Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: HISTORY of Egypt and greece ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: HISTORY of Egypt and greece
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: legoff-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 23 Mar 2003 09:56 PST
Expires: 22 Apr 2003 10:56 PDT
Question ID: 179894
I seek a reference or bibliography relating to the influence of Egypt,
already a  welldeveloped civilization for millenia, on the Greek  and
other mediterrean civilizations. Egyptian art, for example, was well
established long before the advent of artistic output in early Greece
and Magna Grecia.

Many thanks,

William Reilly

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 23 Mar 2003 10:29 PST
Greetings Mr. Reilly:

Do you mean references such as the following:

"Nearly all Greek sculptures were for use on or in temples...Surviving
works are stone statues of naked standing men (kouroi) and draped
women (korai) show an Egyptian influence in their rigid frontality."

"A lot of Egyptian influence was seen in the Archaic style. Their
stone sculptures looked slim, stiff, with arms mostly on sides and
fists clenched. However, unlike the Egyptian style, these sculptures
were totally free standing."
India's National Newspaper, The Hindu

Or, are you looking for an already compiled bibliography from a book
or paper?  Any clarification will greatly assist me in researching
your answer.

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 23 Mar 2003 10:33 PST
PS  Please see also:

"Throughout the sixth century B.C., Greek artists made great strides
in achieving naturalistic representation of the human figure in a
style now known as Archaic. This distinctly Greek endeavor is a
watershed in the history of European art. Two types of freestanding,
large-scale sculpture predominate: the male kouros, or standing nude
youth, and the female kore, or standing draped maiden. Among the
earliest examples of the type, the New York Kouros reveals Egyptian
influence in its pose and proportions. Erected in sanctuaries and
cemeteries outside the city walls, these large-scale stone statues
served as dedications to the gods or as grave markers. Expensive
funerary monuments were frequently erected in Athens and its environs,
especially for aristocrats who had died in the flower of their youth.
Such monuments could also take the form of a stele (tall shaft), often
decorated with relief sculpture, crowned by a capital and a finial.
Like all ancient marble sculpture, funerary statues and grave stelai
were brightly painted, and extensive remains of red, black, blue, and
green pigment can still be seen."
The New Greek Galleries from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Clarification of Question by legoff-ga on 23 Mar 2003 12:09 PST
I would like an explanation of reasons that Egyptian civilization is
not given more credit in the initiation of western civilization as
opposed to the Greeks, who seem to receive most of the credit. Egypt
not only produced influencial art, but also an enduring nation long
before the hellenes developed their city-states. I was hoping to find
a book/bibliography on the subject.
Subject: Re: HISTORY of Egypt and greece
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 23 Mar 2003 15:58 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello there

I realize you are looking for references and bibliographies but such
items can be quite wide ranging and present views which are totally
opposing.  I also imagine you are wanting items that will support your
position vs any opposition.  As a retired Egyptologist I think I can
give you exactly what you are looking for.  I do have a bias in the

Among archaeologists and historians the subject of Greek origins is
once again a hot topic.  The emergence of theory regarding an
"Afro-centered" Egypt over the last few years has changed the debate
in major ways.

Till now, the majority of classically trained scholars have presented
a version of history of Western Civilization which has given priority
to the Greeks.  Much of that attitude still dates from the 19th
century and the notion that Greeks were "Aryans" from the north rather
than looking at the ancient model itself.  Luckily, that attitude is
beginning to change.

The "Ancient Model" is one which bases research more on Herodotus than
on 19th century Euro-centerism.  It simply states that the Greeks
themselves had the notion that much of their religion and other
customs had derived from the East and most importantly, Egypt.

To answer your question, I can cover it all in one sentence. - - I
would recommend you read Martin Bernal's "Black Athena." - - While he
agrees that the Greek language came with invaders from the North, he
also presents the evidence that classical Greek culture does not
arrive along with the Northerners, but instead from the subsequent
imposition on them of Semitic and Egyptian culture. This appeared to
have happened in the 18th century B.C. when the Hyksos invasion of
Egypt overflowed into Crete, and on through the Aegean to Greece.

He of course covers the entire debate.  He provides the reasons you
ask about as to why the Egyptian contribution has been ignored.  Those
of us who support the concept of a strong Egyptian influence on Greek
civilization have a spokesman and supporter who is an Ivy League
scholar and who has done much to vindicate our stand.  However,
traditional Classicists are now mounting a strong counter-offensive
which is still based on a Euro-centered history and a revival of 19th
century historic convention.

The book itself contains a bibliography about the subject which is
more complete than any I could chase down for you on the Internet. 
Calling it a "book" is an understatement as it is a series of volumes
which is as of now still a work in progress.

"Black Athena - The Afrosiatic Roots of Classical Civilization" -
Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, New Jersey. 1987.

This website will give you some of the elements of the controversy,
pro and con.  I think you will find the "con" position to be rather

Search Google
Terms - egyptian influences on greece - and an already established
familiarity with the subject matter.

If you need any clarification before you rate the answer, please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by legoff-ga on 23 Mar 2003 16:51 PST
The response is inclusive and very complete. It provides further sources for my 
pursuit of the questions posed to Google Answers. Many thanks

William Reilly

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 23 Mar 2003 17:05 PST
Thank you.
legoff-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
excellent reply to my question.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy