Akhenaten & the Origins of Monotheism

Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned for seventeen years in the fourteenth century B.C.E, is one of the most intriguing rulers of ancient Egypt. His odd appearance and his preoccupation with worshiping the sun disc Aten have stimulated academic discussion and controversy for more than a century. Despite the numerous books and articles about this enigmatic figure, many questions about Akhenaten and the Atenism religion remain unanswered.

In Akhenaten and the Origins of Monotheism, James K. Hoffmeier argues that Akhenaten was not, as is often said, a radical advocating a new religion, but rather a primitivist: that is, one who reaches back to a golden age and emulates it. Akhenaten's inspiration was the Old Kingdom (2650-2400 B.C.E.), when the sun-god Re/Atum ruled as the unrivaled head of the Egyptian pantheon. Hoffmeier finds that Akhenaten was a genuine convert to the worship of Aten, the sole creator God, based on the Pharoah's own testimony of a theophany, a divine encounter that launched his monotheistic religious odyssey. The book also explores the Atenist religion's possible relationship to Israel's religion, offering a close comparison of the hymn to the Aten to Psalm 104, which has been identified by scholars as influenced by the Egyptian hymn.

Through a careful reading of key texts, artworks, and archaeological studies, Hoffmeier provides compelling new insights into a religion that predated Moses and Hebrew monotheism, the impact of Atenism on Egyptian religion and politics, and the aftermath of Akhenaten's reign.

Author: James K. Hoffmeier
Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 2015)

Mrs. Tsenhor, A Female Entrepreneur in Ancient Egypt

Tsenhor was born about 550 B C E in the city of Thebes (Karnak). She died some sixty years later, having lived through the reigns of Amasis II, Psamtik III, Cambyses II, Darius I and perhaps even Psamtik IV. By carefully retracing the events of her life as they are recorded in papyri now kept in museums in London, Paris, Turin, and Vienna, the author creates the image of a proud and independent businesswoman who made her own decisions in life. If Tsenhor were alive today she would be wearing jeans, drive a pick-up, and enjoy a beer with the boys. She clearly was her own boss, and one assumes that this happened with the full support of her second husband Psenese, who fathered two of her children. She married him when she was in her mid-thirties. Tsenhor - - who was probably named after her father's most important client - - was a working wife. Like her father and husband, she could be hired to bring offerings to the dead in the necropolis on the west bank of the Nile. For a fee of course, and that is how her family acquired high-quality farm land on more than one occasion. But Tsenhor also did other business on her own, such as buying a slave and co-financing the reconstruction of a house that she owned together with Psenese. When Tsenhor decided to divide her inheritance, her son and daughter each received an equal share. Even the papyri proving her children's rights to her inheritance were cut to equal size, as if to underline that in her household boys and girls had exactly the same rights. Tsenhor seems in many ways to have been a liberated woman, some 2,500 years before the concept was invented. Embedded in the history of the first Persian occupation of Egypt, and using many sources dealing with ordinary women from the Old Kingdom up to and including the Coptic era, this book aims to forever change the general view on women in ancient Egypt, that is far too often based on the lives of Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, and Cleopatra.

Author: Koenraad Donker van Heel
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (July 2014)

Ancient Egypt: State and Society

In Ancient Egypt: State and Society, Alan B. Lloyd attempts to define, analyse, and evaluate the institutional and ideological systems which empowered and sustained one of the most successful civilizations of the ancient world for a period in excess of three and a half millennia. 

The volume adopts the premise that all societies are the product of a continuous dialogue with their physical context - understood in the broadest sense - and that, in order to achieve a successful symbiosis with this context, they develop an interlocking set of systems, defined by historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists as culture. Culture, therefore, can be described as the sum total of the methods employed by a group of human beings to achieve some measure of control over their environment. 

Covering the entirety of the civilization, and featuring a large number of up-to-date translations of original Egyptian texts, Ancient Egypt focuses on the main aspects of Egyptian culture which gave the society its particular character, and endeavours to establish what allowed the Egyptians to maintain that character for an extraordinary length of time, despite enduring cultural shock of many different kinds.

