Location• Nile River Valley down to the first cataract
Geographic Influences• Isolation – flat land, protective deserts• Nile River – “lifeline” or “gift from the gods” – Transportation, communication, and good agriculture despite the surrounding deserts• Adaptations – Predictable floods – Used “basin irrigation” to retain water for farming when the flooding ended
• When?• 3200 BCE – 1000 BCE• Three time periods:• Old Kingdom – 2700-2200• Middle Kingdom – 2050 - 1800• New Kingdom – 1550 - 1100
Government• Originally 3 kingdoms governed by an absolute monarch• Later, Egypt unifies into one great kingdom ruled by a Pharaoh or “God- King” – Theocracy – government ruled by a divine figure or by religious law
• Polytheistic Religion • Priests held spiritual and political power – And shaved all hair from their bodies • Aton – Sun god • Amon – god of EgyptNefirtiti worshipping Aton • Osiris – god of the Dead – Weighs all human hearts on a scale. If lighter than a feather they are pure and will live forever. If heavier, the impure heart will be destroyed and eaten by the Devourer of Souls • Book of the Dead – Collection of prayers and meditations, seen as holy scriptures • Pure heart involved “Maat”Picture from the Book of the Dead – Virtues of good life, truth, justice, and order
View of Life, Death, and Change• Egyptians believed: – Life should be traditional and enjoyed – Mummification – preserving the body for life after death • Ka – eternal spirit that lives on in Pharaohs • Pyramids were designed to provide a comfortable place in which to live (including drawings, jewelry and clothing) – Imagined the future life for pure souls to be much like the present
Cultural Accomplishments• An advanced, progressive culture – Hieroglyphics • “sacred carving,” used clay and papyrus – The best ancient calendar (6 hours short of a true solar calendar year – Geometry • Used to survey lands – Medicine • Understood heart rates/pulses • Broken bones, fevers, treating wounds • Even used electric fish in pools for healing and therapy
• Women were respected, shared many rights with men – Including divorce and marriage• Complex number system – Kept financial and tax records• Very stratified society – Literacy a significant factor – Social mobility, even for slaves (esp. through service in the army or to the Pharaoh)• Pyramids
• Pyramids – Tombs for the Pharaohs – Perfectly symmetrical structures – Required over 2 million stones • Some stones weighed 200 tons • Some poured in molds like concrete – 80 pyramids in Egypt • Largest at Giza – Most treasures and mummies stolen by thieves – Probably willingly built by peasants
Significant People and Events• King Menes – unified the 3 separate empires into the “Old Kingdom” – Capital at Memphis ~3100 BCE• 3100-1600 BCE – “ups and downs” – Middle Kingdom emerges during high point – Pyramids built – Art and Architecture flourished• New Kingdom 1570-1075 – True, great Egyptian empire and civilization – Desert not enough, Egyptians create buffer zone
Queen Hatshepsut • Ancestor of King Tut • Declares herself Pharoah – First female ruler of a civilization/empire • 22 yr reign • Killed (probably by her stepson Thutmose III)
Thutmose III• Conquers Syria and Palestine – Height of the Egyptian empire• Hebrews who had come willingly to Egypt are forced into slavery – (this sets up the LMPG thing)
• ~1375 he tried to force Egypt to be monotheistic – “Aton is the only God” Akenaton• Moved the capital – Thebes to Akhetaton• Changed is name – From Amonhotep to Akenaton (not much better)• Replaced by King Tut
King Tut• About 8 or 9 yrs old• Restores the old capital and belief system – So Egyptians liked him
• The 3,300-year-old mummy of the ancient King Tutankhamun lies exposed on a CT machine in Luxor, Egypt on Wednesday as Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, left, looks on.
Ramses II • The last great Pharaoh • Was in charge when Moses led Hebrews out of Egypt (Exodus) • 67 yr reign • Est. peace w/ Hittites • Built many temples and statues of himself • Fathered over 150 children before dying at age 99
New Kingdom Accomplishments• Built the Valley of the Kings – Great temples and tombs beneath desert cliffs (less conspicuous than pyramids) – Near Thebes – King Tut, Ramses II, and others were inside
Success and Decline• Desert protection helped• Weren’t by outsiders challenged like Mesopotamia was• Used Nile ingeniously• Empire collapses due to – ineffective Pharaohs – Strengthening Assyrians and Persians • Who conquer Egypt c.1000 BCE
Rosetta Stone• Slab of black stone with Greek, Hieroglyphics, and Demotic writing• Discovered by Jean Champollion in 1799• Code broken in 1822 – **first time hieroglyphics were read and understood
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