Ancient Egypt Bibliography

4000 BC to 500 BC

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

Search for Books at
Search by:

Baines, John, & Jaromir Malek

Cultural Atlas of the World: Ancient Egypt *****!
1984; now from Facts on File; 240 pgs, oversize, bibliography, index
Fulfills your daily research requirements for superb maps, city plans (with Egyptian rather than Greek names), excellent glossy photography of ruins, art, and artifacts, king lists, and a general coverage of history and life. T1

Budge, Sir A. E. Wallis

Amulets and Superstitions ***
Oxford University Press, London, 1930; now from Dover
Massive, decently illustrated, covering amulets, symbols, and objects from all over the Mideast, Near East, and Africa, from Sumeria to modern Arabs. Chapter Five is ancient Egyptian amulets. T3
Dwellers on the Nile ****
now from Dover
Nice book on Egyptian culture and life. T2
The Egyptian Book of the Dead ****
now from Dover
Explicates in detail the rituals and beliefs about the afterlife, but frankly, most of you are writing about live people, and this is a tomb text. T3
An Egyptian Heiroglyphic Dictionary ***
now from Dover
Two volumes, valuable only if you want to describe the precise symbols used, probably as seen by the illiterate or foreign. More useful if you are in a different period finding Egyptian artefacts. T3
Egyptian Language: Easy Lessons in Egyptian Heiroglyphs *****!
Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., London, 1910; now from Dover
Superb first book for the student! I was starting to write within half an hour of starting this. Crystalline! Many texts in translation, many special glossary lists. This may be the only book you need on the subject. T2
Egyptian Magic ****
now from Dover
Nice coverage of what is always a lurking thread in the mind of your characters. T2
The Gods of the Egyptians ****
2 volumes; now from Dover
Good guide to a big pantheon. T2
Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection ****
now from Dover
Probably a better guide to religion that any translation of the Book of the Dead. T3

Buehr, Walter

Warrior's Weapons ****
Crowell, NY, 1963; illustrated by author
Good on early and non-ferrous metallurgy, including the development of sickle-swords and early longswords with pointing rather than tight-fist grip. Simply, pleasantly written. T2

Carpenter, Rhys, Edith Hamilton, William Hayes, et al

Everyday Life in Ancient Times; Highlights of the Beginnings of Western Civilization in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome **
National Geographic Society, NY, 1964; 368 pg, index
Some small problems in the paintings: he shows the sheath dress with the bodice used only as straps, baring the breasts. This is a silly convention of Egyptian painting, like giving people two right feet or eyes that point perpendicular to the nose. Ushabti figures and other sculpture show that the broad straps always covered the breast. Text pretty good. T1

David, Rosalie

The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt; A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh's Workforce *****!
Brilliant and edifying interpretation of the daily life of the common people of Kahun, a "company town" for pyramid-constructed work levies during the non-farming season. Good corrective for both the "oppressed Israelite" and "Gods from flying saucers" views of pyramid building. T1

Dodson, Aidan

Monarchs of the Nile ****
Rubicon, London
Biographies and dynasties from 3000 BC to the turn of eras. T2

Erman, Adolf

Life in Ancient Egypt ****
now from Dover
A good general overview. T2

Fairservis, Walter A.

The Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile and the Doomed Monuments of Nubia ***
Thomas Y. Crowell, NY, 1962
Deals with technology, structures, and attitudes, also somewhat with warfare. Heavily Nubian orientation, and gives the same to Pharaonic culture. Written before the high dam at Aswan was commissioned, and relates several of the proposed plans to save Abu Simbel. T2

Gardner Wilkinson, John

The Ancient Egyptians: Their Life and Customs ****
In two volumes (419 & 438 pgs), covers all aspects of private and public life, but like many older books is light on the female half of the population; good if used with Tyndesley. T3

