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Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization

Colossal pyramids, imposing temples, golden treasures, enigmatic hieroglyphs, powerful pharaohs, strange gods, and mysterious mummies are features of Ancient...
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Platform: Coursera
Video: 3h 39m
Language: English

Table of contents


Colossal pyramids, imposing temples, golden treasures, enigmatic hieroglyphs, powerful pharaohs, strange gods, and mysterious mummies are features of Ancient Egyptian culture that have fascinated people over the millennia. The Bible refers to its gods, rulers, and pyramids. Neighboring cultures in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean wrote about its god-like kings and its seemingly endless supply of gold. The Greeks and Romans describe aspects of Egypt’s culture and history.

As the 19th century began, the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt highlighted the wonders of this ancient land, and public interest soared. Not long after, Champollion deciphered Egypt’s hieroglyphs and paved the way for other scholars to reveal that Egyptian texts dealt with medicine, dentistry, veterinary practices, mathematics, literature, and accounting, and many other topics. Then, early in the 20th century, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun and its fabulous contents. Exhibitions of this treasure a few decades later resulted in the world’s first blockbuster, and its revival in the 21st century has kept interest alive.

Join Dr. David Silverman, Professor of Egyptology at Penn, Curator in Charge of the Egyptian Section of the Penn Museum, and curator of the Tutankhamun exhibitions on a guided tour of the mysteries and wonders of this ancient land. He has developed this online course and set it in the galleries of the world famous Penn Museum. He uses many original Egyptian artifacts to illustrate his lectures as he guides students as they make their own discovery of this fascinating culture.

You will learn


Basic knowledge of History is required to start this course, as this is an intermediate level course.

This course is for

This course was made for intermediate-level students.
Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
University of Pennsylvania
David P. Silverman is Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. Professor of Egyptology and Curator of Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section, and one of the leading authorities on the civilization of ancient Egypt. Dr. Silverman was the national curator, advisor, and academic content creator for the blockbuster exhibition “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs.” He was also responsible for the curatorial content in the original 1977 “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibit and served as Curator in Chicago at the Field Museum. His extensive publications include numerous books and articles on Egyptian language, art, and religion, and he has directed several field expeditions at sites throughout Egypt. He has received many awards and honors, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Penn Research Foundation, and The Michela Schiff-Giorgini Foundation. The Athenaeum Society of Philadelphia presented him with a Literary Award for his books Searching for Ancient Egypt and Ancient Egypt. Dr. Silverman has been a visiting professor at both L’École Pratique at the Sorbonne in Paris and Harvard University.
Platform: Coursera
Video: 3h 39m
Language: English

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