The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign

The pharaoh is the iconic ruler from the ancient world, immortalized in stone and gold and celebrated today in countless films and books. But how did these monarchs – mortals who lived and died like anyone else – spend their days? How did they become pharaoh? How did they govern and how were they entertained? In this vividly written and authoritative account, Garry Shaw conveys the full experience of what it was like to be pharaoh, from birth to death, in private and in public, at court and on campaign. He shows how a uniquely Egyptian vision of kingship, with its complex ideology and regalia, evolved – from mythical beginnings to a last gasp under Roman rule. Pharaoh was the intermediary between the gods and mankind, but he also had more earthly duties and pastimes. We follow daily events, from waking up in the palace, to evenings spent banqueting; in between the king was lawmaker, judge and priest. The most important ceremonies are compellingly described, including the coronation and the royal funeral, as well as the rigid protocol of an audience before the monarch. Pharaohs were great warriors and builders too, leaving their mark in the form of massive tombs, temples, palaces and even entire cities. Supplemented by numerous box features, from the internal decoration of pyramids and the women who became pharaoh to pharaonic pets, as well as quotations from contemporary sources and a king list with brief biographies of all the major pharaohs, this beautifully illustrated volume provides a comprehensive insight into the Egyptian pharaoh and his world.

Published by Thames and Hudson on September 3rd 2012

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The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign

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"In this delightful and lavishly illustrated guide, Egyptologist Shaw (Royal Authority in Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty) introduces the fascinating lives and times of the pharaohs in elaborate detail, recreating in stories what it was like to be one. Pharaohs, who were treated as gods, were not all alike, nor did they all face the same circumstances during their reigns. As Shaw points out, the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom built the pyramids and then watched their power wane, despite a long period of artistic experimentation and territorial expansion. But with the death of Amenenhat IV, the 12th dynasty fragmented, as did Egypt, and the Hyksos came to rule the all-important Nile Delta. The outsiders were expelled eventually, and a new prosperity characterized the New Kingdom, where now-famous pharaohs such as Thutmose III and Rameses II walked tall in the halls of power. Drawing on archeological and literary evidence, Shaw reconstructs the lives of pharaohs, detailing everything from their inheritance of the throne to their elevation to divinity, from their lives of luxury in the palaces to their favorite pastimes: hunting, horsemanship, opulent festivals, and musical performances ... Shaw's captivating study is the perfect introduction to these fabled rulers."
– Publishers Weekly

"Beautiful…lively and authoritative."
– Current World Archaeology

"Lively and colourful ... all set within a clear historical framework."
– Minerva

"Another well-presented Thames & Hudson volume that will take its place alongside the well-established Clayton and Tyldesley Chronicles ... a great introduction to the history of dynastic Egypt."
– Ancient Egypt Magazine

"You know you're in for a feast of words and pictures whenever you open a Thames & Hudson book, and this latest title is no exception."
– Eastern Daily Press

"In short, a must for the bookshelf of any level of Egyptology student, a book both easily readable and attractive to the eye, well up to the standards we have come to expect from Thames & Hudson. Highly recommended."
-- Scottish Pharaonic

"Attractively produced, with many colour illustrations that complement the text well, and will provide a useful introduction for the novice."
– Egyptian Archaeology

"In the Pharaoh - Life at Court and on Campaign, Garry J. Shaw provides a good over-view of the rulers themselves, exploring with excellent illustrations the pharaoh's role as law-giver, husband, judge, priest, builder and warrior."
– The Birmingham Post

"Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the civilization of ancient Egypt."
– Library Journal