Department of Archaeology and Ancient History

5EG-501: Egyptian History, 7.5 hp

The course is also the first course in Egyptology A (30 hp) and is also part of the Bachelor programme.

This course provides an introduction to the political history of ancient Egypt from late prehistoric times (starting around 4500 BC) to the end of the Ptolemaic period (30 BC). You will be building up the basic chronological and historical framework essential in all your subsequent studies in Egyptology as well as familiarise yourself with Egyptian historical sources and their overall character.

You will also gain an insight into the various ideological, religious, and other processes particularly important in shaping up the history of ancient Egypt. At the end of the course you will have a broad understanding of Egyptological historiography and its methodology, including dating, the use of textual and archaeological sources, etc., as well as of the various problems and challenges associated with writing history of the ancient Egypt.

After an introductory session on the various types of data used for historical reconstruction and the question of what is history in the Egyptian context, the following lectures will take you through the dawn of the Egyptian civilisation and the so-called Old Kingdom Pyramid Age (ca. 2680–2150 BC) to the following period of political disintegration known as the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2150–2050 BC). After this you will study the re-unified Egypt of the so-called Middle Kingdom (2050–1650 BC) and the following Second Intermediate Period when Egypt was once again politically divided (ca. 1650–1550 BC). A fair share of your time will be spent on the following New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1050 BC) with its religious revolutionaries and empire builders. You will then have a close look at the following complex era of extreme fragmentation of political power and foreign invasions known as the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1050–665 BC) and the following Late Period that ended with the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. The course concludes with a brief overview at the Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BC) which closed when Egypt became part of the Roman Empire.