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A History of Ancient Egypt: From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. März 2013


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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Scholarly, passionate and exquisitely written ... a stunning, clear-sighted history of ancient Egypt (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

It is not easy to enliven prehistory while simultaneously respecting limited archaeological evidence and avoiding novelistic pitfalls. But Romer manages it ... After a long wait, we have an up-to-date, stimulating account of the birth of what may turn out to be the world's oldest civilization (Andrew Robinson Nature)

His physical descriptions are superb ... a book to be read and thought about (John Ray Financial Times)

Romer carries the reader along effortlessly on a lengthy, complex yet immensely satisfying journey (Joyce Tyldesley BBC History)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

JOHN ROMER has worked in Egypt since 1966 on archaeological digs in many key sites, including the Valley of the King and Karnak. He led the Brooklyn Museum expedition to excavate the tomb of Ramasses XI. He wrote and presented a number of television series, including "The Seven Wonders of the World, Romer's Egypt, Ancient Lives, "and "Testament." He lives in Tuscany, Italy.

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30 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Refreshingly Objective! 14. September 2012
Von Aaron Scott - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book may be the most objective study, on any subject, I have ever read. The author uses archeaology and not records--of which there are none for this time period--and most carefully avoids reading anything into the history those excavations revealed that cannot be clearly justified. Of speculation, this book has none. Nor tradition nor legend. A wonderful book--and an eye-opener for this passionate fan of all things ancient Egyptian. Covering a period of time long before the "ancient Egypt" I grew up learning about (and about which vastly more has been learned in the decades since my schooling), I only now realize how little I HAD learned in all my life about this culture, somehow getting the idea that Pharaonic Eqypt WAS Egypt, when in fact the history of this part of the world long preceeds what I've learned about in school or later on the Discovery Channel. I offer only a single caution: this book requires a reasonable reading skill--it is by no means "Reader's Digest" reading level. A second promised volume covering the period more familiar as "ancient Egypt" will be eagerly awaited. If you are as fascinated by this ancient culture as I have been since my youth, you will be richly rewarded, informed and, yes, entertained by reading this book. Hard to praise it enough.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Pre-dynastic Egypt uncovered. 20. September 2013
Von Sinohey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Ancient Egypt has been an object of fascination to Westerners ever since the French invasion in 1798. Napoleon Bonaparte, fresh from his victory in Italy, raided Egypt with an armada of 400 ships, carrying an army of 54,000 soldiers and about 150 scholars, scientists, engineers, artists and mapmakers to study and capture the culture of that mysterious land. The French `savants' gathered an enormous body of data and sketches, which they organized and published, from1809 to 1828, in 23 volumes entitled "Description de l'Egypte". Since then, hundreds of books have been published about Ancient Egypt; scholarly academic treatises, popular illustrated atlases and histories; the majority was based on the interpretation of archeological discoveries, translation of hieroglyphics, secondary sources, even conjecture and assumption. Speculative theories filled the timeline gaps and were later interpreted as fact. Realistically, Egyptology has come a long way since the 1960's, when Sir Alan Gardiner published his magnum opus "Egypt of the Pharaohs". More new discoveries have been made in the past thirty years than in all the previous centuries, begining from the times of Champollion, Maspero, Mariette and Flanders.

In this book, by John L. Romer, a British Egyptologist, well known for his many TV documentaries on ancient history, has presented a largely neglected and unknown period of ancient history; the pre-dynastic period of Egypt before there were massive monuments and before hieroglyphics adorned the walls of buildings. Romer began his career with the epigraphic study of paintings and sketches, and eventually immersed himself in archeology when he participated in the University of Chicago's Epigraphic Study of the temples of Thebes in 1966. He has a keen eye for detail, as reflected in this book.

