The Celts – week 1

One of the interesting things to learn about the Celts is how they influenced English, and where, exactly, the Celtic language comes from.  Although some of these branches are extinct, scientists are using statistical methods to try and learn words in vanished languages.

Celtic and the history of the English Language

News article: Celtic found to have ancient roots

About languages and the roots of the Celtic language

DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group

List of Celtic Tribes


The Crusades

The Crusades are a complex event that is usually reduced to a few facts in most source:  Christians took back Jerusalem, Richard the Lionhearted fought and was captured, somebody named Saladin fought, and in the end it all came out all right.  In reality, this is one of the most complex historical areas, involving as many as 50 nation-states as combatants, up to 500 years of history (depending on what you count as a “crusade”) several sects of two main religions (who each fought for different things) and difficult to obtain sources in many languages, including Arabic.

Week 4 Links

Dhimmi (Wikipedia) and Oxford University Material on Dhimmi

Jewish Virtual Library on Jews and the Crusades

CNN article about the True Cross

The 5th Crusade


Week 3 Links

Medieval foods
Catholic Encyclopedia on Pope Innocent III
Wikipedia on Pope Innocent III
The Cathars and Cathar Crusade
The Third Crusade – Richard and Saladin
The 13th Century (“Century of the Stirrup”)


Week 2 Links

Interactive map of the Crusades
The Rules of the Order of the Knights Templar
Documentary Podcast on the Knights Templar
Crusades and concept of “A Just War”

The Horrible Histories Channel

The Reading list


This is not every book written by Egyptologists on Egypt — or even most of the books.  But these books are ones by authors who are recommended or suggested by my professors.

Some of them have papers that can be found in one of the largest online resources of free ebooks: the University of Memphis’ digital collection on Egyptology:


The List

Allen, J. P. 2005. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. Writings from the Ancient World. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. (This is a book that I have found very valuable when discussing pyramids and what we know about the pharaohs of that time)

Allen, J. P. 2000. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Andrews, C. 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Arnold, D. 2003. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Assmann, J. 2001. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. D. Lorton, transl. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Assmann, J. 2002. The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs. A. Jenkins, transl. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co.

Baines, J. and J. Málek 1980. Atlas of Ancient Egypt.

Bard, K. A. and S. B. Shubert, Eds. 1999. Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. London: Routledge.

Cohen, R. and R. Westbook, Eds. 2000. Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginning of International Relations. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Collier, M. and B. Manley 1998. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself. London/Los Angeles/Berkeley: University of California Press. (This is my favorite book on hieroglyphs)

Dodson, A. and D. Hilton 2004. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames and Hudson

Faulkner, R. O. 1977. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts. (3 Vols.) Warminster: Aris and Philips (This is one of the classic texts).

Faulkner, R. O. and C. Andrews 1985. The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Austin: University of Texas Press/British Museum

Fischer, H. G., Ed. 1977. Ancient Egypt in the Metropolitan Museum Journal. Volumes 1-11 (1968-1976). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.(Some brilliant articles.)

Frankfort, H. 1978 (1948). Kingship and the Gods. A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.

Gardiner, A. H. 2005 (1957). Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. Third Ed., Revised. Oxford: Griffith Institute. (this is a textbook and is a bit intimidating to read but necessary if you want to learn hieroglyphs)

Grimal, N. 1992. A History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Hart, G. 1986. A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. London: Routledge/Kegan Paul.

Hoffman, M. A. 1979. Egypt Before the Pharaohs: Prehistoric Foundations of Egyptian Civilization. London/New York: Routledge-KPI/Knopf.

Hornung, E. 1982. Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many. J. Baines, transl. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Hornung, E. 1999. The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife. D. Lorton, transl. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Janssen, R. M. and J. J. Janssen 2007. Growing Up and Getting Old in Ancient Egypt. London: Golden House Publications.

Kemp, B. J. 1989. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. London: Routledge. (Often used as the textbook for introductory classes)

Lesko, L. H. 1972. The Ancient Egyptian Book of Two Ways. University of California Publications: Near Eastern Studies 17. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Michalowski, K. 1969. Art of Ancient Egypt. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Oren, E., Ed. 1997. The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives. University Museum Monograph 90/University Museum Symposium Series 8. Philadelphia: University Museum/University of Pennnsylvania

Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian mythology: A guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, 2002.

Quirke, S. 1992. Ancient Egyptian Religion. London: British Museum Press.

Redford, D. B., Ed. 2002. The Ancient Gods Speak: A Guide to Egyptian Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ritner, R. K. 1993. The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization (SAOC) 54. Chicago: Oriental Institute.

Robins, G. 1993. Women in Ancient Egypt. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Robins, G. 1994. Proportion and Style in Ancient Egyptian Art. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Robins, G. 1997. The Art of Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press.

Shafer, B. E., Ed. 1991. Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Shafer, B. E., Ed. 1997. Temples of Ancient Egypt. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Teeter, E. 2011. Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt. New York: Cambridge University Press. (A good and fast reference for ancient Egyptian religious practice.)

Tyldesley, J. 2000. Judgment of the Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt. London: Phoenix. (A fascinating book!  I’m possibly a bit prejudiced, since she’s my professor.)

Tyldesley, Joyce. Daughters of Isis: women of ancient Egypt. Penguin Uk, 1995.
Tyldesley, Joyce. Cleopatra: last queen of Egypt. Profile Books, 2011.

