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“The Gift of the Nile” An Arab traveler once wrote, “The Egyptian Nile surpasses all the rivers of the world in sweetness of taste, in length of course and usefulness. No other river in the world can show such a continuous series of towns and villages along its banks.”
“The Gift of the Nile” • The Nile river is the life blood of the kingdom: • The “miracle” of annual flooding that was predictable • The deposit of “Black Land” or silt that enriched the soil • The Nile Delta – fertile lands at the month of the river where it meets the Mediterranean • The great roadway of Egypt – the Nile’s currents run south from inner Africa to the Mediterranean in the North • Winds from the North pushed sailboats south, and the Nile currents carried them North.
Geography of Egypt Lower Kingdom of the Delta Upper Kingdom The Great Water Ways Eastern & Western Deserts Natural Barriers Fostered Isolation and Protection from Invasion – North, South, East, and West were all defended Cataracts (rapids)
The 3 Kingdom • Egyptian History is broken into three major time periods: • The Old Kingdom • The Middle Kingdom • The New Kingdom
The Old Kingdom Around 3100 BCE, the first royal dynasty united the Upper and Lower Kingdoms – under King Menes The Double Crown was created combining the White Crown of Upper Egypt and the Red Crown of Lower Egypt The Old Kingdom lasted from around 2686 BCE to 2180 BCE The Capital of the Old Kingdom was a city called Memphis, just south of the Nile Delta
The Old Kingdom The Divine Institution of Kings – Pharaoh In Egypt the Pharaoh was a GOD among men, literally: “He is a god by whose dealings one lives, the father and mother of all men, alone by himself, without an equal” Theocracy - where the ruler is viewed also as a God and thus Divine
The Middle Kingdom Considered the Golden Age of Egypt, the Middle Kingdom was a time of great stability and technical achievements • Lasted from 2055 to 1650 BCE • Pharaohs were seen more as the shepherd of his people – and was responsible for their fate • Expanded the size and population of the kingdom • Constructed the Pyramids and other great public works
The New Kingdom The New Kingdom saw Egypt become the most powerful Empire in the Middle East • Lasted from 1550 – 1070 BCE • Controlled the lands of Syria and Canaan. Pushed back into their old borders not long after the Rule of Ramesses and would later be conquered by the Nubians (Kush).
Government Kingdoms As Egypt grew in size a bureaucracy was created to manage the vast areas of the country. The Country was divided into provinces called nomes– 22 in Upper Egypt and 20 in Lower Egypt. A governor, called a nomarch, was responsible to running each nome and served at the will of the Pharaoh
Egyptian Social Order Royal Family Government Officials, Priests, Commanders, Large Landowners Merchants and Artisans Unskilled Laborers and Small Farmers Slaves • Flexible Class – you could move up and down • Women had many of the same political rights and were close to being equal to men
A Spiritual Society Re – God of the Sun and giver of life Egyptians had no word for religion because it was an inseparable element of the world they lived in. • Polytheistic – Re, Osiris, and Isis most highly regarded • Afterlife – they believed that one could be reunited with their body in the afterlife if Osiris judged you as worthy • Mummification- this was the process used to preserve the body for the afterlife. Osiris – Symbol of rebirth and the judge of the dead Isis – Goddess of wisdom and the ideal mother http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JqlAD7dn-E&feature=youtube_gdata
Family and Marriage • Monogamy was the general rule (unless your wife was childless then you could marry another) • The Pharaoh was above this rule and allowed to have many wives but his Queen was the “Great Wife” • People were encouraged to marry young and most marriages were arranged by parents • The husband was master of the house but wives were well respected and in charge of the household and the education of their children • Women could own property (and it remained theirs even after marriage), operate businesses, and divorce • Adultery was prohibited – women could lose a nose or be burned at the stake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JSMkwVU_Xw
Egyptian Tech The Obelisk – large stone pillars that typically have a square cross section and a pyramid top. Pyramids – were built as part of a larger complex of buildings dedicated to the dead. They were tombs that were to take the Pharaohs to the afterlife • They had advanced knowledge of: • Mathematics • Astronomy • Irrigation • Human Anatomy