3AS Project - Unit 1 ( Egypt, Land of History and Civilizati

September 18, 2017 | Author: Khadidja Belaskri | Category: Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Ancient Egypt, Tutankhamun, Eighteenth Dynasty Of Egypt
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Unit One : Theme : Project :

Exploring the Past Ancient Civilizations Making the profile of an Ancient Civilization

Topic :

Egypt, Land of History and Civilizations

School :

Class :

Members of the Group : ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Teacher : School Year :

Egypt, Land of History and Civilizations Here, we will learn about Egypt's ancient past, as well as some of the most important rulers and other people that made Egypt one of the world's most powerful countries thousands of years ago. We can divide up Egypt's past into a number of parts, but it is important to remember that there is history, and the time before history, called prehistory. History is the period of time when humans made records by writing about events, while prehistory, is the time before people could write. Overall, we can divide Egypt's long past as: ● ● ● ●

Prehistory : The time before writing The Dynastic Period : The time of Egyptian Pharaohs or Kings The Greco-Roman Period : Egypt ruled by Greek Kings and Roman Emperors The Archaic Islamic Period : After the Arab Invasion

During every period of Egypt's past there were a number of people who stand out from others. Most of them are kings or pharaohs, and the earliest ones that we know about were recorded to have ruled more than 5000 years ago. Because of the way the country was split up during ancient historical times, there could have been more than one king. We really do not know the exact number of kings Egypt has had. The kings were able to acquire some great power, and records even show that a few of the ancient pharaohs became Egyptian gods.

Egypt's Prehistory The prehistoric times of Egypt were a very long time ago. It was the time before the pharaohs, and before anyone knew how to write. Prehistory dates from as far back as you can imagine, think millions of years, to about 3000 B.C. when the 1st Dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs began their rule. There is not much that is known about prehistoric Egyptians. Egypt was not one big desert with a river giving it life such as it is now. The land was green and grassy and there was rain. The people hunted with stone axes and bone spears, in search of fresh game to eat. They made their clothing from the skins of these animals. These tribes of people lived in groups of about 8000 and learned to grow crops to add to their diet of hunted meat. Over thousands of years it began to rain less and less in Egypt, and the crops would no longer grow. The grasslands died out from lack of water, and sand slowly replaced the plains, turning Egypt into the sandy desert that we know it as today.

Timeline of Ancient Egyptian Civilizations History A- Dynastic Period •

Predynastic Period (5500 - 3100 BC):

In the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt, people evolved from hunters and gatherers using stone weapons into an organized central society. Animals such as donkeys are tamed and used in daily life, not just for food. Egyptians trace their roots back to a land they called Punt. At first, Egypt is ruled by many kings, each one fighting with others to try to take over and rule more kingdoms. •

Early Dynastic Period (2920 - 2650 BC):

Ancient writing came about during the Early Dynastic period in the form of hieroglyphs. By the end of the Early Dynastic period, Egypt will be unified into one kingdom and ruled by a pharaoh. The Early Dynastic period consists of dynasties 0 through 2 usually, and lasted about 300 years. There were at least 30 kings during the Early Dynastic period and some of the first monuments and temples were built at Saqqara and Abydos during this time. •

Old Kingdom (2650 - 2152 BC):

The Old Kingdom contained the 3rd through the 6th Dynasties, or about 500 years of rule. The capital was in Northern Egypt, in Memphis, and the rule was held solidly by the pharaohs. During this time, some pharaohs were even considered to be gods, and were worshipped as religious figures. The first pyramids were built as step pyramids of mud bricks early in the Old Kingdom period. The true pyramids were later constructed of stone blocks, forming the ancient monuments that we still study today. Ancient doctors knew quite a lot about the body, antiseptics and surgery. Artists were showing great talent in painting, carving and sculpting. •

First Intermediate Period (2150 - 1986 BC):