Wilkinson, R. H. 1994. Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art. London: Thames and Hudson.

Wilkinson, R. H. 2000. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Wilkinson, R. H. 2003. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames and Hudson.

Wilkinson, Richard H., ed. Egyptology today. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Ziegler, C., Ed. 2008. Queens of Egypt: From Hetepheres to Cleopatra. Monaco: Grimaldi Forum.

Egyptology Books on Amazon

List of Online Libraries with Egyoptology publications Online Libraries

While these aren’t all of the books on Egyptology, they’re ones that I found useful and fun.  Although some of these are written by my professors and some are old classics, the books here share one thing in common:  they’re easy to read and full of lots of juicy tidbits that you can’t wait to tell your friends and family about!


Fiction: Any of the Amelia Peabody books — all of them, in fact!

Here’s the book that I use in the Egyptian Art classes:
Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture

Feeling ambitious?  Want to learn hieroglyphs?  Start here!
How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself, Revised Edition

My Favorite Books

Favorite hieroglyphs book:

I like this because it’s practical.  No, you’re not going to learn the language, but you can do a lot of fun things with some simple hieroglyphs!   It has everything from pet names to names you can give your house, as well as some odd and obscure insults that you can create.

  Egyptian Magic

This is one of those topics that I thought I studied back in the 1960’s and 1970’s – only to find out that most of what I thought I knew had been made up by the Victorians.  This book, by famed Egyptologist Geraldine Pinch sets the record straight about the magical beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.  The idea of magic (Heka) was interwoven in all aspects of their lives, and everyone from the Pharaoh to the lowest peasant used it.

Tombs and Temples

Elizabeth Peters, author of the Amelia Peabody books was a real Egyptologist – and one who knew how to write for the general public. This is one of several books that she wrote, and is considered a standard reference book for classes.

Gods and Goddesses

Geraldine Pinch again, and this time on the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. The full list of gods, goddesses, and spirits is well over 1,000 individual names and tends to get confusing very quickly. Pinch has listed the most important ones and given as much of their history as we know.


Jesus and Horus


Horus on wooden shrine

Earlier this week someone posted a graphic on my timeline from a group that claimed that the source for the story of Jesus Christ was actually derived from the Egyptian god, Horus.  The first startling claim was that both Horus and Jesus were born on December 25 and the image went on to list several other things they had in common.

An article by the Ontario consultants on the website, “Religious Tolerance” gives an extensive, 2 page list of claimed similarities:

bullet Conception:

bullet God was his father. This was believed to be literally true in the case of Osiris-Dionysus; their God came to earth and engaged in sexual intercourse with a human. The father of Jesus is God in the form of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
bullet A human woman, a virgin, was his mother.
bullet Birth:

bullet He was born in a cave or cowshed. Luke 2:7 mentions that Jesus was placed in a manger – an eating trough for animals. One early Christian tradition said that the manger was in a cave.
bullet His birth was prophesized by a star in the heavens.
bullet Ministry:

bullet At a marriage ceremony, he performed the miracle of converting water into wine.
bullet He was powerless to perform miracles in his home town.
bullet His followers were born-again through baptism in water.
bullet He rode triumphantly into a city on a donkey. Tradition records that the inhabitants waved palm leaves.
bullet He had 12 disciples.
bullet He was accused of licentious behavior.
bullet Execution, resurrection, etc:

bullet He was killed near the time of the Vernal Equinox, about MAR-21.
bullet He died “as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. 1
bullet He was hung on a tree, stake, or cross. 
bullet After death, he descended into hell.
bullet On the third day after his death, he returned to life.
bullet The cave where he was laid was visited by three of his female followers
bullet He later ascended to heaven.
bullet His titles:

bullet God made flesh.
bullet Savior of the world.
bullet Son of God.
bullet Beliefs about the God-man:

bullet He is “God made man,” and equal to the Father.
bullet He will return in the last days.
bullet He will judge the human race at that time.
bullet Humans are separated from God by original sin. The god-man’s sacrificial death reunites the believer with God and atones for the original sin


This continues on to another page:

So how do the claims stack up against the facts?  Well, the part about Jesus and Horus being born on the same day is true.  What’s overlooked is that it’s a coincidence.  The Egyptian religion was pretty much dead at the time that Christian authorities declared December 25th to be Jesus’ birthday — which is actually based on being nine months from the feast of his conception day (March 25th).

* Horus is the son of a god AND a goddess (not a human woman.)
* Horus was born while his mother was in hiding.  No stars appeared.
* There was no prophecy about his birth.
* His birth was attended by his aunt, Nepthys — but not by anyone else.
* Horus never performed miracles.
* There was no tradition of baptism in any Egyptian religion.
* Horus didn’t have followers.
* Horus wasn’t accused of licentious behavior.
* Horus wasn’t killed.  His father, Osiris, was killed.
* None of the listed beliefs was anything that anyone believed about Horus or any Egyptian god.
* Horus was never resurrected.
* Horus isn’t the judge of the dead.  The dead are judged against the feather of Ma’at, and Anubis (not Horus) balances the scales.

The basic Horus myth is that his parents, Osiris and Isis, were two of the gods created by the god Amun.  Osiris’ brother, Set, was jealous of him and arranged his death.  Isis found her husband’s body and resurrected Osiris and at that point she was impregnated by Osiris.  She went into hiding to escape Set, and gave birth to Horus.  Horus as an adult avenged his father in combat and in trial before the gods.

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