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From its humble origins as a cluster of rival chiefdoms along the banks of the Nile, ancient Egypt rose to become one of the most advanced civilizations of its time. This atlas traces its turbulent history and remarkable cultural development, from the founding of Memphis around 5000 BC, through the territorial expansion and flourishing trade of the "age of empire," to Greek domination and ultimate collapse. Political rivalries are charted through the successive dynasties, from the strife of the intermediate periods to the golden ages of prosperity and artistic glory under Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. The latest archaeological evidence is used to cast new light on the vast architectural legacy of the world's first great nation state.
Posted February 8, 2010
While it has the exterior look of many an historical atlas, the book goes into more historical depth than most. In a field where new archeological discoveries redefine our understanding of this important civilization almost every season, Manley's text neither overstates what we knew nor underestimates what we didn't in 1996, from a lay perspective, so that it remains interesting and stimulating. Clear and not too cluttered, the maps work well with the text and the excellent color photographs and illustrations. The major faults don't do too much harm: a couple of obvious typographical errors (such as 7000 BC rather than 700 BC on page 20) and an Index that seems more of an afterthought than a real tool. Experts might have more quibbles, but the maps illustrate some important historical points, from the many different communities in the Nile Valley that have contributed to what we call "Ancient Egypt" to the place of Egypt in the panoply of civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean before the rise of the Roman empire.
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