Author: Alan B. Lloyd
Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 2014)

Amarna Sunrise: Egypt from Golden Age to Age of Heresy

The latter part of the fifteenth century B C saw Egypt's political power reach its zenith, with an empire that stretched from beyond the Euphrates in the north to much of what is now Sudan in the south. The wealth that flowed into Egypt allowed its kings to commission some of the most stupendous temples of all time, some of the greatest dedicated to Amun-Re, King of the Gods. Yet a century later these temples lay derelict, the god's images, names, and titles all erased in an orgy of iconoclasm by Akhenaten, the devotee of a single sun-god. This book traces the history of Egypt from the death of the great warrior-king Thutmose III to the high point of Akhenaten's reign, when the known world brought gifts to his newly-built capital city of Amarna, in particular looking at the way in which the cult of the sun became increasingly important to even 'orthodox' kings, culminating in the transformation of Akhenaten's father, Amenhotep III, into a solar deity in his own right.

Author: Aidan Dodson
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (30 April 2014)

Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis: Thebes, Karakhamun (TT 223), and Karabasken (TT 391) in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty

This volume is the first joint publication of the members of the American - Egyptian mission South Asasif Conservation Project, working under the auspices of the State Ministry for Antiquities and Supreme Council of Antiquities, and directed by the editor. The Project is dedicated to the clearing, restoration, and reconstruction of the tombs of Karabasken (TT 391) and Karakhamun (TT 223) of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and the tomb of Irtieru (TT 390) of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, on the West Bank of Luxor. Essays by the experts involved in the excavations and analysis cover the history of the Kushite ruling dynasties in Egypt and the hierarchy of Kushite society, the history of the South Asasif Necropolis and its discovery, the architecture and textual and decorative programs of the tombs, and the finds of burial equipment, pottery, and animal bones.

Editor: Elena Pischikova
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (January 2014)

Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Armies of the Ancient World)

This is the only substantial and up-to-date reference work on the Ptolemaic army. Employing Greek and Egyptian papyri and inscriptions, and building on approaches developed in state-formation theory, it offers a coherent account of how the changing structures of the army in Egypt after Alexander's conquest led to the development of an ethnically more integrated society. A new tripartite division of Ptolemaic history challenges the idea of gradual decline, and emphasizes the reshaping of military structures that took place between c.220 and c.160 BC in response to changes in the nature of warfare, mobilization and demobilization, and financial constraints. An investigation of the socio-economic role played by soldiers permits a reassessment of the cleruchic system and shows how soldiers' associations generated interethnic group solidarity. By integrating Egyptian evidence, Christelle Fischer-Bovet also demonstrates that the connection between the army and local temples offered new ways for Greeks and Egyptians to interact.

Author: Christelle Fischer-Bovet
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 2014)

The Use of Documents in Pharaonic Egypt (Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents)

This volume reconstructs the history of documentary practice in pharaonic Egypt from the early Old Kingdom to the major administrative changes imposed by the colonizing regimes of the Graeco-Roman period. Relating administrative and legal practice to the physical practicalities of the media used for writing, and through the close reading of primary textual sources, it examines how different types of documents - private and official - were created and used. It explores the ways in which the writing of documents was embedded deeply in the interactions between customary social practices, which were essentially oral, and in the penetration of outside hierarchies into local government.

Eyre argues that the potential of the written document as evidence or proof was never fully exploited in the pharaonic period, even though writing was a powerful symbol and display of hierarchical authority. He presents the government as a system rooted in personal prestige and patronage structures, lacking the effective departmental hierarchies and archive systems that would represent a true bureaucratic system.

Author: Christopher Eyre
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (December 2013)

Discovering Tutankhamun: From Howard Carter to DNA

Penned by a scholar who was personally involved in research into the enigmatic young pharaoh, this comprehensive and fully illustrated new study reviews the current state of our knowledge about the life, death, and burial of Tutankhamun in light of the latest investigations and newest technology. Zahi Hawass places the king in the broader context of Egyptian history, unraveling the intricate and much debated relationship between various members of the royal family, and the circumstances surrounding the turbulent Amarna period. He also succinctly explains the religious background and complex beliefs in the afterlife that defined and informed many features of Tutankhamun s tomb. The history of the exploration of the Valley of the Kings is discussed, as well as the background and mutual relationships of the main protagonists. The tomb and the most important finds are described and illustrated, and the modern X-raying and CT-scanning of the king s mummy are presented in detail. The description of the latest DNA examination of the mummies of Tutankhamun and members of his family is one of the most absorbing parts of the book and demonstrates that scientific methods may produce results that cannot be paralleled by traditional Egyptology.

