Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt by Pascal VernusAffairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt by Pascal Vernus

Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt

byPascal VernusTranslated byDavid Lorton

Hardcover | November 26, 2003

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"The Egyptians were people of flesh and blood, capable of both greatness and weakness, masters of ambitious projects but also slaves to banal preoccupations. They imposed their vision of the world on their environment, but they were weighed down by the burden of the human condition. In short, they were like any of us. And like ours, their society had its affairs, its scandals, its uncertainties, and its rifts."—from the Preface

Drawing on ancient texts, archaeological reports, and other sources, Pascal Vernus focuses attention on the human failings of the too-often-mythologized Egyptians. Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt treats instances of significant corruption—which, according to Vernus, constitute a crisis of values—in New Kingdom Egypt. His discoveries afford sobering new insights into the tension between stated beliefs and actual behavior in ancient Egyptian civilization. The examples of corruption Vernus describes run the gamut from graverobbing to labor unrest, from embezzlement to palace intrigue.

The first chapter deals with the tomb robberies in the Theban necropolis during the Twentieth Dynasty. The second outlines the economic context and events associated with strikes carried out by the workmen of the royal necropolis. The third chapter uses a certain Paneb as an exemplar of corruption in the area of Thebes. Chapter 4 considers the theft of government property and attempted cover-ups in the Aswan region. The last example may be the most dramatic—the conspiracy in the royal women's quarters in the last year of Ramesses III aimed at affecting the succession to the throne. In the book's final chapter, Vernus analyzes the historical contexts and the main issues surrounding each scandal.

David Lorton, an Egyptologist, is the translator of many books, including Erik Hornung's books The Secret Lore of Egypt and Akhenaten and the Religion of Light, both from Cornell.
Title:Affairs and Scandals in Ancient EgyptFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.31 inPublished:November 26, 2003Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801440785

ISBN - 13:9780801440786

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Editorial Reviews

"Several well preserved official documents provide detailed information about the legal hearings over tomb robberies in the necropolis of Western Thebes, the labor unrest as well as crimes of the workers from Deir el-Medina, misdeeds by priests from the temple of Khnum on Elephantines, and the harem conspiracy under Ramesses III. The exceptional state of preservation of several length papyri along with many ostraca and archaeological reports make it possible to reconstruct these events. Many of these sources are compiled here for the first time under the theme of a 'crisis of values' in late New Kingdom Egypt. Vernus not only provides the reader with translations of the most important texts, but also highlights them with his sharp analysis and insightful commentary. . . . All in all, Vernus's Affairs and Scandals is a very exciting treatment of this period of New Kingdom history, which can be highly recommended and read with great benefit."—Peter C. Nadig, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2004.04, 41