Romer has written an authoritative compendium, 475 pages long, divided into 31 chapters within five parts. It is organized sequentially and chronologically into a readable and comprehensive narrative, devoid of unsubstantiated speculation of previous historians and fantasies about alien engineering and the drivel from Hancock, Bauval or Van Daniken.
Part one covers the first millennium from 5000 to 4000 BCE, when a Neolithic predynastic cultures arose independently in southern and northern Egypt, where the first settlers around Lake Fayoum and the farming community around the oasis. The discovery of a sickle in a pit, estimated to be 7000 years old, is used as a prop to tell the story of its people. Weaved baskets, pottery and shards from Merinda and el-Omari excavations show the gradual evolution of the Badarin culture, the rising of the Naqada and their artwork and burial sites, transitioning into the rule of Narmer/Menes, the first pharaoh to unite Upper and Lower Egypt, around 3150 BCE. Romer describes objects and graphic art at excavations in exquisite detail, that sometimes tends to be overwhelming.
Part two deals with `Making Pharaoh', the rise of King Narmer/Menes while the next part explains the flourishing of the culture, religion, art, language and hieroglyphs under the rule of the subsequent dynasties over two millennia in what was to become the Old Kingdom (2700-2200 BCE). Romer explains the evolution of tombs to mastabas to pyramids, keeping the sequence of the kings in close parallel. Part four covers the time of King Djoser and his architect, physician and philosopher, "the Leonardo of ancient Egypt" Imhotep. Many pyramids were constructed, by the first four dynasties, from the step pyramid of Saqqara to the magnificent wonder of the ancient world, the great pyramid of Khufu in Giza.
Part five begins with the reign of Senefru, Khufu's father, who was a prolific pyramid builder, but also a statesman. The building of monuments was made possible by the organization of the state, the vast bureaucracy, underpinned by religion and the army subordinate to a deified Pharaoh. "The real fascination of this most ancient Egypt is in tracing the slow development of pharaoh's court and the idea of state."
The author is meticulous about his descriptions and portrayals of kings from Djoser to Senefru to, ultimately, Khufu. He eschews hyperbole and conjecture; the book is factual and insightful. Romer does not try to `fill-in the blanks' when there is no data available, he relies solely on concrete evidence and findings; he remains "on the ground and in reality."

The book would have rated 5 stars were it not for the author's frequent disparaging of his predecessors from Herodotus, to Manetho and ultimately to his modern contemporaries. I found it distracting, from an otherwise interesting book.
Hopefully his promised next installment, from Khufu to Nectanebo ll, shall be as enjoyable as this volume but less critical of his peers.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good as far as it goes but lightweight and does not live up to some claims 2. November 2013
Von Enrique Cardova - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When I first picked up Romer's book it promised something different- a one volume history of early ancient Egypt, packed with detail yet still readable. Romer in his preface even suggests he is breaking some sort of new ground, dismissively referencing archaic views and models of Egyptian civilization. Rather than pyramids and pageantry we would get concise "real deal" history on the balance. The back jacket blurbs pump up the book even more- "scholarly, passionate, and exquisitely written.." says the Sunday Times. Alack and alas...

Don't be fooled reader it is none of these things. The book in fact repeats numerous of the same "outmoded" models, is filled with inaccuracies, and fails to even reference basic data credible specialists in the field have developed for years.

Romer for example says ancient's Egypt's links to the Sahara are "tenuous" but this is simply not so. In fact the Sahara contributed heavily to Egypt's development- from the tropical African peoples that settled or migrated in and out of the Nile Valley due to the changes brought by the "Saharan climate pump" (Yurco 1989, 1996, Bard 2000, Redford 2001), to the cattle cults and calendar systems of Nabta Playa (Wendorf 1999), to the distinctive art and iconography influences in Egyptian art (See Toby Wilkinson- Early Dyanstic Egypt, 1999) and much more.

Romer's claim of giving a wider angle lens on the development of Egypt falls flat within the first few pages for he leaps over a very important phase of the pre-dynastic period- when the ancient tribes pursued a rich subsistence economy based on cattle herding, fishing and the gathering of wild grains, sedges and grasses (Ehret 2003). This mixed economy supported substantial population densities. Romer jumps to agriculture in the Faiyum almost immediately, skipping over 1000 years. But that rich economy sustained some of the highest population densities in that part of the world relative to contemporary civilizations (Pinhasi and Stock 2011. Human Bioarchaelogy of the Transition to Agriculture).

