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  • 1. EGYPT CIVILIZATION
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. xi. xii. xiii. xiv. xv. xvi. Ancient Egypt (page 3) Geography Section (page 4) Architecture Section (page 6) Tombs (page 7) Mastaba Tombs (page 7) Pyramids (page 8) The First Pyramids (page 9) Giza Pyramids(page 9) Pyramid Construction (page 10) The Last Pyramids (page 13) The Pyramid: Metaphor of the Human Psyche (page 13) Valley of the Kings(page 14) Sculpture of Ancient Egypt (page 15) Painting of Ancient Egypt (page 16) Conclusion (page 17) Summary (page 17)
  • 3. Ancient Egypt A land of mysteries, No other civilization has so captured the imagination of scholars and laypeople alike. Mystery surrounds its origins, its religion and its monumental architecture: colossal temples, pyramids and the enormous Sphinx. The Egyptian pyramids are the most famous of all the ancient monuments, the only remaining wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Just as life arose from the waters, the seeds of civilization were first sown along the banks of the Nile. This mighty river, which flows north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, nourished the growth of the pharaonic kingdom. The long, narrow flood plain was a magnet for life, attracting people, animals and plants to its banks. In pre-dynastic times, nomadic hunters settled in the valley and began to grow crops to supplement their food supply. Seen as a gift from the gods, the annual flooding of the river deposited nutrient rich silt over the land, creating ideal conditions for growing wheat, flax and other crops. The first communal project of this fledgling society was the building of irrigation canals for agricultural purposes. The sun was a principal deity whose passage across the sky represented the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The pharaohs were seen as gods, divine representatives on earth who, through rituals, ensured the continuation of life. After death, they became immortal, joining the gods in the afterworld. The Egyptians also believed that the body and soul were important to human existence, in life and in death. Their funerary practices, such as mummification and burial in tombs, were designed to assist the deceased find their way in the afterworld. The tombs were filled with food, tools, domestic wares, treasures all the necessities of life -- to ensure the soul's return to the body so that the deceased would live happily ever after. Picture of Pyramids The most imposing tombs are the famous pyramids, shaped like the sacred mound where the gods first appeared in the creation story. These were incredibly ambitious projects, the largest structures ever built. Their construction was overseen by highly skilled architects and engineers. Paid laborers moved the massive limestone blocks without the use of wheels,
  • 4. horses or iron tools. The conscripts may have been motivated by a deep faith in the divinity of their leaders and a belief in immortality. Perhaps they thought that their contributions would improve their own prospects at the final judgment in the afterworld. The gigantic pyramids were conspicuous targets for tomb robbers, whose plundering jeopardized the hope for eternal life. Subsequent generations of kings hid their tombs in the Valley of the Kings in an attempt to elude the robbers. In the desert valley near the ancient capital of Thebes, now called Luxor, they prepared their royal tombs by cutting into the side of the mountain. Despite efforts to hide the entrances, thieves managed to find the tombs, pillaging and emptying them of their treasures. One tomb was spared, however: Tutankhamen’s. Although his resting place was disturbed twice by robbers, the entrance was resealed and remained hidden for over 3,000 years. Its discovery by the British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 is considered the greatest archaeological find in history. Carter spent the rest of his life working on the tomb, removing its treasures to Cairo, and documenting and studying its contents, including the pharaoh's gold coffins and mask. Tutankhamen’s mummy remains in his tomb, the only pharaoh to be left in the Valley of the Kings. Today, Egyptian archaeologists are still making important discoveries, and the scientific study of royal mummies is shedding new light on the genealogy of the pharaohs. The ongoing deciphering of hieroglyphic writings and research on the life of the peasants are also answering many questions related to the evolution of Egyptian culture. The pharaonic religion gives the impression that the Egyptians were preoccupied with death; however, there are ample indications that they were a happy lot who knew how to enjoy life. Geography Section Just as life arose from the waters of the primeval sea, so the waters of the Nile gave birth to the pharaonic kingdom. A gift to the people of Egypt, the longest river in the world flows north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. Its flood plain was an extensive oasis, a magnet for life -- human, plant and animal. Humans were drawn there because they could grow crops and settle into permanent villages. The annual flooding of the Nile deposited nutrient rich silt on the land, creating all the ingredients needed to support life and the growth of a great civilization.
