Ancient Egypt:“The Gift of the Nile” (Herodotus)
Egyptian Civilization: Geography as DestinyThe Nile – Flows from South to North – Predictable annual flooding Nile RiverStability and Unity Sahara – Protected by deserts on the Desert east and west – Developed in relative isolation into a prosperous and stable kingdom
More Benefits of Nile River• The river served as a highway – United villages along the river – Travel was relatively easy on the river – Currents carried barges downstream to the delta – Sails used to catch winds to return upstream• Additional benefits – River attracted wildlife and provided fish for hunting & sport – Papyrus grew along river • Used to make paper
Bordered on the south, east and west by theSahara Desert, and on the north by the sea, ancient Egypt was protected from outside influences.
Ancient Egyptian History Periods Tim F e e ramNile Culture Begins 3900 B. C. E. Archaic 3100 – 2650 B. C. E. Old Kingdom 2575 – 2134 B. C. E. Middle Kingdom 2040 – 1640 B. C. E. New Kingdom 1532 – 1070 B. C. E. Late Period 750 – 332 B. C. E.Greek Ptolemaic Era 332 – 30 B. C. E. Roman Period 30 B. C. E. – 395 C. E.
Menes: Unifier of Upper & Lower Originally two kingdoms developed along the Nile Egypt Lower Egypt– Located along the northern Nile– Good farmland– Access to copper mines in Sinai Peninsula Upper Egypt– Located along the southern Nile– King Menes (~3000 BCE) conquered lower Egypt, unifying the kingdom and establishing the first dynasty– Capital at Memphis
Three Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt OLD KINGDOM MIDDLE NEW KINGDOM(2575-2134 BCE) KINGDOM (1532-1070 BCE) (2040-1640 BCE)Pharaohs organized a Large drainage project Powerful pharaohsstrong central state, created arable farmland. created a large empirewere absolute rulers, that reached theand were considered Traders had contacts with Euphrates River.gods. Middle East and Crete. HatshepsutKhufu and others built Corruption and rebellions encouraged trade.pyramids at Giza. were common. Tutankhamen: boy-kingPower struggles, crop Hyksos invaded andfailures, and cost of occupied the delta Ramses II expandedpyramids contributed to region. Egyptian rule to Syria.the collapse of the OldKingdom. Egyptian power declined.
Achievements Government Old Middle New Pharaohs Corrupt government Pharaohs created a organized suffered frequent large empire centralized state rebellions Built enormous Land drained for Traded with lands tombs, the pyramids farming along eastern Mediterranean and Red SeaDecline Power struggles, crop failures and cost Hittites invaded and Nubians, then others of pyramids caused conquered invaded collapse
Women in Egyptian Society• Status of Women – Relatively high status for that time in history – Could buy and sell property – Could seek divorce (although rare) – Property inherited through female line – Role of wife & mother important – Girls did not attend school – A woman’s status increased when she had children – Sometimes women considered property, but were treated kindly – Queen might rule with pharaoh – If pharaoh had more than one wife, the first wife was most important • Her son would be the next pharaoh
An Egyptian Woman’s “Must- Haves” MirrorPerfume Whigs
Ancient Egyptian Housing Middle Class Homes Peasant Homes
Education• Original purpose of schools was to train priests• Subjects taught – Reading & writing – Math – Religious ceremonies & rituals• Eventually temple schools provided more general education• Usually schools attended only by the wealthy• Girls did not attend school – Taught domestic skills at home• Students took notes on scraps of pottery - Papyrus was expensive & only used by advanced students• Strict discipline
Egyptian Math & Draftsmenship1 10 100 1000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000 W number is this? hat
Papyrus Paper Hieratic Scroll PiecePapyrus Plant
Champollion & the Rosetta Stone1822- French scholar JeanChapollion cracked the code ofhieroglyphics because he couldread Greek
The Circle of LifeOsiris – God of the underworld – Judges the dead – Rise & fall of the Nile believed to be the death & rebirth of OsirisSet – God of chaos (desert) who killed Osiris – Believed to cause failed harvestIsis – Wife of Osiris – Brought Osiris back to life – Nile floods and brings renewed life
Religion and Government• About 2,000 gods in the Egyptian pantheon• All powerful kings were believed to be human incarnations of gods• Only the king could express the ultimate truth and justice, or ma’at
Preparations for the Underworld ANUBIS weighs the dead person’s heart against a feather.Priests protectedyour KA, or soul-spirit
Comparison of Mesopotamia and Egypt Mesopotamia EgyptAgriculture +“Land between the rivers” +”Gift of the Nile” (Tigris and Euphrates forms +Artificial irrigation Fertile Crescent +Artificial irrigationSpecialization +Pottery, textiles, woodworking, +Pottery, textiles, woodworking, leather, brick making, leather production, stonecutting, stonecutting, masonry masonryCities -Numerous, densely populated -Fewer cities with high city-states (Ur and Babylon) centralization (Memphis and Thebes)Social Hierarchy -Noble class -Absolute authority of the -Patriarchal pharaoh made a noble class +Slaves unnecessary (had bureaucrats instead) -Patriarchal, but the presence of Queen Hatsheput may indicate greater opportunities for women +Slaves
Comparison of Mesopotamia and Egypt (cont.) Mesopotamia EgyptReligion and Education -Polytheism -Polytheism, but brief period of -afterlife was bad monotheism under Akhentan -Afterlife and judgment - could be good or bad (mummification)New Technologies -Superior in metallurgy -Papyrus, shipbuilding, pyramidsEconomic exchange -Trade by land and water -Trade principally by water along the Nile -Trade more important because Egypt lacked natural resources beside the NileArt and Writing -Cuneiform -Hieroglyphs (more pictorial than cuneiform)
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