There are many gorgeous pictorial histories of ancient Egypt, and many excellent texts. Joyce Tyldesley's work, published in 2000, is influenced by the highly regarded Professor Kenneth Kitchen. Its quality immediately stands out, even among the general high standard. It takes a fresh but entirely orthodox and feet-on-the-ground look at crime and punishment in ancient Egypt from the near 3000-year span of the Old Kingdom to Alexander the Great. Although we have remarkably little of their law books preserved, she pieces the evidence together and looks at their approach to the seamier side of life, from corruption in high places, gangs of organised crime, grave-robbing, to the normal theft and property-disputes of the everyday type, and their penalties. Human nature has clearly not changed much, if at all, since the days of the Pharaohs.
The famous texts which preserve their attitude to social justice, such as 'The Eloquent Peasant', and the early tomb autobiographies are covered. Chapters include: Maat and the King; The Vizier; Officers of the Law; Crimes and Punishments; Loss of Liberty; Regicide; Tutankhamen (of course); The Second Oldest Profession; The Robbers of the West Bank; Sex crimes; and, The Last Judgement. She is good in the overall handling of the concepts and in the detail. Highly recommended for the general reader and the true enthusiast.
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose