Ancient Egypt and Early China
State, Society, and Culture
- PUBLISHED: July 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, History, Archaeology, Art History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 352 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 21 color illus., 45 b&w illus., 3 maps, 1 chart
- ISBN: 9780295748894
Although they existed more than a millennium apart, the great civilizations of New Kingdom Egypt (ca. 1548–1086 BCE) and Han dynasty China (206 BCE–220 CE) shared intriguing similarities. Both were centered around major, flood-prone rivers—the Nile and the Yellow River—and established complex hydraulic systems to manage their power. Both spread their territories across vast empires that were controlled through warfare and diplomacy and underwent periods of radical reform led by charismatic rulers—the “heretic king” Akhenaten and the vilified reformer Wang Mang. Universal justice was dispensed through courts, and each empire was administered by bureaucracies staffed by highly trained scribes who held special status. Egypt and China each developed elaborate conceptions of an afterlife world and created games of fate that facilitated access to these realms.
This groundbreaking volume offers an innovative comparison of these two civilizations. Through a combination of textual, art historical, and archaeological analyses, Ancient Egypt and Early China reveals shared structural traits of each civilization as well as distinctive features.
Authors & Contributors
Anthony J. Barbieri-Low is professor of history at the University of California Santa Barbara. His book Artisans in Early Imperial China won top prizes from the Association for Asian Studies, American Historical Association, College Art Association, and International Convention of Asia Scholars. Marissa Stevens is assistant director of the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Chronology of China
Chronology of Egypt
1. The Landscapes of the Nile and Yellow River
2. Empire and Diplomacy
3. Akhenaten, Wang Mang, and the Limits of Reform
4. Legal Principles and the Administration of Justice
5. Scribal Culture in Life and Death
6. Providing a Model Afterlife (coauthored with Marissa A. Stevens)
7. Gaming the Way to Paradise
Glossary of Chinese Names and Terms
Glossary of Egyptian Names and Terms
A wonderful book: the materials are rich, the scope ambitious, the comparisons illuminating, and the presentation lucid.- Wang Haicheng, University of Washington
A major and invaluable contribution to the growing body of comparative work on ancient societies.- Walter Scheidel, Stanford University