Ancient Egypt The Gift of the Nile
How do we know about Ancient Egypt Jean Champollion And the Rosetta Stone
Ancient Egypt • Upper and Lower Kingdoms unified under Menes ca. 3000 B. C. E. • Political History apportioned into Old Kingdom; First Intermediate Period; Middle Kingdom; Second Intermediate Period; and New Kingdom. • Pharoah was political and religious head of state—he owned all and was the source of all law.
Political Instability • Power of Pharoah in Old Kingdom challenged by Nomarchs, who rebelled in First Intermediate Period (2200-2050) • Leading Nomarch became Pharoah and lauched Middle Kingdom (2050-1800) but government was unstable. • Second Intermediate Period resulted from political unrest among the Nomarchs and resulted in foreign invasion by the Hyksos • New Kingdom emerged—a period of great nationalism (foreigners were persecuted—Including the Hebrews
New Kingdom 1570-1085 • Most Colorful • Thutmose III (1490-1436) spread Egyptian power—marked by obelisks • Empire was especially wealthy—consider what was found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb • Religious conflict and royal incest weakened New Kingdom
Egyptian Kingship • Pharaoh means “great house” • Capital Cities were really the physical manifestation of a divine king. • Justice – “what Pharaoh loves” • Evil – “what Pharaoh hates” • Pharaoh was bridge between human and divine. • Over time, Pharaoh was more of a martial leader—depicted on chariots—than a god associated with the sun.
Egyptian Religion • Pharaoh was considered a god, but many gods were honored • Re, the sun god became dominant over time. • Osiris, god of the nurturing Nile River, and Isis, god of the fertile earth, were popular with the common people.
Religious Upheaval • Ahmenhotep IV (1367-1350) sought to remove the Aman-Re priesthood • Instituted worship of Aton, the Sun’s disc • A. IV changed his name to Akhenaton ("it pleases Aton") • He claimed Aton was the one, universal god • Alienated the priesthood
Pyramids • Great Pyramid with its 52° angles represent the rays of the sun. • Architecture symbolized belief of Pharaoh as a God. • Massive building projects helped weld together disparate peoples along the Nile into Egyptians– “How the pyramids built Egypt.”