Griffith, F. Ll., and Herbert Thompson, editors

The Leyden Papyrus: An Egyptian Magical Book ***
Dover Publications, NY
My, but magical books are boring! Take this a spell or two at a time, and even though it is 3rd century CE, when you compare it to the stuff in Majno for healing magic, you will start getting the hang of how your Egyptian thaumaturge spends time. T3

Gonen, Rivka

Weapons of the Ancient World *
Casell, London, 1975
Interesting theories sometimes have little or no basis in fact. Shapes, but no sizes or weights. Knows archery not at all. Okay to look at, but not worth the trouble to carry home. T3

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Heath, Ernest Gerald

The Grey Goose Wing ***
New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, CN, 1971
Excellent history of the bow. T2

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Historical half has a goodly Egyptian chapter, besides many of the contemporaneous foreigners, like Assyrians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, etc. The Egyptian chapter has pick lists, fill-in-the-blank, "theophoric" formula names for the Deities of your choice, and a short vocabulary for "profane" names for commoners. T1

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
now from Dover
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on sculpture and artwork. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book. T1

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1975
Heavy research and testing, too, to see how well period practices actually worked. Fascinating reading. Among others, covers classic medicine of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. T1

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
A handy, small book, showing who rules what when, in the stretch from Persia to the Atlantic, from prehistory to about 300 CE. T1

Pawlicki, T. B.

How to Build a Flying Saucer, and Other Proposals in Speculative Engineering
Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1981
"Megalithic Engineering: How to Build Stonehenge and the Pyramids with Bronze Age Technology" *****!
Absolutely brilliant! Instead of baffled awe by an archeologist, a "no big deal" explanation by a man who used to work in heavy earth construction with shovel crews. "The standard way to erect pylons would have made no scene for Charlton Heston in 'The Ten Commandments.' The pylon is drawn to the site on a stoneboat; pallets have been traditional in the moving trades since prehistoric times. A thousand slaves driven by whips are not necessary, because a thirty-foot pylon with an average cross section of five square feet weighs less than fifteen tons. Three hundred slaves, or a dozen oxen, could handle it easily. Even if the ancients had unlimited slaves, they used beasts of burden because animals are more efficient..." and there are tomb paintings of stoneboats drawn by cattle. Notice how 15 tons is everyday to him. Must be read to be appreciated in total! T2

Petrie, Flinders

The Arts & Crafts of Ancient Egypt ****
1909; now from Bracken; 165 pgs
Art history with some tech background before everyone was overwhelmed by the discovery of Tutankhamen.

Romer, John

The Valley of the Kings ****
Henry Holt & Co., NY, 1981; 293 pg, index, select bibliography
As much or more about the discovery and treatment of the tombs, but details what architectural features and traps were used. T2

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era ****
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
In this era and area, Salmonson is offering warrior Goddesses, and three lines about Hatshepsut, a couple of paragraphs on Abhotep. Most of her Egyptians are Hellenistic. However, don't miss the many warrior queens of Meroe to the south. T2

Sichel, Marion

Costume of the Classical World **
Batsford, 1980
Very briefly shows dress paintings from all over the Eastern Mediterranean. T1

Spruytte, J.

Early Harness Systems *****!
J. A. Allen, London, 1977; translated by Mary Littauer
Spruytte has built and driven chariots from Ancient Egypt down to the funny wheel construction, and has much valuable to say about how the parts work to form a functioning, efficient vehicle. Completely explodes the earlier nonsense about the horse-throttling "ancient traction system" invented by Lefebvre des Noettes and based on no actual system. Perfectly understandable to the layman. T2

Stierlin, Henri, ed.