All of the successes of the Old Kingdom began to fall apart during the First Intermediate Period. The Nile River was flooding, causing trouble for those living off of the land there. Crops were either being washed out from the floods, or not getting any water at all due to issues with irrigation. There was widespread hunger and death. The pharaoh had lost control of the lands to the local governments, some of which were corrupt. •

Middle Kingdom - (1986 - 1759 BC):

Intef and Mentuhotep from Luxor were able to reunite the broken lands under local rule into rule by one king again. This began the 11th Dynasty. While the pharaoh never really regained power over the local governments, foreign trade started to happen again. Irrigation projects were fixed and completed. In fact, it could be dangerous to be the pharaoh. One of the Middle Kingdom kings was killed by a group of local governors who wanted to keep their power. It was well into the Middle Kingdom before power was restored to the pharaoh. Egyptians enjoyed wealth again, and the population began to grow. •

Second Intermediate Period (1759 - 1539 BC):

Immigration of people who weren't born as Egyptians eventually led to the Second Intermediate Period. These people moved to Egypt from their countries and set up towns and communities which followed their own rules. They did not live by the Egyptian laws, nor did they recognize the rule of the pharaoh. During the Second Intermediate Period, Egypt was ruled by a string of foreign kings. Amosis, a military general, set off wars against these foreigners and the foreign rule, and eventually put Egypt back under Egyptian control, starting up the 18th Dynasty. •

New Kingdom (1539 - 1069 BC):

After the Second Intermediate Period, the kings of the 18th Dynasty vowed that they would never want to see Egypt under a foreign king again. The kings of the 18th Dynasty were fierce military generals, fighting to keep Egypt ruled by Egyptians. They fortified the Egyptian borders to ward against foreign attacks. Egypt became wealthy and powerful again, and the kings taxed all foreigners and foreign trade heavily. Foreigners were treated badly. As the 19th Dynasty started, Egypt began to fail again. Foreign relations were not good, and the foreign rulers were waging war on Egypt. The strongest king of the time was Ramses II, but after his death there were many weak kings, pushing Egypt back into political chaos and disorder. •

Third Intermediate Period (1070 - 657 BC):

Upon the death of Ramses XI, a man from Tanis named Smendes assumed the throne of Egypt. No one was really in charge at this point, and there was much chaos and confusion. The 22nd Dynasty was made up of Chiefs from Libya, and they ruled at the same time as the pharaohs of the 23rd Dynasty. This political strife lasted for several hundred years. •

Late Kingdom - (664 - 332 BC):

Egypt was invaded by Nubia, as the southern Nubians rushed the northern Egyptians. The Nubians won, and for a short while began to restore old Egyptian traditions and religious practices. It was not long before the Assyrians conquered the Nubians. An Egyptian leader was put on the throne and the 26th Dynasty began. Peace came about by the second or third generation of kings, but Egypt never returned to the power and glory that it once had. Egypt was then conquered by Persia, and the Egyptians suffered badly. During this time the Greeks conquered Persia, and the rule of Egypt passed to Greece. Alexander the Great was welcomed into Egypt and recognized as the liberator of Egypt from Persian rule. It would be 2000 years before another Egyptian would hold the throne of Egypt again, in the 18th Century AD.

B- Greco-Roman Period Alexander the Great's liberation of Egypt from Persian rule was the end of the Egyptian kings for quite some time. He built a new capital in Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean sea, and called it Alexandria. After Alexander's death the empire split into many parts, with the most powerful generals each ruling a section. Egypt eventually fell under the reign of Ptolemy. The Greeks did adopt some of the Egyptian customs and traditions, but they still spoke Greek and held onto their Greek customs. "Egypt" is a Greek word that has survived the centuries. The Egyptian word for "Egypt" is "kmt" or "kemet." The Greek rulers and people thought that they were better than the lower class Egyptians. The Romans became involved when Cleopatra VII argued with her half-brother as to who should succeed the throne. She invited Julius Caesar and the Romans to step in to settle the dispute. Cleopatra sided with Mark Antony and lost against Augustus Caesar and Rome took over Egypt's

rule. No foreigners were hated as much as the Romans were. Christianity in Egypt came about because of Roman rule. The early Egyptian Christians were called Copts. It was the Copts who used religion as a tool to stir up trouble in the Roman empire.

