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Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction

Geraldine Pinch

Publication Date - 08 July 2004

ISBN: 9780192803467

160 pages
4-1/2 x 7 inches

In Stock

An introduction to the cultural and historical background of the fascinating and complex world of Egyptian myth


Egyptian myths articulated the core values of one of the longest lasting civilizations in history, and myths of deities such as Isis and Osiris influenced contemporary cultures and became part of the Western cultural heritage. Egyptian Mythology: A Very Short Introduction explains the cultural and historical background to the fascinating and complex world of Egyptian myth, with each chapter dealing with a particular theme.
To show the variety of source material for Egyptian myth, each chapter features a particular object--such as the obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle, a golden statue of Tutankhamun, and a papyrus containing a story in which the Egyptian gods behave outrageously--which is illustrated by a photograph or line-drawing. The myth "The Contendings of Horus and Seth" is looked at in detail, and the many interpretations it has provoked are examined. In addition to a list of major deities and myths, there are explanations of related topics such as how hieroglyphs work, royal names and titles, and the Egyptian cosmos. There is also a timeline of Egyptian history, a glossary of technical terms and an up-to-date bibliography.


  • Written by an expert but with the general reader in mind
  • Thematically arranged
  • Emphasizes diversity of source material
  • Simply and concisely explains and illuminates a fascinating and complex world

About the Author(s)

Geraldine Pinch is an Egyptologist at the Oriental Institute of Oxford University and the author of Magic in Ancient Egypt and Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt.

Table of Contents

    1. The Myth of Egypt (Imagined Egypts)
    Key object - Cleopatra's Needle
    2. Words of the gods (Myth and Language)
    Key object - The Metternich Stela
    3. Millions of Gods (Deities and Myth)
    Key object - Statue of King Amenhotep III with Sobek-Ra
    4. The Beautiful Moment (Creation Myths)
    Key object - The Shabaqo Stone
    5. Everything Which the Sun Encircles (The Landscape of Egyptian Myth)
    Key object - Coffin painted with underworld map
    6. Lord of the Two Lands
    Key object - Statuette of Tutankhamum as Horus the Hunter
    7. The Big Fight (Conflict and Reconciliation)
    Key object - Papyrus Chester Beatty I
    8. The Cosmic Eye (Myth and Symbolism)
    Key object - 'Sacred eye' Amulet
    9. Personal Myths (Myth and Popular Religion)
    Key object - Ivory 'Magic Wand'
    10. The Return of the Mummy
    Key object - Corn Mummy
    Timeline of Egyptian History
    Suggested further reading