The Pharaoh

The Pharaoh

Life at Court and on Campaign

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The pharaoh is the iconic ruler from the ancient world, immortalized in stoneand gold and celebrated today in countless films and books. But how did thesemonarchs--mortals who lived and died like anyone else--spend their days? Howdid they become pharaoh? How did they govern and how were they entertained?In this vividly written and authoritative account, Garry Shaw conveys the fullexperience of what it was like to be pharaoh, from birth to death, in private andin public, at court and on campaign, and shows how a uniquely Egyptian visionof kingship, with its complex ideology and regalia, evolved. We follow dailyevents, from waking up in the palace to evenings spent banqueting; in between,the king acted as lawmaker, judge, and priest. The most important ceremoniesare compellingly described, including accession, coronation, and the royal funeral,as well as the pomp and protocol of an audience before the monarch.Supplemented by numerous box features, from the internal decoration ofpyramids and the women who became pharaoh to pharaonic pets, as well asquotations from contemporary sources and a king list with brief biographiesof all the major pharaohs, this beautifully illustrated volume provides a comprehensiveinsight into the Egyptian pharaoh and his world.
Publisher: London : Thames & Hudson, 2012
ISBN: 9780500051740
Branch Call Number: 932.01 SHA 2012
Characteristics: 224 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), col. maps ; 26 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 23, 2017

Seems to cover all pharaoh's from pre-dynastic times to Roman times. Each chapter shows an aspect of a pharaoh's life and death and how these changed over time. Very readable. Good for browsing too. Colorful illustrations of artifacts bring the topic of each chapter to life. Extensive reading list for every chapter, which would be more useful for academic students than the average public library user.

Aug 11, 2014

Not much of this will be new for people who've read a lot about ancient Egypt, and no topic is covered in great depth, but it's convenient to have it all in one place. The first chapter discusses how the institution of kingship emerged at the start of Egyptian history. This chapter includes a brief but balanced summary of how much of a god the king was considered to be. The second chapter is a basic history of ancient Egypt from its unification to the start of the Greco-Roman period. The third examines the process of becoming king: who succeeded to the throne (including both princes and usurpers), how princes were raised, and the coronation rituals. Next is a description of the pharaoh's daily life and duties, including such details as the layout of palaces, the organization of the government, and the role of queens. The fifth chapter, "The Pharaoh on Campaign", is a bit revisionist, because it argues that even kings like Thutmose III and Ramesses II who claimed to have fought in battle were probably a safe distance from the action, given the lack of war wounds on their mummies.

I particularly like the chapter on royal cities, partly because it makes a point that too many books on ancient Egypt don't: there was no single capital of Egypt. Except perhaps in the Old Kingdom, which was heavily centered on Memphis, the court moved around periodically to palaces and way-stations all over the country. Certain cities were in favor at different times, though, and the chapter examines several of the most important: Memphis, Thebes, Amarna, and Pi-Ramesses, with briefer treatment of Itjtawy, Tanis, Bubastis, and Sais. I'm also thankful for the discussion and map of Memphis's layout, because it was the most important city in ancient Egypt but isn't as well understood as Thebes.

The penultimate chapter treats the familiar topics of royal tombs and burial rites. The last one is devoted to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, which many popular books about ancient Egypt leave out. It discusses the history of the country under the Ptolemies (with a sidebar on Alexandria, the last of the royal cities) before discussing the Roman emperors' awkward relationship with their role as pharaoh. The book acknowledges that only six emperors ever set foot in Egypt, but it points out that Diocletian, the last of the six, was the last emperor whose regnal years were counted by the Egyptian priesthoods and thus, in a sense, the last pharaoh.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCL

To Top