Pharaoh’s Land and Beyond: Ancient Egypt and Its Neighbors
The concept of pharaonic Egypt as a unified, homogeneous, and isolated cultural entity is misleading. Ancient Egypt was a rich tapestry of social, religious, technological, and economic interconnections among numerous cultures from disparate lands. In fifteen chapters divided into five thematic groups, Pharaoh’s Land and Beyond uniquely examines Egypt’s relationship with its wider world. The first section details the geographical contexts of interconnections by examining ancient Egyptian exploration, maritime routes, and overland passages. In the next section, chapters address the human principals of association: peoples, with the attendant difficulties of differentiating ethnic identities from the record; diplomatic actors, with their complex balances and presentations of power; and the military, with its evolving role in pharaonic expansion. Natural events, from droughts and floods to illness and epidemics, also played significant roles in this ancient world, as examined in the third section. The final two sections explore the physical manifestations of interconnections between pharaonic Egypt and its neighbors, first in the form of material objects and second, in the powerful exchange of ideas. Whether through diffusion and borrowing of knowledge and technology, through the flow of words by script and literature, or through exchanges in the religious sphere, the pharaonic Egypt that we know today was constantly changing–and changing the cultures around it. This illustrious work represents the first synthesis of these cultural relationships, unbounded by time, geography, or mode.