Voices of Ancient Egypt
Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life
by Rosalie David, Editor
October 2014, 269pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39782-0
$87, 73€, A125
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39783-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Ancient Egyptian papyri contain pharmaceutical formulations still used today.

Supporting the current trends toward document-based teaching, this book introduces the reader to the multifaceted world of ancient Egypt through revealing excerpts from 51 texts written by Egyptians themselves.

A wealth of evidence survives to tell the stories of ancient Egypt, including monuments, artifacts, paintings, sculptures, human remains, and literature. But there is yet another way to access this fascinating culture—through original writings that span the period from circa 3100 BCE to 400 CE. This book’s 51 documents include schoolboys’ letters and exercises, prayers, hymns, love poems, narratives, historical inscriptions, medical and mathematical texts, and religious and funerary inscriptions. Most of the texts are penned by Egyptians, but another perspective is added through the inclusion of commentary about Egypt by the Greek historian Herodotus.

The documents are divided into sections to shed light on numerous aspects of Egyptian life including domestic values and household provision, economics, intellectual concerns, government and warfare, recreational life, and religious beliefs and practices. Each section provides historical context and discusses the meaning and significance of the individual excerpt. The work highlights related themes and ideas to encourage students to explore the legacy of ancient Egypt in an essay, paper, drama production, or class presentation.


  • Offers a fresh yet accessible approach to the study of ancient Egypt by giving readers firsthand insights into Egyptians' own perceptions of their unique world
  • Illuminates the character and social history of the ancient Egyptians as well as many aspects of daily life and practice
  • Shows how the extensive timespan of ancient Egyptian civilization and its domination of the surrounding geographical areas exerted a profound influence that lasted through time
  • Demonstrates how significant aspects of ancient Egyptian culture have been transmitted to the modern world
  • Includes "Topics and Activities to Consider" to encourage discussion and allow readers to expand their knowledge
Rosalie David, OBE, PhD, FRSA, is professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Manchester, UK, and was director of the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester until 2012. She studied Egyptology at University College London and the University of Liverpool. Her published works include Egyptian Mummies and Modern Science, Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt, and Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt, Revised Edition.

Voices of an Era

The Voices of an Era series utilizes primary document excerpts, with introductory and follow-up material, to illuminate the character and social history of particular historical periods.

From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the award-winning Voices of an Era.

Each volume focuses on a specific historical era, offering a window into those times by bringing together a fascinating collection of primary documents, organized by cultural and social topics (art, food, religion, family life, recreation, etc.). Introductions, critical thinking questions, and other supporting material help teachers use these documents to bring true, effective inquiry-based learning to their classrooms.


Each of volume of Voices of an Era features 40-50 primary sources A chronology of the period cover in that volume Selected bibliography of print and nonprint sources (including Web sites, DVDs, CD ROMs, videos, films, etc.) suitable for student research A glossary of terms found in the introductory and followup material 15-30 sidebars per vol. Include "Did you Know"-type information, explanations of key concepts, etc. 40-50 Definition Fact Boxes per vol. Include definitions of unfamiliar terms from the text of the documents themselves.
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