Popular Stories of Ancient Egypt

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The tales of ancient Egypt have for centuries delighted and spurred the imagination of anyone who loves a good story, yet sadly, many of these tales have fallen into obscurity over the years. Now these stories have been brought back to life for a new generation of readers.

When first published in 1882, the folktales collected in Popular Stories of Ancient Egypt comprised the first anthology of ancient Egyptian narratives ever to be compiled into book form. The culmination of a life's work by Gaston Maspero, a towering figure of nineteenth-century Egyptology, it presented a wealth of information on Egyptian culture, language, history, and society. Since its publication, additional texts have been discovered, deciphered, or translated into modern languages. The present collection is made up of twenty-four tales gleaned from countless ancient written sources, and from a variety of historical periods. It contains some of the most ancient folktales in existence, such as The Tale of the Two Brothers, thought to be the oldest in the world. Other stories include King Khufui and the Magicians, The Lamentations of the Fellah, The Shipwrecked Sailor, The Adventure of Satni-Khamois with the Mummies, The Doomed Prince, and The Story of Rhampsinitus. This edition contains a new Foreword that introduces Maspero and describes his work, and provides for the first time extensive identifications of the ancient stories in terms of international tale-types and motifs.

Certain to be of interest to folklorists, this classic collection will also amuse parents, students, storytellers, and anyone who enjoys authentic folk wisdom.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195173352
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Gaston Maspero (1846-1916) was a leading expert on Egyptian art and the Head of the Antiquities Service in Cairo for twenty years. Hasan El-Shamy is Professor of Folklore at the University of Indiana.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to This Edition with Classification by Tale-Type and Motif VII
Preface to English Edition XCI
Introduction XCIII
Complete Stories
1 The Story of the Two Brothers 1
2 The King Khufui and the Magicians 17
3 The Lamentations of the Fellah 35
4 The Memoirs of Sinuhit 55
5 The Shipwrecked Sailor 81
6 How Thutiyi Took the City of Joppa 89
The Cycle of Satni-Khamois
7 I. The Adventure of Satni-Khamois with the Mummies 95
8 II. The Veritable History of Satni-Khamois and His Son Senosiris 118
9 III. How Satni-Khamois Triumphed over the Assyrians 137
The Cycle of Ramses II
10 I. The Daughter of the Prince of Bakhtan and the Possessing Spirit 141
11 II. The Exploits of Sesostris 147
12 III. The Exploits of Osimandyas 150
13 The Doomed Prince 153
14 The Story of Rhampsinitus 163
15 The Voyage of Unamunu to the Coasts of Syria 169
The Cycle of Petubastis
16 I. The High Emprise for the Cuirass 181
17 II. The High Emprise for the Throne of Amon 201
Introductory Note 217
18 Fragment of a Fantastic Story, Anterior to the Eighteenth Dynasty 219
19 The Quarrel of Apopi and Saqnunriya 223
20 Fragments of a Ghost Story 229
21 Story of a Mariner 233
22 The Adventure of the Sculptor Petesis and King Nectonabo 239
23 Fragments of the Theban-Coptic Version of the Romance of Alexander 243
24 Epigraph: On Those Who Caused Alexander to Drink the Death Potion 255
Index of Proper Names 257
Index of General Subjects 269
About the Volume Editor 277
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