  • 5. Nile landscape Bounded on the south, east and west by an impenetrable desert and on the north by the sea, ancient Egypt was protected from outside influences, which allowed it to evolve in its own unique way. The Nile Delta is the only delta in Egypt and is 100 miles long and 155 miles wide. It is in the shape of a triangle. There are 5 important oases in Egypt and they are all located in the Libyan Desert. They are the Farafirah, Bahriah, Dakhilia, Kharijah, and the Siwah oases. The climate in Egypt is hot and dry and there are only two seasons which are winter (December through March), and summer (the rest of the year). The average temperature in the winter is between 55 and 70 degrees F. The average temperature in the summer is between 80 and 90 degrees F. In the summer the temperature can be as high as 110 degrees F.
  • 6. Architecture Section The ancient Egyptians built their pyramids, tombs, temples and palaces out of stone, the most durable of all building materials. Although earthquakes, wars and the forces of nature have taken their toll, the remains of Egypt's monumental architectural achievements are visible across the land, a tribute to the greatness of this civilization. These building projects took a high degree of architectural and engineering skill, and the organization of a large workforce consisting of highly trained craftsmen and laborers. Avenue of sphinxes at Luxor Wall-painting, tomb of Rameses I Temple at Abu Simbel Medinet Habu Apart from the pyramids, Egyptian buildings were decorated with paintings, carved stone images, hieroglyphs and three-dimensional statues. The art tells the story of the pharaohs, the gods, the common people and the natural world of plants, birds and animals. The beauty and grandeur of these sites are beyond compare. How the ancient Egyptians were able to construct these massive structures using primitive tools is still a mystery.
  • 7. Tombs The first royal tombs, called mastabas, were built at Abydos during the first and second dynasties. They were marked with a stele inscribed with the kings' names. The burial chambers were cut into the rock, lined with sun-baked bricks and faced with wooden boards that have long since disappeared. Beside the chambers were rooms containing jars, small objects, and offerings of food and drink. The tombs were surrounded by a large number of graves of women and dwarves. These people may have been servants of the kings who were sacrificed to serve them in their afterlife. Stele Pyramids were built as royal burials until 1640 B.C. The most famous is the Great Pyramid at Giza. To prevent robbery, the kings, queens and nobles of the New Kingdom built their tombs in a remote valley west of the Theban capital known as the Valley of the Kings. The tombs of Egypt are one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world. They are indeed a world treasure! Mastaba Tombs Mastaba tombs surround the pyramids of the Old Kingdom. Courtiers and families of the monarch were buried in these low rectangular brick or stone structures. Like the pyramids, they were built on the west side of the Nile (symbol of death, where the sun falls into the underworld). Mastabas Shabti
  • 8. During the Old Kingdom, Egyptians believed that only the souls of kings went on to enjoy life with the gods. The souls of the nobles, on the other hand, continued to inhabit the tomb and needed to be nourished by daily offerings of food and drink. When people died, their ka (the life force or soul of the deceased) was released. To encourage the soul to return to the body, the body was preserved and a statuette in the likeness of the deceased was placed in the tomb. Statuettes called Shabti or shawabti; (slaves for the soul) were also placed in the tombs to perform work on behalf of the deceased in the afterlife. False door Offering to the dead The actual burial chamber was at the base of a deep vertical shaft below a flat-roofed stone structure. A false door was carved on the interior tomb wall near the entrance to the shaft. Often an image of the deceased was carved in the false door in order to entice the soul to enter the body. For the comfort and well-being of the deceased, the burial chamber was filled with material goods and food offerings, and the walls were decorated with scenes of daily activities. The mastabas were designed to ensure the well-being of the deceased for all eternity. Pyramids The spectacular pyramids that have made Egypt so famous are truly one of the world's greatest architectural wonders. One of the oldest mysteries surrounding ancient Egypt concerns the building of the pyramids. How did humans move such massive blocks of stone using only Stone Age tools? The Egyptians left thousands of illustrations depicting daily life in the Old Kingdom. Curiously enough, none of them show how pyramids were built. Pyramids - Giza Plateau
