The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra
While I am familiar with the general outline of Egyptian history, every section had something new to say to me that enriched my understanding or revealed...more
In deze meesterlijk geschiedenis van het oude Egypte vertelt Toby Wilkinson het verhaal van een van de grootste beschavingen die ooit hebben bestaan. De geschiedenis van het oude Egypte en de uitzonderlijke beschaving die gedurende drieduizend jaar bloeide langs de oevers van de Nijl, lijkt een spektakelstuk vol bijzondere gebeurtenissen: de bouw van de piramides, de verovering van Nubia, de kracht en schoonheid van Nefertiti, de invasie van Alexander de Grote en Cleopatras fatale relatie met R...more
But, no, this isn't Gibbon's "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire."
While not as long or as in depth as that classic, "The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt" is still worthy of a full read. Toby Wilkinson documents the "bootstrapping" arrival of the Old Kingdom out of nowhere, then shows how it, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom in turn had individual rises and falls.
Even for those who have some degree...more
I have several minor critici...more
A lot of my extramural reading for the past while has been dedicated to books with an Egyptian theme, including Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Qua...more
Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a summary history of the Egyptian civilization, from conception to Cleopatra.
Aside from the scope of the work, coupled with actually having achieved it, the most remarkable thing about this book is that Mr. Wilkinson was able to craft such an accessible work.
Even when faced with source material that was both sparse, thousands of years old and almost...more
This is a full scale history of Ancient Egypt, starting very early in pre-history and going to the death of Cleopatra. I'm not sure when the last book of this type was written, but I think it might have been before World War I (and that is WW I and not WW II). A lot has changed in what...more
Given current events in Egypt, I found much in this long bu...more
Although discovered weeks earlier, Carter had to wait for Carnarvon’s arrival before he would step inside the tomb for the first time. Days later Carter went in search of the burial chamber...more
I remember wondering as a small boy about life in the kingdoms of ancient Egypt. Maybe it was Sunday school lessons, Moses, and all that, but the Egyptian period of human development has always had me in its spell.
And Wilkinson’s book makes the spell even deeper. His story begins with Narmer, the first king of a more or less united Egypt and continues through the pyramidal age to the New Kingdom and its fully fleshed art, architecture, literature, government and religion. Wilkinson takes us fro...more
My only minor criticisms are that Wilkinson does not discuss the problems of interpreting the primary sources or the debates around specific issues in the main text. As far as these are addressed at all, they are relegated to the footnotes. At times, also, I felt that Wilkinson was over-selling the achievements of Ancient Egypt. Its cultural achievements and influence, for example, pale into insigni...more
This book takes into account the circumstances of the governed, as well as the activities of their governors — something which (as far as I know) is uncommon in books on the subject of ancient Egypt.
We thrill at the weirdness of the heretic king Akenaten and his works, but do not question what it is like to live under a despotic, fanatical ruler (despite the modern parallels, such as in North Korea, that fill our television screens). . . . ancient Egypt was a society in which the relationship b...more
Ancient Egypt have depicted Egypt as a lively, warm and sunny culture - even
though obsessed with death - in which a relatively easy and stable way life
was achieved along the banks of the Nile. In a stunning reversal of this,
Wilkinson reveals a much darker side of Ancient Egypt, one in which an
almost fascist control of the people by Pharaoh and his priests snuffed out
every bit of personal freedom. Writing with verve and clarity, Mr.
Wilkinson easily becomes the new voice of Egypti...more
Covers some 4970 years, from unification of Upper/Lower Egypt to fall of Cleopatra. Does good job of incorporating some new conjectures as well as recent archaeological discoveries. Does tend to focus on dynastic elements a bit much, but does cover a lot of ground and does so very well, so some things may be excused. It may well be all that we know about some eras. Author ch...more
It is commonplace for Egypt-loving scholars to project an image of a prosperous, pleasant and ever-so-lovely civilisation, with its patriotic might and its cultural glory, ignoring the less gracious facts lurking on the...more
3 1/2 stars.
Comprehensive and capable but ultimately less than inspiring. It held my interest but failed to deliver a broader message. The legacy of Ancient Egypt is wrapped up in a quickie three-page epilogue that emphasizes Pharaonic contributions to pop culture. Surely there are greater lessons to be drawn from three millennia of despotic history?
Perhaps I was spoiled by having just finished Babylon: Mesopotamia and the...more
And, oh my, it is depressing. It's not so much the fall, so much how long and drawn out it was, and the fact that, barring one or two rebellions, the Ancient Egyptians themselves no longer played a role in Ancient Egyptian society. One can't h...more
From first picking it up, it became hard every time I had to put it down. The combination of fluid, easy writing and the fact that this book is packed to the rafters with interesting, engaging material meant it quickly became a page-tur...more
I loved the writing style, which was very readable, and the sense of humor. This is really an excellent...more
This quite large gem is a really good introduction into this world of Pharaoh's and Pyramids. The Pharaoh's were a world onto their...more