Ancient Egypt: Why so stable? • Ancient Egypt lasted for 3500 years due to factors in: • Geography • Politics • Social structure • Education • Economy • Religion = Stability was goal and change slow and cautious
Ozymandias I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read, Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed, And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822
“There is no land that possesses so many wonders, nor any that has such a number of works that defy description”Herodotus
The shape of the Nile River Valley resembles a lotus flower, the ancient Egyptian symbol for the regeneration of life. For centuries, the Nile River flooded the valley, enriching the land with a thick layer of alluvial soil. The flooding of the Nile rendered the narrow strip of land on either side of the river extremely fertile.
Irrigation canals were used to control the water, particularly during dry spells. 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. In ancient times, the Egyptians called the desert the "red land", distinguishing it from the flood plain around the Nile River, called the "black land".
What was the “SOUL” of Ancient Egypt? • THE NILE was considered the SOUL as it was the source of life and path to immortality • Egyptians lived on Eastern side but buried on Western side • River was symbol of passage of one life to next (eternity) • Creation story began in swirling waters of the Nile when god Horus gave power to Pharaohs Click here for Creation Story
ATUM NUT Creation Story Gods and Goddesses GEB NUT TEFNUT MA’AT HORUS SHU ANUBIS ISIS Website: Gods and Goddesses ATUM
Religion: How did it contribute to stability? Atum • 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) • Religion was instrumental to stability of Egypt (life, social structure, education, laws, rule of Pharaoh, economy, death, afterlife)
Egyptian mythology • The Egyptians believed that in the beginning, the universe was filled with the dark waters of chaos • The first god, Re-Atum, appeared from the water as the land of Egypt appears every year out of the flood waters of the Nile • Re-Atum spat and out of the spittle came out the gods Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) • The world was created when Shu & Tefnut gave birth to 2 children: Nut (sky) & Geb (the Earth)
Egyptian mythology • Osiris was the son of Re-Atum and king of Egypt. His brother Seth represented evil in the universe • He murdered Osiris and himself became the king. After killing Osiris, Seth tore his body into pieces, but Isis rescued most of the pieces for burial beneath the temple • Seth made himself king but was challenged by Osiris's son-Horus. Seth lost and was sent to the desert. He became the god of terrible storms • Osiris was mummified by Anubis and became god of the dead. Horus became the King and from him descended the pharaohs
Egypt had a highly developed view of the afterlife with elaborate rituals for preparing the body and soul for a peaceful life after death Beliefs about the soul and afterlife focused heavily on preservation of the body, or ba (the soul was known as the ka). This meant that embalming and mummification were practiced, in order to preserve the individual's identity in the afterlife The intestines, lungs, liver and the stomach were preserved separately and stored in canopic jars protected by the four sons of Horus
Eye of Horus Dr. Montoneri
Menes: Unifier of Upper & Lower Egypt c. 3050 B. C. ?
Politics • 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
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
What were the legal traditions? • Law was governed by religious principle of Ma’at • GODDESS 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- act as a deterent or disgrace the guilty (Examples: 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)
Life and Death • Life and death was measured in accordance to Ma’at: the goddess and symbol of equilibrium of the universe and the king had to rule according to her principles 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. MA’AT-symbol of the equilibrium of the universe
This scene depicts what occurs after a person has died, according to the ancient Egyptians. panel of 14 judges Ka (soul /spiritual duplicate), ba (personality) ankh (form mummy took in afterlife / 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. Mummification
Preparations for the Underworld ANUBIS weighs the dead person’s heart against a feather. Priests protected your KA, or soul-spirit
Materials Used in Mummification 1. Linen 6. Natron2. Sawdust 7. Onion3. Lichen 8. Nile Mud4. Beeswax 9. Linen Pads5. Resin 10. Frankinsense
Egyptian Mummies Ramses II1279-1212 B. C. Seti I1291-1278 B. C. Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep II1210-1200 B. C.
Journey to the Underworld The dead travel on the “Solar Bark.” A boat for the journey is provided for a dead pharaoh in his tomb.
The Final Judgement Anubis Horus Osiris
Giza Pyramid Complex • construction
Early Dynastic - Old Kingdom • The Pharaohs of the Third Dynasty were the first to have actual pyramids constructed as shrines to their deaths. • The first of these pyramids, the step pyramid was designed by Imhotep for Dzoser. Prior to, and during the construction of the step pyramids, rulers were buried in a structure called a Mastaba. 3000 B.C. - 2150 B.C.
4th Dynasty Sneferu, Khufu, Khafra, Djedefra, Menkaure • It was during the Fourth Dynasty when the Great Pyramids of Giza and many other structures were constructed.