What is the course about?
The empire is in decline, civil war and famine plague the Nile Valley. The royal burial ground at Thebes, containing the richest hoard of gold anywhere in the ancient world, is looted. Contemporary court records prove that the highest officials are complicit. The Valley of the Kings is abandoned and pharaohs are now buried in a temple precint at Tanis. The only truly intact royal tomb in Egypt contained magnificent metalwork and splendid jewellery.
What will we cover?
The decline of Egyptian power and the collapse of government under the later Ramesside pharaohs. Looting of the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Dramatic discoveries in modern times of the bodies of ancient monarchs with the fragmentary remnants of their funerary furniture. Ancient papyri documenting official investigations and court trials of the culprits which reveal corruption at the highest level of society at that time. Pharaoh Sheshonq campaigns in Palestine using gold from the temple of Solomon to extend the temple of Amun at Karnak. Sensational discoveries by Montet of the greatest number of untouched royal tombs ever discovered in Egypt. Their magnificent treasure.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Explain key political, social and cultural events in Ancient Egypt in their historical context
- Recognise the style, period and context for archaeological objects, images and texts
- Use appropriate evidence and strategies for analysing this ancient material.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to participate and keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. Curiosity, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about opposing views are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Illustrated lectures, discussions, a museum visit, questions, readings and analysis of original texts (in translation). Museum visits and reading outside the course will enhance the experience.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Limited book purchases recommended but optional.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Another Classical Civilisations class in Term 3.