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Paperback Mummies, Myth and Magic in Ancient Egypt Book

ISBN: 0500275793

ISBN13: 9780500275795

Mummies, Myth and Magic in Ancient Egypt

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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List Price $18.95

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Book Overview

Describes the origins and purpose of mummification, clears up misconceptions about mummies, and looks at recent scientific studies.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

What a Buy!

This book looks like new! I saved money and the book is in great condition. The seller was very helpful.


This book is fascinating to say the least! When I first got it I spent an hour flipping though looking at pictures and reading the captions. When I finally got around to reading the 'book part' it was even more intriguing. Some might be unnerved by the pictures of the mummies, and its hard not to be with some of them (pg 66 for example ;) But I was glad to finally see what alot of other books only describe. This book is an excellent buy for the price. Great for those with an interest in Egyptian traditions/history and in mummies in general. Strong stomach recommended ;)

Fascinating, Scholarly Study with Amazing Photos

I looked for a book on mummies after seeing the excellent television documentary hosted by Egyptologist Dr. Bob Brier. I saw this book and was a little skeptical. The title "Mummies, Myth, and Magic" sounded like a book that may sacrifice scholarship for a more mainstream account to appeal to those wanting to read about mummy curses, etc. I could not resist the fascinating photos in this book, so I bought it despite my reluctance over the title. I soon realized I was wrong to be the least bit skeptical. It is a very scholarly account by an obvious expert in the field. Christine El Mahdy details how mummies were buried during different periods; the mummification techniques; how Egyptians bargained with, communicated with, and regarded their various gods; animal cults, etc. A short section on the "curse" of the tombs is included at the end and is expertly written: "...the dead positively welcomed the living. Their immortality depended on the survival of their name..." (174). The author assumes nothing in her analysis and gives a clear, erudite account of every subject examined. She offers an excellent description of what it was like for a robber or collector like Giovanni Belzoni to enter a tomb. She also explains what information can be gathered from mummies; from age and health to the duties Egyptians had under certain titles. The illustrations in this book make it a must for the serious Egyptologist to the casual enthusiast. Symbolism and the design of sample tombs are clearly diagrammed. The photos and x-rays of mummies are fascinating. There is a disturbing photo of an unknown mummy that some witnesses to its discovery believe was buried alive that will stick with you long after you put down this book. In addition, a chronology of the different dynasties is included at the beginning of this book which is essential for readers like me who have a very limited background on Egyptian history. What impressed me most of all was the deep respect the author demonstrated towards this subject: "Few of the living were ever permitted even to gaze for long upon the face of a pharaoh--so perhaps it is presumptuous to demand more of them dead than they gave when alive" (91).

Just read it! :)

"Mummies, Myth, and Magic" explores practically all facets of its chosen subject matter: burial, preparation, symbolism, even the excavators charged with elaborating on all of the above. The essays spent on modern mummy examinations are fascinating, not to mention the fabulous photography. The affect of various periods in Egyptian history--such as the Intermediate periods and the Amarna period--on the country's religious beliefs/expectations is also discussed. Oh, enough with my being well-spoken.... Just read it! :)

Great for both the mildly interested and avid Egyptologist.

Even if you just want a peek at the eternally preserved rulers of Eqypt that lived and died centuries ago, or if you are seeking to expand your knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture, this book is for you. It is chock-full of amazing photos of mummies (both human and animal) and Egyptian art, and even a few mummy X-rays. This book will surprise and perhaps creep you out, but it will not bore you. The text is engaging and well-written; you'll be edified without even knowing it.
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