C- Archaic Islamic Period Islam started in the Arabian Peninsula about the same time the Christians were being persecuted by the Romans for their beliefs. Islam spread quickly, and it was not long before the Arab Islamic State was able to free Egypt from the horrible reign of terror by Rome. Amr Bin Al Aas conquered the Romans in 640 AD and Egypt was bound to Islam as its greatest supporter. There were several different periods to the Islamic rule of Egypt: ● Abbasid Era ● Fatimid Era ● Ayyubid Era ● Mameluke Era ● Bahri Mameluke Era ● Burgi Mameluke Era ● Ottoman Turk Era

Timeline of Ancient Egypt’s Kings Because ancient Egyptian history dates back more than 5000 years, the historians and egyptologists (someone who studies Egypt) need a way to describe certain time periods. They call these time periods a dynasty. A dynasty is a period of years in which a certain king or his family is in control of the lands. A king's son was usually the next to inheirit the throne. If this power ever passed out of the family, a new dynasty begun. In the paragraphs below, click on the names of the kings to see more detailed information of their reign. Early Dynastic Period - Not much is known about the pharaohs during the very early times. Their monuments are well studied artifacts, however.

1st Dynasty: 3050-2890 BC: Horus Aha: Egyptologists are still not certain who Aha really is. Being such ancient history, finding the information to complete the research has been very hard to do. Many of them think that Aha was actually Menes, but they're not completely sure, as the records from so many years ago just aren't clear. They have, however, found artifacts that could possibly link King Aha as being Menes, the ruler who united Upper and Lower Egypt in the 1st Dynasty.

Old Kingdom: Pyramids were building in Giza and Dahshur during this time period.

3rd Dynasty: 2650-2575 BC: Sanakhte (Nebka):

Sanakhte, also known as Zanakht, Zanacht, Nebka or Nebkha is perhaps the founder of the 3rd Dynasty of rulers. Some historians think that maybe Nebka and Sanakhte are not the same person, and that Nebka founded the dynasty and Sanakhte ruled it later. There is not much known about this king and there is no proof of his rule of Egypt yet. Archaeologists are not sure if they have found his tomb yet or not, because if they have, it was not clearly marked as his.

4th Dynasty: 2575-2467 BC : Snefru : Snefru was likely the first pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty. There is some debate as to whether or not he is the son of Huni, the king before him. Some think that was he was not, and this is why the new dynasty began. Snefru is known for his pyramid building techniques and probably transformed the pyramid into what it is today. His sons, as part of the royal family, became Viziers (royal advisor), keeping the royal power all within the family. Khufu: Khufu (also known as Cheops) is credited with the creation of the Great Pyramid at Giza. He had three wives and several sons. Khufu probably reigned as king for as many as 24 years. He made life miserable for the ancient Egyptians that lived under him. He closed the temples and would not permit sacrifices to the gods. He made everyone work for him, and work very hard. It was said by an ancient historian that Khufu even put his daughter into a brothel to earn more money for his projects. There was much hate toward Khufu. Khafre: Khafre is the builder of the second pyramid in Giza. The first was made by Khufu. Khafre had several wives, as most kings did back in those days. Most historians think that Khafre is credited with building the great sphinx, and that it his face that the sphinx was patterened after. Khafre was known as a harsh and mean leader like his father, Khufu.


Menkaure: Menkaure was the son of Khafre, and was thought to be much nicer of a king than his father and grandfather. He built the third pyramid at Giza, and it is not nearly as big as the other Giza landmarks. His reign was probably about 28 years, and it is thought that his son probably finished the construction of Menkaure's valley temple, once again proving that the commoners enjoyed this king's reign much more than the ones before him. His cult (worship) continued on for some time after his death.

