Reading: Egypt History

September 21, 2023

Paul Kay

Our Reading series is provided as a supplement to our posts. Whenever we travel, we like to learn as much as we can about our destination. Since we’ve read books and watched movies we've learned a lot. Hopefully some of these might give you a more in-depth and entertaining view of the topic you just enjoyed.


Treasures of Egypt: A Legacy in Photographs From the Pyramids to Cleopatra Hardcover 

by National Geographic

If you are looking for a coffee table book with fantastic photographs, this is for you. It has 400 pages of beautiful photography and narrative. It was published in 2022 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. However, it covers much more than King Tut. It is published by National Geographic so you know the pictures are beautiful.

Ancient Egypt: The Definitive Visual History

This book is over 400 pages and covers 3,000 years of Egyptian history including 31 Egyptian dynasties. It’s a great book to learn about Egyptian history plenty of large photos and maps covering the time period. Ancient Egypt was one of the world's first civilizations and developed a complex society with a sophisticated system of writing, religion, and government. The ancient Egyptians are well known for their monumental architecture, including the pyramids and the Sphinx, as well as their achievements in art, science, and technology. This is a very comprehensive book and I have learned a lot from it.


Lost Treasures of Egypt

If you thought the book, Treasures of Egypt, was great, you’ll love this series. This is the first season and there are two seasons available. There is talk of a third season as well. The DVD has 4 ½ hours of great visuals as they take you into Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. You’ll see people excavating and looking for clues of a lifetime.

National Geographic: Nefertiti and the Lost Dynasty

This DVD is about Queen Nefertiti and the more than 3,000-year-old mystery of her disappearance. Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten who lived during the 18th dynasty (c. 1370 BCE - c. 1330 BCE) of ancient Egyptian history. She was known for her beauty and was depicted in several iconic works of art, including a famous bust. Nefertiti played a key role in the religious revolution initiated by her husband and is sometimes referred to as the first recorded monotheist in history. Despite her prominence, the exact circumstances of Nefertiti's life and death remain a mystery to this day. Some scholars view her as a powerful and influential queen who played a major role in the religious and political reforms of her husband's reign. Others see her as a controversial figure who challenged the traditional power structures of ancient Egyptian society.

Ancient Egypt

The five DVD set is quite impressive at over 5 hours of documentaries. It covers the curse of King Tut along with the curse of Nefertiti. The five DVDs are titled Unlocking the Great Pyramid, Nefertiti & the Lost Dynasty, King Tut's Final Secrets, Egyptian Secrets of the Afterlife and Egypt Eternal.

National Geographic: King Tut's Final Secrets

This DVD is part of the five DVD set discussed above but if all you want is King Tut – this DVD has you covered in a DVD that runs 95 minutes. It got a 7.1 on IMDB and it’s produced by National Geographic. King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c. 1332–1323 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. He is famous for his nearly intact tomb, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. King Tut was just a teenager when he became pharaoh and his rule was relatively short-lived, lasting just 9 years. Despite this, he has become one of the most well-known figures of ancient Egyptian history due to the wealth of treasures found in his tomb. These treasures, along with King Tut's relative youth and mysterious death, have contributed to the enduring fascination with his reign.


I really liked this movie. Maybe it’s because it was Hypatia of Alexandria. She was a philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer who lived in the city of Alexandria in Egypt during the fourth century AD. She was born into a family of scholars and was well-educated, studying mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. She was also a teacher and held a prominent position in the intellectual community of Alexandria, which was then one of the leading centers of learning in the ancient world.

Hypatia was one of the few female philosophers of her time and was known for her wisdom and eloquence. She wrote several works on mathematics and astronomy, although only fragments of her writings have survived to the present day. She was also a well-respected teacher, and her students included members of both the pagan and Christian communities of Alexandria.

The movie is an historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his lover, the philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria. The movie won 11 international awards and Rachel Weisz is excellent in the role of Hypatia. 


I liked this movie because it covered the life of King Tut. So much has been written about his death, his tomb, his artifacts but the movie covers him as a person. It also stars Ben Kingsley and I’ll watch any movie that has him in the cast. Mr. Kingsley did not play King Tut but the rest of the actors do a great job in this movie. 

It originally was a special event movie on Spike TV (no longer around) and it tells the story of Tut's rise to power and his struggle to lead Egypt to glory, while his closest advisors, friends and lovers scheme for their own nefarious interests. I think you’ll really enjoy it.


If you haven’t seen this classic, it’s time to get the popcorn popping.  Madeline and I saw the movie when it was in theatres!  Yes, that was a long time ago.  It won 4 Oscars including best supporting actor for Rex Harrison. It’s a long movie but worth it.

It premiered at a length of 243 minutes. A week after the premiere, the film was reduced to 222 minutes, and edited further to 194 minutes for general release. It cost quite a lot to make and it took the studio 10 years to simply break even. But it’s a classic and well worth a view.

So, that wraps up this edition of Reading Egypt. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas to read or watch so you can learn more about Egypt before you visit. You can get guide books too but these books and movies cover history which I always need to know before I visit any country. Enjoy.

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