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Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Learn what made Egypt great, what finally brought about its downfall, and why it remains imbedded in our minds today.
Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 218.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming course! I totally loved this course! I chose it to prepare for a trip to Egypt in five months, but ended up binge-watching the twelve lectures in ten days! Professor Brier made his subject alive and accessible in spite of the historical distance and unfamiliar names. He talked a little too fast at times, which is where the Guidebook came in handy. Compared with the lectures, the Guidebook was dry-as-dust, and could use better editing. But the copious bibliography at the end is nicely annotated. I liked the informal approach in these lectures—the lecturer seems to be talking to an actual class, though the glimpse we have at the beginning looked like dummies—it’s preferable to having the speaker stare into the camera, as is done in so many other Great Lectures. Prof. Brier wears the same shirt throughout, so I wonder if all 12 lectures were recorded in a single day. But for me the ½ hour length of each lecture was just right.
Date published: 2024-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Course! My wife and I purchased this course to educate ourselves prior to a trip to Egypt and are very happy we did. Dr. Brier is extremely engaging and interesting as he works his way through the Pharaohs of Egypt. His teaching style is perfect for the subject matter as he always explains what is known for certain and what are hypotheses based upon the known evidence. My wife and I enjoyed the class so much we purchased one of his other courses "Ancient Egypt".
Date published: 2024-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wet Your Toes: Great Introductory Course This little gem was released in 2004, five years after Professor Brier’s extensive Egyptian history course (48-lectures) that appeared in 1999. And I think this would be mostly redundant for those who have viewed that course. But as in introduction, and to whet your interest, it is excellent. Because the nine pharaohs discussed in this survey course cover a 3000-year span of history, one can get a rough idea of Egyptian chronology and also a sense of whether one enjoys the professor’s style of delivery. I totally enjoyed his chatty enthusiasm; his passion for his subject was contagious. This is very “old school” Teaching Company with the professor standing behind a lectern and addressing a classroom. One pleasingly curious aspect of this course is that one actually feels like they are in a college classroom as Professor Brier does seem to be addressing different students and he occasionally refers to notes. (According to my research, these early series were actually recorded in front of a “studio audience.”) Personally, I truly prefer this format to the current use of teleprompters. There are some excellent visuals, and for the lecture on Sneferu, these are almost essential to understanding the evolution of pyramids. The course guidebook has short (3-page) synopses of each lecture, map, timeline, glossary, and bibliography.
Date published: 2024-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wet Your Toes: Great Introductory Course This little gem was released in 2004, five years after Professor Brier’s extensive Egyptian history course (48-lectures) that appeared in 1999. Because the nine pharaohs discussed in this survey course cover a 3000-year span of history, one can get a rough idea of Egyptian chronology and also a sense of whether one enjoys the professor’s style of delivery. I totally enjoyed his chatty enthusiasm; his passion for his subject was contagious. This is very “old school” Teaching Company with the professor standing behind a lectern and addressing a classroom. One pleasingly curious aspect of this course is that one actually feels like they are in a college classroom as Professor Brier does seem to be addressing different students and he occasionally refers to notes. (According to my research, these early series were recorded in front of a “studio audience.”) Personally, I truly prefer this format to the current use of teleprompters. There are some excellent visuals, and for the lecture on Sneferu, these are almost essential to understanding the evolution of pyramids. The course guidebook has short (3-page) synopses of each lecture, map, timeline, glossary, and bibliography.
Date published: 2024-04-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dated and Lacking in Substance Although he is a very engaging presenter, the subject of each Pharaoh is glossed over. He states that we will get to these great kings as people rather than just rulers of Egypt, yet we never really come to grips with this. The amount of real information or investigation is slim indeed, often just a single data point that he extrapolates from. From what I can find out, this course is over 20 years old, and the findings and theories he postulates have since been disproved as more information has been found. As an entertaining set of lectures, I think you can't go wrong, but to actually learn something from this, there is not much to be gained.
Date published: 2024-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic storytelling! I felt like I was watching a movie while Professor Brier gave the lessons; I was transfixed. It was just so entertaining to learn about the facts about Egypt. So glad I chose this course and highly recommend it to anyone who thought that Egypt was just about pyramids and mummies. Thank you for this course Prof. Brier!
Date published: 2023-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Course Professor Brier weaves a great history of Egypt by focusing on key pharaohs. I took this course in preparation for a cruise tour through Egypt, and I could not be more pleased with every single lesson.
Date published: 2023-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course And Incredible Teacher A course taught by someone who genuinely LOVES the stuff he teaches = an amazing experience. You can see the professor's face light up when he teaches and that alone makes this a 5 star course. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2023-07-13
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Overview

