Combining texts and archaeology, this course centers on the history and character of the ancient Egyptian imperial experience in Middle Kingdom (Dynasties 12-13), ca. 1991-1668 BC, and the New Kingdom (Dynasties 18-20), c. 1570-1070 BC. Topics include: development of empire, political organization, military issues (history, technology, etc.), great battles (Megiddo, Kadesh, etc.), policies toward Nubia and Asia, and rising economic wealth. Also included are: social and intellectual advances, cosmopolitan life at home, growing cultural sophistication, ethnic integration, influence of foreign ideas, religious issues and experimentation, the cult of the Aten and the Amarna experience. An important issue is contact with the Minoans and Mycenaeans, battles against Mycenaean raiders, and use of Mycenaean mercenaries (reflected in Egyptian texts and the Iliad). Finally is the retreat from empire, including the Sea People wars, Philistine client states, and the rising threat from Nubia and Assyria.