The United States has been around for 236 years. We think that’s a long time. Rome endured over twice that. Ancient Egypt: Over 3000 years. Try to imagine that. They had periods of chaos longer than the U.S. has been a nation, and we think this recession is bad.
The length of their existence is one reason they fascinate people to this day. How did they do it? That’s what draws people to study them. So do the temples and pyramids. Archaeologists have spent decades peeling back layers of the history beneath the sands. That many millenia of history piled over each other can make it difficult, but it’s amazing what we do know.
They weren’t cavemen, but also not super-geniuses. Their math that built the pyramids was rather simple. Their astronomy was less advanced than the Mayans. Yet, in many ways, they were like us. We often think we are the only people to work, play, love and fight. People stuck in the modern world would surprised at how similar the peoples of the ancient world were. On the other hand, us moderns wouldn’t want to stranded in the ancient lands with their primitive medicine and short lives.
It’s hard finding readable, yet scholarly, material on Egypt. Bookstores are full of strange, bizarre theories on ancient Egypt. Some just cannot believe the ancients could figure out how to move stones and stack them. Toddlers figure that out.
A great place to start your learning would be Bob Brier’s engaging course, History of Ancient Egypt. If you have no interest in this ancient world, you will after listening to his informative and fun lectures. Then there is Barbara Mertz’s two part history Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs and Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt which have been the best intro to Egyptian history for decades.
Both Brier and Mertz are Egyptologists. It’s fun to see where they agree and disagree (mainly the former). The books and course are good complements. Ironically, Brier supports the theory of women driving the leadership in Egypt more than Mertz does. Mertz overlooks Egyptian links in the bible, whereas Brier explores it. Brier is a mummy expert, and Mertz loves showing how human the ancients were. Both actually reference each other.
Far more fascinating than fringe theorists. As exciting as a fictional world. Try something different.
Try time travel into an ancient world.
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