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Joshua History (Egypt)

Name: Joshua Yoran
Period: 7
Date: 9/24/18
Topic: World History and Geography
What was the significance of
geography to Egypt’s
Nile River’s role
“Hymn to the Nile”
Geography - Nile River
Egypt was one of the first river valley civilizations (like
Nile River played an important role in Egyptian civilization
NR united Upper and Lower Egypt
Details of the Nile
Nile splits into two, forming the
Nile Delta.
Egyptians wrote of their reliance on the great river in “Hymn to the
Nile” praising it as the “creator of all good” in its ability to bring
them food and other riches.
Nile Delta/Lower & Upper
Nile River – over 4000 miles, longest river in the world. It begins in
the heart of Africa and goes north. It splits into two before entering
the Mediterranean Sea.
The split in the Nile forms a triangle territory called a delta. The Nile
Delta is called Lower Egypt. The land to the south is called the Upper
The yearly flooding of the Nile was called the “miracle” of the Nile.
Unlike the Mesopotamia’s rivers, the flooding of the Nile was gradual
and usually predictable so the river was seen as life-enhancing and
not threatening and it provided a feeling of stability.
Summer time – NR rose from heavy rains in central Africa
In Autumn – NR reached its highest point & left a deposit of mud or
silt that created an area of rich soil several miles wide on both sides of
the river. This fertile land was dark in color from silt and crops and
was called “Black Land.” The deserts were called “Red Land”
Egyptian civilization usually remained more rural with many small
villages congregated along a narrow band on both sides of the Nile.
Egypt’s important cities developed at the tip of the delta.
Farmers in the Nile Valley grew a surplus of food that made Egypt
NR also served to unify Egypt. In old times the NR was the fastest
way to travel through the land and helping with communication.
“Miracle” of the Nile
“Black Land” – fertile land
“Red Land” – the deserts
Nile leads to food surplus &
Egypt is prosperous
Nile River – made Egyptians
prosperous from good farming.
How did geography help to
protection Egypt from
Role of the bodies of water in
Egypt? Egypt’s geography and
topography played important
roles in the early history of the
Role of Religion for Egypt
Geography – Natural Barriers that Serve as Protection
Nature barriers that provided protection from enemy attacks: deserts
to the east and west, the Red Sea to the east, the cataracts (rapids) in
the southern part, Mediterranean Sea to the north. This protected the
Egyptians from invasion unlike Mesopotamia which was subject to
much invasion.
Summary: the regularity of the Nile floods and the isolation of the Egyptians
created a feeling of security and changelessness. Unlike the people in
Mesopotamia, Egyptians faced life with a spirit of confidence in the stability
of things. Ancient Egyptian civilization was characterized by remarkable
degree of continuity over 1000s of years.
Religion – Egyptians
Sun gods & land gods
Title “Son of Re” – one of the
sun gods
What characterizes the
divisions in the first 2 major
periods in Egypt’s history?
Religion provided Egypt with a sense of security & timelessness
For Egyptians religious ideas represented an inseparable part of the
entire world order.
gods were associated with heavenly bodies and natural forces.
2 groups had special significance - sun gods and land gods – because
of the importance of the sun and the fertile land along the Nile to
Egypt’s well-being.
Egyptian ruler took the title “Son of Re.” Rulers were seen as an
earthly form of Re (one of the sun gods)
Egyptian Kingdoms
Old Kingdom
(Intermediate Period)
Middle Kingdom
(Intermediate Period)
New Kingdom
Egypt history begins: 3100 BC.
King Menes
Manetho – an Egyptian priest and historian divided Egyptian history
into 31 dynasties of kings.
Egyptian history is now divided into 3 major periods: Old Kingdom,
Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom.
The 3 periods – had long-term stability, strong leadership, freedom
from invasion, great building projects, rich cultural activity.
In between the periods were the Intermediate periods that were times
of political disorder and invasion.
Egypt history begins 3100 BC when King Menes united Upper and
Lower Egypt into a single kingdom.
Define dynasty
Old Kingdom: 2700 BC-2200
King Menes created the first royal dynasty – a family of rulers whose
right to rule is passed on within the family
After King Menes the Egyptian ruler would be called “King of Upper
and Lower Egypt” (a double crown indicating the unity of Egypt)
Old Kingdom
Lasted from 2700 BC- 2200 BC
Age of prosperity and splendor
Greatest and largest pyramids were built
Capital - Memphis
pharaoh – originally meaning
“great house” or “palace”
What was the role of the
pharaoh in the Old Kingdom?
Monarchs during this period were powerful rulers over a unified state.
The title “pharaoh” became the popular title for Egyptian monarchs.
Kingship was a divine institution in ancient Egypt & it formed part of
a universal cosmic order.
