With its pyramids, mummies, and sphinxes, ancient Egypt has fascinated us for centuries. It has been the setting of many films and novels, figuring prominently in popular culture. Much of what the average reader believes about this civilization, however, is mistaken. Through a unique collection of primary source documents, this book critically examines several topics related to ancient Egypt and about which misconceptions abound.
Primary sources, many in new translations by the author, are drawn from ancient Egyptian, classical Greek and Roman, Muslim, early Christian, and modern European documents. These sources shed light on popular misconceptions. Such topics include the divinity of the pharaoh, the role of animals in ancient Egyptian religion, the purpose of the Egyptian pyramids, the use of slave labor, the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system, the role of Cleopatra in the defeat of Marc Antony and the fall of the Roman Republic, and the influence of Egyptian religion on the development of early Christianity. By studying these documents, users will be able to develop their skills interpreting and evaluating primary sources.
- Provides an accurate view of the role of slavery in ancient Egyptian society
- Discusses the ancient Egyptian conception of divinity and how it applied to the pharaoh and the use of animals in Egyptian worship and religious iconography
- Critically examines the controversial proposition that Jesus never existed but was a myth created from ancient Egyptian stories about Osiris and Horus
- Explains the purposes for which the pyramids were built, based on ancient Egyptian texts found within the pyramids themselves
- Provides evidence for how misconceptions about ancient Egypt developed and spread, along with support for what we now believe to be the historical truths
- Directs users to additional sources of information for further study