Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video]

Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video]
Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video] by Professor Bob Brier
Course No 3588 | AVI, XviD, 782 kbps, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.5GB

No great civilization continues to speak to us like that of ancient Egypt. But what is it about this ancient civilization that still captures our imaginations? What made Egypt special, allowing it to grow, in Professor Bob Brier's words, "from a scattering of villages across the Nile to the greatest power the world had ever seen"?

Professor Brier has designed this course to focus on the fascinating leaders of ancient Egypt. The information in this course is also covered in our more extensive course, The History of Ancient Egypt.

"My thesis in Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt is that what made Egypt great were the people—individuals who did great things," says Professor Brier. "By recounting the lives and accomplishments of the great ones of Egypt, we will present a history of Egypt spreading over 30 centuries. By the time we come to the last ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra, we will have peered into almost every aspect of ancient Egyptian life, seen what made Egypt great, and what finally brought about its downfall.

"My hope is that by the end of the course you will have a sense that you personally know the men and women who made Egypt the greatest nation of the ancient world."

A Great Teacher and Egyptologist

Professor Brier is an Egyptologist and specialist in mummies who knows the ancient Egyptians—literally—from the inside out. In fact, in 1994, Dr. Brier became the first person in 2,000 years to mummify a human cadaver in the ancient Egyptian style. This research was the subject of a National Geographic television special, Mr. Mummy.

Relaxed, matter-of-fact, and wryly humorous, he weaves into the stories of the great pharaohs the daily realities of Egyptian life. You learn, for example, that the origin of eye makeup was not due to vanity. Instead, makeup was ground on small, personal palettes and worn by every Egyptian for the same reasons modern athletes wear black eyeliner under their eyes: to absorb the sun's glare.

A Palette Launches 3,000 Years of Imagery

It is a quite different palette—that of Narmer, the king who unified Egypt—that marks our real introduction to Egypt's great rulers. Considered the first historical document, the "Narmer Palette" reveals images of traditions Narmer created that would endure for 3,000 years, including the double crown of Egypt and the "smiting pose" in which all pharaohs ever after would be shown.

Just as scholars look to the Narmer Palette as their earliest message from Egypt, it is the pyramids that perhaps serve that role for the rest of us.

The pharaoh Sneferu, seeking a suitable way to house his own burial chamber, taught Egypt how to perfect the pyramid, a structure whose origins lay in the need to protect desert graves from exposure by the wind. Professor Brier makes it clear, however, that pyramids were far from Sneferu's only achievements.

A Female Pharaoh Lost to History

One of Egypt's greatest rulers, the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, raised magnificent obelisks at the Temple of Karnak and built what Professor Brier calls "perhaps the most beautiful temple in all of Egypt," Deir el-Bahri. The inscriptions on the temple's walls are the first known depictions of sub-Saharan Africa; Hatshepsut was so powerful a king she was able to send a trading expedition there.

Ironically, most of the evidence of Hatshepsut's existence was systematically erased after her death; Egyptians simply did not want to acknowledge that a woman had been king.

Professor Brier continues with the tale of one of Egypt's most controversial pharaohs, Akhenaten, who tried to alter the three stabilizing principles of Egyptian society—the religious, military, and artistic traditions of the most conservative nation on earth—and almost destroyed Egypt in the process. Akhenaten's story left a legacy the ancients would attempt to erase. Ironically, this forgotten pharaoah would be the father of the most famous pharaoh in modern times: the boy-king Tutankhamen.

Tutankhamen: Murdered by His Successor?

The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 is the most scrutinized episode in the history of Egyptology, and Professor Brier leads a fascinating exploration into the world of Egyptian tombs.

For those who love a good mystery, Professor Brier introduces his own theory that Tutankhamen was actually murdered by Aye, the vizier of Egypt, as part of a successful plot to gain the crown for himself.

The next major subject in the series is Ramses II, or Ramses the Great. His 67-year reign was the longest of all the pharaohs, but the last two-thirds of that reign began with a treaty with Egypt's ancient Hittite enemy and bear little resemblance to his early years of war, conquest, and monument-building.

