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Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt. A Map of Ancient Egypt. Populated Areas. There were three main areas that were populated in Egypt: 1. The Nile Valley sole source of water for Egypt Predictable flooding provided rich fertile soil Both revered and feared (too much flooding or droughts)

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populated areas
Populated Areas

There were three main areas that were populated in Egypt:

1. The Nile Valley

  • sole source of water for Egypt
  • Predictable flooding provided rich fertile soil
  • Both revered and feared (too much flooding or droughts)
  • The Nile Delta
  • Area were Nile empties into Mediterranean Sea
  • Largest piece of fertile land
  • Encompassed major centres of Egypt
  • Faiyum
  • Lake Moeris lies at end of branch of Nile is centre of oasis called Faiyum
  • Irrigation from Nile made Faiyum the third most populated land
geographic effects
Fertile soil

deserts provided protection and shelter from outside influences

Access to Mediterranean increased and expanded trade and culture

culture was one of stability and not rapid change

Deserts were an important source of minerals and building supplies (copper, tin, gold and natron, the drying agent used in mummification)

Geographic Effects
Highlights of Ancient Egyptian History
  • King Menes unites Upper and Lower Egypt and wears double crown in 3100 BCE. Following Menes came 31 dynasties over 3000 years.
  • Death and the afterlife was an integral part of Egyptian life
  • Era of the Old Kingdom (2690 BCE), Pharaohs were absolute rulers and viewed as a god holding absolute secular and religious power. Old Kingdom also began that Age of Pyramids
  • Imhotep was not a ruler but revered and his life was recorded (architect, medicine, right hand to Pharaoh Djoser (2686-2613 BCE)
  • Pyramids- evolved from mastabas, then Step Pyramids, most known are Pyramids at Giza (2600-2500 BCE)
  • Middle Kingdom: Under Theban Kings (south), the Theban god “Amon” merged with sun god “Re” which became Egyptian national god “Amon-Re”
  • Improved technology emerged due to the Intermediate Periods (ie. 2 wheeled chariots, stronger army, expansion of empire)
Other Pharaohs
  • 1470 BCE – Reign of Hatsheput (one of four female Kings)
  • 1350 BCE – Reign of Akhenaton (Wanted to change religious beliefs to monotheism)
  • 1334 BCE – Reign of Tutankhamun (Religious revolution is reversed)
  • 1297 BCE - Reign of Ramses II. He had over 200 wives and concubines, approximately 90 sons and 60 daughters and reigned over 67 years! His reign saw massive building projects in Egypt. The Exodus of Jews from Egypt also occurred during his reign.
  • 525 BCE – Persians conquer Egypt
  • 332 BCE – Alexander the Great defeats the Persians and considered savior of Egypt
  • 50 BCE – Cleopatra VII is crowned Queen of Egypt
  • 30 BCE – Egypt becomes part of Roman empire after death of Cleopatra VII and Mark Anthony
How did Pharaoh's rule?
  • absolute rulers of the land
  • believed to be the earthly embodiment of the god Horus who was the son of Amon-Re
  • Therefore they had the divine right to rule
  • This allowed them to move between god and their people
  • People followed their orders because they believed they were from god
  • No one would challenge the King’s authority and he could rule in relative peace
Ma’at was the goddess and symbol of equilibrium of the universe and the king had to rule according to her principles
  • The throne passed on to eldest son of Principal Queen who was usual the eldest daughter of the previous king therefore the king’s sister
  • Pharaohs owned all the land – they had a hierarchy of government officials to help him rule
  • Second to the Pharaohs were the scribes who would record the doings of the Pharaoh