And native African breeds of cattle have been domesticated without needing imports from the "Near East." Some scholars show data for the domestication of aurochs in the Nile Valley (Bradley 1996, Troy 2001) which are held to give rise to the Bos Tarus cattle of Africa. (Genome Mapping and Genomics in Domestic Animals 2008. MacNeil, Reecy and Garrick) But whether these native breeds or more eastern breeds predominated, the period also saw key developments at such sites as Nabta Playa, which shows numerous religious and cultural precursors of the dynastic civilization (Wendorf 1999)

It is amazing that in a book on Ancient Egypt, Nabta Playa is not even referenced once in the text, while such tangential matters as Gainesborough portraits get an index citation.

In general the book is lightweight and though this may be understandable in "non technical" single volumes, key themes and developments and data can be included in that volume. There is no reason they can't be together with readable text.

Romer does present some good detail at times but not much more that you would find in standard books on Egypt. The jacket blurbs and even Romer's own preface exaggerate the case. I would not pay full price for this book. Pick it up at your local library. There are other better books on Egypt that even if more technical give much wider coverage and analysis.
19 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
great book...am i being over critical? 14. August 2012
Von N. P. Collins - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a welcome book because as he says an overall history of Egypt by one author has not been written since Sir Alan Gardener's 1961 classic. Like Gardener, Romer is not afraid to admit to all the things we dont know. And he writes with elegance and fluency which is easy to read. Scholarship has come a long way since the 60's and he fills in the time before the First Dynasty stressing the continuity into the Dynastic period. Am i being too critical then to comment on what i felt disapointed in and which prevents me giving it five stars? He clearly lionises Flinders Petrie but dismisses his invasion theory, which has been given fresh legs recently by Rohl and Goodgame among others, irritatingly without detailed reasons. He mentions in passing the Mesopotamian influence on art, architecture and culture but does not elaborate. Prior to Narmer it was clearly an inferior culture to Mesopotamia but thereafter a strong central kingship and different ideas developed, some of them undoubtedly traceable to previous Egyptian history as Romer emphasises. But inferior cultures are a kind of vacuum attracting stronger influences. Clearly something important happened between the time of Narmer (perhaps that was the critical point) and the Third Dynasty and he is right to point out that this was a matter of centuries so the Invasionists stressing the sudden change need to think again perhaps. He stresses that although we know virtually nothing about the Second Dynasty, it bequeathed a strong central authority. But the Mesopotamian influence was now extremely strong. While that doesnt mean that an invasion happened, it doesnt mean it didnt either. There is no evidence for it in the archaeological record, but neither is there one for the Dutch invasion of England of 1688 which also happened following a period of close cultural interchange between the two countries. I dont want to be over critical because it is a great book but a closer debate or critical examination of other peoples theories can enlighten the reader.....this reader is still feeling around in the dark on this issue, not having been given a point by point criticism of the invasionst one and not enough explanation of the profound Mesopotamian influence ...after all the Pyramid is a copy of a zigurat, Imhotep was from Sumeria, both Sumerian and Egyptian kings were hailed as bulls and so on and so on.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Disappointing book 18. Oktober 2013
Von Jack M. Lloyd, Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
While the book covers the subject matter indicated in the title, I found it disappointing in several ways. First, the coverage is a bit superficial (perhaps unavoidable given the span of history covered), and looks at its subject in the currently-fashionable view that historians should focus on the "little people" rather than the individuals who individually made and shaped history. Obviously, this will not bother some (perhaps many) people, but I find it an undesirable view. Second, many details, together with scholarly differences (especially ignoring those of previous generations), are glossed over or altogether omitted. Third, I felt the author was "talking down" to me, as if I had no knowledge at all of the subject --- and perhaps that's his intended audience.
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