When Herodotus traveled to Egypt in the middle of the fifth century BCE, he was awestruck by what he found. In his Histories, he decides to “speak at great length” of Egypt because “there is no country that possesses so many wonders, nor any that has such a number of works which defy description” (2.35). The first western historian guides the reader through a world of bizarre animal cults, magical rites, wondrous temples, and gigantic monuments, giving detailed accounts of the Egyptians’ vast knowledge of medicine, mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, and architecture. Herodotus’s insatiable curiosity is aroused. How do embalmers prepare mummies? What giant machines were used to build the pyramids? Why do the Egyptians consider themselves “the most ancient race in the world?” (2.15).
KeywordsEgyptian Antiquity Egyptian Woman Ancient Race Philosophical Truth Greek History
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