MA’AT-symbol of the equilibrium

of the universe

  • The Egyptians were deeply religious people
  • religious roots were in the worship of nature deities – their first gods were in animal forms
  • Those responsible for creation were the most important gods (Atum is the creator God)
  • They later developed national gods around the Middle Kingdom (Amon- local god of Thebes; gods of Dead: Osiris, Anubis, Horus and Thoth)
  • Life and death was measured in accordance to Ma’at
  • Death viewed as a new beginning
  • Afterlife common to all, regardless of social status (preparation varied as well as goods stored in tombs)
  • 2 Common Principles: 1) body preservation in a lifelike form2) the deceased must have items necessary for life in the afterworld
  • Personal belongings were usually placed in the tomb to make the Ka more at home and to assist the dead in their journey into the afterlife.
  • Text was read from the 'Book of the Dead' which was a collection of spells, charms, passwords, numbers and magical formulas for the use of the deceased in the afterlife.
This scene depicts what occurs after a person has died, according to the ancient Egyptians.

panel of 14 judges

ankh, the key of life

Weighing of the heart vs Ma’at

Judgment of scale

record of the outcome

Mummification focused on Egyptian belief of the importance of preserving the body

Afterlife would be spent enjoying best of life experiences

Body covered with natron and dried for up to 70 days

Body wrapped in linen coated with resins and oils

Middle Kingdom became customary to place a mask over the face

Removal of organs (lungs, stomach, intestines, liver) in Canopic Jars were closed with stoppers fashioned in the shape of four heads -- human, baboon, falcon, and jackal - representing the four protective spirits called the Four Sons of Horus.

brain was sucked out of the cranial cavity and thrown away because the Egyptian's thought it was useless.

History of Writing: 1) pictograms (sun= sun) 2) ideograms (sun = sun, daylight, warmth, light)3) phonograms: symbols that suggest a particular sound; related ideas and also sound (Sun = sun, son, Sunday)
  • Each hieroglyph found in pyramids and tombs often symbolized more than one consonant. Not only that, but actual Egyptian hieroglyphs were a combination of sound-signs, pictograms, and ideograms. No wonder it was so hard to decode them!
New Kingdom= 700 hieroglyphs in common usage, while rest were phonograms
  • 100 were strictly visual, while rest were phonograms
  • Eventually scribes adapted hieroglyphic symbols
  • By 700 BCE, script was refined to the demotic (or popular script) was used for secular matters such as letters, accounts and record keeping
rosetta stone
Rosetta Stone

What is the Rosetta Stone?

  • The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek). It was carved in 196 BCE.

Why is it in three different scripts?

  • The Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts (hieroglyphs for religious documents; demotic- common script of Egypt; Greek- language of the rulers of Egypt at that time)
  • The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.

When was the Rosetta Stone found?

  • The Rosetta Stone was found in 1799 by French soldiers who were rebuilding a fort in Egypt (in a small village in Delta called Rosetta (Rashid)

What does the Rosetta Stone say?

  • The Rosetta Stone is a text written by a group of priests in Egypt to honour the Egyptian pharaoh. It lists all of the things that the pharaoh had done that were good for the priests and the people of Egypt.

In Egyptian art, the translation of information was more

important than realism. In creating Egyptian wall art,

several rules must be followed.

  • Rule 1: Profile: Head in profile. Side view of eye and eyebrow. Eye never looks straight ahead
  • Rule 2: Colour: Men painted in red ochre. Women painted in yellow ochre
  • Rule 3: Stance: Hips have a three-quarter turn. Chest and shoulders shown at their full width. Both feet, legs, arms and hands must be shown
  • Rule 4: Scale: Size of figures reflects social status. Men are larger than women of equal status. Wives and children often in crouching position, with arms around the calves of the father
  • Rule 5: Proportions: Hands and feet are often large compared to the rest of the body
legal traditions
Legal Traditions
  • Law was governed by religious principle of Ma’at
  • Represented truth, righteousness and justice= balance and order
  • Laws were applied equally to all classes specifically protected the family (children and wives)
  • Punishments could be quite severe (minor crimes had 100 lashed; rapist were castrated; corrupt officials had their hands amputated; crimes that resulted in a death sentence could have choice= devoured by a crocodile, suicide, burning alive)
social roles
Role of Women

