100 books like The Mind of Egypt

By Jan Assmann, Andrew Jenkins (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Mind of Egypt fans have personally recommended if you like The Mind of Egypt. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People

Tom Hare Author Of ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems

From my list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a while to figure out the backbone running through my intellectual interests, but I’ve always been interested in languages. I had the privilege of studying Japanese in Tokyo, near the peak of the Japanese economic “miracle.” That led to a PhD in Japanese drama (focusing on noh). Once I got tenure, I had the opportunity to add ancient Egypt to my professional profile. I learned hieroglyphs, studied Egyptian religion and art, and while continuing to work on noh drama, I (finally) figured out that what interests me is the way people express, or construct, their identities in literature and art.

Tom's book list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously

Tom Hare Why did Tom love this book?

Barry Kemp’s The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and its People takes full advantage of the best discernible city plan in all of ancient Egyptian history.

Using it, he presents the ancient city with both its glories and its warts, at just the time that Egyptian culture itself was undergoing a momentous disruption—or was it a transformation?—intellectually, religiously, and in the arts. His archaeological expertise brings striking insights, and abundant illustrations show us the city from multiple perspectives.

Line drawings from Amarnan tombs and temples bring genuine ancient Egyptian voices into the discussion. Kemp’s anthropological grounding, his straightforward but eloquent prose, and his sympathy for the ancients in their everyday lives make this a book you can almost inhabit yourself.

By Barry Kemp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A companion to Abydos in the New Aspects of Antiquity series, this book - a remarkable evocation of an ancient city - brings together for the first time the history of the site of Tell el-Amarna from its foundation by the pharaoh Akhenaten in c . 1344 bc to its abandonment just 16 or 17 years later, a few years after his death. Nine chapters cover the king's choice of the site and its development, the layout of the city and its buildings, and puts it in the context of the society of the time. Over 260 illustrations, some 50…


Book cover of Principles of Egyptian Art

Tom Hare Author Of ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems

From my list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a while to figure out the backbone running through my intellectual interests, but I’ve always been interested in languages. I had the privilege of studying Japanese in Tokyo, near the peak of the Japanese economic “miracle.” That led to a PhD in Japanese drama (focusing on noh). Once I got tenure, I had the opportunity to add ancient Egypt to my professional profile. I learned hieroglyphs, studied Egyptian religion and art, and while continuing to work on noh drama, I (finally) figured out that what interests me is the way people express, or construct, their identities in literature and art.

Tom's book list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously

Tom Hare Why did Tom love this book?

Heinrich Schäfer’s Principles of Egyptian Art in John Baines’ meticulously patient translation shows us how well we can already read Egyptian art, because of lots of assumptions about seeing that we share with the people of the ancient Nile, and it also shows where we diverge in such readings.

This is a dense and demanding book, though, but one that you needn’t read from beginning to end in a single stream. You can come back to it time and time again, and the hundreds of line drawings and solid section of b/w glossy photos opens your eyes to the exquisite visual system the Egyptians devised for themselves (and us) and used for four thousand years and more. 

By Heinrich Schafer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Principles of Egyptian Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English, German (translation)


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

Tom Hare Author Of ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems

From my list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a while to figure out the backbone running through my intellectual interests, but I’ve always been interested in languages. I had the privilege of studying Japanese in Tokyo, near the peak of the Japanese economic “miracle.” That led to a PhD in Japanese drama (focusing on noh). Once I got tenure, I had the opportunity to add ancient Egypt to my professional profile. I learned hieroglyphs, studied Egyptian religion and art, and while continuing to work on noh drama, I (finally) figured out that what interests me is the way people express, or construct, their identities in literature and art.

Tom's book list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously

Tom Hare Why did Tom love this book?

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 of personal rivalries and property disputes, uncovers an audacious tomb robbery along the way, and following the trial of its perpetrators. 

By John Romer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 burial that the Pharaohs became gods, and their elaborately carved and decorated temples were an essential part of this mystical process. Stonemasons, painters, sculptors, quarrymen, lived with their wives and children in the village, and worked closely together in the sacred valley. As well as building the magnificent tombs of…


Book cover of The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt

Tom Hare Author Of ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender, and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems

From my list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a while to figure out the backbone running through my intellectual interests, but I’ve always been interested in languages. I had the privilege of studying Japanese in Tokyo, near the peak of the Japanese economic “miracle.” That led to a PhD in Japanese drama (focusing on noh). Once I got tenure, I had the opportunity to add ancient Egypt to my professional profile. I learned hieroglyphs, studied Egyptian religion and art, and while continuing to work on noh drama, I (finally) figured out that what interests me is the way people express, or construct, their identities in literature and art.

Tom's book list on if you take ancient Egypt seriously

Tom Hare Why did Tom love this book?

