More Notorious Names from Ancient Egypt


Following on from the popular 2017 lecture series, More Notorious Names from Ancient Egypt provides an insight into our understanding of the truth behind some of the best-known names from ancient Egypt.

Discover the reality behind the myth of four famous rulers, 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 ($40 per session).

Sneferu: King of Pyramids – Wednesday 8 August
Sneferu, ruler of Egypt and founder of the Great Pyramid age, mostly forgotten by popular history but whose reign saw Pharaonic Egypt reach fruition. How much do we know about the man who was the mightiest pyramid builder of them all and who enabled one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Senwosret III: Egypt’s iron grasp – Wednesday 15 August
Senwosret III, middle king of the Middle Kingdom, an age often overlooked, who oversaw some of the most revolutionary changes to Ancient Egypt’s military and political practices, creating an outward-looking nation feared by its neighbours. Was he a visionary or a tyrant?

Nefertiti: Epitome of womanly perfection? – Wednesday 22 August
Nefertiti is still heralded as one of history’s most beautiful women, but what do we really know about her? How much of what we ‘know’ is based upon ancient philosophy, and how much is modern romanticism? Can we understand the truth behind the modern hype, and, finally, begin to see who she was?

Seti I: The Great Restoration – Wednesday 29 August
Seti I, restorer of Egypt’s true glory after the heresy of Akhenaten and father of ‘Ozymandias, king of kings’, yet not born to be king. How did a general’s son become one of the most revered kings in Egypt’s ancient history, and what were his greatest works?

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 influential figures
  • increased your awareness of Ancient Egypt’s history 
  • increased your understanding of politics in Ancient 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.

Wednesday 8 August
Sneferu: King of Pyramids

Wednesday 15 August
Senwosret III: Egypt’s iron grasp

Wednesday 22 August
Nefertiti: Epitome of womanly perfection?

Wednesday 29 August
Seti I: The Great Restoration

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.