Ancient Lives

By John Romer,

Book cover of Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharaoh's Tombmakers

Book description

More than 3000 years ago a village was established at Thebes on the west bank of the Nile. Situated amid a barren and arid landscape, it housed the workers who created the tombs of the Pharaohs and the Valley of the Kings. It was through death and the ritual of…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Ancient Lives as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

John Romer’s Ancient Lives, the Story of the Pharaohs’ Tombmakers, like Kemp’s book, is about urban life, but the urbs is not a city per se, but a village.

In this case, though, it’s the village of the workers who excavated, crafted, painted, and consecrated the great royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings, so this “village” is intricately related to a great city on the Nile. Romer had access to a cast of personalities sketched from documents, read off of limestone flakes, potsherds, and administrative and judicial papyri.

He resuscitates networks of gossip and brings us within earshot…

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