No great civilization continues to speak to us like that of ancient Egypt. Yet what made Egypt great were the individuals who ruled it. Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt recounts the lives and accomplishments of great leaders such as Tutankhamen, Ramses the Great, and Cleopatra. Professor Bob Brier, an acclaimed Egyptologist, presents a veritable 30-century history of Egypt that peers into almost every aspect of ancient Egyptian life. You'll learn what made Egypt great, what finally brought about its downfall, and why it remains imbedded in our minds today. By the end of the course, you'll feel a stronger connection with the men and women who made Egypt the greatest nation of the ancient world.

About

Bob Brier

To a great extent, the fun of history is in the details. Knowing what kind of wine Tutankhamen preferred makes him come alive.

INSTITUTION

Long Island University

Dr. Bob Brier is an Egyptologist and Senior Research Fellow at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. He earned his bachelor's degree from Hunter College and Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Brier has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar and has received Long Island University's David Newton Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of his achievements as a lecturer. He has served as Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities' Egyptology Today program. In 1994, Dr. Brier became the first person in 2,000 years to mummify a human cadaver in the ancient Egyptian style. This research was the subject of a National Geographic television special, Mr. Mummy. Dr. Brier is also the host of The Learning Channel's series The Great Egyptians. Professor Brier is the author of Ancient Egyptian Magic (1980), Egyptian Mummies (1994), Encyclopedia of Mummies (1998), The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story (1998), Daily Life in Ancient Egypt (1999), and numerous scholarly articles.

By This Professor

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
854
History of Ancient Egypt
854
King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt

01: King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt

This lecture discusses how Narmer, Egypt's first king, unified Upper and Lower Egypt and how the world's first nation came to dominate the Near East for thousands of years.

33 min
Sneferu—The Pyramid Builder

02: Sneferu—The Pyramid Builder

The founder of Egypt's "Fabulous Fourth" Dynasty oversaw the beginning of true pyramid construction, Egypt's rise to international power, and the establishment of artistic standards that would last for millennia.

30 min
Hatshepsut—Female Pharaoh

03: Hatshepsut—Female Pharaoh

This lecture examines the life of one of the greatest individuals in Egyptian history, and discusses why her name was systematically erased from Egyptian records.

30 min
Akhenaten—Heretic Pharaoh

04: Akhenaten—Heretic Pharaoh

The reign of Egypt's most enigmatic and controversial ruler illustrates the consequences of attempting to alter all three of Egypt's fundamental societal pillars: religion, the military, and the role of pharaoh.

30 min
Tutankhamen—The Lost Pharaoh

05: Tutankhamen—The Lost Pharaoh

This lecture details the fascinating events—including the first car wreck in Britain—that led to the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen.

31 min
Tutankhamen—A Murder Theory

06: Tutankhamen—A Murder Theory

Professor Bob Brier presents his own research suggesting that Tutankhamen was murdered, showing what can be learned from the autopsy of a mummy.

30 min
Ramses the Great—The Early Years

07: Ramses the Great—The Early Years

Ramses II ruled for 67 years and was one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs, warriors, and builders.

30 min
Ramses the Great—The Twilight Years

08: Ramses the Great—The Twilight Years

The last 40 years of Ramses's reign differed markedly from his glorious beginning. This lecture examines the changes in his personality, as well as the assertion that he was the pharaoh of the biblical exodus.

31 min
The Great Nubians—Egypt Restored

09: The Great Nubians—Egypt Restored

In the twilight of Egypt's history, the once-dominated land of Nubia fought its way north to defend Egypt from invaders. Under the new rule of five great kings, the Nubians restored much of Egypt's glory.

30 min
Alexander the Great—Anatomy of a Legend

10: Alexander the Great—Anatomy of a Legend

The rule of Alexander began 300 years of Greek control of Egypt. This lecture examines the three major stages of Alexander's career: young general, pharaoh, and legend.

30 min
The First Ptolemies—Greek Greatness

11: The First Ptolemies—Greek Greatness

This lecture examines the beginning of the end for ancient Egyptian civilization, beginning with the rule of the first Ptolemies, who ran Egypt "like a business" and whose great achievements were purely Greek conceptions.

30 min
Cleopatra—The Last Pharaoh

12: Cleopatra—The Last Pharaoh

Although she was at one time probably the most famous woman in the world, Cleopatra remains an enigma. We reconstruct her history: before Caesar, after Caesar, and with Marc Antony.

31 min