The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt

The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt

By (author) Ian Shaw

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The essays and illustrations in this history portray the emergence and development of the distinctive civilization of the ancient Egyptians, from their prehistoric origins to their incorporation into the Roman Empire, covering the period from around 7000 BCE to 311. The authors outline the principal sequence of political events, including detailed examinations of the three so-called "intermediate periods" which were previously regarded as "dark ages" and are only now beginning to be better understood. Against the backdrop of the rise and fall of ruling dynasties, this book also examines cultural and social patterns, including stylistic developments in art and literature. The pace of change in such aspects of Egyptian culture as monumental architecture, funerary beliefs, and ethnicity was not necessarily tied to the rate of political change. Each of the authors of this history has therefore set out to elucidate, in both words and pictures, the underlying patterns of social and political change and to describe the changing face of ancient Egypt, from the biographical details of individuals to the social and economic factors that shaped the lives of the population as a whole.

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  • Hardback | 528 pages
  • 182.88 x 256.54 x 43.18mm | 2,290.63g
  • 01 Nov 2000
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 24 pp colour, 120 b&w illustrations, 26 line drawings, maps, chronology, further reading, index
  • 0198150342
  • 9780198150343

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Author Information

Ian Shaw is Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London.

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Review text

It is almost impossible to imagine Ancient Egypt without picturing exotic pharaohs and monumental pyramids, but, as this excellent overview ably demonstrates, there is much more to Egypt's past than dried-up mummies and tomb-raiding. Starting at 700,000 BC during the Palaeolithic period and ending with the declining days of Roman rule in AD 395, this lavishly illustrated book calls upon a host of world authories to conjure up the story of this fascinating ancient civilization. Each chapter covers a particular period and comprises an essay from an acknowledged expert in the field. As one would expect, the rise and fall of the ruling dynasties plays an important part, but the political elements are not allowed to overshadow the equally remarkable social, cultural and economic histories of the nation. To help the layman appreciate stylistic developments in art and literature a wealth of colour and black-and-white photographs is included. As one would expect, the coverage of funerary beliefs and practices is extensive and fascinating. The book shows how the simple single-pit burials of the earlier periods evolved into an increasingly elaborate use of cemeteries for the more important dead, then demonstrates how this ultimately grew into the grand-scale use of pyramids as tombs for the ruling families. Solid and authoritative, this book retains the clarity necessary for the enthusiastic amateur, but equally provides a comprehensive study for the student of Egyptology. This is a definitive overview of the complex history of a nation, and one that nobody with an interest in Egyptology can afford to be without. (Kirkus UK)

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