Author: Zahi Hawass
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (November 2013)

Egyptian Mummies and Modern Science

Egyptian mummies have always aroused popular and scientific interest; however, most modern studies, although significantly increased in number and range, have been published in specialist journals. Now, this unique book, written by a long-established team of scientists, brings this exciting, cross-disciplinary area of research to a wider readership. It shows how this team's multidisciplinary, investigative methods and the unique resource of the Egyptian Mummy Tissue Bank are being used for the new major international investigations of disease evolution and ancient Egyptian pharmacy and pharmacology. It also assesses the current status of palaeopathology and ancient DNA research, and treatments available for conserving mummified remains. Descriptions of the historical development of Egyptian mummifications and medicine and detailed references to previous scientific investigations provide the context for firsthand accounts of cutting-edge research by prominent specialists in this field, demonstrating how these techniques can contribute to a new perspective on Egyptology.

Editor: Rosalie David
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 2013)

The Family in Roman Egypt

A Comparative Approach to Intergenerational Solidarity and Conflict

This study captures the dynamics of the everyday family life of the common people in Roman Egypt, a social strata that constituted the vast majority of any pre-modern society but rarely figures in ancient sources or in modern scholarship. The documentary papyri and, above all, the private letters and the census returns provide us with a wealth of information on these people not available for any other region of the ancient Mediterranean. The book discusses such things as family composition and household size and the differences between urban and rural families, exploring what can be ascribed to cultural patterns, economic considerations and/or individual preferences by setting the family in Roman Egypt into context with other pre-modern societies where families adopted such strategies to deal with similar exigencies of their daily lives.

Author: Sabine R. Huebner
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 2013)

Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt

Five hundred years before Homer immortalized the Trojan Horse, the ancient Egyptians had already composed a tale of soldiers hiding Ali Baba-like in baskets to capture a besieged city. Shortly after the rise to power of the warrior pharaoh Ramesses II ("the Great"), Egyptian authors began to write stories about battles and conquest. However, these stories were not set in the present, but in the past-they were the world's first works of historical fiction. These literary recreations of past events, which preserve fascinating mixtures of fact and fiction, provide unparalleled information about topics as diverse as ancient Egyptian historiography, religion, and notions of humor and wit. Imagining the Past is the first volume to provide complete translations and commentary for the historical fiction composed during Egypt's New Kingdom. The four tales included here represent a multifaceted approach to history and its actors. The Quarrel of Apepi and Seqenenere, set at the end of the Second Intermediate Period, preserves details of political history and taxation that are attested in contemporaneous sources. In The Capture of Joppa, a historically-attested general Djehuty from the reign of Thutmose III successfully defeats the ruler of Joppa through one of the first attested stratagems in world military history. Royalty takes center stage with Thutmose III in Asia, whose fragmentary narrative may be a fictional presentation of the Battle of Megiddo. The Libyan Battle Story, composed only a generation after the Battle of Perire, contains abundant historical details attested in hieroglyphic and hieratic sources and borders on fictionalized history. A concluding analysis summarizes the audience and function of historical fiction as well as theology and historiography within the tales. An appendix of the hieroglyphic texts, all transliterated with philological commentary, make these texts accessible to a wide audience, while representing the first critical scholarly edition of them available. Colleen Manassa's thorough research into the literary, political, and social context of each tale will further stimulate current discussions of genres and the transmission of texts in Egyptolology and comparative literature studies.

Author: Colleen Manassa
Publisher: OUP USA (November 2013)

The Ancient Egyptian Language: An Historical Study

This book, the first of its kind, examines how the phonology and grammar of the ancient Egyptian language changed over more than three thousand years of its history, from the first appearance of written documents, c.3250 BC, to the Coptic dialects of the second century AD and later. Part One discusses phonology, working backward from the vowels and consonants of Coptic to those that can be deduced for earlier stages of the language. Part Two is devoted to grammar, including both basic components such as nouns and the complex history of the verbal system. The book thus provides both a synchronic description of the five major historical stages of ancient Egyptian and a diachronic analysis of their development and relationship.