  • 9. A pyramid is a tomb, a four-sided stone structure that symbolizes the sacred mountain, humanity's universal striving to reach the heavens. The ancient belief in raising the human spirit towards the gods is the quintessential purpose behind the construction of pyramids. Even today, pyramids are metaphors for humanity's search for higher consciousness. The First Pyramids The Pyramid Age began during the Old Kingdom (2650-2134 B.C.), when the first pyramids were built by King Djoser in the third dynasty. Construction of pyramids continued until 1640 B.C. During the first and second dynasties, Egyptian kings were buried in mastabas. The deceased were laid to rest in an underground chamber at the bottom of a shaft, and a flattopped tomb was placed over them. Giza Pyramids The most famous pyramids are found at Giza. They were built by three pharaohs — Cheops (or Khufu), Chephren (Khafre) and Mycerinus (Menkaure) — During the second half of the third millennium B.C. This site is one of the seven classic wonders of the ancient world, the only one that has survived the passage of time. The other six are the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (in Bodrum, Turkey), the statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece), the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Turkey), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Pharos of Alexandria. Pyramid blocks
  • 10. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, the largest of the three at Giza, is estimated to comprise as many as 2.5 million limestone blocks with an average weight estimated at 2.5 tones (2.5 tons). The entire structure was encased in a fine white polished limestone brought from the hills at Tura, on the opposite side of the Nile. This highly prized material was removed in the 16th century and used to decorate mosques in Cairo. Pyramidion Pyramids at Giza When completed, the Great Pyramid stood 146.6 meters (481 feet) tall, and its base was 230.3 meters (756 feet) square. The capstones (Pyramidion) of all the pyramids were made of solid polished granite. For conservation reasons, they have been removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where they are on display. At the moment, only the Great Pyramid is open to the public. (For conservation reasons, the others are closed.) After climbing a number of steps, one enters through a narrow passage on the north side. This passage leads to a sloping corridor with a low ceiling where one is obliged to bend over while climbing up a ramp. The ramp leads to a passage with a high ceiling called the Grand Gallery, from where stairs lead to the king's burial chamber. Good walking shoes and light clothes are advised for anyone entering the pyramid. The climb is strenuous and the narrow passages tend to trap the heat. Interior of the Great Pyramid (he king's burial chamber is located in the middle of the pyramid, high above ground, and a series of relieving chambers were built above it to prevent it from collapsing.) *The pharaoh’s Greek name is followed by his Egyptian name in brackets. The Giza Sphinx Pyramid Construction Pyramids were constructed by large work gangs over a period of many years. The Pyramid Age spans over a thousand years, starting in the third dynasty and ending in the Second Intermediate Period. The Greek historian Herodotus was told that it took 100,000 men 20 years to build the Great Pyramid at Giza. Scholars today, however, think it may have been built by only 20,000 men over 20 years.
  • 11. A pyramid's large square base creates a very stable structure. A number of astronomical observations were used to precisely align its corners with the four cardinal points. Approximately 80% of the building materials are found in the lower half. This means that relatively few stone blocks were hauled to the upper levels. Since pyramids are solid, no walls or pillars were required to support the structure. Despite its simple design, a pyramid is an incredible engineering feat. Several theories attempt to explain how pyramids were constructed, but for now, the mystery has yet to be solved. Model of pyramid construction Stone block on sled Pouring water to lubricate the ramp Ramp up pyramid rocking a block into position One theory suggests that causeways were used to haul the stone blocks on wooden sleds up the side of the pyramids. The ramps were lubricated with water to reduce friction when hauling the blocks. As few as 10 men were needed to drag a stone block up a ramp. There may have been several ramps on each side of the pyramid at different levels, and a ramp may have been coiled around the pyramid as it grew in height. Once a stone block reached its desired level, wooden rockers may have been used to man oeuvre it into position. Another theory suggests that a wooden crane with a counterweight on one end may have been used to lift the blocks from one level to the next. This theory has been disputed, since the Egyptians did not have access to trees that were strong enough for this type of work. The average weight of the stone blocks used to build the Great Pyramid at Giza has been estimated at 2.5 tones (2.5 tons). Such an enormous weight would undoubtedly break a wooden crane before the block could be lifted. Another possibility involves the use of pulleys to hoist the blocks up the ramps and fulcrums to manipulate the blocks into place. Pulleys were used on ships at the time.