Architecture of the World: Egypt ****
Taschen, 192 pg
Valuable for treating the sites as buildings, not as someplace pictorial or heiroglyphic evidence survives. Many books quit seeing the rooms and halls for staring at the wallpaper. T1

Stone, Merlin

When God Was a Woman ****British title: The Paradise Papers
1976; 265 pgs, index, bibliography, date chart
While discussing the development of patriarchalism and patrilineal social control of women, by reconstructing the Goddess worship that went before and continued alongside these later religions, Stone gives a unique insight into life and thought of the people to whom the world had a female Creator, Lady of All, Queen of the Universe. T2

Time-Life Books, the editors of

TimeFrame 3000-1500 BC: The Age of God-kings ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Very pictorial, good text. The air-brushed reconstructions are sometimes too in love with vast plain surfaces rather than trying to give us maximum pictorial information, and the maps, while they cover the ground, are strictly minimal. T1
TimeFrame 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Another wide-ranging introduction to all the world at the time, including the Americas. Same complaints. T1

Tyldesley, Joyce

Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt *****!
Penguin, NY, 1995; 318 pg
Tells you how the half of the country that wasn't doing heavy haulage lived and thought of themselves and others. T1
Hatchepsut, The Female Pharaoh ****
Viking, NY, 1996; 304 pg
Emphasizes her accomplishments as Pharaoh, rather than the often dismissive attitude towards her as "merely" an uppity female usurper and a motivator for her successor's excessive machismo. Rather than the only female pharoah, she is the best-known one with the longest and most successful reign, including her successful military campaigns. T2

Watson, Philip J.

Costume of Ancient Egypt *****!
Chelsea House, 1987
Every era or area needs one good specialist costume book. This is yours. T1

What Life Was Like

On the Banks of the Nile, Egypt 3050-30 BC *****!
Time-Life Books, Alexandria VA, 1996; 192 pgs, bibliography, index, glossary
Wow! Time-Life manages to get its history right again, after a couple of decades of being strictly avoidable. This is an excellent everyday life book for adults. Lots on commoners, including some fascinating scenes from the highly literate village of Deir al-Medina: tomb robbery investigations, adultery, public disorderliness, adoptions and disinheritances, and so on. Much more on common people than the usual Pharoah emphasis, with the digestion of now several decades of concentration by Egyptologists on non-royal excavations. Altogether recommended. T1

White, J. E. Manchip

Ancient Egypt, Its Culture and History ***
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Another basic book on life and history. T2


Ancient Egypt ****

Voyager, 1990; laserdisc, 60 min.

Besides walking tours of tombs (who cares) and temples, there are lectures from Egyptologists to tell you what's what. More exciting than the average tape documentary, this includes 2800 still images, which would be quite a collection of picture books. T2


ABZU: Guide to Electronic Resources in the Ancient Near East ***

Part of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute (that's what they called Near-Eastern studies in the 19th C.), this linksite will put you right in their regional index for Egypt, which is a start on hunting.

Ancient Egyptian Medicine ***

Treats Egyptian practice as medicine, not mumbo-jumbo, and will go nicely with Majno, above.

Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.

The Asclepion ***

A very attractive site for a course based on Majno's book above. Good comments on ancient medicine from a less scientistic viewpoint, and references to sources. T1

Diotima: Women & Gender in the Ancient World *****!

A guide to other web sources, also includes essays and bibliographies of interest. The other half of the species is too often treated "like normal" (for us) or merely as "comfort women," in novels. Yet as the changing front page story here shows, it is not so simple if you are accurate. Be sure to read the lecture on non-royal women in Egyptian society, and the changes down the millenium. Includes William Ward's updating of the trad view of "Pharaoh's harem": "Royal Ornaments" were not the King's concubines, they were the ladies-in-waiting to the Queen.

The Duke University Papyrus Archive

H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient<yours>, Medieval, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

The Yale Papyrus Archive


To Essay on Egyptian Dress

To Bibliography of Middle-Tech Skills

To Ancient Persian Gulf Cultures

To Ancient Mesopotamia & Syria Bibliography

To Minoan & Mykenaean Bibliography

To Classical Greece Bibliography

To Bibliography of Sub-Saharan Africa

Back to Times and Places