Author: James P. Allen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 2013)

The Valley of the Kings: A Site Management Handbook

During the New Kingdom (c. 1570-1070 BCE), the Valley of the Kings was the burial place of Egypt's pharaohs, including such powerful and famous rulers as Amenhotep III, Rameses II, and Tutankhamen. They were buried here in large and beautifully decorated tombs that have become among the country's most visited archaeological sites. The tourists contribute millions of badly needed dollars to Egypt's economy. But because of inadequate planning, these same visitors are destroying the very tombs they come to see. Crowding, pollution, changes in the tombs' air quality, ever-growing tourist infrastructure-all pose serious threats to the Valley's survival.
This volume, the result of twenty-five years of work by the Theban Mapping Project at the American University in Cairo, traces the history of the Valley of the Kings and offers specific proposals to manage the site and protect its fragile contents. At the same time, it recognizes the need to provide a positive experience for the thousands of visitors who flock here daily. This is the first major management plan developed for any Egyptian archaeological site, and as its proposals are implemented, they offer a replicable model for archaeologists, conservators, and site managers throughout Egypt and the region.
Published in both English and Arabic editions and supported by the World Monuments Fund, this critical study will help to ensure the survival of Egypt's patrimony in a manner compatible with the country's heavy reliance on tourism income.

Authors: Kent R. Weeks and Nigel J. Hetherington
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press (September 2013)

Ancient Egyptian Temple Ritual: Performance, Patterns, and Practice

Large state temples in ancient Egypt were vast agricultural estates, with interests in mining, trading, and other economic activities. The temple itself served as the mansion or palace of the deity to whom the estate belonged, and much of the ritual in temples was devoted to offering a representative sample of goods to the gods. After ritual performances, produce was paid as wages to priests and temple staff and presented as offerings to private mortuary establishments. This redistribution became a daily ritual in which many basic necessities of life for elite Egyptians were produced. 

This book evaluates the influence of common temple rituals not only on the day to day lives of ancient Egyptians, but also on their special events, economics, and politics. Author Katherine Eaton argues that a study of these daily rites ought to be the first step in analyzing the structure of more complex societal processes.

Author: Katherine Eaton
Publisher: Routledge (August 2013)

Law and Enforcement in Ptolemaic Egypt

This book examines the activities of a broad array of police officers in Ptolemaic Egypt (323–30 BC) and argues that Ptolemaic police officials enjoyed great autonomy, providing assistance to even the lowest levels of society when crimes were committed. Throughout the nearly 300 years of Ptolemaic rule, victims of crime in all areas of the Egyptian countryside called on local police officials to investigate crimes; hold trials; and arrest, question and sometimes even imprison wrongdoers. Drawing on a large body of textual evidence for the cultural, social and economic interactions between state and citizen, John Bauschatz demonstrates that the police system was efficient, effective, and largely independent of central government controls. No other law enforcement organization exhibiting such a degree of autonomy and flexibility appears in extant evidence from the rest of the Greco-Roman world.

Author: John Bauschatz
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 2013)

The Material World of Ancient Egypt

The Material World of Ancient Egypt examines the objects and artifacts, the representations in art, and the examples of documentation that together reveal the day-to-day physical substance of life in ancient Egypt. This book investigates how people dressed, what they ate, the houses they built, the games they played, and the tools they used, among many other aspects of daily life, paying great attention to the change and development of each area within the conservative Egyptian society. More than any other ancient civilization, the ancient Egyptians have left us with a wealth of evidence about their daily lives in the form of perishable objects, from leather sandals to feather fans, detailed depictions of trades and crafts on the walls of tombs, and a wide range of documentary evidence from temple inventories to personal laundry lists. Drawing on these diverse sources and richly illustrating his account with nearly one hundred images, William H. Peck illuminates the culture of the ancient Egyptians from the standpoint of the basic materials they employed to make life possible and perhaps even enjoyable.

