How well do we really know ancient Egypt? The world of the Egyptians seems so familiar to us: exhibitions of ancient art and archaeological discoveries in the desert sands continue to generate interest and amazement, while Egyptian motifs appear in architecture, in literature, in art works, in advertising, and in films. And yet, this modern reception can sometimes preserve the myths and inaccuracies about ancient Egypt that derive from classical antiquity and the Renaissance. It is only in the last 200 years that we have been able to read for ourselves ancient Egyptian texts and to reveal the true nature of its civilization through excavation. This modern discovery of ancient Egypt is now astonishing us with a culture of incomparable richness and remarkable diversity. This is what the internationally acclaimed Egyptologist Thomas Schneider here attempts to do: he asks "What are the 101 single most important questions about ancient Egypt?" The questions he has chosen-and the answers he provides-challenge almost everything we thought we knew about the ancient civilization in the Nile valley. They range from the surprising ("Why did elite Egyptians not wear beards?") to the profound ("Was ancient Egypt a culture of death?"
) and the provocative ("What do we still not know about ancient Egypt?") but all the answers will surprise, inspire, and challenge a wide range of readers. In the process, they provide a completely fresh way of looking at all aspects of ancient Egypt-from history, art, and everyday life to religion and ancient attitudes to death and the afterlife.
Thomas Schneider is Professor of Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of British Columbia. After studying Egyptology at Zurich, Basel, and Paris, he was a Research Professor of the Swiss National Science Foundation at the University of Basel and Holder of the Chair in Egyptology at the University of Wales, Swansea. He is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Egyptian History, Near Eastern Archaeology and of the series Culture and History of the Ancient Near East. He is currently undertaking a major research project on the history of Egyptology in Nazi Germany, the results of which are to be published by I.B.Tauris in 2014.
List of Illustrations Timeline Map of Ancient Egypt Preface 1 Ancient Egypt and the Modern World 2 The Egyptian World and the Egyptian World View 3 Egyptian History 4 Egyptian Religion 5 Egyptian Art, Archaeology, and Architecture 6 Egyptian Language and Literature 7 Egyptian Society 8 Egyptologists Appendix: 101 Reading Suggestions for the Study of Ancient Egypt