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  1. Egypt Kingdom Along the Nile

  2. Egypt: Introduction • A much more stable and hierarchical entity than Mesopotamia, as we will see. • After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt • The empire lasted 2500-3000 years, depending on interpretation • Only one major episode of political fragmentation (2200-2000 BC)

  3. Location and Map of Egypt • Upper Egypt comprises the Nile delta • Lower Egypt comprises the Nile below the delta • The Nile is constant • There is a predictable flood every spring • Desert on either side contributed to its isolation

  4. Ecology of the Nile Valley • The Nile has a regular pattern of rainfall, which floods the banks of the river regularly every spring and summer from the rainy season further south in the Sudan and East Africa • Flooding was more regular and predictable than the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia

  5. Ecology of the Nile Valley • Soil at either side was fertile because of the flooding • Egypt also had precious metals, stone that was useful both for tools and construction

  6. Demographics of the Nile • The population itself was uniform, with the same language and similar, if not the same, culture • Stability was facilitated by its relative isolation, an advantage that Mesopotamia lacked. • Thus, for 3,000 years, the political, religious, and cultural areas was uniform from the south to the delta.

  7. Egyptian Neolithic: Overview • Domesticated Plants • Food plants: wheat and barley • Fiber plants: flax • Domesticated animals: sheep, goats, cattle, pigs • Small villages formed along both banks of the Nile

  8. Egyptian Neolithic: Merimbe • Merimbe, near Nile Delta (4900) • Subterranean oval houses with roofs of sticks and mud • Tools: stone axes, knives, arrowheads • Grains stored in ceramic jars, pits, baskets • Circular clay-lined threshing floor

  9. Egyptian Neolithic: Badari • Clusters of huts or skin tents • These were precursors of later burial customs • Bodies lowered into circular or rectangular pits after faces painted with green coloring • Grave goods included utensils, food, ivory spoons, and vases of ivory or stone

  10. Egyptian Neolithic: Badari • Possibly the root of Egyptian burial customs • This statuette was buried with both men and women • Sexuality was emphasized, but they also suggest rebirth and regeneration in the afterlife

  11. Pre-Dynastic Egypt: Central Places • Nagada (Naqada) • Early evidence of stratification: sumptuous burials • Control of large hinterland by 5500 BP • Hierkonopolis (Nehken)

  12. Pre-Dynastic Egypt: Central Places • Center of pottery manufacture, whose design appears throughout Egypt • Center of a necropolis, or “city of the dead,” evidence by tombs • Left: Mace head of Scorpion II at Hierkonopolis

  13. The Principal Gods of Egypt I • Amon: (aka, Re, Ra and Aten) the god of the sun (depicted as the sun’s rays; upper left) • He is also depicted as a scarab beetle who emerges in the morning (lower left) • Anubis: the god of embalmers and cemeteries (depicted as a jackal)

  14. The Principal Gods of Egypt I • Aten: the god of the solar disk (depicted by the disk of the sun) • Hapi: the god of the Nile • Hathor: Mother, wife, daughter of Ra

  15. The Principal Gods of Egypt II • Osiris: God of the underworld (upper left; depicted with Isis) • Set or Seth: God of storms and violence; brother of Osiris who murders him

  16. The Principal Gods of Egypt II • Isis: Wife of Osiris, goddess of fertility • Horus: Son of Osiris and Isis: God of the sky. • Horus (with head of falcon) and Seth (head of dog) crown Ramses III

  17. Other Gods of Egypt • Thoth: God of the scribes, Lord of Language and inventor of writing. • Ptat: Creator of humankind; patron of the craftspeople

  18. Other Gods of Egypt • Ma’at: Goddess of truth and the universal order; wife of Thoth] • She wore an ostrich feather • Judges awarded the feather to the winner of a case. Her feather was used on the scales of judgment of the dead • Bes: Helper of women in childbirth; protector against snakes.