Ramses has been reputed to be the pharaoh of the biblical exodus. And though there is no archaeological evidence to support the story, Professor Brier offers some tantalizing connections to what we know of Ramses's actual life.

Nubia Tries to Restore Egypt's Greatness

After the death of Ramses, Egypt entered a long decline. As Egypt weakened, Nubian neighbors to the south, in what is now Sudan, grew strong. They eventually moved north taking control and trying to rebuild—primarily through the efforts of five great Nubian kings—the great Egyptian traditions they had seen crumble away.

Rather than conquer Egypt, they restored it. They celebrated Egyptian religious festivals and even took over some Egyptian burial practices. The first of these kings, a ruler named Piye, even built a pyramid, though it had been 1,000 years since the last Egyptian pyramid had risen from the desert.

From the Nubians, Professor Brier takes you into the Greek era of Egyptian history, beginning with the career of Alexander the Great. He discusses the three great events that marked his sojourn in Egypt: the declaration by the oracle at Siwa that Alexander's father was "the Sun"; his crowning as Pharaoh that the oracle's pronouncement made possible; and his creation of the city of Alexandria, which Alexander mapped out by dropping a trail of grain to show where the streets should go.

The Reign of the Ptolomies

The death of Alexander gave rise to the reign of a series of Ptolemies—15 rulers in all—beginning with Ptolemy I.

Running Egypt like a business, the early Ptolemies had some notable achievements, including Ptolemy I's building of Alexandria's Pharos Lighthouse and its extraordinary library.

The Ptolemies were unable to sustain their brilliant beginning. The last Ptolemy was Cleopatra, the enigmatic Grecian ruler who learned Egypt's language and tried to resurrect both the nation's religion and greatness. Her valiant attempts to save Egypt, with the aid of Julius Caesar, and afterwards with Marc Antony, were doomed. Egypt, no longer a nation, would become a Roman province.


  1. King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt
  2. Sneferu—The Pyramid Builder
  3. Hatshepsut—Female Pharaoh
  4. Akhenaten—Heretic Pharaoh
  5. Tutankhamen—The Lost Pharaoh
  6. Tutankhamen—A Murder Theory
  7. Ramses the Great—The Early Years
  8. Ramses the Great—The Twilight Years
  9. The Great Nubians—Egypt Restored
  10. Alexander the Great—Anatomy of a Legend
  11. The First Ptolemies—Greek Greatness
  12. Cleopatra—The Last Pharaoh

The History of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video]

The History of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video]
The History of Ancient Egypt [TTC Video] by Professor Bob Brier
Course No 350 | AVI, XviD, 416 kbps, 640x464 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.88GB

Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand that our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. Consider time. Ancient Egyptian civilization lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. When the young pharaoh Tutankhamen ruled Egypt, the pyramids of Giza had already been standing well over 1,000 years. When Cleopatra came to power, Tutankhamen had been in his tomb more than 1,000 years.

Consider scale. The only one of the Eight Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the Great Pyramid of Cheops, was the tallest building in the world until well into the 1800s. It covers 13.5 acres at the base and contains 2.3 million limestone blocks, weighing 5,000 pounds each on average. Tens of thousands of men labored to raise this tomb—but they were not slaves; they were free farmers and artisans. The social organization alone of this project humbles most modern achievements. And it was built in 2550 B.C., roughly 2,000 years before Rome was founded.

Consider its mystery. Egypt was the most advanced of any ancient civilization. Yet, even after deciphering the hieroglyphs, Egypt remains one of the most mysterious. Scarabs, mummies, obelisks, sphinxes—their civilization was extraordinary and yet so "other" from what we live today.

Professor Bob Brier regularly hosts and contributes to programs on ancient Egypt for The History Channel and The Learning Channel. He has served as Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities "Egyptology Today" Program and has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. He is also the recipient of the David Newton Award for Teaching Excellence. He is the perfect guide to take you through the tombs, mummies, and history of Egypt.

