Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Historian as Raconteur I'm no Egyptologist, so it's entirely possible that historical flaws sailed right over my head. All I know is, this course was fun. First, Professor Brier drops fascinating tidbit after fascinating tidbit: about what Egypt was, about daily life, about religion, about art (and the Egyptian concept of "art"), about the peculiarities of royal marriage and succession, and more. Second, Professor Brier is skilled at the art of storytelling. He constructs compelling narratives, understands "hooks" (trivial but attention-grabbing details), and likes to end lectures on a cliffhanger. He even explores a fascinating if (as he freely acknowledges) far from settled potential murder mystery. Third is Professor Brier's style. This may put some people off, but for me it was a major plus. Despite being a highly regarded and credentialed authority, he comes across as that jovial Jewish uncle from Manhattan whose visits you lived for as a kid. His lecture style is friendly, warm, enthusiastic and often humorous. His voice has a smile in it. With only twelve lectures covering more than three thousand years of history, this is of necessity an almost ridiculously cursory glance over a vast historical landscape. That's why I'm glad Prof. Brier focused on a handful of key personalities and eras. I can't speak to the visuals because I bought the audio version. But with Prof. Brier, the joy is in the listening anyway. So look at it as a fun introduction to ancient Egypt, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Date published: 2021-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brier is a joy to listen to An animated and expressive speaker, Brier is a very refreshing rarity for a lecturing professor in contemporary times. His passion for the topic shines through - with little or no 'social justice dogma' to push on the audience (a very refreshing novelty these days of SJW and Marxist indoctrination in academia).
Date published: 2021-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent lectures Excellent lectures with great choice of topics to present a fascinating overview of Ancient Egypt
Date published: 2021-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really liked this. I learned a lot and found the different Pharaohs to have been selected for very appropriate reasons. My only regret was that there were not more Pharaohs discussed.
Date published: 2020-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The beginning of civilizations was here Professor Brier is passionate about his topic and It’s fun to listen and watch his presentation.
Date published: 2020-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent class, excellent professor I found this to be a great survey of Egyptian history told through the stories of significant kings and queens. Prof. Brier's knowledge base is vast and he conveys it with a light touch. I thought this was an outstanding value and one of my favorite courses.
Date published: 2020-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Egypt We have a trip planned to Cairo next year, COVID willing, and the course was therefore very enlightening.
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome presentation! I absolutely enjoyed this course. The professor is very knowledgeable about Ancient Egypt's rulers.The way he weaves the narrative will have you sitting at the edge of your seat. It was an eye opening and very informative presentation. I finished these lectures in two days. It was so good.
Date published: 2020-06-06
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Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
Course Trailer
King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
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.


The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Long Island University

About Bob Brier

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.

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