ANCH 028. Ancient Egypt
This course explores the history, culture, and literature of ancient Egypt, beginning with its foundations in the 4th millennium BC and culminating with the internationally renowned pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC). Students will investigate a wide variety of topics, such as the following: Egyptian cosmology, mythology, and religion; the rise of the earliest pyramid builders and their accompanying ideology, which claimed that the pharaoh was a living god; the development of Egyptian writing, bureaucracy, and militarism; issues of gender in ancient Egypt, best exemplified by the difficult relationship of Thutmose III and his stepmother Hatshepsut, the only female pharaoh; the revolutionary but ultimately disastrous reforms of the heretic Akhenaten, who is widely recognized as the world’s first monotheist; and the imperialism of Ramses II, usually identified as the pharaoh of the Exodus. Through discussion of literature, mythology, history, and archaeology, we will consider how the rulers of ancient Egypt utilized architecture, writing, and religion in order to establish and grow the Nile valley’s earliest civilization. Students will leave the course with a deep appreciation for and understanding of the historical figures and monuments of Egypt. Students will learn how to read material culture and answer the following question: how does a state use symbols, monuments, and - more generally - material things to express its power and ideals to itself, its neighbors, and its enemies?
Fall 2020. Mahoney.
Catalog chapter: Classics
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/classics
Check the Fall 2020 Schedule of Courses
Check the Spring 2021 Schedule of Courses