, it includes everything from how to write your name in hieroglyphs to the proper way to bury a king, as well as: Tools and training of magiciansInterpreting dreams Ancient remedies for headaches, cataracts, and indigestionWrapping a mummy Recipes for magic potions and beauty creams Explanations of amulets and pyramid power A spell to entice a lover A fortune-telling calendarThese subjects and many more will appeal to everyone interested in Egyptology, magic, parapsychology, and the occult; or ancient religions and mythology.
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This may be, as Professor Brier (Egyptology, the New School) claims, the first popular treatment of Egyptian magical practices in over 80 years, but do we need it? This chatty, cheerful, disorganized survey wanders up and down the Nile, stopping for glimpses of the pyramids (how they evolved, were excavated, robbed, etc.), hieroglyphs, horoscopes, mummies, medical lore, amulets, spells, and so forth. It all fits in, up to a point, because belief in magic penetrated the whole fabric of Egyptian life. But Brier piles on information indiscriminately, mixing trivia and essentials, telling us at once too much and too little. His chapter on "Tales of Magic," for instance, collects a half dozen incoherent pieces of practically no interest to the general reader. On the other hand, Brier says almost nothing about magic as primitive philosophy - as a method (not necessarily foolish or irrational) for coping with reality - and so creates the impression that it's all picturesque mumbo-jumbo. Well, it is picturesque (a spell against constipation advises the patient to mix half an onion in some beer foam, adding "This is also a delightful remedy against death"), and the book makes for pleasant browsing. (It's also rather fully illustrated for something in this price range.) But Brier's editor should have cut and shaped this overlong, unwieldy mass. A sort of shaggy-sphinx story. (Kirkus Reviews)