In the prologue to Tales of Ancient Egypt, Roger Lancelyn Green starts by saying that Egypt is "a land of mystery and magic—a land different from all others." He goes on to say that it is "apart and alien" yet "strangely fascinating."
Right from the outset, the author is presenting a picture of ancient Egyptian civilization as exotic, mysterious, difficult to fathom. But he's not content to leave it at that; he wants to know just why ancient Egypt had these qualities that still exercise such a profound fascination on so many of us.
Lancelyn Green argues that ancient Egypt was so "apart and alien" because it was a self-contained country—indeed, the most self-contained country in the ancient world. As Lancelyn Green tells us, it lived its own life, practiced its own religion, and came up with its own stories largely free of any outside influence.
Ancient Egyptian civilization lasted for thousands of years, until about 500 BC, when it began to draw to a close. In succeeding centuries, Egyptian culture would become mixed with that of other races, most notably the Greeks. Even so, it still retained enough of its original qualities to remain a source of fascination for successive generations.