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The History of Ancient Egypt Lecture

The History of Ancient Egypt

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Audible Editor Reviews

A fascinating examination of the Ancient Egyptian Empire is narrated by Professor Bob Brier in The Great Courses' The History of Ancient Egypt. Listeners of this historical audiobook learn of the vast expanse this Empire had during the record 3 centuries of its reign. The Ancient Egyptians were highly advanced in many areas of human knowledge including science, medicine, engineering, architecture and astronomy. Modern achievements and discoveries owe much to the pillars of knowledge the ancient Egyptian's shaped in these areas. In this book Brier gives a captivating performance keeping the listener involved and absorbed throughout. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

Yet even after deciphering its hieroglyphs, and marveling at its scarabs, mummies, obelisks, and sphinxes, Egyptian civilization remains one of history's most mysterious, as "other" as it is extraordinary. This chronological survey presents the complete history of ancient Egypt's three great Kingdoms: the Old Kingdom, when the pyramids were built and Egypt became a nation under the supreme rule of the pharaoh and the rules of Egyptian art were established; the Middle Kingdom, when Egypt was a nation fighting to restore its greatness; and the New Kingdom, when all the names we know today-Hatshepsut, Tutankhamen, Ramses the Great, Cleopatra, and others-first appeared. Professor Brier's 48 lectures glisten with the kind of vivid anecdotes and human glimpses that make this ancient world breathe again.

"The fun of history is in the details," he notes. "Knowing that Ramses the Great was crippled by arthritis for the last decade of his long life makes us more sympathetic to the boastful monarch who fathered more than 100 children. If we understand what it was like to be a miner sent to the turquoise mines in the Sinai mountains in the summer, we will feel a kinship with our long-dead counterparts."

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    A Manning 18/10/2013
    A Manning 18/10/2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fascinating, and a joy to listen to"
    Where does The History of Ancient Egypt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the best


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the narrator and of course all the Pharaohs- and explorers


    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    voice, pace, content


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Egypt- the first civilisation


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Edinburgh, United Kingdom 01/10/2014
    Jonathan Edinburgh, United Kingdom 01/10/2014 Member Since 2016
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    "Compelling, Fascinating, Educational"

    This is a really great lecture series. Fascinating material that is wonderfully presented. The lecturer's personality really comes through. I knew very little about Ancient Egypt before starting this and the course really gripped me. It is roughly chronological but with a few tangential lectures focussing on specific topics (e.g. mummies). At 48 lectures it is a long course, but for me the time really sped by. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Glasgow, United Kingdom 22/07/2015
    Helen Glasgow, United Kingdom 22/07/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "Extremely Intteresting and a Joy to Listen To"
    What did you like most about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    The narrator/lecturer obviously has a great passion for the subject and it was infectious to the listener.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Ancient Egypt?

    The stories of the early pharaohs.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Bob Brier’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly Moon 13/04/2015
    Molly Moon 13/04/2015
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    "Excellent"

    I have an interest in the subject and was pleased to see this series of lectures. I started listening and very soon my husband was drawn in too; we both enjoyed it immensely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niall 12/01/2015
    Niall 12/01/2015
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    "A very enjoyable listening & learning experience"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would definitely recommend this to a friend. While after a while, the canned applause and the music at the start can start to grate, the enthusiasm of the speaker shines through the delivery as well as his sense of humour. I learned a great deal from this course and was greatly entertained by it. What more can you ask for?


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to, and why?

    None, so far


    What does Professor Bob Brier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Enthusiasm for the subject, fascination about an ancient civilization and an infectious sense of humour


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There was the odd snicker from something Prof, Brier said, but it was more I guess a morbid fascination with the subjects covered


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    flibbix55 15/11/2016
    flibbix55 15/11/2016
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    42
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    "Couldn't stop listening"

    Absolutely fascinating. I only knew a little about the more famous parts of Egypt history but this has been an amazing experience that has opened my eys to the true Wonder of Egypt...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. E. Ul Haq Slough, UK 07/11/2016
    M. E. Ul Haq Slough, UK 07/11/2016 Member Since 2016

    Esham

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    "Absolutely fantastic"

    Loved every second of it. Bob Brier delivered a fantastic 48 chapter lecture as always. This is suitable for all, novice to expert. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxana 03/07/2016
    Roxana 03/07/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "super nice the way of teaching"

    was a really nice series. I enjoyed the way the professor chose to follow a chronological line but also making little trips with details about the Egyptians' life. if you like history and pyramids you'll love it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aneta Milanowska 12/06/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Loved it!"

    I loved all the lectures of the series. Bob Brier is very good narrator for his lectures. He creates interest and maintains it.
    I will go back to this lectures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Bristol, United Kingdom 16/05/2016
    G Bristol, United Kingdom 16/05/2016 Member Since 2012
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    "Ancient Egypt brought to life !"