Professor Brier combines the precision and care of a scientist with a novelist's feel for plot, action, and character. His approach brings together the best that the narrative and scientific schools of history have to offer.

"Professor Brier's style of presentation is as impressive as it is engaging, and combines the skills of a master teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject. The History of Ancient Egypt is enthusiastically recommended."
—Harold McFarland, Regional Editor, Midwest Book Review

"In these lectures on ancient Egypt, the enthusiasm of Professor Brier is so infectious, the material chosen so fascinating, and the presentation so pleasant that any adult listener could enrich his knowledge of history with enjoyment."
—AudioFile magazine

The Big Picture
In this course, you chronologically survey the full 3,000 years of recorded ancient Egyptian history. Because Egyptian history lasted so long, Egyptologists divide it into three periods called Kingdoms:

  • The Old Kingdom saw the beginnings of nationhood for Egypt under one supreme ruler, the pharaoh. During this time, the pyramids were built and the rules of Egyptian art were established that would govern for 3,000 years.
  • The Middle Kingdom, a period of stabilizing after the Old Kingdom collapsed, saw a nation fighting to regain its greatness.
  • The New Kingdom, the glamour period of ancient Egypt, was when all the stars—Hatshepsut, Tutankhamen, Ramses the Great, Cleopatra, and others—appeared.

Professor Brier begins with a note on his approach.

"To a great extent, the fun of history is in the details. Knowing what kind of wine Tutankhamen preferred makes him come alive.

"Knowing that Ramses the Great was crippled by arthritis for the last decade of his long life makes us more sympathetic to the boastful monarch who fathered more than 100 children.

"If we understand what it was like to be a miner sent to the turquoise mines in the Sinai in the summer, we will feel a kinship with our long-dead counterparts.

"As we wind our way chronologically through 30 centuries of history, we will pause repeatedly to look at the details that make up the big picture."

The Base
The first five lectures are foundational. Professor Brier shows what Egypt was like before writing, how Egyptologists piece together the history of ancient Egypt, and how hieroglyphs were deciphered. These lectures show how Egyptology has been one ongoing detective story—and reveal Napoleon's massive contribution to what we know.

The Old Kingdom
In Lectures 6–10, you see the Egyptians rise to a greatness far surpassing any other people in the Near East, learn of a king who united Egypt by might, and discover a pharaoh who showed Egypt how to build the pyramids.

While you see how the pyramids were built, you learn just what it was that made Egypt great. At the end of these lectures, you see Egypt collapse into a dark age about which little is known, and with Professor Brier, you try to assess what happened.

The Middle Kingdom
Lectures 11–15 discuss Egypt's successful attempt to pull itself together, only to collapse once again. You study heroic kings from the south who battle to unite the country and establish a peace that would last for two centuries—as long as the United States has existed. Then Egypt is invaded by the mysterious people called the Hyksos, as the kings of the south battle Egypt back to greatness. These lectures also look in detail at the Old Testament story of Joseph in Egypt to see what light it might shed on this period.

The New Kingdom
Lectures 16–25 deal with the fabulous Dynasty XVIII, the period of Egypt's greatest wealth and personalities. Examining in-depth the kings and queens of this period, you study:

  • Hatshepsut, the woman who ruled as king and whose history was systematically erased from Egyptian records
  • Akhenaten, the first monotheist—and, arguably, the first individual—in history, who changed the religion of Egypt
  • Tutankhamen, the son of Akhenaten, who became the most famous of Egypt's kings when his undisturbed tomb was discovered in 1922
  • Egyptian medicine and why Egyptian physicians were justly the most famous in the ancient world.

Lectures 26–28 are a brief excursion into Professor Brier's specialty: mummies. You even learn how to make one. You also see that mummies are like books—packed with information—if you know how to read them.

Lectures 29–35 focus on the end of the New Kingdom, the last great epoch of Egyptian history, dominated by Ramses the Great. Professor Brier discusses the unnamed pharaoh of the Exodus, as well as Egyptian magic.

