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In this authoritative and lavishly illustrated account, Garry Shaw begins by presenting both the mythological and the archaeological history of pharaonic kingship before examining what it was like to be a pharaoh. Covering ancient Egyptian culture from the Predynastic to the Ptolemaic period, the book describes the birth and upbringing of princes, royal accession, the life and duties of the pharaoh as judge, ruler and intermediary of the gods, his involvement in warfare, and the preparations for his death.