Egypt's History and Monuments: From Unity to Disunity ,7.5 hp
This course provides an introduction to the cultural history of ancient Egypt from late prehistoric times (starting around 4500 BC) to the beginning of the so-called New Kingdom, or the Empire (ca. 1550 BC). You will be building up the basic chronological framework of Egyptian history in general and of the period studied in particular, as well as familiarise yourself with Egyptian historical sources and their overall character.
At the same time, you will gain an insight into Egyptian art history and monumental architecture of the period studied, which is essential in analysing and understanding ancient Egyptian elite culture. 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 artistic and monumental canon reflecting the values, beliefs, and worldview of the Pharaonic high society during its first 1500 years.
The course runs at 100% over weeks 36–40 of the fall semester, and there are normally three lectures a week. It will start with scene-setting introductory sessions on the land of Egypt and its topography, sources and chronology, and the basic principles of Egyptian art and architecture. After this, the following lectures will take you through the dawn of the Egyptian civilisation and artistic canon and the so-called Old Kingdom (ca. 2680–2150 BC) when the greatest pyramids were built by kings such as Kheops, and the elite constructed tombs that are still the wonder to all visitors. This era was followed by a period of political and cultural disintegration and civil war known as the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2150–2050 BC). After this, you will study the history and artistic output of the re-unified and bellicose Egypt under the so-called Middle Kingdom (2050–1650 BC). The course will end with a look at the following Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1650–1550 BC) when Egypt was once again politically divided, in the grips of internal strife, and partly ruled by foreign kings.