Royal Women of Amarna is the catalog of an exhibition of many years ago, but used copies are still available, and it contains some of the most fascinating images and commentary on the ravishing sculptures of women (and some men) from the world of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

Introductory material provides context, but the heart of the book is in four chapters written by a longtime curator at the Metropolitan Museum NYC, now emerita. They cover various aspects of portraiture discussing the startling changes in the representation of the human figure in the Amarna period (ca. 1353-1336 BCE), the workshop of the sculptor Thutmose, from which Nefertiti’s iconic bust was recovered, and other aspects of the art and religion of the era.

By Dorothea Arnold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Royal Women of Amarna as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During a brief seventeen-year reign (ca. 1353-1336 B.C.) the pharaoh Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten, founder of the world's first known monotheistic religion, devoted his life and the resources of his kingdom to the worship of the Aten (a deity symbolized by the sun disk) and thus profoundly affected history and the history of art. The move to a new capital, Akhetaten/Amarna, brought essential changes in the depictions of royal women. It was in their female imagery, above all, that the artists of Amarna departed from the traditional iconic representations to emphasize the individual, the natural, in a way unprecedented in Egyptian art.…


Book cover of Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt

Julia Troche Author Of Death, Power, and Apotheosis in Ancient Egypt: The Old and Middle Kingdoms

From my list on the enduring power of the dead in our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love zombie movies. I am also an Egyptologist. The dead affect us in profound ways every day, even without being semi-animated corpses searching for brains. I have always been keenly interested in the relationships we have with our dead, be it Halloween, Día de los Muertos, or an urn on a mantle. The dead are with us and inform our lives. The same was true in ancient Egypt. And to me, this made the ancient Egyptians feel very familiar and accessible. They, too, were anxious about death. They, too, grieved when loved ones were gone and developed practices and beliefs that kept the dead ‘alive’. 

Julia's book list on the enduring power of the dead in our lives

Julia Troche Why did Julia love this book?

Few books have been as influential on my understanding of ancient Egyptian mortuary culture as Jan Assmann’s Tod und Jenseits im alten Ägypten, known in English as Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt. Assmann brings religious theory and ancient history together to argue that “death is the origin and center of culture.” 

By Jan Assmann, David Lorton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Human beings," the acclaimed Egyptologist Jan Assmann writes, "are the animals that have to live with the knowledge of their death, and culture is the world they create so they can live with that knowledge." In his new book, Assmann explores images of death and of death rites in ancient Egypt to provide startling new insights into the particular character of the civilization as a whole.Drawing on the unfamiliar genre of the death liturgy, he arrives at a remarkably comprehensive view of the religion of death in ancient Egypt. Assmann describes in detail nine different images of death: death as…


Book cover of Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt

Ann R. Williams Author Of Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World

From my list on ancient Egypt’s pharaohs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist by training and a journalist by profession. During my long career as a staff writer at National Geographic magazine, and now as a freelance Nat Geo book editor and author, I have often written about the ancient world and cultural heritage preservation. I was very lucky to be sent to Egypt on a number of occasions to write stories about sites and discoveries, and I have now come to specialize in Egyptology. I recently took an online course that taught me how to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. I’m still in glyph kindergarten, but every new sign I learn is allowing me to better understand—and interpret—the culture of the pharaohs.

Ann's book list on ancient Egypt’s pharaohs

Ann R. Williams Why did Ann love this book?

The dates that Egyptologists use for most rulers are guesstimates, and there’s not one fixed dating scheme.

Just for instance, one reference volume gives 1334-1325 B.C. as the dates for King Tut’s reign. Another says 1332-1322 B.C. And yet a third another has 1336-1327 B.C.

How do you know which one to believe?

During the three decades I worked as a staff writer at National Geographic magazine, we relied on the king list that Baines and Malek published in this book.

I still consider it as the last word on dates for my own research. It’s also full of very helpful maps, diagrams, and descriptions of archaeological sites all over Egypt.

By John Baines, Jaromir Malek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Filled with fascinating facts and stunning images, this single-volume reference to ancient Egypt introduces readers to this unique, sometimes startling culture.


Book cover of How Would You Survive As an Ancient Egyptian?

Chris Eboch Author Of The Eyes of Pharaoh

From my list on Ancient Egypt for middle school readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family lived in an American camp in Saudi Arabia when I was young, and we traveled extensively. I’ve always loved ancient cultures, from our first international trip to Greece when I was six. The two months I spent in Mexico and Central America as a young adult inspired my first novel for young people, The Well of Sacrifice. But Egypt has long held a special place in my heart. The mummies and pyramids grab a child’s attention. The fact that these people were so different from us – and yet so similar in other ways – keeps that fascination going. Stories about ancient Egypt never get old!