Author: William H. Peck
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 2013)

Architecture, Astronomy and Sacred Landscape in Ancient Egypt

This book examines the interplay between astronomy and dynastic power in the course of ancient Egyptian history, focusing on the fundamental role of astronomy in the creation of the pyramids and the monumental temple and burial complexes. Bringing to bear the analytical tools of archaeoastronomy, a set of techniques and methods that enable modern scholars to better understand the thought, religion and science of early civilizations, Giulio Magli provides in-depth analyses of the pyramid complexes at Giza, Abusir, Saqqara and Dahshur, as well as of the Early Dynastic necropolis at Abydos and the magnificent new Kingdom Theban temples. Using a variety of data retrieved from study of the sky and measurements of the buildings, he reconstructs the visual, symbolic and spiritual world of the ancient Egyptians and thereby establishes an intimate relationship among celestial cycles, topography and architecture. He also shows how they were deployed in the ideology of the pharaoh's power in the course of Egyptian history.

Author: Giulio Magli
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 2013)

Djekhy & Son - Doing Business in Ancient Egypt

Given the wealth of knowledge we have about the lives of the ancient Egyptians, we sometimes take for granted that from Egyptian texts (as opposed to graphic depictions) this has only been available to us for the past two centuries, since hieroglyphics were first decoded by Jean-François Champollion, who published his translation of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs in 1822.

What most of us are unfamiliar with is the later and specialised work in Egyptology, specifically in demotic studies that deal with native script and culture of the late little-known Saite period, the twenty-sixth dynasty (624 to 525 BCE) up to and including the Roman period.

Hieratic papyrus texts and engraved stelae and ostraca are the sources of Koenraad Donker van Heel, the author of Djekhy & Son - Doing Business in Ancient Egypt, AUC Press, 2013. The scripts are early demotic and what has been termed abnormal hieratic, a shorthand form of the cursive hieratic derived from hieroglyphs, which are illustrated in the book.

The author’s first engagement with Djekhy & Son, ‘ordinary businessmen from ancient Egypt’ was in researching and writing his PhD dissertation.

Djekhy’s full name was Djedkhonsuiufankh 'Khonsu says that he will live' but in daily life and work he called himself Djekhy. He was born in c.590 BCE, and the son of the business, Iturech, was born about 20 years later, succeeding his father in the family business c.550 BCE.

They lived in the populous quarters surrounding the great temples of Amun, Mut and Khonsu in Karnak on the east bank of the Nile and worked as funerary priests (funerary service providers) on the west bank. Following the Greek rendering of their occupation they are referred to as choachytes (water-pourers) libations of water being essential in funerary cults. Away from their duties of tending to the needs of the mummified dead, Djekhy & Son were also astute agricultural entrepreneurs and acted as trustees for some of their colleagues.

They were paid to ‘bring offerings to the mummies in the Theban necropolis probably once a week, on festival days, on the birthdays of the deceased, and maybe even on the anniversaries of their deaths.’  The choachytes also helped to prepare the funerals. Most of the choachytes’ archives have been found in the necropolis ‘because the dark, dry tombs were perfect for storing important papers.’

Underlying the accounts of Djekhy & Son and their contemporaries and the societal context is a no less fascinating story that permeates the book. It tells of the discovery and acquisition of the source texts, the scattered collections that now house them and the work, methodology and pitfalls of Donker van Heel and a small select band of Egyptologists who have deciphered for our edification a world from 2,500 years that often seems surprisingly familiar.

In the personal and business archive of Djekhy and Iturech ‘from 546 BCE is a contract for a Mrs Tsendjehuty that lays down the specific (and favourable) marital property arrangements she will enjoy in the event of a divorce....  For an Egyptian woman in the sixth century BCE, this contract was the equivalent of an old age pension. In it, her husband had committed himself to maintaining her, even if the marriage failed, for instance if another woman pleased him better. The only condition was that she did not commit adultery ...  Mrs Tsendjehuty however, much she may have loved her husband probably felt it safer to give this vital document to a trustee for safekeeping. This would explain how it came to be in the Djekhy & Son archive.’

Now in the holdings of the Louvre, the contract shows that the ancient Egyptians were a highly practical people and affords insight into the status and rights of women.

Author: Koenraad Donker van Heel
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press (2013)

Source: The Egyptian Gazette by Caryll Faraldi (Monday 11th March 2013)

Ancient Egyptian Administration

Ancient Egyptian Administration provides the first comprehensive overview of the structure, organization and evolution of the pharaonic administration from its origins to the end of the Late Period. The book not only focuses on bureaucracy, departments, and official practices but also on more informal issues like patronage, the limits in the actual exercise of authority, and the competing interests between institutions and factions within the ruling elite. Furthermore, general chapters devoted to the best-documented periods in Egyptian history are supplemented by more detailed onesdealing with specific archives, regions, and administrative problems. The volume thus produced by an international team of leading scholars will be an indispensable, up-to-date, tool of research covering a much-neglected aspect of pharaonic civilization.

