Why is ancient Egypt so compelling to us today? Why do we care so much about the gold, the pyramids, the hieroglyphic script, the mummies, and the extraordinary leaders like Nefertiti, Ramses, and Hatshepsut, people who flourished so many thousands of years ago? As a UCLA Professor and Egyptologist, Kara Cooney has devoted over two decades of her life to the study of this ancient place, and will unravel why we care and what this unending fascination says about us.
This remarkable new class will examine how Egypt is utterly unique on this planet, a protected realm full of riches beyond reckoning and agricultural resources that allowed an unassailable divine kingship to develop. We will examine the spectacle of monumental statuary, of pyramids, of coffins made of hundreds of pounds of solid gold, and of granite and sandstone pillared halls – the supports of a totalitarian regime with a veritable God-King at the helm. We will ask why the ancient Egyptians preserved so many bodies, carefully embalming the wealthy and elite into mummies, while preserving so little of the private information from their minds. Ancient Egypt remains for us a place of mystery, fascination, and contradictions, but if we pierce the carefully woven veil before our eyes, we can also see the humanity of these extraordinary people.