The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra
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
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
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
"The study of ancient Egyptian civilization," Wilkinson writes, "exposes the devices by which people have been organized, cajoled, dominated, and subjugated down to the present day."
The writer who is although a researcher and a doctor in Egyptology has done a monumental effort in condensing 3000 years in about half a thousand pages.
I found many interesting parts in the book that resonates to 2010s history o...more
Given current events in Egypt, I found much in this long bu...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 have several minor critici...more
As a chronological summary of Ancient Egyptian history it necessarily glossess over details. Even so I began to tire on the continuous stream of Pharoahs, civil wars and megalomaniac projects halfway through the book. One can't help but to think how nasty, brutish and short l...more
I had no idea.
When Cleopatra took her own life in 30-something BC, she stood at the end of a 3100 year tradition. So as much time and cultural distance separated Cleopatra from the firs...more
I think 3 millennia is simply too much for one book to cover without reading badly. I'm not giving it a star rating, because I don't feel I got far enough into it to really judge it.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I loved the writing style, which was very readable, and the sense of humor. This is really an excellent...more