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

2,263 ratings
689 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

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!

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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501 - 525 of 688 Reviews for Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization

By carmen m s

Dec 6, 2017


By jayita c

Mar 2, 2017

great info

By Robert L

Dec 11, 2016


By David P

Nov 30, 2016


By Mara

Jul 6, 2020

Loved it!

By Carmen

Apr 18, 2020

Loved it!

By Farhan M

Apr 17, 2020

great job


Oct 27, 2019


By Antonio N L

Feb 3, 2018


By Antonio G

Dec 31, 2017

very good

By jorge c

Jul 6, 2020


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Oct 7, 2019


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Aug 4, 2019


By Matias P

Jun 21, 2019

Nice! :)

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Nov 19, 2016


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Jun 13, 2020


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Dec 5, 2018


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Jan 6, 2018


By Elaine C

Feb 7, 2017


By Ben H

Jul 19, 2021

Overall the course was really great, flexible and an easy way to learn about Egyptian History. We are living in a time where a lot of the current idea's are being challenged in regards to Ancient Egypt, in the most part I thought David did a great job of just sticking to the facts, but also pointing out where things are current beliefs or assumptions based on the evidence at hand. Example he states the Pyramids were 'most likely built the the Egyptians' in the first Dynasty under its 2nd King - Khufu. I like this approach, I think we need to be open minded and flexible so we can go where the evidence takes us, not try and manipulate which evidence is put forward and mock other ideas that might seem somewhat far fetched. So the ancient astronaut theory is extreme and somewhat far fetched, but not impossible. I don't believe that the Pyramids were built by Ancient Astronauts but the current evidence to support them being built by Khufu is in no way air tight and convincing. Therefore the AA theory has space to breed and grow, so I guess my point is perhaps David should just say he doesn't believe that theory and there is no solid evidence to support it.

By Mischa R

May 23, 2021

This course was a lot of fun. Professor Silverman visibly enjoys talking about this subject and he is very knowledgable. The course is a good overview of Ancient Egyptian culture, detailing the most important aspects. It is clearly an introduction to Ancient Egypt, not an all-encompassing course.

The book Ancient Egypt by professor Silverman et al was extremely useful throughout the course, and I highly recommend finding a copy or consulting an online resource. Each week corresponds to 1 or 2 chapters from this book, so it's the ideal companion guide.

My only points of criticism are the tests. Each test contains at least 1 question that I did not find the answer to in the videos or accompanying book, and it's a bit unclear to me where we would've found the answer to these questions. Nevertheless, this is fairly limited and the tests are perfectly doable if you've followed along.

By Susan E B

Oct 22, 2017

As I was going through the course, it struck me that I was hearing almost the same thing I studied in my courses in the early 1970's in which the material for the sphinx and Giza pyramids was based on determinations by "scholars" from the 1880's and early 1900's. I was also surprised that no consideration was given for more recent re-interpretations of the timeframe for the sphinx, in view of studies done on the possible water erosion, possible reshaping of the head and so on. To me, these theories are worth mentioning as possibilities; thus, I felt some disappointment.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the course overall and enjoyed seeing so many different artifacts that helped define different eras in the history of Egypt. I also enjoyed learning about the dig in which the university is involved. Thanks!

By Val R

May 31, 2020

Very good material, very well presented and paced. The opportunity to see the artifacts in the Penn museum is well worth your time. The instructor is engaging and knowledgable without being tiresome, and many of the same concepts or reinforced from lesson to lesson so you get a better idea of how all this information fits together.

I took off one star for the quizzes (note that they cover both the videos and supplemental readings, which of course if fair, but it doesn't tell you that). You cannot see what answer you gave when you check your score, so you're left guessing. A layout showing your answer vs. the correct one woud be a helpful learning reinforcement.

Also question #9 on the Week 6 quiz has two possible correct answers, according to the video.

By Diana V

Oct 13, 2020

Enjoyable introduction to Ancient Egyptian History. Interesting subject matter although the topics that were of primary interest to me were not covered in the Introduction, I did however, gain a lot of broad stroke knowledge across a variety of topics. The supporting images added to the overall enjoyment of the course. It is a wonderful privilege indeed, to have access to Penn University - Dr Silverman and have his vast knowledge made so freely available to anyone wishing to participate. The quiz at the end of each course were not difficult and provided a focus to the learning. Thank you Penn University and in particular Dr Silverman.

By Kate G

Jan 6, 2017

The course is a good general knowledge introduction to Egypt, there is lots of information stuffed into each week. The lecturer's style is super dry, but the lectures are ultimately very useful. This course style is sometimes a bit disconnected, in that the information you are given is often handled purely as information, and not quite as often contextualized. This tends to make the quizzes, and discussion prompts feel disjointed, and challenging in the way that it's difficult to use your newfound knowledge in application. That being said, I really enjoyed the class as a very direct knowledge-gathering experience.