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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization by University of Pennsylvania

4.6
stars
2,171 ratings
670 reviews

About the Course

Colossal pyramids, imposing temples, golden treasures, enigmatic hieroglyphs, powerful pharaohs, strange gods, and mysterious mummies are features of Ancient Egyptian culture that have fascinated people over the millennia. The Bible refers to its gods, rulers, and pyramids. Neighboring cultures in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean wrote about its god-like kings and its seemingly endless supply of gold. The Greeks and Romans describe aspects of Egypt's culture and history. As the 19th century began, the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt highlighted the wonders of this ancient land, and public interest soared. Not long after, Champollion deciphered Egypt's hieroglyphs and paved the way for other scholars to reveal that Egyptian texts dealt with medicine, dentistry, veterinary practices, mathematics, literature, and accounting, and many other topics. Then, early in the 20th century, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun and its fabulous contents. Exhibitions of this treasure a few decades later resulted in the world's first blockbuster, and its revival in the 21st century has kept interest alive. Join Dr. David Silverman, Professor of Egyptology at Penn, Curator in Charge of the Egyptian Section of the Penn Museum, and curator of the Tutankhamun exhibitions on a guided tour of the mysteries and wonders of this ancient land. He has developed this online course and set it in the galleries of the world famous Penn Museum. He uses many original Egyptian artifacts to illustrate his lectures as he guides students as they make their own discovery of this fascinating culture....

Top reviews

DA
May 27, 2018

This is indeed a great course. It is very simply put and very easy to follow up.\n\nDo join without any hesitancy if you have a genuine interest in learning about the history of ancient Egypt!

RR
Mar 24, 2020

First online course and I loved every moment of it! It felt really refreshing to hear some old names that I used to study as a child. Well done and thanks again for the amazing opportunity!

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26 - 50 of 668 Reviews for Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization

By Stanislaus G

Dec 9, 2016

Great information, however, the professor who is clearly a specialist just stood and read the lectures. Not as interesting as they could have been.

By Luca F

Dec 21, 2020

I loved this one more than the other Penn museum course by Dr. Silverman because there were more things that I didn't know! Penn's Museums courses are just amazing. Perfect length of time, a lot of facts based on real studies and references, Studying this course helped me go further in different aspects related to Egyptology, ancient Egypt in general and the religious, artistic point of views. The possibility to download, each lesson in a mp4 file, the subtitles as well. Multi-language subs that are great quality made from volunteers (thank you). But also to understand who are the gods in Egypt, How they come from, Where all happened and why. The importance and origins of the afterlife for the Egyptians of that period, the mummification process before mummification and after. A lot of questions answered and a lot of questions need answers but that is something that stimulates even more. I love the fact that you can study from home, yes but during the lessons you are inside a real museum that is showing the collection, so you can admire not only photos from the Dr. Silverman selection, but see him talking with real monuments in the background. Last but not least at the end a brief but delightful short talk with Dr. Silverman and a scientist talking in front of a mummy to raise more facts and more interesting questions...Thank you Coursera and Penn Museum and Dr.Silverman and the staff that made all this possible. Happy Holidays to everyone!

By Genevieve S

May 26, 2017

This is a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with Ancient Egypt. It covers the basics on the Pre- Dynastic Period, the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, and the Late Period. Professor Silverman is clearly someone who truly enjoys teaching others about this subject, and his lectures are very interesting. The Forums are really useful, too, as they provide a wealth of extra information which can be learned from discussions with other students. If you have any interest in archeology, Ancient Egypt, or the birth of civilization, you should definitely take this course, and I sincerely hope Professor Silverman come out with more courses to expand on this fascinating subject! The only thing that could make this better would be some peer-reviewed assignments, as I find that assigned essays, etc., help me assimilate the information more fully, and having them reviewed by others ensures that I have understood what I learned correctly.

By Behnam D

Oct 26, 2020

Excellent instructor and presentation. I also enjoyed the museum and informal discussion at the end with technician/intern at the museum. It was an excellent demonstration and the professor was at ease talking informally and naturally. One recommendation I have is the professor speak more informally and naturally as if he is teaching and talking to live audience. I have taken a couple of excellent courses from U. Penn and it both cases the professor is very serious looking appearing that they are reading or not lecturing to a live audience. In contrast I took another course with another university and the professors were talking more naturally as if to a live audience with hand motions, etc. Otherwise, it was an excellent course and well organized and presented.

