Brian Muhs

Brian Muhs
Associate Professor of Egyptology
Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures 220
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1996

Academic Bio

Brian Muhs is interested in the history of ancient Egyptian social, economic and legal institutions, particularly but not exclusively during the transition from Pharaonic to Ptolemaic and Roman rule. He is also interested in language contact and interaction, particularly between Demotic and Greek, and in the reconstruction of ancient Egyptian textual archives that have been dispersed by antiquities dealers and collectors.

Brian received his B.A. in Egyptian Archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985, and his Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. He has taught as University Lecturer at Leiden University in the Netherlands from 1997 to 2011, and as Associate Professor at the University of Chicago since 2011.

Brian has examined the roles of tax receipts in the ancient Egyptian system of taxation in his books Tax Receipts, Taxpayers and Taxes in Early Ptolemaic Thebes (2005), and Receipts, Scribes and Collectors in Early Ptolemaic Thebes (2011). He has employed New Institutional Economics models in his book The Ancient Egyptian Economy, 3000-30 BCE (2016) to explain how the spread of written documentation influenced the development of systems of taxation and of enforcement of property titles in ancient Egypt, and how the increasing availability of silver gradually drove out other media of exchange and prepared the way for the adoption of coinage.

Brian is currently studying the interactions between Egyptian and Greek traditions of banking and lending in the Ptolemaic Period. Some of his students are currently exploring the histories of textual corpora such as the Pyramid Texts and the Sacerdotal Decrees.

Selected Publications

Recent & Regularly Taught Courses

  • NEHC 20006 / 30006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-3 :Egypt 
Affiliated Departments and Centers: Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures
Subject Area: Egyptology, Ancient Egyptian Language Program