Culture & Literature
The Story of the Ancient World

The Story of the Ancient World

The Story of the Ancient World

In this special edition, explore the real stories of ancient cultures, from pharaohs and emperors to the lives of ordinary people. Travelling across centuries from Egypt, Greece and Rome to China and Persia, learn about remarkable characters and their often turbulent world. Discover: - Fresh insights into ancient mysteries - Expert accounts of major events - Striking images of ancient wonders - Biographies of key figures, from Alexander the Great to Augustus

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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in this issue

1 min.

“Who could fail to be fascinated by the ancient world? From the pyramids of Egypt to the great emperors of Rome, it is filled with astonishing stories, momentous achievements and people who can be both surprisingly similar and utterly different to those of today. In this special edition of BBC History Magazine, some of the world’s leading experts on ancient history will give you the lowdown on the key events and themes of the distant past. Among other things, you will discover the secrets of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the workings of Greek democracy, the private lives of the Romans and the truth behind the Maya vision of an apocalypse. Plus you will get to meet some of the most remarkable individuals to have populated this era, including Alexander…

5 min.
evolution of ancient empires

c3100 BC King Menes rules over a newly united Egypt, joining the Upper (southern) and Lower (northern) Kingdoms at the start of what is now termed the Early Dynastic Period. Menes is credited with founding the capital at Memphis, 15 miles south of the modern city of Cairo. c1550 BC The Theban rulers of Egypt’s 17th Dynasty drive out the Hyksos – a group of people from western Asia – from the Nile delta region, launching the so-called New Kingdom period that lasted till c1070 BC. This new dynasty of pharaohs are buried in deep, rock-cut tombs in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile opposite their capital, Thebes (modern-day Luxor). c2686 BC The period known as the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt begins with the founding of the Third…

11 min.
revelations in the valley of the kings

Even with its hordes of tourists, the Valley of the Kings still retains the aura of the magical machine in which the pharaohs went to join the gods. Work continues on tombs, and discoveries are made all the time, yet at various stages during the 20th century archaeologists believed that the valley’s treasures had all been found. In 1932 Howard Carter completed his decade of work on Tutankhamun’s tomb. Excavations had been ongoing in the valley since the Paduan explorer Giovanni Belzoni found the tombs of kings Ay, Ramesses I and Sethy I (late 14th and early 13th centuries BC) in 1816–17, thus adding to the dozen or so sepulchres that had lain open since antiquity. On his return to Europe, Belzoni had declared that, in his “firm opinion… there are…

3 min.
the valley of the kings

FACT FILE Where is it? Across the Nile from the city of Luxor in east-central Egypt, 300 miles south of Cairo What is it? A desert valley lined with burial chambers – some 25 tombs of kings of Egypt and another 40 tombs of nobles and members of the royal family. Those of the kings are usually richly decorated with religious scenes and texts. When was it used? During the Egyptian New Kingdom, between about 1500 and 1070 BC. Why is it important? It contains the tombs of some of the most notable individuals in Egyptian history, and gives significant clues to their careers and the religious beliefs of the time. CORBIS/BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY/HULTON ARCHIVE–GETTY IMAGES/DISCOVERY CHANNEL/ALAMY…

5 min.
tutankhamun behind the mask

Many people have gazed in awe at the golden mask of Tutankhamun, wondering at the workmanship, the material or the beauty of it. However, few think of the person who wore it for thousands of years, and even fewer know or care that he was decapitated by archaeologists so they could remove the mask and present it to the world. Perhaps if a name is added it becomes more real: “Tutankhamun was decapitated.” No, that’s still not real enough because though the name is familiar it is still from another time and world. Replace his name with one more familiar – “John was decapitated” – and suddenly it all seems more real, a name we associate with friends or family. This familiarity associated with the name John was felt in 1325…

1 min.
sport and spoils