Who's Who in Ancient Egypt

Who's Who in Ancient Egypt

Who's Who in Ancient Egypt

Who's Who in Ancient Egypt

Synopsis

In this compelling guide and sourcebook, renowned author and scholar Michael Rice introduces us to the inhabitants of ancient Egypt, allowing us to encounter their world through their own eyes. Here are the great and the famous, from Cleopatra to Tutankhamun, but here also are the grave-robber Amenwah, Nakht the gardener and Sebaster the hairdresser.The whole arena of Egyptian life is expressed in these pages. Not only are there nearly a thousand biographies, there is also a chapter on 'Encountering Ancient Egyptians', sections on kingship and on religion, a chronology, a glossary and maps. A combination of erudite scholarship and a clear and accessible style, this volume opens up the world of the ancient Egyptians to all those with an interest in the subject in a way that has never been done before.

Excerpt

Anyone who presumes to compile a work such as Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt will find himself somewhat in the position of C.G. Jung when he felt obliged to write Septem Sermones ad Mortuos (Seven Sermons to the Dead) as a consequence, it seemed to him, of finding his house infested with the spirits of the dead, demanding instruction. Though the spirits of the dead have their place in Egyptian royal legend, for they were said to be the forerunners of the historic dynasties of kings, it is they who are the instructors in this case, summarily demanding inclusion. The compiler is merely the scribe, sitting meekly with legs crossed, awaiting the opportunity to set down the record of their lives at their dictation, a self-effacing servant of Thoth.

Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt attempts to identify the most celebrated of the sons and daughters of Egypt, whose attainments forged its unique civilisation. But it also seeks to record the names of less august figures, whose lives may throw a modest but particularly focused shaft of light to show what it may have been like to live in Egypt at the height of its power and prosperity, or in one of its not infrequent periods of hardship and disorder. Some have been included because their lives or careers illumine an aspect of the Egyptian experience which may be unfamiliar or unusual. In general, the Who’s Who records those Egyptians whom the visitor to Egypt or to an Egyptian collection in one of the great museums which house so considerable a quantity (though still only a tiny fraction) of the work of Egyptian artists and artificers, might be expected to encounter.

Because of their concern to perpetuate their names, a procedure essential if eternal life was to be achieved, it must surely be that we know many more of the inhabitants of Ancient Egypt than we do of any other ancient culture of comparable antiquity. Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt cannot in the nature of things pretend to be exhaustive; at best it can only be representative. It can only record a sadly limited number of entries; but how many ‘Third Prophets of Amun’, ‘wab priests’, ‘Sole Companions’ or ‘Singers in the Temple before the God’, worthy though they doubtless were, might non-professional readers be expected to accept? But there must be many who fulfil the criteria indicated above who have, for one reason or another, not been given space here; if so, the

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