    Lectures covering 3000 years of ancient history could be pretty dull but with Bob Brier they really come to life. I loved these lectures ! He delivers the material with a conversational style that I found very engaging. It is true that there's the same piece of music at the beginning of each half hour lecture and canned applause at the end which some people have disliked but I found them useful 'punctuation' for the series. Also Bob recaps quite often - personally I found this very helpful especially with such a long historic span and 24 hours of audio book but again I can see this might irritate some listeners.

    I would not recommend these lectures as a first introduction to ancient Egypt. If you really don't know much at all I'd recommend getting a 'coffee table' book lavishly illustrated in colour and a bit of text to whet your apatite. If that fascinates you and you want to learn more then these lectures are an ideal follow on. Also, do remember to download the pdf file of lecture notes that go with the course, reading these really helps consolidate what you have heard.

    All in all I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed these lectures and they are fantastic value - highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Nassir
    Bainbridge Island, WA, United States
    09/07/13
    Overall
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    "Incomprehensibly complete"

    I once had the opportunity to listen to this series, and I did so twice. Now the opportunity to own it on Audible has put tears in my eyes, literally tears in my eyes. This series won't make you an Egyptologist, but you will know so much by the end of it that the uninitiated might mistake you for one. I once visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a friend and when we hit the Egypt section I turned into a tour guide. After explaining how the Temple of Dendur ended up in New York, I turned and drew her attention to the interesting art style of the Amarna panels, and at this point she stopped me and asked, "How do you know all this?" This is how I know all this. I once held a group of people around a campfire in Eastern Washington spellbound for an hour as spoke on what we owed to the Egyptians, the basic ways of thinking and acting that we owe to them. I'm serious... spellbound (it helped that everyone was a bit intoxicated.)

    This series will make you interesting. They might as well stick a guarantee on it.

    Just to give you an idea... there's a half hour on mummified animals. Mummified ANIMALS. There's already about two solid hours on human mummies, but Brier feels that to be complete you need to know about the animals as well. If you are thinking, "How am I going to get through thirty minutes on dried up animals, let alone 24 solid hours on Egypt?" let me assure you, it will be over before you know it and before you want it to be. I've listened to a lot of Teaching Company lectures in my time, and while they never have anyone truly boring you often are reminded that these people are all university professors. But Brier's delivery is almost mesmerizing, his enthusiasm for the subject positively boyish. This series will never require your patience.

    There may be special interest to those with an interest in Biblical history, whether you are Christian or otherwise. Whenever you reach a point where Biblical history intersects with Egyptian, Brier will stop and discuss it. There are several lectures devoted exclusively to the topic. I'll lay it out: Brier is a historian and therefore does not regard the Bible stories as literal truths, but he treats them with true sympathy and interest. His conclusions really surprised me, especially regarding the Exodus. His speculations on Joseph are perhaps more of a stretch.

    The one rather slight downside to the whole series is that Brier has some rather fanciful theories about the life and times... and death... of Tutankhamen, a lot of which have been, if I'm not mistaken, disproven in the years since this first came out and which anyway were never taken seriously in mainstream Egyptology. Speculating about the Bible is one thing, but Brier doesn't pretend it's anything but speculation. His Tutankhamen material is, despite disclaimers, told with the passion of a true believer, which makes it slightly tragic when you discover afterwards that some of the basic facts just aren't there. It makes for an interesting listen, at least.

    Overall, this is a MUST PURCHASE. Everyone needs a pair of really good shoes, a couple of good jackets, and a lecture series on Ancient Egypt. Do not hesitate.

    60 of 62 people found this review helpful
  • Travis Greene
    Monroe, NC
    27/09/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Lecture Series"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Ancient Egypt the most enjoyable?

    The professor is engaging and a great story teller. He gives you all the information you could want without boring you. He does an excellent job of making you want to learn more about Ancient Egypt. I feel like I got an accurate portrayal of the psychology, religion, architecture, medicine, magic, technology, and sociology of the Ancient Egyptians.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. I listened to to for hours at a time and never lost interest.


    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Randall
    27/04/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well spoken and informative introduction"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have been an audible customer for many years now with over 1000 books in my library but this is my first review. I write it because of another review of this book that I found to be completely off the mark. This course is an introduction and as such, it is basic history and background. With over 2,500 years worth of history to cover, it would be impossible to go into much detail. Having said this, Dr. Brier does an excellent job of making the history and culture come alive. His knowledge of,and passion for, the subject come through in vivid detail. The course touches on history, religion, culture and legacy of the oldest and longest lasting civilization on the planet, not an easy task for a single course.
    The review which prompted this response stated that Dr. Brier seemed to talk down to his audience and pushed forward his own opinions too much. He did, but with reason. Dr. Brier is famous as the PBS star who's films have educated an entire generation about the wonders of Egypt. He is the world's foremost expert on the process of making mummies and is the only one in modern times to successfully reproduce an authentic mummified body. There is no one who better combines the expertise, knowledge, experience and showmanship then Dr. Brier. For basic overview and general knowledge this course is excellent, informative and enjoyable. If you desire more in depth knowledge, then a more specific title would be more valuable to you. If you like mummies, this course has more specific information then any other I have found.


