The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

“By curious coincidence, the breakthrough that had allowed ancient Egyptian writing to be first deciphered, and had thus opened up the study of pharaonic civilization through its numerous inscriptions, had occurred exactly a century before.

In 1822, the French scholar Jean-François Champollion published his famous Lettre à M. Dacier, in which he correctly described the workings of the hieroglyphic writing system and identified the phonetic values of many important signs.

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

This turning point in the history of Egyptology was itself the result of a long period of study. Champollion’s interest in ancient Egyptian writing had been prompted when he’d first learned about the Rosetta Stone as a boy.

A royal proclamation inscribed in three scripts (Greek, demotic characters, and hieroglyphics), the stone had been discovered by Napoleonic troops at el-Rashid (Rosetta) during the French invasion of 1798, when Champollion was eight years old, and it was to provide one of the main keys to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

In this landmark volume, one of the world’s most renowned Egyptologists tells the epic story of this great civilization, from its birth as the first nation-state to its absorption into the Roman Empire.

Drawing upon forty years of archaeological research, award-winning scholar Toby Wilkinson takes us inside a … society with a pre-monetary economy and decadent, divine kings who ruled with all-too-recognizable human emotions.

Here are the legendary leaders: Akhenaten, the ‘heretic king,’ who with his wife Nefertiti brought about a revolution with a bold new religion; Tutankhamun, whose dazzling tomb would remain hidden for three millennia; and eleven pharaohs called Ramesses, the last of whom presided over the militarism, lawlessness, and corruption that caused a political and societal decline.

Filled with new information and unique interpretations, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt is a riveting and revelatory work of wild drama, bold spectacle, unforgettable characters, and sweeping history.”

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, by Toby Wilkinson (#aff)