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Oxford History of Ancient Egypt

The Oxford history seems to be referenced everywhere as a source, and so I bought a copy several years ago. It's not easy reading, by any means, and much more like a textbook than a reference book.

Each section of the book (broken down by kingdom and sometimes dynasty) is written by a different author, all experts in their fields. Some, obviously, are better writers than others, so some of the chapters read like doctoral dissertations and others inject some interesting "voice" into the documentation of the period. I was completely put off by the first chapters, which spend an inordinate amount of time discussing pottery shapes, but managed to squeeze past them and into the real meat of the book. Compared to truly readable histories (like my favorite books, History of Britain), these are dry and a bit more like recitations of historical facts than anything else. I never did sit down and read this one through -- I just referenced the particular chapters when I needed a bit of historical data (dates, or successions, or location information).

For that purpose, this is one of the best references that I had. After our trip, I was pointed to a german book by Jurgen von Beckerath for even more detailed chronologies and information, Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten

I use the timelines set forth in Oxford on most of this website, but realize that they are not the only accepted chronology for Egypt. We're dealing with several thousand years of history, and most of the periods are supported by only fragments of written evidence that might suggest a timeline. Many chronologies rely on written evidence from later historians (ie., Manetho or Herodotus) which is just as suspect as any other set of dates. Check here for a bit more an explanation about dates

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