Ancient History of the Eastern Peoples


Histoire ancienne des peuples de orient (The ancient history of Eastern peoples) is a history of ancient Egypt and the Near East by Gaston Maspero (1846‒1916). More than 800 pages long, it is a comprehensive survey in five books. Book One covers ancient Egypt; Book Two Asia (the Near East) before and after the Egyptian conquest and domination; Book Three the Assyrian Empire up to the time of the Sargonids (including an extensive chapter on the Jewish kingdoms of Biblical times); Book Four the Sargonids and Medes; and Book Five the Persian Empire. The survey ends with the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. An appendix devoted to ancient systems of writing includes extensive notes and examples of ancient alphabets and syllabaries. The book has three maps and an index. The author makes use of classical sources, such as Herodotus, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, and the Bible, as well as available archeological and epigraphic research. Maspero began his long scholarly and administrative career by deciphering and publishing hieroglyphic texts when he was 21 years old. Over the next 40 years, he taught ancient Egyptian language and history in Paris. In Egypt, he led archeological expeditions and made numerous important discoveries. As director-general of the Egyptian antiquities service, he sought to regulate the distribution of objects to foreign museums and to curtail widespread plunder of antiquities. He also supervised the development and cataloging of the collections at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in central Cairo. Many of Maspero’s findings and conclusions have been revised in the 130 years since the publication of this work, but he remains one of the towering figures in the field of Egyptology and antiquities administration. Presented here is the fourth edition, revised by the author and published in 1886.

Date Created

Publication Information

Hachette & Company, Paris


Title in Original Language

Histoire ancienne des peuples de l'Orient, ouvrage contenant trois cartes et quelques spécimens des écritures hiéroglyphiques et cunéiformes

Type of Item

Physical Description

811 pages : maps ; 19 centimeters


  • Fourth edition

Last updated: March 17, 2016