  • 12. Re-enactment of pyramid construction The pyramids were probably not built by slaves because slave labour was not widely used in Egypt at the time. Peasant farmers, however, were required to spend a number of weeks working on construction projects. This provided the paid labour needed to build these gigantic structures. Since the fields were under water during the summer, wages earned in building the gigantic pyramids supplemented the family's income. Pyramids did not stand alone; they were part of a funerary complex. The complex includes a processional causeway that links a funerary temple to the pyramid, solar barques buried on the four sides of the pyramid, and mastabas and smaller pyramids where the family of the king and nobles were buried. Model of Sahure's pyramid at Abousir The pyramid built by King Sahure (2491-2477 B.C., Old Kingdom) is the largest of the three at Abousir and the one that is best preserved. Today, it is a mound of rubble, but the mortuary temple on the east face is still discernible. Its striking features are the red granite date-palm columns and the deeply incised hieroglyphs of the king's name and titles on the huge granite blocks.
  • 13. The Last Pyramids Pyramids at sunset The last pyramids were built around Dahshur and Hawara by the kings of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1640 B.C.). Despite considerable efforts to conceal the entrance to the tombs and attempts to foil robbers with false passageways, the architects failed to prevent the plundering of the pyramids. As a result, a thousand years of pyramid building came to an end. The experiment to secure the kings' journey to eternity had proven unsuccessful. For this reason, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom turned their attention to building tombs in the Valley of the Kings. In a remote location across the Nile from Luxor and Karnak, they hoped to escape the ill fate of their predecessors. The Pyramid: Metaphor of the Human Psyche Jungian psychologists use the pyramid shape to illustrate stages in the development of the human psyche from immaturity to maturity. With its four sides and central apex, the pyramid is a model for archetypes (universal patterns in human behavior). Here is a quote from King, Warrior, Magician and Lover, by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. It explains how the pyramid metaphor can be used to illustrate aspects of masculine psychology.
  • 14. "The four archetypes of boyhood, each with a triangular structure, can be put together to form a pyramid that depicts the structure of the boy's emerging identity, his immature masculine Self. The same is true of the structure of the mature masculine self the adult man does not lose his boyishness, and the archetypes that form boyhood's foundation do not go away. Since archetypes cannot disappear, the mature man transcends the masculine powers of boyhood, building upon them rather than demolishing them. The resulting structure of the mature masculine Self, therefore, is a pyramid over a pyramid though images should not be taken literally; we are arguing that pyramids are universal symbols of the human Self." When the pyramids of the masculine Self and the feminine Self are placed end to end, they represent the Jungian Self, which embraces both masculine and feminine qualities. Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings is famous for its royal tombs. These beautifully painted tombs have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For over a thousand years, the kings, queens and nobles of the New Kingdom (1500-1070 B.C.) were buried in this valley, which is the world's most magnificent burial ground. The tombs were cut into the limestone rock in a remote wadi (a dried-up river valley) on the west side of the Nile, opposite the present day city of Karnak. Their walls were painted and sculpted with magnificent murals depicting scenes of daily life and the land of the gods. The chambers were filled with treasures -- everything from furniture to food, statues, boats and jewels, which a person needed to sustain life into eternity. The royals and their courtiers hoped to find refuge from robbers and their enemies, who caused such havoc in the pyramid tombs of their predecessors. The Valley of the Kings was located in the ancient necropolis of Thebes, the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom. Two branches separate the valley into the Western Valley and the Valley of the Monkeys. The Theban Peak, shaped like a pyramid, can be seen high above the burial grounds. This is perhaps one of the reasons the pharaohs chose this remote location.
  • 15. The valley contains hundreds of tombs, many of which have yet to be excavated and others that have not yet been found. The most famous tomb belongs to the boy king Tutankhamen. It was discovered on November 22, 1922 by the English archaeologist Howard Carter. Here is a quote from Carter's diary describing his reaction as he first peered into the tomb's antechamber. "I inserted the candle and peered in, Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn and Callender standing anxiously beside me to hear the verdict. At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold " When Lord Carnarvon, the English patron who financed Carter's work, could no longer stand the suspense, he asked, "Can you see anything?" Carter replied, "Yes, wonderful things." This famous quote sums up the excitement of this incredible discovery that took the world by storm. The awe-inspiring beauty of Tutankhamen's treasures has generated enormous interest in the history of Egypt. These treasures are the quintessential symbol of this remarkable civilization. Sculpture Section "The message of the work of art had to be clear: everyone from scribes to peasants had to understand at first glance that the great image of the pharaoh was a sign of his limitless power." Most art work was done for the pharaoh or his wealthy government officials. The large works of sculpture were often displayed at temples, which the pharaoh would build to their favorite deity. Sculptures were stiff, formal, and solemn. The Egyptians did not strive for realistic depiction, but instead wanted to present a powerful image. Egyptians used the size of their sculptures to show the social order. The pharaoh was larger than life size, scribes and court officials were life size, and workers and peasants always shown working. Many of the smaller statues were constructed out of slate which allowed them to survive over time, while the enormity of other sculptures helped them to survive. The Great Sphinx was carved out of a rock outcropping with the paws added on later from separate rocks.
