According to Egyptian mythology, when the god Re cried, his tears turned into bees upon touching the ground. Beyond the realm of myth, the honey bee is a surprisingly common and significant motif in Egyptian history, playing a role in the mythology, medicine, art, and food of the ancient culture.
In The Tears of Re: Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt, entomologist Gene Kritsky presents the first full-length discussion of the ways in which bees were a part of life in ancient Egypt, shedding light on one of the many mysteries of the ancient world. Kritsky delves into ancient Egypt's complex society, revealing that bees had a significant presence in everything from death rituals to trade. In fact, beekeeping was a state-controlled industry, and in certain instances honey could even be used to pay taxes! Honey was used both to sweeten foods and treat cuts, and was sometimes used as a tribute or offering. From the presence of bees in paintings and hieroglyphs in tombs to the use of beeswax in a variety of products, bees had a significant presence in ancient Egyptian culture.
Richly illustrated and engagingly written, The Tears of Re will appeal to anyone with a passion for beekeeping, Egypt, or the ancient world.