Writing was important because as Egypt was very big, the Pharaoh needed to get organized and also because they believed writing had special magic powers. The scribes were educated officials who kept the written records. At the beginning, Egyptians wrote with pictures or signs called Hieroglyphs , and they used some for a single letter or for a whole word. They were carved on stone.
Hieroglyphs can be read from left to right, from right to left or from up to down, depending on where the animal or human’s head is facing. The paper were they wrote on was called papyrus , which was made with reeds. They used wooden brushes to write with. This made the signs more rounded. The words were simpler to write. This writing system was called Hieratic Script.
The ink was made with gum into blocks of color, not liquid ink because it would dry in the hot Egyptian weather.
In Egypt the different jobs were: maids, teachers (that were scribes), paper makers, mourners, musicians, leatherworkers, carpenters, perfume makers, weavers, priestesses, potters, doctors, stone vase makers, sculptors and soldiers.
Geography and the Nile Egypt is where one of the oldest civilizations in the world began. Five thousand years ago, Egyptians invented one of the first forms of writing. They made a kind of paper from reed plants. They invented a calendar much like the ones we use today. The ancient Egyptians built some of the most amazing buildings the world has ever known. Their painters and sculptors created a beautiful work of art.
Egypt is located in Northern Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the North, the Red Sea to the East, Sudan to the South and Libya to the West. Egypt is 96% desert, it rarely rains there and summer time temperature often rises above 52º. It is a very hot, dry and seemingly unforgiving environment. The Nile, the world’s longest river, flows North through Egypt’s desert like a thin liquid ribbon; as it approaches the Mediterranean Sea it forms a fertile delta that extends for about 160 kilometers.
The river Nile is made of two rivers: The White Nile and The Blue Nile. The White Nile originates in lake Victoria, in Tanganyika and The Blue Nile, in Ethiopia. The Nile was very important for the Egyptians because they used it for transport, farming, drinking and also for washing. The kind of boats they used were: fishing boats, cargo boats, funerals barges, luxurious boats for the royal family and passenger ferry boats.
The name mummies comes from “mumiyah”, an Arabic word for bitumen, a sort of tar that was precious as a medicine, and nowadays is used on roads. The Arabic archeologists were the first people of modern times who discovered mummies and they thought that the bodies were covered in bitumen because the mummies were very dark.
The Egyptians believed that one day the world would end. When it did, they would move on to the afterlife. To make that long journey, they would need their earthly body. If their body was allowed to rot they wouldn’t be able to go. That’s why they needed to be mummified to have their body complete and reach the afterworld.
The men who made dead bodies into mummies were called embalmers. They took the dead body to a place called “ The Beautiful House” to work on it. It wasn’t a very important building, it was just a tent to let the air through.
1.To make a mummy, the embalmers washed the dead body with water and oils. 2.Then they broke the brain into pieces and took it out through the nose with a hook. 3.The heart was left in the body, but they took out the rest organs. They were put un natron and covered with bandages. Then they were put in canopic jars.
4.The body was left in natron for 4o days. It was filled with linen, sawdust or sand. 5. The dry skin was rubbed with gum and oils to prevent the bad smells. 6. The body was wrapped with bandages. 7. On top of the head a golden mask was put to show how the person was alive. 8. The body was left in a wooden coffin with a human shape.
Egyptians believed in heaven but they called it “ Afterworld” . All dead people were judged by the god Osiris . If they had led good lives ,they lived happily ever after. For bad people there was an evil , hungry monster waiting to eat them. Egyptians believed in 23 gods. The most important ones were:
Ra , the sun god, Osiris , god of the underworld, Isis , Osiris’ wife. Her weeping caused the flooding of the Nile. She created the first mummy. Anubis , ruler of the dead. Tawaret , the god of the pregnant women and babies. Horus, the god of the sky and sun of Osiris and Isis. Thoth , god of wisdom and writing. Hasor, god of love, happiness and music. Ma’at , god of truth and justice. Bes , God of happiness and protector of the families.
The Nile floods regularly each year. The flooding is a result of the cumulative effects of a number of factors.
At the end of winter the snow on the mountains of central Africa melts feeding the tributaries of the Nile.
Then come the spring rains followed by torrential rains in countries South of Egypt. In ancient times, the land was watered by the Nile.
The Nile rose by one meter in the summer and flooded out over its banks. The water covered the land for about 60 days. After this time the water began to go down. The fields were divided by means of dykes and canals into a series of basins .The water was trapped in these for about 40days before being run off.
During late August and September the whole land was covered by the water which left behind big deposits of alluvium. This enormous layer of fertile silt was great to make plants grow. In October and November the water stared to go down. It was time to plant the seeds.
The ground was prepared by ploughing. The seeds were scattered by hand . Animals like sheep and goats were used to tread the seed into the ground .When the grain was ripe it was harvested .Only the heads of the grains were cut off.
Apart from grain like emmer (used for making bread) and barley (used for making beer) the Egyptians grew many others like lentils, onions, garlic, lettuce and dates. When the land couldn’t be worked because of the flood the farmers worked for the pharaoh in different projects like pyramids , temples and monuments.