In obeying the pharaoh subjects were helping to maintain a stable
world order.
A breakdown in royal power could only mean that citizens were
offending divinity and weakening the universal structure.
Pharaoh’s had absolute power – unlimited power to rule their people
but they were suppose to rule based on principles and not arbitrarily.
The chief principle = Ma’at – a spiritual precept that conveyed the
idea of truth and justice but especially right order and harmony.
Pharaohs were the divine instruments who maintained this order and
harmony and were themselves subject to it.
Bureaucracy defined
The administrative organization
of the Egyptians
Pharaoh’s had help in ruling – at first members of the pharaoh’s
family provided this help. But then during the Old Kingdom
government bureaucracy developed.
Bureaucracy means an administrative organization that relies on
nonelective officials and regular procedures.
Egypt was divided into 42 provinces run by governors appointed by
the pharaoh.
Important to the bureaucracy was the vizier – “steward of the whole
land” who was responsible to the king and in charge of the
bureaucracy with its numerous departments such as police, justice,
Agriculture and treasury were the most important departments.
For administration purposes Egypt was divided into provinces or
nomes – 22 in Upper Egypt and 20 in Lower Egypt.
A governor – or nomarch – was in charge of each nome.
Scribes were important because they kept records of everything.
Because they could write and read they were considered a higher
The Great Pyramid of King
Khufu (2540 BC)= The Great
Pyramid at Giza: stands as a
visible symbol of the power of
the Egyptian pharaohs of the
Old Kingdom.
Great Sphinx
Intermediate Period (c. 22002050 BC)
Middle Kingdom: 2055 BC1650 BC
The pyramids are an example of the splendor of the Old Kingdom –
one of the great achievements of Egyptian civilization. They were
built as a part of a larger complex of buildings dedicated to the dead –
a city of the dead.
Large pyramid for the king, smaller ones for his family and mastabas
– rectangular structures with flat roofs for his noble officials.
To preserve the physical body after death the Egyptians practiced
mummification – a process of slowly drying a dead body to prevent it
from rotting. Priests ran this process usually for the wealthy families
who could afford it. Later on all Egyptians could do this.
Process of mummification – first removed the liver, lungs, stomach,
intestines and placed them into 4 jars and put them in the tomb with
the mummy. Covered the body with a natural salt that absorbed the
body’s water. Filled body with spices and wrapped it with layers of
linen soaked in resin. This process took 70 days and then a life-like
mask placed over the head and shoulders of the mummy. Then sealed
in a case & placed in a tomb.
Pyramids were tombs for the mummified bodies of pharaohs.
Largest/most magnificent pyramid – built under King Khufu, at Giza
around 2540 BC. Covers 13 acres, 756 feet at each side of its base,
stands 481 feet high. Mystery still is around the building of this
pyramid, especially about how the builders achieved the amazing
level of precision.
Guarding the Great Pyramid at Giza is a huge figure carved from rock
known as the Great Sphinx – 240 feet long, 66 feet high, body of a
lion and a human head. Historians disagree on the purpose of the
Great Sphinx. Many people believed that the mythical Sphinx was an
important guardian of sacred sites. No pyramid built later matches its
size or splendor.
The Great Pyramid was a symbol of royal power. Could be seen for
miles and reminded people of the glory, might, and wealth of the ruler
who was a living god on Earth.
Intermediate Period
 Period of chaos
 Nomes became more independent and central authoritty was
weakened. Loyalty to nomes replaced loyalty to the pharaoh.
 Economic decline from crop failures and famines as the result of lwo
Nile flooding.
 Rival dynasty appeared.
The Middle Kingdom
Old Kingdom fell and a period of disorder followed that lasted for
about 150 years.
King of Thebes reunited all of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom arose
Later portrayed as the golden age of stability.
Factors that contributed to the period’s vitality: nome structure
reorganized, boundaries of each nome settled precisely, obligations of
the nomes to the state were defined. New system of co-regency where
pharaoh took his son as a co-ruler to prepare him for governing.
Egypt began an expansion – conquered Nubia and built fortresses to
protect the new frontier. Pharaohs also sent traders to Kush, Syria,
Mesopotamia, and Crete.
Sent military expeditions into Palestine & Syria – marked a time of
Egyptian imperialism.
One feature of the Middle Kingdom was a new concern of the
pharaohs for the people. In the Old Kingdom the pharaoh was
seen as a god-king far removed from his people. But in the Middle
Kingdom he was portrayed as the shepherd of his people and
expected to build public works and provide for the public welfare.
