All Things Ancient Egypt: An Encyclopedia of the Ancient Egyptian World

Greenwood. (All Things). Apr. 2019. 615p. ed. by ed. by Lisa K. Sabbahy. bibliog. maps. index. ISBN 9781440855122. $198; ebk. ISBN 9781440855139. REF
Sabbahy (Egyptology, American Univ. of Cairo; Paleopathology of the Ancient Egyptians) and 56 other scholars have penned almost 200 articles on ancient Egypt, each followed by “see also” references and further reading. Also included are 22 brief primary document excerpts, frequent sidebars, a bibliography of 100 key works in English, and a category grouping of topics. Sparse black-and-white photos reflect the focus on material culture (beads, a child’s sandals) as well as on religious and social foundations (burial chambers, temples). A concise introduction fills in basic information on geology, funerary buildings, and government and offers a rapid overview of Egypt’s history from 5330 to 5300 BCE, including a pared-down time line and two maps (one of natural resources). Many articles are devoted to cities and other sites, jobs and materials, and the state but even more to religion and its expression. There are nine pieces on writing and literature, not counting entries on religious texts, but only single brief summaries on “art” and “sculpture,” emphasizing religious function rather than aesthetics. Articles on beer, bread, clothing, childbirth, dental health, marriage, women, and weapons, demonstrate the work’s range.
VERDICT Offering secondary and undergraduate students an introduction to a vast subject, these densely informative volumes might also appeal to lay specialists.
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