Author: Ruth Schumann Antelme and Stephane Rossini
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: Inner Traditions
Publication date: 1999
List: US$24.95, C$39.95
Price & More Info: Click Here
In all honesty, I had not planned to review this book until I was challenged
by a reader of my reviews to tackle it. Egyptology is not one of my strong
suits, and I'm not particularly interested in reading about sexuality, which
made this book a challenge for me.
The author, Ruth Schumann Antelme, is an Egyptologist, a former professor at
the Ecole de Louvre, and an emeritus researcher of the CNRS in France
(National Center for Scientific Research), and the illustrator, Stephane
Rossini, has illustrated other books on the subject of Egyptology. Some of
the illustrations have been "restored", based on other samples.
Some of the images contained within this volume (there are over 150
black-and-white illustrations and 20 color plates) are the ones familiar to
the reader on the subject of Egyptian religion. The majority of them,
however, are definitely not of the G-rated variety. For those who are used
to thinking of the life of Egypt in the sanitized form we learned about in
school, there are shocks in store.
As should be obvious to anyone who stops to think about it, a region such as
Egypt (which is obviously dependent upon a fertility religion because of the
climate) must have included images of fertility and procreation among its
The notes refer to some extremely specialized publications which will be
unfamiliar to most readers (as they are to me). This, however, only serves
to expand the field of exploration for those interested in continuing their
education on this topic.
Where uncertainty exists in regard to the meaning of a given drawing,
carving, or other illustration, the author is not hesitant about admitting
that uncertainty. Where uncertainty exists about the actual content or form
of a given illustration, she points it out.
The appendices include an extremely simplified chronology of ancient Egypt
from the Early Dynastic Period (circa 300 B.C.) to the Byzantine domination
(circa 400 A.D.); a list of the deities mentioned in the current work;
Egyptian place names; some hieroglyphic examples; and a glossary.
I am glad that this book was suggested to me. I wouldn't have ordered it on
my own, but it was a pleasure to read. I probably won't be reading a lot
more on the subject, but that is simply because of my many more pressing
interests (although if I take some time off from reviewing, I may change my
Reviewed by Mike Gleason