Books

Writings from Ancient Egypt – – reviews

In ancient Egypt, words had magical power. Inscribed on tombs and temple walls, coffins and statues, or inked onto papyri, hieroglyphs give us a unique insight into the life of the Egyptian mind. For this remarkable new collection, Toby Wilkinson has freshly translated a rich and diverse range of ancient Egyptian writings into modern English, including tales of shipwreck and wonder, first-hand accounts of battles and natural disasters, obelisk inscriptions, mortuary spells, funeral hymns, songs, satires and advice on life from a pharaoh to his son. Spanning over two millennia, with many pieces appearing in a general anthology for the first time, this is the essential guide to a complex, sophisticated culture.

Published by Penguin Classics (UK) on 25 August 2016.

The Nile: Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present – – reviews

From the days of the pharaohs to the present political upheavals, the steady flow of the Nile has been Egypt’s heartbeat. It has shaped its geography, controlled its economy and moulded its civilisation. In The Nile, Toby Wilkinson takes us on a journey downriver from the First Nile Cataract to the delta – past the ancient wonders of Giza and the modern-day unbridled urban expansion of Cairo, from Egypt’s earliest art (prehistoric images of fish-traps carved into cliffs) to the recent Arab Spring (fought on the bridges of Cairo). Egypt is a palimpsest – every age has left its trace – and Toby Wilkinson is our guide to understanding the layers past and present of this unique, chaotic, vital, conservative yet rapidly changing land.

Published by Bloomsbury (UK) on 13 February 2014 and by Knopf (USA) on 25 June 2014.

RAFjacketcoverThe Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt reviews

In The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt Toby Wilkinson goes behind the dazzling mask of Ancient Egypt to make the story of one of the world’s greatest (and in terms of longevity, most successful) civilisations accessible to the general reader. From the pharaohs at the apex to the workers at the base of the pyramids they built, the unifying theme is the darker side of pharaonic civilisation: the relentless propaganda that infiltrated every aspect of public life, the cut-throat politics that lay behind the mask of unchanging monarchy and the brutality and repression that underpinned royal authority are all fully examined in this major history that draws on the latest research, including the author’s own fieldwork.

Published by Bloomsbury (UK) on 2 August 2010 and by Random House (USA) on 15 March 2011.

Winner of the 2010-2011 Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History.

45-world-coverThe Egyptian World (editor) — reviews

The Egyptian World provides an innovative and authoritative exploration of Ancient Egyptian civilization in all its aspects. Drawing on the latest research and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs and drawings, the book offers a thematic exploration of pharaonic culture as it was expressed down the centuries. Thirty-two original chapters by international experts, including topics rarely covered elsewhere, are divided into seven sections: environments, institutions, economies, societies, ideologies, aesthetics and interactions, Together, they provide fresh perspectives on Egyptian civilization, a digest of current research trends in Egyptology, and a unique examination of the Egyptian world.

Published by Routledge (Abingdon and New York) on 1 September 2007 and in paperback on 10 August 2009.

45-lives-coverLives of the Ancient Egyptians reviews

What was it really like to live in the Nile Valley twenty, thirty or forty centuries ago? Here, in 100 life-stories, are both the powerful leaders of Ancient Egypt and its ordinary citizens. Lives of the Ancient Egyptians is packed with personal stories of ambition and intrigue, of triumph, despair and love, that recreate the world of the pharaohs in an innovative and compelling way. A sumptuously illustrated insight into a vanished and mysterious world, it tells the personal stories of famous pharaohs, from Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid, to Akhenaten the heretic king. It includes Egypt’s queens: the powerful Tiye, the beautiful Nefertiti, and Cleopatra. It also gives a voice to ordinary men and women, so often ignored in histories of ancient Egypt: a doctor, a sailor, a housewife – and a serial criminal.

Published by Thames and Hudson (London and New York) on 15 October 2007.

41BILo+oXfL._SS500_Dictionary of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian civilization offers a dazzling – sometimes bewildering – array of kings and dynasties, gods and goddesses, temples and tombs. This superbly illustrated new dictionary provides a comprehensive, authoritative reference guide to an endlessly fascinating subject. The most extensive and up-to-date single-volume Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, it is an indispensable guide to the greatest civilization of the ancient world. Its entries cover famous pharaohs such as Khufu (Cheops), Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great, as well as lesser-known kings; all the major sites from Alexandria to Abu Simbel, and less familiar monuments from Abgig to Zawiyet el-Aryan; queens and courtiers, gods and goddesses, temples and tombs, as well as literature, language and medicine.

Published by Thames and Hudson (London and New York) in hardback on 3 October 2005, and in a revised paperback edition in the World of Art series on 7 April 2008.

shapeimage_2Genesis of the Pharaohs reviews

Generations of scholars, tourists and armchair travellers have been intrigued by the puzzle of ancient Egypt’s origins. Now, in the light of dramatic new discoveries, the genesis of the pharaohs is at last coming into focus. But the picture that emerges is not what we imagined. The ancestors of the pyramid-builders were not village-dwelling farmers, but wandering cattle-herders, and pharaonic civilization was forged in one of the most forbidding places on Earth: the Eastern Desert, between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. Here, the pharaohs’ distant ancestors left a stunning legacy that has remained hidden for 6,000 years: hundreds of intricate rock carvings. Toby Wilkinson traces the discovery of these ancient records, dates them, and identifies the artists who made them, based on his own discoveries in the heart of the Eastern Desert.

Published by Thames and Hudson (London and New York) on 7 April 2003.

early-dynastic-egypt-coverEarly Dynastic Egypt reviews

Early Dynastic Egypt spans the five centuries preceding the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza. This was the formative period of ancient Egyptian civilization, and it witnessed the creation of a distinctive culture that was to endure for 3,000 years. This book examines the background to that great achievement, the mechanisms by which it was accomplished, and the character of life in the Nile valley during the first 500 years of Pharaonic rule.

The results of over thirty years of international scholarship and excavation are presented in a single highly illustrated volume. It traces the re-discovery of Early Dynastic Egypt, explains how the dynasties established themselves in government and concludes by examining the impact of the early state on individual communities and regions.

Published by Routledge (London and New York) in hardback on 11 March 1999 and in a revised, paperback edition on 14 June 2001.

Other books

State Formation in Egypt: Chronology and Society (Oxford, 1996)
Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt (London and New York, 2000)