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Queen Hatshepsut
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 trading expeditions? Why was her name later systematically expunged?
The History of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand that our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. If you're awed by the Great Pyramid, amazed by the magnificent golden mask and other treasures of Tutankhamen, curious about how this longest-lived of all ancient cultures has influenced us, or just intrigued by the…
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
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 of studying a prehistoric civilization.
Ancient Egyptian Thought
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
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 future publications in the field?
The Rosetta Stone, and Much More
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 four scripts in which ancient Egyptian can be written,…
The First Nation in History
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 ancient Egypt made this possible and how the "Narmer Palette"…
The Rise of the Old Kingdom
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 world, and more.
Sneferu, the Pyramid Builder
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 setting of artistic standards that would last for thousands of…
The Great Pyramid of Giza
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 that was found in 1954, buried near the Great Pyramid.
The End of the Old Kingdom
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 last king plunged Egypt into chaos.