Well treated and had considerable legal rights compared to other civilizations

Same legal rights as men (land, property, divorce)

Left women to be economically independent

Primary role was in domestic life

Common title for a married women in ancient Egypt was “nebet per” meaning “the lady of the house”

Bear and raise children

Role of Men

Head of the family

Men could have numerous wives but economically men had only 1 wife

Labourers, craftsmen

Jobs were hereditary

Social Roles
  • Contributed to stability and continuity of Egypt
  • All children, regardless of social class, received some education
  • Followed a moral and ethical guide
  • Goal for education was to ensure youth exhibited self control and good manners
  • At 14, young boys followed fathers in jobs, and girls learned from mothers in the household
  • Children of priests were schooled more formally
  • Literacy was stressed for government jobs
  • Education respected for creating a well rounded individual


  • Agriculture made up most of Egypt’s wealth – grain, vegetables, fruit, cattle, goats, pigs and fowl
  • Fishing was also a major of food and wealth


  • Simple economy based on food production and minerals from desert
  • Because of their access to the Mediterranean their routes extended as far as Northern Europe, subtropical Africa and the Near East
  • Trading was done by bartering
  • Grain, oil and wheat were used as the base of the bartering system
  • The extensive trading made Egypt a powerful influence on culture, art, ideas and technology with the other areas
  • For example our current calendar was taken from the Romans who had borrowed it from the Egyptians; no currency until the Romans
the mummy movie
  • Imhotep lived during the Old Kingdom and was born a commoner during the Third Dynasty. He was very skilled and was dedicated to the ideals of his nation. Imhotep quickly rose through the ranks of the temple and court to become a vizier and the High Priest of Ptah.
  • Imhotep was a poet, an architect and physician-priest. He wrote many medical and didactic texts. He is best known, however, as the chief architect of the step pyramid at Saqqara. It remains today as one of the most brilliant architecture wonders of the ancient world.
  • During the New Kingdom, Imhotep was deified and became the "Son of Ptah." The Romans Claudius and Tiberius inscribed their praises of Imhotep in the temples in Egypt.
scarab beetle
Scarab Beetle
  • The particular species of beetle represented in the numerous ancient Egyptian amulets and works of art was commonly the large sacred scarab.
  • This beetle was famous for his habit of rolling balls of dung along the ground and depositing them in its burrows. The female would lay her eggs in the ball of dung. When they hatched, the larvae would use the ball for food. When the dung was consumed the young beetles would emerge from the hole.
  • It seemed to the ancient Egyptians that the young scarab beetles emerged spontaneously from the burrow were they were born. Therefore they were worshipped as "Khepera", which means "he was came forth." This creative aspect of the scarab was associated with the creator god Atum.
The Mummy is a 1999 American film written and directed by Stephen Sommers, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, with Arnold Vosloo in the title role as the reanimated mummy. The movie features substantial dialogue in ancient Egyptian language, spoken with the assistance of a professional Egyptologist. It is a loose remake of the 1932 film of the same name which starred Boris Karloff in the title role. Originally intended to be part of a low-budget horror series, the movie was eventually turned into a blockbuster adventure film.
  • The Mummy opened on May 7, 1999 and grossed $43 million. The film went on to gross $415 million worldwide.
  • Although its commercial success and popularity with audiences was positive, critical reception was mixed. The Mummy holds a 53 percent "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a 48 Metascore at Metacritic.
  • Roger Ebert, a film critic wrote, "There is hardly a thing I can say in its favor, except that I was cheered by nearly every minute of it. I cannot argue for the script, the direction, the acting or even the mummy, but I can say that I was not bored and sometimes I was unreasonably pleased.“
  • Likewise, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and said, "The Mummy would like to make you shudder, but it tries to do so without ever letting go of its jocular inconsequentiality."