Julia Troche, Death, Power, and Apotheosis in Ancient Egypt, The Old and Middle Kingdoms, Cornell University Press, 2021, 192 pages, SBN13: 9781501760150

Death, Power, and Apotheosis in Ancient Egypt uniquely considers how power was constructed, maintained, and challenged in ancient Egypt through mortuary culture and apotheosis; or how certain dead in ancient Egypt became gods. Rather than focus on the imagined afterlife and its preparation, Julia Troche provides a novel treatment of mortuary culture exploring how the dead were mobilized to negotiate social, religious, and political capital in ancient Egypt before the New Kingdom.

The author, an Egyptologist and Assistant Professor of History at Missouri State University, explores the perceived agency of esteemed dead in ancient Egyptian social, political, and religious life during the Old and Middle Kingdoms (c. 2700–1650 BCE). To do so, she utilizes a wide range of evidence, from epigraphic and literary sources to visual and material artifacts. As a result, the book is an important contribution to current scholarship in a. its collection and presentation of data, b. the framework it establishes for identifying distinguished and deified dead, and c. its novel argumentation, which adds to the larger academic conversation about power negotiation and the perceived agency of the dead in ancient Egypt.

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