Greatness, but under Greek Rule
Lectures 36–41 recount the invasion of Egypt by a series of conquering peoples, including Nubians, Libyans, and Persians. Professor Brier examines the causes of Egypt's decline and the ways the falling pharaohs reached back 1,500 years to grasp at greatness.

Lectures 42–47 chart the rule of the Ptolemies, Greek kings. This period begins with the conquest of Alexander the Great and ends with Cleopatra. For 200 years, once-mighty Egypt was ruled by kings named Ptolemy, all of whom descended from General Ptolemy, who served under Alexander. These lectures examine what life was like for an Egyptian under the oppressive rule of their Greek masters. And they detail some of the achievements of this period, including the library at Alexandria.

Lecture 48 concludes the series with a summary of Egypt's legacy and suggestions for continuing study.


  1. Introduction
  2. Prehistoric Egypt
  3. Ancient Egyptian Thought
  4. Napoleon and the Beginnings of Egyptology
  5. The Rosetta Stone and Much More
  6. The First Nation in History
  7. The Rise of the Old Kingdom
  8. Sneferu, the Pyramid Builder
  9. The Great Pyramid of Giza
  10. The End of the Old Kingdom
  11. The First Intermediate Period
  12. The Middle Kingdom - Dynasty XI
  13. The Middle Kingdom - Dynasty XII
  14. The Second Intermediate Period
  15. Joseph in Egypt
  16. The Beginning of the New Kingdom - The Fabulous XVIIIth Dynasty
  17. Queen Hatshepsut
  18. Obelisks
  19. Tuthmosis III - King At Last
  20. The Fabulous XVIIIth Dynasty Rolls On
  21. Akhenaten the Heretic Pharaoh
  22. The Discovery of Tutankhamen's Tomb
  23. The Murder of Tutankhamen - A Theory
  24. Medicine - The Necessary Art
  25. The End of Dynasty XVIII
  26. Mummification - How We Know What We Know
  27. What Mummies Tell Us
  28. Making a Modern Mummy
  29. Dynasty XIX Begins
  30. Ramses the Great - The Early Years
  31. Ramses the Great - The Later Years
  32. The Exodus - Did It Happen
  33. The Decline of Dynasty XIX
  34. Dynasty XX - The Decline Continues
  35. Ancient Egyptian Magic
  36. Dynasty XXI - Egypt Divided
  37. Dynasty XXII - Egypt United
  38. Dynasty XXV - The Nubians Have Their Day
  39. Dynasty XXVI - The Saite Period
  40. Dynasty XXVII - The Persians
  41. Dynasties XXVIII to XXXI - The Beginning of the End
  42. Alexander the Great
  43. The First Ptolemies
  44. The Middle Ptolemies - The Decline
  45. Animal Mummies
  46. Cleopatra's Family
  47. Cleopatra - The Last Ptolemy
  48. The Grand Finale

Understanding Complexity [TTC Video]

Understanding Complexity [TTC Video]
Understanding Complexity [TTC Video] by Professor Scott E Page
Course No 5181 | AVI, XviD, 753 kbps, 640x480 | MP3, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.24GB

In fact, complexity science is a discipline that may well hold the key to unlocking the secrets of some of the most important forces on Earth. But it's also a science that remains largely unknown, even among well-educated people. Now you can discover and grasp the fundamentals and applications of this amazing field with Understanding Complexity. Professor Scott E. Page—one of the field's most highly regarded teachers, researchers, and real-world practitioners—introduces you to this vibrant and still evolving discipline. In 12 lucid lectures, you learn how complexity science helps us understand the nature and behavior of systems formed of financial markets, corporations, native cultures, governments, and more.

Recent years have seen the introduction of concepts from the new and exciting field of complexity science that have captivated the attention of economists, sociologists, engineers, business people, and many others.

