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Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt by David P. Silverman

ISBN10: 0749917407
ISBN13: 978-0749917401
Author: David P. Silverman
Book title: Ancient Egypt
Publisher: Duncan Baird Publishers (September 25, 1997)
Language: English
Category: Middle East
Size PDF: 1150 kb
Size ePub: 1736 kb
Size Fb2: 1888 kb
Rating: 4.8/5
Votes: 830
Pages: 256 pages

Ancient Egypt by David P. Silverman

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Provides a comprehensive discussion of the key themes in Egyptian history over 3000 years, from the time before the Pharoahs to the era of the Ptolomies. The text includes cutaway illustrations of the temple of Karnak and the Great Pyramid and previously unpublished photographs of important sites such as the tomb of King Ay and the desert burial at Naqada. The contributors include: Dr James P. Allen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Dr Christopher Eyre of the University of Liverpool; Professor Fekri Hassan and Dr Ian Shaw of University College, London; and Dr Zahi Hawass, Director-General of the Giza pyramids and Saqqena and responsible for finding the new pyramid at Giza.


Organized by theme, Silverman's _Ancient Egypt_ provides an unusual approach to the topic. Divided into three parts (The Egyptian World, Belief and Ritual, Art, Architecture and Language), the subsequent chapters are written by a variety of scholars, each an expert in their fields (to name a few: Fekri Hassan a geo-archeologist formerly of Washington State, more recently at the Egyptian Ministry of Culture writing on commerce; Gay Robbins of Emory University on Women in Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw of University of Liverpool on urban centers, Zahi Hawass - former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities on the Pyramids). These scholars provide a fresh take on Egyptian history.

I was particularly struck by the chapters on "The Celestial Realm" and "Tombs and Temples" as both provided unique details about Egyptian cosmology and the evolution of funerary architecture. The number of color plates and maps are also helpful and illustrative in connecting details to the larger historical narrative. However, I had problems with the historical narrative itself; in a few words, it was simply too brief. The opening chapter, "Three Kingdoms and Thirty-four Dynasties" covered the entirety of Ancient Egyptian history in 20 pages. While the ebbed flow of history was discussed well, one cannot adequately write a political history of the 2000 + years of Ancient Egyptian history in so few pages.

Further, the thematic nature of the book also meant that events or issues would be repeated in chapter after chapter. For example, the reign of Akhenaten is discussed several times: in the political history of the 18th dynasty, again in a chapter about cities and capitals, yet again in the discussion of art and architecture, and still again in the chapter about temples and tombs. While events and individuals like Akhenaten are repeatedly highlighted, other significant facets are overlooked or given short shrift (the Naqada period or the Second Intermediate Period).

While _The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt_ remains unrivaled in terms of its scholarship and depth, the strength of Silverman's thematic approach is the variety of perspectives is provides beyond the exclusively political. For those who already have a passing familiarity with Ancient Egypt but are searching for interesting details and a more social history approach to the time, this would be my recommendation.

Information in the book provides a good overview of Ancient Egypt. The writing style is clear, concise, and easy to understand. The print is quite small which makes it hard to read, especially in the inserted boxes and sidebars. Recommended to go along with the Coursera course on Ancient Egypt.

This book has the best of the expert writing on their areas of expertise. They all know how to tell you everything in a concise way in language that the average person can understand. The pictures, many I'd not seen before, are for the most part clear enough to make out things, maps and plans of ancient forts and temples homes, etc. are excellent with clear keys and explanations. If you wanted only one good book to read on Ancient Egypt, I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

This is a very thorough book, delving deep into the entire histoy of Egypt, starting with their earliest history as a nation, and going through all of the aspects of their history up through the Roman conquest.

It covers the various dynasties, an overview of the entire history (4000+ years of it) and special sections on religious belief, the importance of the belief in the afterlife, their language, written (hieroglyphs and demotic (demotic is more like short hand and almost looks like our cursive writing...much easier and simpler than hieroglyphs!) Mathematics, astronomy, medicine, the building of the pyramids--- every aspect is thoroughly discussed by an expert in the field of Egyptology.

Each chapter (there are 15) is written by a different specialist in the field of Egyptology. Their credentials are listed in the dust jacket cover. They hold many different titles, are professors, university and museum curators, and all are experts in their given field. (Such as Dr Ian Shaw, editor of the Oxford History of Ancint Egypt who wrote the chapter called "The Settled World".) Or Dr Zahi Hawass, the head of the Cairo Museum and of Egyptian antiquities in Egypt, who wrote the chapter on the Pyramids.

The chapter headings include "The Celestial Realm", "Egyptian Art", "Women in Egypt", "Egypt and the World Beyond", and many more. Aside from the wealth of knowledge, every single page two or more beautful illustrations and photographs of the best of the artwork, tomb painting, statuary, jewelry, etc to illustrate what is being discussed.

This may be the one book on ancient Egypt to have if you have to have just one.

This book is NOT just a pretty coffee table book of the typical type, with more photographs than writing, and litle or no explanation of what you're seeing.

Professor Silverman as well as being the editor is also one of contributors, and wrote the chapters on "Belief and Ritual" and "Signs, Symbols and Language".

I can't recommend this book more highly. Highly accessable and readable. There is a glossary at the end and a good index. Useful for the interested amateur like myself, or someone already involved in the study of ancient Egypt.

Good text and information, and great illustrations. Wish I had known ahead of time my class suggested this as an accompanying text!

This book more than met my expectations. It is a wonderful book. I learned more than I ever thought I would. It will remain on my coffee table from now on.

Legend 33
Very informative book that was used to accompany the Coursera online course by Professor Silverman. Lots of detail on Egypt as well as numerous pictures. Not to technical - just the right level.

Full of well researched information and well illustrated throughout. Easy to read, relatively short chapters but chocked full of detailed information. The only shortcoming, but a minor once, is that it's a bit difficult to identify where the objects pictured may be found. Highly recommended.