  19. Theocracy • Egypt, as in many civilizations, was a theocracy, government by the priests • Monarchs represented the will of the Sun God • In many conceptions, the Pharaoh was a god; gods’ will flowed through him

  20. Theocracy • The Sphinx, who guarded the entrance to Gizeh’s pyramids, had the head of Khafre and the body of a lion • They represented the head of a powerful man and the body of the king of beasts

  21. Egyptians: Conceptions of Death and the Soul • Death was the doorway to a new life • The body had to be preserved • Ka: the dead person’s soul that it housed, enabling the body to enjoy life in the afterlife as in the earthly life • Upraised arms above head symbolized the ka (upper left)

  22. Egyptians: Conceptions of Death and the Soul • A surrogate could act as substitute for body • Second aspect: the akh, or spiritual transformation of the dead • Third aspect: the ba, which entered and exited the body • The ba was represented by a human-headed bird (lower left)

  23. Mummification of the Body • At death, the pharaoh was prepared for a life of eternity • A ten-week embalming procedure was followed: see pp. 88 for details. • Here, the jackal-headed Anubis prepares the mummy for entombment • He was the god of embalmers • He was also the guide and the judge of the dead

  24. Pyramids • Pyramids themselves were constructed only for entombment of the pharaoh; • They were not used for ritual or any other purpose.

  25. Pyramids • See pp. 90-93 for details of a typical pyramid and its structure. • This diagram shows the internal structure of the pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) • The largest pyramid at Giza

  26. Book of the Dead

  27. Book of the Dead • The Tibetan Book of the Dead describes the journey of the soul between one life and the next; judgment based on karma • The Egyptian Book of the Dead prepares the soul for judgment. • Here, Anubis balances the heart against the feather of Ma’at • If the heart outweighs the feather, the animal (part crocodile, lion, and hippo) to the right will devour the judged • Thoth the scribe records the proceedings.

  28. Egypt: Upper and Lower • Before 3100 BC, the regions were divided into two parts of the Nile • Lower Egypt: the part from the Nile Delta to Memphis; it was lower in the sense that it was the terminus of the Nile • Upper Egypt: All points along the river south of Memphis to Nubia, a separate kingdom

  29. Unification of Egypt • After the conquest attributed to Menes, or Narmer (left) • The region was united into one empire • Narmer was the first pharaoh of a family dynasty of 33 generations

  30. Unification of Egypt • Symbolism: a boxy Red Crown (Lower Egypt) with a curlicue; • And a White Crown (Upper Egypt) • After Narmer’s conquest, he wore a Double Crown to symbolize the unification of the two Egypts

  31. The Symbolism of the Union and Defeat of Upper Egypt

  32. The Symbolism of the Unionand Defeat of Upper Egypt • To the right, Narmer (wearing white crown) subdues a captive • Hieroglyph at top writes out Narmer’s name • God Horus holds the captive by a feather • Papyrus blossoms symbolize Lower Egypt • To the left, two long-necked lions are entwined, suggesting union), with lion tamers on either side. • There are the decapitated warriors in defeat • At the bottom is a bull symbolizing royal power • For other symbols on this palette, see p. 85

  33. History of Dynastic Egypt:Early Phases

  34. History of Dynastic Egypt:Early Phases • Divided into 33 dynasties of each pharaoh including Narmer/Menes • Archaic Period (3100 BC): Consolidation of state • Old Kingdom (2920-2134): • Despotic pharaohs build pyramids and foster conspicuous funerary monuments • Institutions, economic arrangements, and artistic traditions established • Subject brings offering to gods

  35. Sculptures of the Pharaohs: Seated Figures • Khafre, son of Khufu • Note formal regal posture • Note fusion of body to throne • Note clenched fist of right hand, downward placement of open left hand • Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, is perched in back of the figure • Further details: see pp. 95-96

  36. Sculptures of the Pharoahs: Stance • This statue of Memkaure and wife Khamerernebty shows the formalism of Egyptian sculputure • Note clenched fists, rigid stance, left foot forward, and beard and headdress of the Pharaoh • Note supportive stance of wife; hand around waist and on arm • See box on p. 96 for further details