By Beka K

Aug 9, 2017

It would have been better if the quizzes were more adapted to the content of the text. However, it is quite informative and spectacular course with many pictures of the different Egyptian items, pyramids, pharaohs, etc. And what is the most important to me, after finalizing the course, a desire appeared in my mind to watch some fiction films about ancient Egypt. I advise you, guys to watch the following fiction films after the course end: 1) The Mummy (1999); 2) The Mummy Returns (2001); and 3) The Scorpion King (2002). There you will find out and discover many things, items and bulletins, that are mentioned in the given course. They are partly horror genre, but it is worth to watch.

By Noorali H

Jan 9, 2018

I hope to pursue religious studies. I had some idea that I would have to review Egyptian religions to see how later antiquity developed, such as Hellenistic and Islamic cosmologies. But I had no idea how highly evolved the Egyptians were so early on. Their architecture is technologically mind boggling and hard to explain in detail. But their cosmologies are highly understandable from later cosmologies such as found in Mahabharata and Ramayana of India. This series of lectures did do justice to spiritual concepts. It would take a PhD level of effort to develop some of these themes. No words to thank Professor Silverman and U Penn. I wish I was a graduate student there.

By Cheri F

May 27, 2020

Very interesting. I have been to the Cairo Museum and have seen the mummies and the King Tutankhamun exhibit. Unfortunately the photos do not give the items justice. The mummies are in a separate area and require a separate fee, so make sure you really want to look at them.

The Tut exhibit in Cairo has many items but does not have the mummy. The mask is here and jewelry, beds, chairs, and chariot among other things. It is amazing. Again there are no truly accurate words to describe them; they are a must see thing to understand about no words to explain them.

This course has taught me a lot of things and is worth taking at any cost.

By Syed H A

May 27, 2018

I think its the best online course I have taken anywhere about history of ancient Egypt. I was also inspired by the way Dr David P. Silverman narrated the story of ancient Egypt. The course was also well designed to give a brief intro to everyone about various important aspects of ancient Egyptian life. The lessons mentioned in the "further reading" section of every week were carefully picked so as to give the reader a whole recap as well as further insight to what was learned during that week.

I will surely take any other course on Egyptology if offered/ organized by Dr Silverman on this subject.

By Vladislav Z

Oct 27, 2020

As an introductory course I found this very satisfactory. The material is structured in an appropriate way, the production of the video quality is good, the manner of presentation leans a bit toward the dull side, with the speaker just reading from a script in short video lectures, and the text subtitles of the lectures often have grammatical or spelling errors which make them not dependable for relying on when taking notes. Other than that aforementioned annoyance I think this is a good & worthwhile MOOC to take especially if you have an interest in ancient history and in particular Egyptology.

By Nora D

Jan 4, 2021

Great course that gives you a comprehensive view on ancient Egypt. It satisfied what I wanted from the class, which was to get an exhaustive overview of the predynastic periods as well as the three kingdom periods. Great videos that are recorded inside the Penn Museum, the largest site of excavated items in the western hemisphere. And Professor Silverman is a leading expert, having been involved with excavation projects and speaking about the subjects. A lot of information, all of it interesting, and no more than what you need to understand 3000 years of incredible ancient history.

By Dana C

Apr 24, 2020

Informative and thought provoking. I will be traveling to Egypt next year and I wanted to understand more about Egyptian history so that I would get more out of the trip. This course did that for me. The instructor was clear and concise. Though the transcript is a bit spotty in places I found the instructors book very helpful. I really liked that the videos were broken up into manageable chunks. It is made it easily to follow and also break into different study sessions. I plan on taking the book and my notes from this course with me on my trip. Thank you for a great class.

By Laura L

Mar 8, 2018

The professor was very knowledgeable. The material was broken down into manageable chunks or lessons. It was very interesting to see examples or actual objects that illustrated the concept being taught. The materials in the Penn Museum were often referred to and shown. The lectures was fast paced and I appreciated the ability to go back and watch sections of the lectures over again to make sure that I understood the material being taught. Thank you for making a course like this available to me at no cost. I look forward to exploring other coursera classes.

By João P Z R

Sep 17, 2020

Though aesthetically feeling like a museum guide, the images and info along the course made it very formative and informative, just like a good university course. The introductory aspect instigates us to know more about individual aspects and to focus on certain aspects in the Egyptian culture on the future. Maybe a bit more on politics and polemic research topics would improve it even further. Having other points of view, like the relation between contemporary Egyptian museologists and university profs. would make it absolutely perfect.

