A sweeping look at this epic history emphasizing the role of women rulers.
From the earliest creation myths of the sun god—the great “He-She”—the Egyptian universe brought together two halves of a complete whole: “female and male, mother and father, sister and brother, daughter and son.” As such, insists British Egyptologist and prolific author Fletcher (Archaeology/Univ. of York; Cleopatra the Great: The Woman Behind the Legend, 2011, etc.), “the modern tendency to focus on the masculine can only ever see half the story.” The author emphasizes this idea as she traces Egyptian history from the earliest cattle herders and hunters of the river valleys 30,000 years ago to the zenith of wealth and influence under the rule of Amenhotep III of Thebes to the annexation of Egypt by Rome and death of Cleopatra VII in 30 B.C.E. The theme of duality also encompasses the tensions and competition between the north and south regions of the Nile—Lower and Upper Nile, respectively, following the direction of the longest river in the world—where distinct cultures developed by 5000 B.C.E., emphasizing different modes of burial customs, flax production, writing, and more. Following rapid technological advances, the southern culture would soon come to dominate the north, and the two consolidated into the first nation state in 3100 B.C.E. under King Narmer, whose dynasty continued over the next three millennia through a combination of conquest and marriage diplomacy, with a new capital established in Memphis. Fletcher’s delineation of the rise and fall of kingdoms, invasions by neighbors such as the Hyksos and Nubians, Persians and armies of Alexander the Great, all makes for a dense, elucidating narrative, especially as illustrated through spectacular artifacts unearthed from the plethora of burial sites.
The authoritative author imparts her vast knowledge in an orderly chronology and lively, intimate history. A perfect choice for budding Egyptologists.