Editor: Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia
Publisher: Brill (May 2013)

The Ptolemies, the Sea and the Nile: Studies in Waterborne Power

With its emphasis on the dynasty's concern for control of the sea – both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea – and the Nile, this book offers a new and original perspective on Ptolemaic power in a key period of Hellenistic history. Within the developing Aegean empire of the Ptolemies, the role of the navy is examined together with that of its admirals. Egypt's close relationship to Rhodes is subjected to scrutiny, as is the constant threat of piracy to the transport of goods on the Nile and by sea. Along with the trade in grain came the exchange of other products. Ptolemaic kings used their wealth for luxury ships and the dissemination of royal portraiture was accompanied by royal cult. Alexandria, the new capital of Egypt, attracted poets, scholars and even philosophers; geographical exploration by sea was a feature of the period and observations of the time enjoyed a long afterlife.

Editors: K. Buraselis, M. Stefanou and D.I. Thompson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (28 April 2013)

Behind the Scenes: Daily Life in Old Kingdom Egypt

Scenes from the Old Kingdom tombs represent our main sources for the study of daily life of private individuals. Written by a number of specialists with years of research, this monograph deals with various aspects of life in ancient Egypt, presented in an accessible manner to the scholar and lay-person alike. Richly illustrated with an excellent selection of photographs and drawings, the book aims to bring the reader as close as possible to the Egyptian sources, allowing them to delve into the world behind the scenes.

Editors: A. McFarlane and A.L. Mourad
Publisher: Australian Centre For Egyptology (31 March 2013)

Arsinoë of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life

The life of Arsinoë II (c. 316-c.270 BCE), daughter of Ptolemy Soter, the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, is characterized by dynastic intrigue. Her marriage to her full brother Ptolemy II, king of Egypt, was the first of the sibling marriages that became the "dynastic signature" of the Ptolemies. With Ptolemy II, she ended her days in great wealth and security and was ultimately deified. However, in order to reach that point she was forced to endure two tumultuous marriages, both of which led her to flee for her life, leaving war, murder, and bloodshed in her wake. Throughout much of her life, Arsinoë controlled great wealth and exercised political influence, but domestic stability characterized only her last few years. Arsinoë was the model for the powerful role Ptolemaic women gradually acquired as co-rulers of their empire. Her image continued to play a role in dynastic loyalty and solidarity for centuries to come. 

Despite the fact that Arsinoë was the pivotal figure in the eventual evolution of regnal power for Ptolemaic women, and despite a considerable body of recent scholarship across many fields relevant to her life, there is no up-to-date biography in English on the life of this queen. Elizabeth Carney, in sifting through the available archaeological and literary evidence, creates an accessible and reasoned picture of this royal woman. In describing Arsinoë's significant role in the courts of Thrace and Alexandria, Carney dicusses the role of earlier Macedonian royal women in monarchy, the institution of sibling marriage, and the reasons for its longstanding success in Hellenistic Egypt. Ultimately, this book provides a broader view of an integral player in the Hellenistic world.

Author: Elizabeth Donnelly Carney
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA (April 2013)

Radiocarbon and the Chronologies of Ancient Egypt

This volume presents the findings of a major international project on the application of radiocarbon dating to the Egyptian historical chronology. Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Cranfield in the UK, along with a team from France, Austria and Israel, radiocarbon dated more than 200 Egyptian objects made from plant material from museum collections from all over the world. The results comprise an accurate scientifically based chronology of the kings of ancient Egypt obtained by the radiocarbon analysis of short-lived plant remains. The research sheds light on one of the most important periods of Egyptian history documenting the various rulers of Egypts Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. Despite Egypts historical significance, in the past the dating of events has been a contentious undertaking with Egyptologists relying on various chronologies made up from archaeological and historical records. The radiocarbon dates nail down a chronology that is broadly in line with previous estimates. However, they do rule out some chronologies that have been put forward particularly in the Old Kingdom, which is shown to be older than some scholars thought. The research has implications for the whole region because the Egyptian chronology anchors the timing of historical events in neighbouring areas tied to the reign of particular Egyptian kings. The results will allow for more historical comparisons to be made in countries like Libya and Sudan, which have conducted radiocarbon dating techniques on places of archaeological interest in the past.

