No civilization lasted so long (more than 3,000 years) or so repeatedly amazed as ancient Egypt. Its art and architecture remain touchstones of beauty and grandeur even today, up to five millennia after they were first brought into being. Egypt fascinates almost everyone; this course will fascinate you. Why? Egypt was the most advanced of ancient civilizations. Its accomplishments include monumental architecture, medical science, monotheism, and mummification. The art of ancient Egypt is among the most beautiful of all ages. Yet, even after deciphering the hieroglyphs, Egypt remains one of the most mysterious civilizations in history. Scarabs, mummies, obelisks, sphinxes-their civilization was extraordinary and yet so other from what we live today. The pyramids alone boggle understanding. The only one of the Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 1800s. It contains 2.3 million limestone blocks, weighing 5,000 pounds each on average. Tens of thousands of men labored to raise this tomb-but they were not slaves; they were free farmers and artisans. The social organization alone of this project humbles most modern achievements. This is the big picture, but it is the detail of Egypt that fastens our attention, too. What was it like to be a laborer sent to the turquoise mines in the Sinai? What kind of wine did Tutankhamen prefer? Was he murdered? What motivated Akhenaten, an odd, androgynous Pharaoh who moved the capital of Egypt to a remote part of the desert and founded a monotheistic religion?