Chris' book list on Ancient Egypt for middle school readers

Chris Eboch Why did Chris love this book?

This one is perfect for kids who like to collect facts but don’t like big blocks of text.

Information is broken up into tiny bites. Each double-page spread has a topic, such as In the Workshop, Women in Society, or Entertainment. Each spread has a short overview and dozens of small illustrations with additional information. 

By Jacqueline Morley, John James (illustrator), David Salariya (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Would You Survive As an Ancient Egyptian? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

By reading this book, the reader is transported down a "time tunnel" to the period of the book, asked to choose an identity and given information on all aspects of life in that time in an original, interactive way. A rating is given to establish whether the reader would really have survived. A colour poster is also included inside the jacket.


Book cover of The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt: From the Predynastic Period to the End of the Middle Kingdom

Alejandro Jiménez Serrano Author Of Descendants of a Lesser God: Regional Power in Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt

From my list on Ancient Egypt from a peripheral perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Egyptology permits me to make an approach to the human past. Although there were many different cultures from which the current society is heir, the survival of innumerable written documents from ancient Egypt together with the good conservation of the archaeological material, give us the possibility to feel closer to the humans who lived in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago.

Alejandro's book list on Ancient Egypt from a peripheral perspective

Alejandro Jiménez Serrano Why did Alejandro love this book?

Studies on Egyptian archeology have traditionally focused on necropolises, although there have been published numerous archaeological reports of settlements of different types.

With this work, Professor Nadine Moeller demonstrates that there is enough data to understand the vital context of the Egyptian populations who lived during the first millennium and a half of Egyptian History. It is a basic tool to approach Egyptian archaeology.

By Nadine Moeller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book, Nadine Moeller challenges prevailing views on Egypt's non-urban past and argues for Egypt as an early urban society. She traces the emergence of urban features during the Predynastic period up to the disintegration of the powerful Middle Kingdom state (c.3500-1650 BC). This book offers a synthesis of the archaeological data that sheds light on the different facets of urbanism in ancient Egypt. Drawing on evidence from recent excavations as well as a vast body of archaeological data, this book explores the changing settlement patterns by contrasting periods of strong political control against those of decentralization. It also…


Book cover of Magic in Ancient Egypt

Melusine Draco Author Of The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World

From my list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having first discovered the mystery of ancient Egypt as a small child via my father’s war-time souvenirs, this interest grew over the years until it became a serious magical under-taking, culminating in Initiation into the magical order of the Temple of Khem. I became Principal tutor of the Order in 1998 and published Liber Ægyptius: The Book of Egyptian Magic in the same year. I continue to teach the Egyptian Mystery Tradition to those willing to submit themselves to the exacting discipline needed to enter the priesthood, and remain a member of the Egypt Exploration Society to keep up-to-date with the current archaeological discoveries in Egypt.

Melusine's book list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic

Melusine Draco Why did Melusine love this book?

Dr. Geraldine Pinch lectures Egyptology at Cambridge University and drew on a wealth of scholarly material just as the subject was beginning to be taken seriously and managed to effectively bridge the divide between ancient and modern approaches to magic.  This is the book I highly recommend to those wanting to explore the subject of Egyptian magic without getting bogged down in other disciplines; showing how its elements and influences survived in, or were taken up by later societies, right down to our own century.

By Geraldine Pinch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magic in Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reclaims Egyptian mysticism from the lunatic fringe. A serious exploration of how different sorts of `magic' were used in very practical ways by a society known throughout the ancient world as the `mother of magicians'. A final chapter examines its persistent fascination.


Book cover of The Inner Guide to Egypt: A Magical Journey to the Land of the Pharaohs: 1

Melusine Draco Author Of The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World

From my list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having first discovered the mystery of ancient Egypt as a small child via my father’s war-time souvenirs, this interest grew over the years until it became a serious magical under-taking, culminating in Initiation into the magical order of the Temple of Khem. I became Principal tutor of the Order in 1998 and published Liber Ægyptius: The Book of Egyptian Magic in the same year. I continue to teach the Egyptian Mystery Tradition to those willing to submit themselves to the exacting discipline needed to enter the priesthood, and remain a member of the Egypt Exploration Society to keep up-to-date with the current archaeological discoveries in Egypt.

Melusine's book list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic

Melusine Draco Why did Melusine love this book?

Firstly, because the authors are known to me as highly respected magical practitioners and, second, because using the Nile to represent the river of consciousness it offers up a comprehensive system for inner development not seen before. The Inner Guide to Egypt takes us on a voyage of discovery that never ends because its images keep popping into our imagination, long after we’ve put the book down. It was originally published by Thoth Publications (1991) and currently by Llewellyn (2010) but its appeal has never diminished for true seekers after the Egyptian Mystery Tradition.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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