Authors: A.J. Shortland and C. Bronk Ramsey
Publisher: Oxbow Books (December 2012)

Approaches to Healing in Roman Egypt

The purpose of this study is to examine the healing strategies employed by the inhabitants of Egypt during the Roman period, from the late first century BC to the fourth century AD, in order to explore how Egyptian, Greek and Roman customs and traditions interacted within the province. Thus this study aims to make an original contribution to the history of medicine, by offering a detailed examination of the healing strategies (of which ‘rational’ medicine was only one) utilised by the inhabitants of one particular region of the Mediterranean during a key phase in its history, a region, moreover, which by virtue of the survival of papyrological evidence offers a unique opportunity for study. Its interdisciplinary approach, which integrates ancient literary, documentary, archaeological and scientific evidence, presents a new approach to understanding healing strategies in Roman provincial culture. It refines the study of healing within Roman provincial culture, identifies diagnostic features of healing in material culture and offers a more contextualised reading of ancient medical literary and documentary papyri and archaeological evidence. This study differs from previous attempts to examine healing in Roman Egypt in that it tries, as far as possible, to encompass the full spectrum of healing strategies available to the inhabitants of the province. The first part of this study comprises two chapters and focuses on the practitioners of healing strategies, both ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’. Chapter 2 examines those areas of ancient medicine that have traditionally been neglected or summarily dismissed by scholars: ‘domestic’ and ‘folk’ medicine with particular emphasis on the extent to which the specific natural environment of any given location affects healing strategies. Chapter Three examines the nature and frequency of eye diseases and injuries suffered by the inhabitants of Roman Egypt. Chapter Four examines the nature and frequency of the fevers suffered by the inhabitants of Roman Egypt, focusing first on the disease malaria, which is attested by papyrological, archaeological and palaeopathological evidence as having been suffered throughout Egypt. Chapter Five examines the dangers that the animal species of Egypt could pose to the inhabitants of the province, focusing particularly upon snakes, scorpions, crocodiles and lions, as attested by papyrological and epigraphic evidence such as private letters, mummy labels and epitaph inscriptions. The concluding chapter underlines the importance for a study of the healing strategies utilised in any province of the Roman Empire (or indeed any region in the ancient world) of taking into account the historical, geographical, cultural and social context of the location in question.

Author: Jane Draycott
Publisher: Archaeopress (2012)

The Edwin Smith Papyrus
Updated Translation of the Trauma Treatise and Modern Medical Commentaries

This volume contains the original hieratic text, complete transcription into hieroglyphs, transliteration, English translation, philological apparatus and copiously illustrated medical commentaries for the for the 48 clinical cases of the Edwin Smith Papyrus. It offers an authoritative treatment of the Egyptian text, which clarifies the meaning of many passages from the papyrus and points the way to their correct medical interpretation. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is the first comprehensive trauma treatise in the history of medicine. Not only is the Papyrus the source of numerous anatomical and functional concepts of the nervous system, it is the basis for the development of modern objective clinical thinking, establishing the foundations of modern medicine more than a thousand years before Hippocrates. This volume features an impressive array of medical material that reveals the precise conditions described by the ancient physician and explores the Egyptian contribution to modern diagnostics, clinical practice, and methodology. This publication sets the standard in the presentation of ancient medical documents. It also includes the previously unpublished translation of the papyrus by Edwin Smith himself.

Authors: Gonzalo M. Sanchez & Edmund S. Meltzer
Lockwood press (November 2012)

Wine, Wealth, and the State in Late Antique Egypt
The House of Apion at Oxyrhynchus

The economic practices and theory of the Roman Empire, as seen through the lens of the estate of the Flavii Apiones

The "glorious house" of the senatorial family of the Flavii Apiones is the best documented economic entity of the Roman Empire during the fifth through seventh centuries, that critical period of transition between the classical world and the Middle Ages. For decades, the rich but fragmentary manuscript evidence that this large agricultural estate left behind, preserved for 1,400 years by the desiccating sands of Egypt, has been central to arguments concerning the agrarian and fiscal history of Late Antiquity, including the rise of feudalism.

