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Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs Hardcover – December 30, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0198149989 ISBN-10: 0198149980 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`Village Life is a good way to make a first acquaintance of a key source population.' Barry Kemp, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Vol.11, No.1, April 2001

`This is one of the best volumes on Deir El Medina, and is an outstanding scholarly achievement, certain to prove useful to Egyptologist and historian alike.' M. Bontty, Ph.D., BMCR, 00/08/21.

`The volume gets off to an impressive start with an informative introduction.' M. Bontty, Ph.D., BMCR, 00/08/21.

`It is most welcome that a scholar witha combined background in Egyptologya and law has presented legal material ... The reader is provided with a wealth of information on this fascinating aspect of human activity ... in the future legal historians with no knowledge of Egyptian will have no difficulty using the texts.' M. Bontty, Ph.D., BMCR, 00/08/21.

`As Egypt became weaker ... so too did the prosperity of the workmen in the village. This period ... is brilliantly illustrated textually by her chosen material. Village Life will be a standard work for years to come and is a valuable addition to books on Deir El Medina and the topic of daily life. It is well written, complete, extremely user friendly and provides refereshing and modern translations of known texts in addition to much welcome unpublished material. Its main advantage will be its use to scholars from other areas researching daily life in antiquity. We owe our thanks to the author for this wonderful volume.' M. Bontty, Ph.D., BMCR, 00/08/21.

`The results of painstaking and meticulous research do not always make thrilling reading for the non-academic. The documentary evidence that provides the basis for this book, however, is by turns amusing and enlightening, and always entertaining. Those who already have some knowledge of the lives of the workmen of Deir el-Medina will enjoy further detailed insights provided by this book. Those who are new to the subject will benefit from the well-written and illustrated introduction and enjoy the lively commentaries.' Ancient Egypt Vol.1 No.1

About the Author


A. G. McDowell is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198149980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198149989
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,433,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ciho Miron on January 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrea McDowell is Professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey, being specialized in legal history and property. One of her recent concerns is the American legal history. Let's remind some important data about her Egyptological career. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 with the thesis: "Jurisdiction in the Workmen's Community of Deir el-Medina". A. McDowell has taught Egyptology at Leiden, Oxford and The John Hopkins Universities, being considered one of the leading specialists on Ancient Egyptian legal and social history.
The "Village Life in Ancient Egypt. Laundry Lists and Love Songs" is one of the best sets of translation concerning the community from Deir el-Medina, a village where lived in the workers of the royal necropolis from Thebes. A short "Introduction" place in time, and contexts the written sources translated in the present book. The title is a bit misleading, because the rendered texts cover, as far as possible, the whole range of the activities performed by the villagers. The author grouping them in 6 separate chapters: family and friends; daily life; religion; education, learning, and literature; law and work on the royal tomb. Every translation is preceding by a succinct explanation. The translated texts are rendered in accurate English. Perhaps, some textual notes placed after each translation was expected especially by the average reader. Anyhow, this handsome book stands for a treasure of sources with regard to the understanding of the everyday life of the people leaved at Deir el-Medina.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Louise on January 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
A.G Mc Dowell has written a book about the workers who build the tombs of the kings and queens of Egypt's New Kingdom (circa 1550 - 1075 BCE). Those workers, whose daily lives we follow through a wealth of original written sources, lived in a village; today the ruins are called Deir el-Medina, back then the village was simply called "The Village".

The workers lived with their families in small houses in Deir el-Medina, and while their main concern was building the tomb of the Pharaoh, they also had all the problems and sorrows and joys as modern people have. We can read about their problems with superiors at work, their love life, marriage, kids, sickness and about their interest in suing each other for minor crimes!

While this book use the original sources, Mc Dowell explains each little text in a modern and easily understood language, and this book is for everyone who wants to know how the Ancient Egyptians lived more than 3000 years ago.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mease on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great primary presentation of everyday life in Deir el-Medina. The translator takes advantage of the unique culture surrounding the construction of the pyramids and exploits it to great effect. McDowell presents something of a ancient, local newspaper, and his presentation is very satisfying.
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