  37. History of Egypt: First Intermediate Period to Middle Kingdom • First Intermediate Period (2134-2040): political disunity • Middle Kingdom (2040-1650 BC) • Thebes achieves dominance • Priesthood of Amun (seen here with Mut, his consort, and son Khons • Note profile of face but frontward orientation of trunk

  38. History of Egypt: Later Phases • Second Intermediate Period (1640-1530 BC): Hyskos invasion and occupation of Nile Delta • New Kingdom (1530-1070 BC): • Great Imperial Period • Pharaohs buried in Valley of Kings • Ramses II, Tutankhamun, Seti I • Akhenaten, heretic ruler

  39. History of Egypt: Terminal Periods • Late Period (1072-332 BC): • Gradual decline in pharaonic authority • Persians rule (525-404 BC and 343-332 BC) • Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC): • Alexander the Great Conquers Egypt • Ptolemy dynasties bring Greek culture to Egypt • Roman Occupation (30 BC): Egypt becomes imperial province of Rome

  40. Archaic Kingdom (3000-2575 BC) • First known pharaoh: Horus Aha • Consolidation in which pharaohs assumed role of divine kings • Centralized authority over labor, food storage, and taxation • Sponsored spectacular feasts/rituals

  41. Archaic Kingdom (3000-2575 BC) • Translated into large-scale, well-designed architecture of which the pyramids were examples • Introduction of hieroglyphic writing • One function: To propagate the pharaonic religion at the expense of local cults • Scribes held enormous power, as the few who could read and write

  42. Hieroglyphic Writing • Definition: Writing system in which Pictorial symbols are used to Convey particular sound, object, and/or idea • Original known use: accounting • Gunter Dreyer found the oldest evidence of Egyptian writing • 200 small bone and ivory tags attached to containers holding linen and oil • Attributed to a leader called Scorpion I • Date: 5200 BP • Location: Abydos, 250 miles below Cairo

  43. Hieroglyphic Writing • Note that hieroglyphs would stand for a sound • Still relied on pictographic writing

  44. Complexity of Hieroglyphic Writing • There is some indication that hieroglyphs were more important for recording rule and kinship • than the were for economic transactions • Over time, hieroglyphic writing became more and more complex • Writing was reserved for the scribes, ranked third below the pharaoh and priests

  45. Old Kingdom (2575-2134) • Further consolidation of empire • Construction of Pyramids • Zoser (Djoser): stepped pyramid at Saqqara • Khufu (Cheops) of Giza: smooth-sided pyramid, largest in the world • Lesser pyramids • Khafre (Chephren) • Menkaure (Mycerinus) • Sphinx (likeness of Khafre) • Complex covered 25 miles on the western side of the Nile

  46. Pyramids: Analysis • Pharaonic institution probably the most successful of cults • Pharaohs were divine, capable of controlling Nile flood pattern of Nile, rise of sun, and other natural forces • Source of law (no codified law) and top of a complex bureaucracy • At death, said to dwell in the tomb while his double moved on to the other world • Pyramids was the divine house of the ruler • Never meant for any ritual purpose

  47. Pyramids: Construction • Function in all locations: to inspire awe among population • Constructed during flood season • Reinforced power by feeding the builders • Egyptian pyramids were build in one continuous process of solid stone blocks

  48. Pyramids: Construction • Constructed, as in Mesoamerica, in a four-sided design • Contained passageways and tombs, including a fake chamber • Like all pyramids, involves • Massive inputs of manpower • Sophisticated planning and organization

  49. Other Pyramids • Most New World pyramids were constructed in stages (as were Near Eastern ziggurats) • Teotihuacan: Rubble covered with stone facades • Base was as wide as Khufu’s pyramid • Half as high • Moche: Adobe bricks, roughly rectangular • Cahokia: Earthen mounds • Monk’s Mound is largest in North America • After Cholula and Pyramid of the Sun

  50. First Intermediate Period(2134-2040) • The Old Kingdom underwent decline • Long drought—probably damaged pharaonic divinity claims • High cost of pyramid construction in labor and resources • Dominance by warring regional kingdoms • Provincial powers increased • Smaller tombs constructed in various localities.