Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs
  • Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs
  • Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs

Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs

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by Bob Brier
     
 

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The world has always been fascinated with ancient Egypt. When the Romans conquered Egypt, it was really Egypt that conquered the Romans. Cleopatra captivated both Caesar and Marc Antony and soon Roman ladies were worshipping Isis and wearing vials of Nile water around their necks. What is it about ancient Egypt that breeds such obsession and imitation?

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Overview

The world has always been fascinated with ancient Egypt. When the Romans conquered Egypt, it was really Egypt that conquered the Romans. Cleopatra captivated both Caesar and Marc Antony and soon Roman ladies were worshipping Isis and wearing vials of Nile water around their necks. What is it about ancient Egypt that breeds such obsession and imitation? Egyptomania explores the burning fascination with all things Egyptian and the events that fanned the flames--from ancient times, to Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, to the Discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb by Howard Carter in the 1920s. For forty years, Bob Brier, one of the world's foremost Egyptologists, has been amassing one of the largest collections of Egyptian memorabilia and seeking to understand the pull of ancient Egypt on our world today. In this original and groundbreaking book, with twenty-four pages of color photos from the author's collection, he explores our three-thousand-year-old fixation with recovering Egyptian culture and its meaning. He traces our enthrallment with the mummies that seem to have cheated death and the pyramids that seem as if they will last forever. Drawing on his personal collection -- from Napoleon's twenty-volume Egypt encyclopedia to Howard Carter's letters written from the Valley of the Kings as he was excavating -- this is an inventive and mesmerizing tour of how an ancient civilization endures in ours today.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-28
A leading Egyptologist explains how a 4,000-year-old culture continues to fascinate. Brier (Senior Research Fellow/Long Island Univ.; The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery, 2009, etc.), known as "Mr. Mummy," contends that ancient Egypt excites people in ways no other country can, possibly due to the age, monuments like the pyramids, mummified rulers or something less concrete. When asked for their greatest attractions, he writes, nearly all museum curators will answer, "Egypt and dinosaurs." Brier is an expert on mummies and mummification and also collects objects associated with ancient Egypt. Some, like the letters Howard Carter, the discoverer of Tutankhamen's tomb, sent his sponsor, Lady Amherst, are close to his professional expertise. Others, like the packaging for Kamut breakfast cereal or sheet music for songs like "Old King Tut was a Wise Old Nut" or "Cleopatra had a Jazz Band," reflect more of the popular interest exploited by marketers and entertainers. Brier became convinced that there is a kind of stratification in the production of these mass-market objects that is related to the different phases of the growth of knowledge of ancient Egypt. In the modern era, the beginning is marked by Napoleon's ill-fated invasion and the first large-scale scientific expedition. The author shows how the transport of three obelisks--to France, Britain and the United States--in the 19th century shaped a culture in which coverage by news media heated up public enthusiasm for all things Egyptian. There followed dinner sets, ladies' fashion accessories, sheet music and hit songs, and movies about mummies. Brier is sure that the fascination will continue. A lively account combining history and popular culture with guidelines for possible future collectors.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781137278609
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
11/12/2013
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
216,106
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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