These include

  • tipping points, the sociological term used to describe moments when unique or rare phenomena become more commonplace;
  • the wisdom of crowds, the argument that certain types of groups harness information and make decisions in more effective ways than individuals;
  • six degrees of separation, the idea that it takes no more than six steps to find some form of connection between two random individuals; and
  • emergence, the idea that new properties, processes, and structures can emerge unexpectedly from complex systems.

Interest in these intriguing concepts is widespread because of the utility of this field. Complexity science can shed light on why businesses or economies succeed and fail, how epidemics spread and can be stopped, and what causes ecological systems to rebalance themselves after a disaster.

In fact, complexity science is a discipline that may well hold the key to unlocking the secrets of some of the most important forces on Earth. But it's also a science that remains largely unknown, even among well-educated people.

What Makes a System Complex? What defines a system as complex, as opposed to being merely "complicated"? The answer lies in the presence of four factors:

  • A population of diverse agents, all of which are
  • Connected, with behaviors and actions that are
  • Interdependent, and that exhibit
  • Adaptation.

Understanding Complexity is filled with insights not only into the systems around you, but into yourself as well. For example, you discover how your own consciousness is perhaps the ultimate example of a complex system, as billions of neurons coalesce and communicate to create the mystery of awareness.

Similarly, your own local city is another pointed example of a complex system, with its storefronts, trash collection schedules, police activity, and more that organize themselves into the patterns and rhythms that make life in your particular area entirely different from life in another. Then there are the financial markets, business sectors, global regions, ecological and climatic systems, and more—all complex systems that you work with or are affected by daily.

Understanding these and other complex systems is important for several reasons:

  • They're often unpredictable.
  • They sometimes produce events with global ramifications.
  • They're remarkably robust and can withstand substantial trauma and variation.

Most important, however, are the stakes, which, in a modern world so interconnected that the links between systems are often invisible, are far different from what they once were. Our social, economic, and political worlds are more complex than they were years ago, and they may become too complex for us to understand unless we develop new ways of seeing and thinking about them.

Discover New Tools for Understanding

While modern decision-making theory has long been the "canonical" tool for guiding choices in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors, complexity science takes it a step further and provides us with a useful model for understanding and determining what to do in these complex systems. Understanding Complexity shows you how the ideas and tools made possible by complexity science—such as agent-based computer modeling, which builds a complex system for individual agents—can effectively take on those problems that decision-making theory cannot.

In one of the many illuminating examples Professor Page uses throughout the course, he reveals how such a model showed architects how a change in the shape of a ballroom with its doors on two opposite walls—from a square to a long rectangle with the doors on two opposite walls—made it much less likely that people fleeing a fire would jam the doorways. The narrower shape encouraged people to approach the doors straight-on instead of at a sharp angle.

Learn a New Way to See the World

Professor Page maintains an active involvement with the Santa Fe Institute, the interdisciplinary think tank recognized as the nerve center of complexity theory research, and his depth of knowledge in, and passion for, complexity science shines through in each of these 12 lectures.

Designed to be both a comprehensive and accessible gateway into the world of complexity science, the course features nearly 40 two- and three-dimensional computer graphics and a variety of highly illustrative thought experiments—to say nothing of the teaching skills that have earned Professor Page several awards and a career as a national speaker.

By the conclusion of Understanding Complexity, you'll have attained a new lens through which to better view, understand, and make sense of your world. While the systems you explore in this course will continue to remain complex, the science behind them will attain a startling new level of clarity.


  1. Complexity—What Is It? Why Does It Matter?
  2. Simple, Rugged, and Dancing Landscapes
  3. The Interesting In-Between
  4. Why Different Is More
  5. Explore Exploit—The Fundamental Trade-Off
  6. Emergence I—Why More Is Different
  7. Emergence II—Network Structure and Function
  8. Agent-Based Modeling—The New Tool
  9. Feedbacks—Beehives, QWERTY, the Big Sort
  10. The Sand Pile—Self-Organized Criticality
  11. Complexity versus Uncertainty
  12. Harnessing Complexity
pages: 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113
*100: 100