    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • brian
    Puyallup, WA, United States
    24/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating story of Kmt"

    Dr. Brier does an excellent job delivering this series of lectures -- they are a true pleasure to listen to. If you're shopping for your next Great Courses series and you're not immediately jazzed about ancient Egypt, after the first couple of lectures you will be, or at least I was. He keeps the narrative free from too much jargon while still packing in richly detailed descriptions. I also enjoyed the frequent anecdotes on the early Egyptologists and their contributions to the field.

    Dr. Brier will bring up some details often enough to feel redundant, but to be fair, I will probably never forget now that the Nile flows North and the winds blow South, making it trivial to navigate. However, my biggest gripe having only the audio available was his aversion to giving dates. I agree with him that the relative dating is more important, but if you're familiar with other Near Eastern ancient history, it makes it pretty difficult to align with other events in the Fertile Crescent. Not worth taking any stars off though, it just means looking up some things in a reference as or after you listen.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • aaron gilbert
    Pearland, TX United States
    24/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So well taught! So interesting!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this to anyone who has even a passing interest in the topic.


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to and why?

    This is a series of lectures. I have listened to several such programs. This one is so far my favorite.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Bob Brier’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have heard nothing else by Mr. Brier. I would however like to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The lecturer did an amazing job keeping this interesting. It is broken into half hour lectures and each one was a joy to experience.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are like I was and you keep looking at the Great Lectures wondering if you might enjoy them then this is the perfect place to start.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Emily
    Philadelphia, PA, United States
    18/09/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Vast History of Ancient Egypt Made Manageable"
    What did you love best about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    I used to think that the history of Ancient Egypt was as overwhelming and daunting as a trek across the desert. Professor Brier takes the listener step by step and breaks it down into manageable sections, like a traveler going from oasis to oasis, with time for review and reflection between segments. He also tells some great campfire stories about colorful Egyptologists in history, his own experiences in Egypt, and his work on creating a modern mummy.


    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to and why?

    Bob Brier does a lot of television documentaries, and he's just the same in his lectures. He gives his own theories about historical events, as well as theories by others, and lets the listener decide.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed his lectures about Egyptians referenced in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. Specifically, Joseph and Moses.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The lecture about how he created a modern mummy was kind of gross, but so interesting that I listened to it more than once!


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not sure if this is because he's from New York, but he talks about the ancient Egyptians in the way someone would talk about people in their neighborhood or their extended family. For example, he called Pharaoh Snefru a great builder, but also a bit of a nerd. He loves the Ancient Egyptians so much that he tries to present as complete portrait as he can: the good, the bad, and the quirky.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Bernica
    BRYANT, AR, United States
    25/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the time"

    The professor organized this course in an understandable, accessible way. I learned much and it was entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Yoshi Yoshitani
    United States
    19/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really nice overview, very Relaxing"

    I love listening to this right before I go to bed. It's nice and lulling and the professor gives you a good overview of Egypt. He tells you interesting little stories, and also is very clear when he is giving opinion and when he is giving fact. This is highly enjoyable, and I would recommend this to any one!

    Word of warning, he has a very distinct and thick accent. Prepare for him you say "you know?" at least 5 times a lecture. But he does sound very friendly.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • uninsurable
    20/08/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I can't stop listening!"
    What did you love best about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    I love the way Professor Bob relates the information. He makes it sound like an interesting story rather than boring history.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was all interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    I keep listening to the lectures over and over again. I find the stories fascinating and the narration excellent. You can tell that Professor Bob loves his work and the subject of Egypt. What an inspiring professor. We need more educators like him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sara M. Loera
    Long Beach, Ca.
    10/08/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So, so good."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    These lectures are incredible. I have done a few of the Great Courses series here on audible, and I am usually bored and a little lost by the last few lectures. I had the opposite experience with this one...I was actually more enthralled and intrigued as they went on, and I mourned the last lecture when it was over because I didn't want the story to end!! So much magic, intrigue, mystery and drama. I can't say enough good things about this. It was so good that I'm actually starting it over to listen to it again. I never knew I would be so into Egyptology, but really, what's not to like?? It's amazing!! Bob Brier does a wonderful job, he is fun to listen to, New York accent and all. Truly amazing stuff here.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cleopatra and Hatshepsut...girl power!! Snefru and Rameses the Great were awesome too! Really all the "characters" presented here are super interesting.


    What about Professor Bob Brier’s performance did you like?

    He seems really passionate about what he's taking about. He is never boring.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I constantly found myself saying "woooow" and "cooool" out loud while listening to these lectures on my headphones, eliciting some strange looks from my boyfriend.


    Any additional comments?

    Just listen, and become obsessed!! I did!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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