Wine, Wealth, and the State in Late Antique Egypt is the most authoritative synthesis concerning the economy of the Apion estate to appear to date. T. M. Hickey examines the records of the family's wine production in the sixth century in order to shed light on ancient economic practices and economic theory, as well as on the wine industry and on estate management. Based on careful study of the original manuscripts, including unpublished documents from the estate archive, he presents controversial conclusions, much at odds with the "top down" models currently dominating the scholarship.

Author: T.M. Hickey
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press (2012)

The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign

The first book to convey the full experience of what it was actually like to be pharaoh one of the most powerful rulers of the ancient world, Garry Shaw covers, through eight themed chapters, all aspects of the realities of pharaohs life, from mornings waking in the palace to evenings spent banqueting, with all his duties and activities in between. This vividly written and authoritative account provides new insights into key official ceremonies, including the accession and coronation, and the pomp and protocol of an audience before the king, and is supplemented by numerous box features, from the internal decoration of pyramids and the women who became pharaoh, to pharaonic pets, as well as quotations from contemporary sources and a complete king list with brief biographies of the major pharaohs. Beautifully illustrated with a wide range of images, most in colour, including temples and tombs, reliefs and wall paintings, jewelry and statues, line drawings and reconstructions, maps and plans, this book charts the development of a uniquely Egyptian vision of kingship, exemplified by the men and women who ascended the throne from mythical beginnings and the first ruler of a unified country, through renowned and supreme monarchs such as Khufu, Seti I and Ramesses II, to the decadence of the all-too human Ptolemies and pharaonic kingships last gasp under Roman rule.

Author: Garry J. Shaw
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (September 2012)

The Organization of the Pyramid Texts (2 vol. set)

The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts form the oldest sizable body of religious texts in the world. Discovered in the late nineteenth century, they had been inscribed on the interior stone walls of the pyramid tombs of third-millennium kings and queens. From their content it is clear that they were concerned with the afterlife state of the tomb owner, but the historical meaning of their emergence has been poorly understood. This book weds traditional philological approaches to linguistic anthropology in order to associate them with two spheres of human action: mortuary cult and personal preparation for the afterlife. Monumentalized as hieroglyphs in the tomb, their function was now one step removed from the human events that had motivated their original production.

Author: Harold M. Hays
Publisher: Brill (2012)

The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and its People

A companion to Abydos in the New Aspects of Antiquity series, this book a remarkable evocation of an ancient city brings together for the first time the history of the site of Tell el-Amarna from its foundation by the pharaoh Akhenaten in c. 1344 bc to its abandonment just 16 or 17 years later, a few years after his death. Nine chapters cover the kings choice of the site and its development, the layout of the city and its buildings, and puts it in the context of the society of the time. Over 260 illustrations, some 50 in colour, bring to life the remains and artefacts found at the site during its excavation. Barry Kemp, Emeritus Professor of Egyptology at Cambridge University, is a world-class scholar and writer and the acknowledged expert on Amarna and Akhenaten. This is certain to become the definitive work.

Author: Barry Kemp
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 2012)

The Oxford Handbook Of Roman Egypt

Roman Egypt is a critical area of interdisciplinary research, which has steadily expanded since the 1970s and continues to grow. Egypt played a pivotal role in the Roman empire, not only in terms of political, economic, and military strategies, but also as part of an intricate cultural discourse involving themes that resonate today - east and west, old world and new, acculturation and shifting identities, patterns of language use and religious belief, and the management of agriculture and trade. Roman Egypt was a literal and figurative crossroads shaped by the movement of people, goods, and ideas, and framed by permeable boundaries of self and space. This handbook is unique in drawing together many different strands of research on Roman Egypt, in order to suggest both the state of knowledge in the field and the possibilities for collaborative, synthetic, and interpretive research. Arranged in seven thematic sections, each of which includes essays from a variety of disciplinary vantage points and multiple sources of information, it offers new perspectives from both established and younger scholars, featuring individual essay topics, themes, and intellectual juxtapositions.

Author: Christina Riggs
Publisher: Oxford University Press (2012)