By Caylene B

Jun 26, 2021

I learned so much from this course that takes place in Penn Museum in many cases. I have a much clearer understanding of the Egyptians now, and will continue to be in awe of this civilization and what it accomplished. It is obvious to me know how important the life and afterlife were, how important preservation is to them, and what goals they had for themselves in the future. In most ways, I would have to say that they were successful, as we are still reconstructing and preserving their efforts started 10000 years ago.

By maria

Apr 7, 2018

I enjoyed this course. If only these types of Courses were offered here in Michigan I would have obtained a degree in Egyptology a long time ago. I do plan on taking the other set of courses related to this. The videos really helped and those places are beautiful. I really want to visit Egypt some day soon, before those pyramids are no longer there or I am too old to travel. Whichever comes first. Thanks Dr. Silverman. Your explanation on Egypt has brought me even closer to my love of their history and understanding.

By Tweela H

Jun 27, 2021

I really enjoyed the videos with the up-to-date information, the many relevant slides often showing very beautiful artifacts, and the well paced delivey by Dr. Silverman. It was really helpful to have the scripts of the videos available. As I was doing the course for interest only, it was a bit disappointing to not have access to many of the extra or suggested readings. But the course has certainly reignited my once quite passionate interest in Egypt's history. Thank you.

By Daniel A

Oct 28, 2017

Although a bit slow and scripted in the start, I've grown a sort of fondness to the professor. In the beginning the chronology seemed jumbled but slowly I got acquainted with the course and really started to enjoy it. Don't make any assumptions based on the first few videos. The course as a whole is very good and informative. I went from knowing next to nothing about Egypt, to being able to at least debate with seasoned professionals and hold my ground on the subject.

By Angel S

May 20, 2017

This course has been a really good experience. I learnt a lot and I enjoyed each of the videos and content since it provided me a new perspective about the studies that researchers have in different parts of the world. Although this is not my main field of study, I have always been interested in this amazing culture. I hope one day I have the opportunity to visit the museum in Philadelphia and of course, go the Egypt soon. Best wishes, thanks a lot!

By Barb F

May 25, 2017

I've always been interested in ancient Egypt and enjoy reading about and testing my knowledge of it when I can. It's interesting to hear from archeologists on what new finds or facts are discovered. I was very happy to be able to visit Egypt and see first hand many of the temples and tombs there and, when it's a bit safer, would love to go back!

Thank you so much for and interesting and informative class. I enjoyed it very much!

By Richard P

Dec 13, 2020

This course was thoroughly enjoyable, and I would recommend it to everyone interested in ancient civilizations. The textbook is informative and illustrated profusely throughout. Professor Silverman is obviously an expert on all things ancient Egyptian. I agree with other reviewers that some of the quiz questions are problematic and some were based on rather arcane details that were not covered in the lectures.

By Amit D D

Jun 22, 2020

Special thanks to Dr.David P Silverman Sir and University of Pennsylvania for providing such an authentic and rich content in the subject of Egyptology. I always thought of learning about Egypt, its splendid culture, its marvelous architectures, concept behind mummification, etc. and this course has stands true to my expectations. Definitely the best course for any beginner who wants to learn more about Egyptology.

By Paolo I

May 31, 2020

I'm not a historian, but always found ancient history to be a fascinating topic to read and study. I think the egyptians were a people whose culture evoke some sort of magic and mystic, but that we didn't studied as much as I liked in school. I think this course helped me learn more about them, but also preserved this magic. The visualization of the art in the Museum was a great way to illustrate many points.

By Thyagarajan S

Nov 13, 2019

The course is quite unique and mishmashes all the required detail within a short period of six weeks. The course provides a detailed introduction and history of Egypt from all corners, everything from the pharaoh's names to the rise and fall of the empire and even mummification. loved the course and all the knowledge from it. don't know if there is any other way to obtain all such information together at once.

By Daniel S

May 2, 2020

This was a very insightful course and I thoroughly enjoyed learning from it. As it's just an introduction, it has definitely sparked me to research further into some of information included as well as explore some of Dr. Silverman's other courses here on Coursera. I've also added a future visit to the Penn Museum to my list. A huge thanks to Dr. Silverman and all involved in the production of this course!

By Arantxa

Feb 20, 2020

Personal research is needed in order to complete the quizzes and participate in the forum debate. Other than that ( which is not bad at all) the course is excellent and explanations and videos are clear and helpful. It is my first contact with ancient Egypt and won't be the last. I'm enrolling in the next one. I also liked there's a great amount of photographs many of them from the Penn Museum collection.