How was Egyptian society
Levels of Classes
Life in Ancient Egypt: Society and Economy
1) God-like King
2) Upper Class Nobles/Priests
 Over 1000s of years Egyptian society has a simple structure (During
the Old and Middle Kingdoms). Organized like a pyramid – god-king
on top. The pharaoh was supported by an upper class of nobles and
4) Farmers
priests who ran the government and managed their own landed
Merchants – trade up and down the Nile and in local markets
Artisans – made goods like wooden furniture; gold, silver and cooper
tools; paper and rope made of papyrus; linen clothing.
Farmers – largest group of people in Egypt. The pharaoh owned all
the land but granted portions of it to his subjects. Large parts of land
were held by nobles and priests who supervised the numerous
temples. Most of the lower classes were peasants (serfs) who farmed
the land of theses estates.
Farmers paid taxes in the form of crops to the pharaohs, nobles and
priests. Farmers lived in small villages and forced to provide military
service and labor for building projects.
Marriages were arranged by parents (girls at 12, boys at 14). Main
purpose of marriage – produce children. There was romance in
Monogamy was the general rule. Divorce was allowed. Adultery
Pharaohs had harems.
Only sons could carry on the family name.
Husband – considered master of the house
Wives were well respected
Women did have equal legal rights with men.
Women’s property and inheritance stayed in their hands even in
Most careers and pubic officers were closed to women but some
women opened businesses.
Peasant women worked long hours in the fields and in the home.
Upper class women could become priestesses and 4 queens became
pharaohs (Hatsheput)
What were some of the cultural
contributions of the ancient
Sun god – Re
Egyptian Accomplishments & Culture
The culture of Egypt was impressive with many technical
achievements like the pyramids.
Religion – no word for religion, it was an inseparable element of the
entire world
Many gods associated with heavenly bodies and natural forces. Two
groups – sun gods (Atum in human form and as Re with a human
body but the head of a falcon) and land gods. Pharaoh took the title
“Son of Re”
Egyptians believed humans had 2 bodies – a physical one and a
spiritual one – called ka. If the physical body was preserved and
tombs furnished with regular objects of life then the ka could return
and continue its life despite the death of the physical body.
The god Osiris became important as a symbol of resurrection or
After mummification the people could be reborn
Egyptian spiritual practice had them look for ways to gain
immortality. Book of the Dead discussed magical incantations used
to ensure a favorable journey to a happy afterlife.
“Book of the Dead”
Hieratic Script
Architectural & artistic
One system of writing in Egypt emerged around 3000 BC - Greeks
later called it hieroglyphics – meaning “priest-carvings” or “sacred
writings.” Used pictures and more abstract forms and was complex.
Was on temple walls & in tombs.
Hieratic Script – a simplified version of hieroglyphics, used for
business transactions and the general needs of daily life. Drawings of
this kind of script used dashes, strokes and curves.
First hieroglyphs were carved in stone. Then hieratic script was
written on papyrus – paper made from the papyrus reed that grew
along the Nile.
Pyramids, temples and monuments show these achievements
Artists and sculptors had to follow particular formulas in style. For
example, the human body was often portrayed as a combination of
profile, semi-profile, and frontal view to accurately represent each
Paintings in the tombs were suppose to aid the journey of the
deceased into the afterworld.
They had a lot of music as entertainment
They invented board games
Written on papyrus and wooden tablets.
Most popular literature was adventure stories about the deeds of
historical kings and famous men.
Wisdom Texts – instructions from a father to a son.
Egyptians made advances in math.
As early as 3500 BC they had developed a number system that
allowed them to count indefinitely and to make complex calculations
necessary for their massive monuments. They calculated area and
volume and used geometry to survey flooded land.
Egyptians developed an accurate 365-day calendar by basing their
year on the movements of the moon and on the bright star Sirius.
Sirius rises in the sky just before the annual flooding of the Nile
River, providing a standard date from which to calculate.
365-day calendar
Second Intermediate Period
(c. 1652-1567 BC)
Second Intermediate Period
New Kingdom (c. 1567-1085
Incursion into the delta region by a people known as the Hyksos
initiated this second age of chaos. But the positive aspect of these
people coming is that they introduced the Bronze Age technology to
Pharaoh Ahmose I defeated and expelled the Hyksos from Egypt. He
set up the New Kingdom.
New Kingdom Period
 New militaristic and imperialistic path
 More professional army
 Egypt was no longer content to remain in isolation. Now pursued an
active political and diplomatic policy.
 The height of the imperialist Egyptian state – under the reign of
Amenhotep III (c. 1412 – 1375 BC)
The government changed: kings lost most of their power to three
strong institutions – the army, the royal bureaucracy and the
The Hittites came to threaten the reign of Amenhotep III.
In the fist century BC Egypt became a province in Rome’s mighty
empire. Egypt however continues to influence its conquerors by the
richness of its heritage.