This was originally posted on LJ on Dec 31, 2009
Today I’m reviewing Chronicle of the Pharaohs. The book jumped from dynasty to dynasty really quickly- and didn’t allot for me to realize that, perhaps, 200 years was covered in the last dynasty. It felt like these pharaohs were reigning for perhaps a few years at a time. Made it a challenge for me to realize the span of time that was truely covered. My other issue with the book is the constant Bible reference. The author seemed to make references to the Bible as though it were a history book, and made it sound like Exodus was completely true, just not a big deal to the Egyptians. *sigh*. Don’t use the Bible like a history book, folks.
For me, the book was interesting up until the 3rd Inter. Period. After that, it was just hard for me to read. Everyone after that had practically the same name, and there was so much switching going on, with multiple pharaohs and all, it was just difficult for me to keep up with it all- esp. if the number wasn’t kept at the end of the name. During the 3IP, everyone was names Sheshonq or Orokon, or Takelot (I can’t take this name seriously lol). And by the end- Ptolemy period, everyone was named Kleopatra, Ptolemy or Berenice. Oy.
However, I did find the Ptolemaic (?) period funny in how many people killed other people off. I mean shit- one guy kills his wife, which secured him the kingship, only to be killed by his people. And another woman kills her husband, and wants to rule alone, only to be killed herself. It just makes no sense and reads like an entertaining soap opera lol.
The book is a nice overview, but I’m more interested in something that will give me more information, and be more in depth.
Oh yeah, the other thing I didn’t like about the book is he thought Set was evil, and Horus was good. Why do people feel the need to boil this stuff down to black and white terms?
ETA: I just wanted to add some more information about this book’s accuracy, now that I have learned more. In general, I would say that this book isn’t really that accurate, and that you should use it as a source with caution. Throughout the book, the author mentions the ever popular matrilineal theory- that you needed to marry a woman in the royal family in order to be “allowed” to rule- that you were legit without marrying her. I’ve now read three books that dispute whether this was actually practiced. Chronicle of the Pharaohs makes no mention that this is merely a theory, and worthy of being questioned. Please keep this in mind when reading this book.