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Introduction to Ancient Egypt: Myths, Monarchs and Monuments

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 17th January 2024 (Code AC004-204) Wednesdays from
17th January 2024 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG46 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Judit Blair PhD, MTh
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

An introduction to Ancient Egyptian history, religion and architecture. This course will look at the iconography and mythology of the key Egyptian deities, alongside considering key kings and queens, and the evidence of some of its most famous monuments.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

The course takes students through a thematic exploration of Ancient Egypt. Beginning with a chronological framework and the origins of the dynastic period, the course will then explore royalty and deity: solar gods, earth gods, royal gods and divine kings, goddesses and queens. The course explores the prominence of myths along with the evidence from pyramids, temples, tombs and the objects found within, including of course hieroglyphs and mummies. Students will consider the royal and religious alongside evidence from daily life, such as workers’ villages and tombs.

Teaching method(s)

The course is taught through a combination of informal lecture and supported discussion. Students will be guided in analysis of archaeological sources. Students will receive formative verbal feedback in class on individual contributions and class discussion.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Assess the main Egyptian dynasties, deities and mythology, reflecting on connections between them.
  2. Analyse key archaeological sources with reference to the themes of religion, rulership and daily life.
  3. Place ancient Egypt in the context of contemporary cultures and assess its continuing influence today.


Core Readings

There is no essential reading. The recommended titles below may be of interest to students, but there is no expectation to purchase any of these books.

  • Dodson, A. (2004) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Schulz, R. and Seidel, M., eds. (1998) Egypt. The World of the Pharaohs. Koln: Konemann.
  • Shaw, I. (2003) Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: OUP.
  • Wilkinson, R. H. (2003) The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson.

Web Sources

A selection of BBC In Our Time podcasts on Ancient Egypt available to browse and listen here:

BBC You’re Dead to Me podcast:

The Egyptian Pyramids

Class Handouts

Lecture notes and extracts from readings will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.