The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Notorious names from ancient Egypt


This four-week lecture series provides an insight into our understanding of the truth behind some of the best known names from ancient Egypt. Discover the reality behind the mythology of four of the best-known Pharaohs, their resonance with us in the 21st century and how archaeology has changed our understanding of their legacies.

You can choose to attend the whole series or to enrol in individual sessions ($35 per session).

Hatshepsut: the original Wicked Stepmother? - Thursday 10 August
Hatshepsut, monarch of Egypt during its most glorious age, became synonymous with the fairy tale wicked stepmother, but how much truth is in this myth?

Thutmose III: Angry young man or military genius? - Thursday 17 August
Thutmose III, Hatshepsut’s stepson, became the greatest military leader in Egyptian history, but was this a young man venting his frustration after years of being held back?

Akhenaten: Heretic or Visionary? - Thursday 24 August
Akhenaten, celebrated as the first monotheist by early Egyptology and reviled as a heretic in ancient Egyptian history, but who had it right?

Ramesses II: King of Kings? - Thursday 31 August
Ramesses II, ‘Ozymandias, king of kings’ or master of self-promotion? His name and status still dominate the archaeological record, but did he truly dominate ancient Egyptian history?


Target audience:
This course is for anyone interested in ancient history, archaeology or classics.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • gained further knowledge of the lives of these monarchs
  • increased your awareness of ancient Egypt’s history during the 18th and 19th dynasties
  • increased your understanding of politics in New Kingdom Egypt
  • gained insight into the changes in archaeological research in the 20th century.

Course outline:
Each session includes a presentation that focuses on a different figure from ancient Egyptian history, with opportunity for questions and discussion.

Thursday 10 August
Hatshepsut: The original wicked stepmother?

Thursday 17 August
Thutmose III: Angry young man or military genius?

Thursday 24 August
Akhenaten: Heretic or visionary?

Thursday 31 August
Ramesses II: King of kings?

A short break is held halfway through each session, and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Sarah Vidler is a freelance consultant, guide and teacher of ancient Egyptian archaeology. She has led and co-led the two Victoria University study tours to Egypt.

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140
Phone 04 463 6556, Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date to arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.