  • 16. Colossus of Memphis Great sphinx Canopic jars Sphinx luxar colossi of ramses 2 abu simbel Painting Section Most of the painting of Ancient Egypt that has survived was found in tombs of the pharaohs or high governmental officials. The art is known as funerary art because it is in tombs and depicts scenes of the afterlife. Tomb paintings were of everyday life until the New Kingdom about 1550 BC to 1020 BC. During the New Kingdom the paintings showed different levels of the Egyptian society as well as items the deceased would need in the afterlife. (Marceau, 1997) For example servants, boats, and food would be painted to help the deceased in their trip through the afterlife. "To assist the dead person in his or her transition before the tribunal of Osiris was the Book of the Dead, a roll of papyrus containing religious and magical text." This and other items left in the tomb would assist the deceased in their journey in the afterlife. Much of the Egyptian painting was a mixture of sculpted reliefs which were painted. Meaning the Egyptians would first carve the rock and then paint the scene over the carved surface. Egyptian depiction of people is very consistent in their proportions and views of the people. The reason is that the Egyptians used a formula to paint people. "Egyptians artists used this method to keep figures in proportion. They divided a sheet of papyrus into nineteen rows of squares. Then they drew the figure using the first three rows of squares for the area between the forehead and the neck, the next for the shoulder to the knee, and the last six for the lower limbs and feet."
  • 17. (Romei, 1995) In this way human paintings from different artist over a long period of time retained the same appearance. King Kai opening mouth of king Tutankhamen Man kneeling before Osiris tomb of pashed Osiris and atum seated with offerings dead man standing in the barge of the sun
  • 18. Conclusion Egyptian art and architecture have a strong reflection of the culture from which they were produced. The power of the pharaoh and his position in society is clearly reflected in the large projects that they were able to complete. The pharaoh was the center of the Egyptian society. Summary Ancient Egypt was a glorious civilization which lasted approximately 3,000 years. Upper and Lower Egypt were unified by King Menes, and he ushered in the 1st Dynasty. The inundation of the Nile River would bring a rich alluvial deposit of fertile black silt over the croplands sustaining their civilization, and this allowed the Egyptians to benefit greatly. Their kings were seen as divine mediators between the gods/goddesses and populace of Egypt. Magnificent monuments such as pyramids, sphinxes, obelisks and temple complexes were erected and they are all a testament to this illustrious civilization and many have succumbed to its magnetism. Most of the painting of Ancient Egypt that has survived was found in tombs of the pharaohs or high governmental officials. The spectacular pyramids that have made Egypt so famous are truly one of the world's greatest architectural wonders. One of the oldest mysteries surrounding ancient Egypt concerns the building of the pyramids. How did humans move such massive blocks of stone using only Stone Age tools? The Egyptians left thousands of illustrations depicting daily life in the Old Kingdom. Curiously enough, none of them show how pyramids were built. Egyptians painting was a mixture of sculpted reliefs which were painted. Egyptians would first carve the rock and then paint the scene over the carved surface. Most art work was done for the pharaoh or his wealthy government officials, which the pharaoh would build to their favorite deity. Sculptures were stiff, formal, and solemn. The valley contains hundreds of tombs, many of which have yet to be excavated and others that have not yet been found. The most famous tomb belongs to the boy king Tutankhamen. The Valley of the Kings is famous for its royal tombs. These beautifully painted tombs have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Egyptian archaeologists are still making important discoveries, and the scientific study of royal mummies is shedding new light on the genealogy of the pharaohs. The ongoing deciphering of hieroglyphic writings and research on the life of the peasants are also answering many questions related to the evolution of Egyptian culture. The pharaonic religion gives the impression that the Egyptians were preoccupied with death; however, there are ample indications that they were a happy lot who knew how to enjoy life.