Ancient Egypt | History Reviews

Two highly recommended titles for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian civilization or the history of Egyptology

redstar Cooney, Kara. When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt. National Geographic. Nov. 2018. 400p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781426219771. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781426219788. HIST
Cooney (Egyptology, Univ. of California Los Angeles; The Woman Who Would Be King) explores the premise that “the ancient Egyptians brilliantly used female power…to keep a culture going for more than 3,000 years” through the prism of six queens who assumed kingship to varying degrees at times of dynastic crisis. Included are profiles of Merneith of Dynasty I (3000–2890 BCE), Neferusobek of Dynasty XII (1985–1773 BCE), Hatshepsut and Nefertiti of Dynasty XVIII (1550–1295 BCE), Tawosret of Dynsty XIX (1295–1186 BCE), and Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic Period (305–30 BCE). Despite ancient Egyptian society promoting greater gender equality than its contemporaries, each of these queens was compelled to manifest certain masculine trappings in order to succeed. Most intriguing is the author’s persuasive explanation of the recent theory that Nefertiti morphed from queen to co-king, and ultimately sole king, evinced through changes in her titles and iconography.
VERDICT Not since Leonard Cottrell’s Lady of the Two Lands (1966) has such an engrossing, well-researched collective study of Egyptian power queens been available. Definitively recommended for anyone with an interest in ancient Egyptian civilization or women’s studies.—Edward K. Werner, formerly with St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Naunton, Chris. Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt. Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2018. 224p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500051993. $29.95. HIST
Naunton, current president of the International Association of Egyptologists and author of numerous scholarly articles, is best known as the presenter of TV documentaries, including King Tut’s Tomb: the Hidden Chamber. Here, he explores the search for the yet-undiscovered tombs of some of the most famous people in ancient Egyptian history, from the early Dynastic Period to the Roman era: Imhotep, Third Dynasty architect of the Step Pyramid; Amenhotep I and Nefertiti of the 18th Dynasty; Herihor, high priest of Amun in Thebes during the 21st Dynasty; Alexander the Great; and Cleopatra VII. Also highlighted are archaeologists from the 19th century to the present, whose ongoing research missions and excavations have resulted in significant discoveries. A fascinating examination of the Amarna Period royal burials is included along with a survey of the royal cemeteries of the Third Intermediate Period in the Nile Delta. Naunton succeeds in his goal to get readers “excited by the possibility that there might be such extraordinary surprises yet to come.”
VERDICT This unique study is recommended for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian civilization or the history of Egyptology.—Edward K. ­Werner, formerly with St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

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