Africa. Ancient Egypt. 3000 B.C.
The Nile is the world’s longest river (4160 miles) and provides the people of Egypt with predictable yearly floods to bring them water (Egypt receives almost no rainfall). Egypt’s geography also protected the people from foreign invasion with deserts & cataracts.
Compare/contrast the geography of Egypt with Sumer.
Around 3000 B.C., Narmer united Upper & Lower Egypt and set-up the first government that ruled the whole country from the capital city of Memphis. His reign marked the beginning of the first Egyptian dynasty.
The Egyptian form of government was a theocracy. Therefore, the king not only had absolute power, but performed many ritual acts as well.
Locate Upper and Lower Egypt on your map.
Hieroglyphs are pictures that were used to write the ancient Egyptian language. In the beginning hieroglyphic signs were used to keep records of the king's possessions. Scribes could easily make these records by drawing a picture of a cow or a boat followed by a number.
But as the language became more complex more pictures were needed. Eventually the language consisted of more then 750 individual signs.
How were experts able to decipher hieroglyphics?
Royalty, nobles and priests formed the top of the social order. They controlled religious and political affairs.
The middle class was made up of artisans, scribes, merchants and tax collectors.
The majority of Egyptians belonged to the poor class. Many were farmers & paid rent to the king for the use of the land (a large percentage). Farmers also worked on building projects for the king.
Draw a graphic of the Egyptian social classes.
Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, except for during the reign of Akenaton. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses. Some, such as Amun, were worshipped throughout the whole country, while others had only a local following. Often gods and goddesses were represented as part human and part animal.
Ra (the principal sun god)
Who was Akenaton?
Refer to the handout on the pyramids.
Southern part of the Nile River Valley
Interaction with Egypt
Under Egyptian rule (c. 1500 BC – 1000 BC)
Cultural diffusion: Egyptian gods found on Nubian gold
King Piankhi – 724 BC invaded & conquered Egypt
Pushed out of Egypt by Assyrians in 671 BC (bronze v. iron weapons)
New capital at Meroë – successful trading center (gold, ivory, animal skins, perfume, slaves & timber)
Nubian culture: polytheistic, artistic & an undeciphered alphabet
Invaded by King Ezana of Axum AD 350
Which African kingdom did geography have the greatest impact on?
How did the Book of the Dead reflect Egyptian values?
Choose an African Kingdom & show how it’s art/architecture reflected the values of the kingdom.
How did the movement of goods & people affect the different areas of Africa (Northeast & sub-Saharan)?