Bob Brier

Bob Brier >

Episode 1 of The History of Ancient Egypt
What makes ancient Egypt so interesting? How do we know what we know about it? What can you, as a student, expect from these lectures?
Prehistoric Egypt
Episode 2 of The History of Ancient Egypt
In this lesson, we will see just how old "old" is. The basic divisions of prehistory will be discussed, and each category will be defined and its specific characteristics delineated. Once these categories are clear, we will discuss the difficulties…
Ancient Egyptian Thought
Episode 3 of The History of Ancient Egypt
What distinguishes mythology, religion, and philosophy from one another? What role did each play in the lives of the ancient Egyptians?
Napoleon and the Beginnings of Egyptology
Episode 4 of The History of Ancient Egypt
Why does modern Egyptology begin with Napoleon? How was Egypt studied before he and his army arrived with 150 scientists in tow in 1798? How did the monumental "Description de l'Egypte" that Bonaparte's savants produced become the benchmark for all…
The Great Pyramid of Giza
Episode 9 of The History of Ancient Egypt
From leveling the foundation to setting the capstone, here are - as best as we can make out - the "nuts and bolts" of the Egyptians' most literally "monumental" feat: pyramid building. This lecture also discusses the 144-foot solar boat…
The Rosetta Stone, and Much More
Episode 5 of The History of Ancient Egypt
The Rosetta Stone is a large granite stela, carved under Ptolemy V and unearthed by French troops in 1799. With inscriptions of the same text in Greek and Egyptian, it provided the key to deciphering the ancient Egyptian language. Learn…
The Rise of the Old Kingdom
Episode 7 of The History of Ancient Egypt
As Egypt becomes a great nation led by a single all-powerful ruler, traditions arise that will last for millennia: a capital city, separate burial places (and eventually mighty pyramids) for the kings, solar boats for the trip to the next…
The First Nation in History
Episode 6 of The History of Ancient Egypt
How did Egypt become history's first nation? Once King Narmer unified Upper and Lower Egypt, it took only a few hundred years to build a power that would dominate the Near East for millennia. Learn why the political structure of…
Queen Hatshepsut
Episode 17 of The History of Ancient Egypt
One of the greatest individuals in Egyptian history, Hatshepsut appears in no official Egyptian record. When she died, she was "King of Upper and Lower Egypt." How did she handle the three core activities of kingship - building, warfare, and…
The Middle Kingdom - Dynasty XI
Episode 12 of The History of Ancient Egypt
The Middle Kingdom is the story of Egypt's resurrection. Dynasty XI is the dynasty of reunification, slowly bringing Egypt back to unity and greatness.
The First Intermediate Period
Episode 11 of The History of Ancient Egypt
After centuries of power, pyramids, and prosperity, Egypt totally collapsed. Why? A look at this period also shows the methods that Egyptologists use to reconstruct history where the resources are scant.
The Beginning of the New Kingdom - The Fabulous XVIIIth Dynasty
Episode 16 of The History of Ancient Egypt
Practices we think of as defining ancient Egypt - including the use of a standing army to exact foreign tribute and the burial of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings - have their origins in this seminal period.…
Mummification - How We Know What We Know
Episode 26 of The History of Ancient Egypt
Mummification was a trade secret. The Egyptians left no records of how they did it. Detective work is needed, and fortunately, there are four papyri that offer some clues.
The End of the Old Kingdom
Episode 10 of The History of Ancient Egypt
After the fantastic achievements of Dynasty IV, something - no one knows what - changed. Pharaohs stopped building pyramids and seem to have adopted sun worship. Dynasty VI resumed pyramid building on a small scale, but the death of its…
Sneferu, the Pyramid Builder
Episode 8 of The History of Ancient Egypt
This lecture will present a portrait of the founder of the "Fabulous Fourth" Dynasty, Sneferu. Using trial and error, he figured out how to build a true pyramid. His reign also saw Egypt's blossoming as an international power and the…
What Mummies Tell Us
Episode 27 of The History of Ancient Egypt
The primary source for figuring out how the Egyptians mummified their dead is the mummies themselves. What distinguishes mummies from the Old Kingdom, the New Kingdom, and the Late Period, respectively? How have Egyptologists reconstructed this ancient art? By the…
The Middle Kingdom - Dynasty XII
Episode 13 of The History of Ancient Egypt
The seven kings of Dynasty XII built pyramids, fostered great literature (often for political purposes), and consolidated power once again in the center.
Joseph in Egypt
Episode 15 of The History of Ancient Egypt
The Bible describes a lengthy sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt. We examine the Joseph story in the Book of Genesis to see what light Egyptology might shed on its authenticity.
Ancient Egyptian Magic
Episode 35 of The History of Ancient Egypt
Magic was a central concern of the ancient Egyptians. What were its basic elements and practices?
The End of Dynasty XVIII
Episode 25 of The History of Ancient Egypt
What happened when a pharaoh died without issue? Find out by looking at three such cases that arose toward the end of Dynasty XVIII. Tutankhamen, Aye, and Horemheb, the last king of the dynasty, left no children.