A Al-Azhar University (pronounced "AZ-har")

: Founded in 970~972 as a madrasa, Al-Azhar University in Cairo is the foremost center of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning in the world. The university's mission includes the propagation of Islamic religion and culture. To this end, its Islamic scholars (ulama) render edicts (fatwas) on disputes submitted to them from all over the Sunni Islamic world regarding proper conduct for Muslim individuals or societies.

B Ba

: a dead person's personality essence, manifested as a bird with a man's head.

[see Ba Burgers: food for the egyptian afterlife? for more details]


: payment (as a tip or bribe) to expedite service.

[see episode one for more details]


: an oblong building ending in a semicircular apse used in ancient Rome especially for a court of justice and place of public assembly.

C Coptic

: an Afro-Asiatic language which descended from ancient Egyptian and is used as the liturgical language of the Coptic church.

D Despotism

: rule by a despot (a ruler with absolute power who exercises authority tyrannically).

E Eschatology

1: a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind.

2: a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind; specifically : any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment.

F Fascism

: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

G Giza

: the third largest city in Egypt; located in northern Egypt, on the West bank of the Nile near Cairo.

H Hellenism

: devotion to or imitation of ancient Greek thought, customs, or styles.


: a person living in Hellenistic times who was Greek in language, outlook, and way of life but was not Greek in ancestry; especially a Hellenized Jew.


1: of or relating to Greek history, culture, or art after Alexander the Great.

2: of or relating to the Hellenists.


: Greek physician (ca 460–ca 377 b.c.) known as the father of Western medicine.

K Ka

: The dead person's form; a ghostly projection of the physical body containing his "life force."

[see Ba Burgers: food for the egyptian afterlife? for more details]


: the Muslim word for a non-Muslim.

[see Chris Harper's video blogpost "Fleecing" for details]

L Lada

: a small mass-produced, Soviet-made car that, remarkably enough, still exists in Egypt and other third-world countries.

[see "A whole Lada nothing" video blogpost for details]

M Mastaba

: an Egyptian tomb of the time of the Memphite dynasties that is oblong in shape with sloping sides and a flat roof.


: a building used by Muslims for public worship.

[see episode 3 for more details]

N Neoplatonism

: Platonism modified in later antiquity to accord with Aristotelian, post-Aristotelian, and eastern conceptions of the world as an emanation from an ultimate indivisible being with whom the soul is capable of being reunited in trance or ecstasy.

P Pagan

1: a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome).

2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person.


: Greek philosopher (ca 428–348 b.c.).


1: the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently; also : toleration of worship of all gods (as at certain periods of the Roman empire).

2: a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe

Ptolemaic dynasty

: 15 rulers of Egypt, beginning with Ptolemy I (323 b.c.) and ending with Cleopatra, who died in 30 b.c.

R Repatriate

: to restore or return to the country of origin, allegiance, or citizenship.

[see Antiquity Wars for more details]

S Socrates

: Greek philosopher (ca 470–399 b.c.).


: concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government, often extending to government ownership of industry.

T Taqqiyah (pronounced "tak-EE-ya")

: Within the Shia theological framework, the concept of taqiyya (تقية - 'fear, guard against') refers to a dispensation allowing believers to conceal their faith when under threat, persecution, or compulsion, or when waging war with an enemy.


: of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy : authoritarian, dictatorial; especially : despotic.