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    Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it’s no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists.

    What makes the accomplishments of the Ancient Egyptians all the more remarkable is that Egypt was historically a place of great political turbulence. Its position made it both valuable and vulnerable to tribes across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and Ancient Egypt had no shortage of its own internecine warfare. Its most famous conquerors would come from Europe, with Alexander the Great laying the groundwork for the Hellenic Ptolemy line and the Romans extinguishing that line after defeating Cleopatra and driving her to suicide.

    Although the Egyptians may not have passed their civilization directly on to later peoples, the key elements that comprised Egyptian civilization, including their religion, early ideas of state, and art and architecture, can be seen in other pre-modern civilizations. Indeed, since Egyptian civilization represented some fundamental human concepts, a study of their culture can be useful when trying to understand many other pre-modern cultures.

    Part of the reason Egyptian history is so intriguing is because it is so enigmatic. The imposing monuments, the strange practice of mummification, the picturesque form of writing, the colorful art, and other aspects of Egyptian life all make for an inspiring and somewhat baffling culture. To this day, despite the wealth of written materials and countless monuments, Egyptologists constantly uncover more mysteries about ancient Egypt, even if many of those mysteries are somewhat mundane and appeal more to academics. Historians still debate precise chronologies of dynasties, theological nuances, and architectural details.

    At the same time, such a great and alien civilization has inevitably inspired many strange theories about how it was founded, and how its grand monuments were built. Some of them border on the absurd, including associations with UFOs and Atlantis that have plagued Egyptologists from the beginning. Not only does the “evidence” for these wild theories vanish under close scrutiny, but they emit a whiff of racism as well by implying the Egyptians weren’t capable of building the great monuments themselves.

    The reality is far more interesting, and almost as weird. Despite being the most intensely studied ancient culture in the world, there is no shortage of Egyptian mysteries worth studying, and even some of Egypt’s most famous monuments, such as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza, are the subjects of heated controversies among scholars. Serious, educated researchers have debated the eras in which they were built, and whether there could be hidden chambers with untold riches inside. Even among the experts who have dedicated their lives to studying this ancient civilization, Egypt has not given up all of its mysteries.

    Mysterious Egypt: A Collection of Ancient Egyptian Mysteries, Strange Stories, and Archaeological Oddities chronicles some of the most interesting stories and lingering controversies associated with the ancient Egyptians; you will learn about mysterious Egypt like never before.

    ©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

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