Ancient Egypt at Howard University
Egyptian Civilization
Ann Macy Roth
Department of Classics

home.gif (9985 bytes) Egyptian Civilization is a general survey of the history and culture of Ancient Egypt, as well as the multidisciplinary approaches that allow them to be reconstructed.  After an introductory series of slide-lectures surveying the history of pharaonic civilization, the course moves on to consider more specifically archaeological, technological, religious, literary, and other types of evidence to acquire a well-rounded view of the ancient Egyptian Civilization and its achievements.  The course is offered in alternate years

 Syllabus (Spring 1998)


(Introduction to Egyptology)
Howard University - Spring 1998

105-122-01 - Wednesdays, 5:10-7:30 p.m. - Locke Hall 244
Instructor: Dr. Ann Macy Roth
Locke Hall 266; 806-5221; e-mail
Office Hours: T-Th: 12:30-2; by appointment T-Th before 9:30 and Wednesday


The course offers an overview of the history and the culture of ancient Egypt and the academic field of Egyptology. Its aims are three-fold: students should become familiar with the evidence left by ancient Egyptian civilization; they should understand the various disciplinary approaches within Egyptology that contribute to our knowledge of ancient Egypt's culture and development; and they should be aware of the scholarly resources available for anyone wishing to pursue more specialized topics within the field.


Why Study Egyptology?


The classes will consist of lectures (usually illustrated with slides), followed by discussion of questions arising from them and from the accompanying readings (which will be in both secondary literature and translated original sources). The lectures will begin with a historical survey, followed by a series of short units addressing various aspects of Egyptian culture and the history of their study. Each lecture will be accompanied by an annotated bibliography for further reading, should the student wish to pursue the subject.

Required books

Museum - S. Quirke & J. Spencer, The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt, London, 1992
Simpson - W. K. Simpson, Literature of Ancient Egypt, New Haven, 1972
Donadoni - Sergio Donadoni, ed., The Egyptians, Chicago, 1997

Recommended book:

John Baines and Jaromír Málek, An Atlas of Ancient Egypt, New York, 1980

Course Requirements

In addition to background reading assignments and participation in classes, two very short directed assignments (to help in assimilating the material) will be required and the topic, outline and draft of the term paper will be handed in (10% of grade). A research paper of 8-10 pages and a supplementary bibliography, investigating a more specific topic will be completed in stages (30% of grade). There will be three 1/2 hour quizzes (30% of grade--all quizzes will count towards grade) and a final exam (30% of grade).

Schedule of Lectures and Readings

Readings should be done before the lecture.

Week 1: January 14
Land and people; brief history of Egyptology

Week 2: January 21
Framework - Predynastic period - Archaic Period - Old Kingdom
-- Museum: 11-38; Simpson: 159-176 (Ptahhotep); Donadoni: 283-314 (The Pharaoh)

Week 3: January 28
1st Intermediate period - Middle Kingdom - 2nd Intermediate period - neighbors
-- Museum: 38-40; Simpson: 57-74 (Story of Sinhue); Donadoni: 221-253 (Foreigners)

Week 4: February 4
New Kingdom - 3rd Intermediate Period - Renaissance
-- Museum: 40-48; Simpson: 77-84 (Apophis; Joppa); Donadoni: 151-184 (Soldiers)

Week 5: February 11
Persian and Graeco-Roman periods - Byzantine - Islamic conquest
-- Museum: 48-57; Simpson: 142-155; Donadoni: 185-219 (Slaves)
(Term paper topic due)

Week 6: February 18
QUIZ; Language and Writing (Term paper topic and provisional outline due)
-- Museum: 118-147; Simpson: 343-347; Donadoni: 87-119 (Bureaucrats)

Week 7: February 25
-- Simpson: 201-233 (Lamentations), 31-49 (Eloquent Peasant); Donadoni: 61-85 (Scribes)
(Hieroglyphs exercise due)

Week 8: March 4
Science, mathematics, and technology
-- Museum: 164-191; Donadoni: 31-59 (Craftsmen)

Week 9: March 11
-- Museum: 58-85; Simpson: 108-126; Donadoni: 121-150 (Priests)
(Term paper outline & bibliography due)

Week 10: March 18
Mortuary beliefs
-- Museum: 86-117; Simpson: 269-278; Donadoni: 255-281 (The Dead)


Week 11: April 1
QUIZ; Family structure and social organization
-- Simpson: 296-326; Donadoni: 315-346 (Women)

Week 12: April 8
Work and Leisure (Final Term paper due)
-- Simpson: 329-336 (Satire on the Trades); Donadoni: 1-30 (Peasants)
(Term paper draft due)

Week 13: April 15
Art and Architecture
-- Museum: 148-163

Week 14: April 22
QUIZ; Archaeology and excavations; Foreign relations;
-- Museum: 192-219; (Map exercise due)

Week 15: April 29
(Final Term paper due)

Final Exam: Friday, May 1 5-7 pm