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Egyptian Mythology

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Egyptian Mythology
By W. Max Müller. (Dover Publications, Mineola, New York: 2004. Pg. xii, 333. 232 Figures.) ISBN: 0-486-43674-8.

Reviewed by Herbert White - February 14, 2005

Egyptologists and amateurs alike have long been fascinated by the breadth and vibrancy of the Egyptian Myths. In Egyptian Mythology, Wilhelm Max Müller presents a comprehensive and mesmerizing overview of Egyptian mythology ranging from origin myths to cultic practices. Further, this text is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 230 line figures that help to illuminate the text.

This book was originally served as the Egyptian section of Volume XII: Egyptian, Indo-Chinese of The Mythology of All Races series. Originally published in 1918, this book is one of the first books that made a systematic study of the religion of Ancient Egypt and it has served as a foundation for further research in the field. Throughout, he pays particular attention to how the religion of Egypt was portrayed in both artistic and literary venues. At the time this book was written, Müller was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The text is divided into thirteen thematic sections including Cosmogonic Myths, the Osirian Circle, Osiris Myths, the Principal Gods, Magic, and Life after Death. Müller also examines how the Egyptian religion was developed and propagated and the incursions made by foreign gods. Müller also highlights other texts that refer to Egyptian mythology, and he includes some excerpts from these texts, such as The Dirge of Isis and Nephthys: a "Hymn sung by the two divine sisters in the house of Osiris...the great god, lord Abydos..."

Egyptian Mythology is a fascinating book, both to read and to browse through to look at the black and white line drawings and plates that illustrate the text. This book belongs on the book shelve of anyone with an interest in Egyptian Mythology. It is ideal for both scholars as well as an introductory text into the field. Copious endnotes and a detailed bibliography round out this informative and highly readable book.

Related Reviews:

World of Myths, introduced by Marina Warner.
Five books in one covering influencial myths from five ancient cultures. Includes: Greek Myths by Lucilla Burn, Roman Myths by Jane F. Gardner, Norse Myths by R. I. Page, Egyptian Myths by George Hart, and Celtic Myths by Miranda Green.

How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs, by Mark Collier and Bill Manley.
This is a step-by-step guidebook that enables you to teach yourself how to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

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