5th Dynasty: 2575-2467 BC: Sahure:

Sahure was the second king of the king of the 5th dynasty. His reign started the decline of pyramid building, and his pyramid was not of as good a quality as those kings who died before him. Economic trade was strong during his reign, more than combat, and the Egyptians likely dealt with other foreign cultures for trade as well.

6th Dynasty: 2345-2184 BC: Teti: Although his reign was likely only about 12 years, Teti was the first king of the 6th Dynasty. Teti's wife was Queen Iput I, who was probably the daughter of the last king of the 5th Dynasty. There is very little known about Teti's reign, other than the fact that he may have been murdered.

Middle Kingdom: Times were good, and foreign trade was booming. Jewelrymaking techniques are refined during this period.

11th Dynasty: 2055-1987 BC: Mentuhotep II: Mentuhotep II is credited with uniting Egypt under one leader after the despair of the First Intermediate Period. Upper and Lower Egypt were now being ruled by just one king again. While his rule started off peaceful, it didn't stay that way forever, as there were some bloody battles fought while Mentuhotep II was king.

12th Dynasty: 1991-1759 BC: Amenemhet I: Although he was not of royal blood, Amenemhet I was the first king of the 12th Dynasty. He was the vizier of the king before him, Mentuhotep IV. Either Mentuhotep IV had no heirs, or he was just a weak king, and upon his death the throne was up for grabs. Amenemhet, when he worked as the vizier, would prophesize of a great leader coming to power to lead the people to good fortune. Amenemhet was forseeing himself, and his reign lasted for 30 years.

Senusret III: Senruset III ruled over Egypt for about 37 years as the 12th Dynasty's 5th pharaoh. His statues showed him with very humanistic features, rather than the uptight looking god type statues of previous kings. He was likely very large, at over 6'6", and was a great warrior and active military

leader. He restructured Egypt's local governments, taking a lot of power away from the high nobles, and giving some power to the middle class citizens. In Nubia, Senusret III was worshipped as a god.

New Kingdom: There is extreme prosperity and new trends in art and architecture (buildings). Toward the end of the 19th Dynasty, the priesthood gains a lot of power and corrupts the government, sending it into ruin. Tombs were robbed in the 20th Dynasty by head officials. The priesthood gains even more power.

18th Dynasty: 1539-1295 BC: Ahmose: Ahmose I most likely became leader of Egypt at the tender young age of 10. His father and brother had both died, and that left him in line for the throne. His mother, Queen Ashotep was a powerful woman and probably shared in the ruling power until he was older. By age 20, he had led battles to help keep invaders out of Egypt, he lived to be about 35, and his mummy was found, though his pyramid never has been. Thutmose I: Thutmose I came into power because he married the daughter of Ahmose I and Queen Ahmose Nefertary. This gave him rights to the throne. He was a successful military leader, but a commoner by birth. He campaigned against the Syrians, opening the route for trade and diplomacy in later times. His military campaigns and battles brought a sense of security to the Egyptians. Thutmose II: Quite possibly a very weak man, Thutmose II took the throne after Thutmose I's (his father) death. He only ascended to the throne due to his two older brothers having died before him. He married Hatshepsut (his sister and cousin) to help establish his hold on Egypt as king, because she was powerful and well known. She was Thutmose I's daughter. Thutmose II declared his son, Thutmose III as his successor, but Hatshepsut took the throne upon his death, and is more of a well known pharaoh than her husband, Thutmose II ever was. Thutmose II's burial chamber has never been found, but his mummy was recovered from the royal cache of mummies at Deir al-Bahari. Hatshepsut: Hatshepsut was the first female pharaoh of Egypt, and the 5th pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Until now, the women who were of royalty would marry a man, and the man would become Pharaoh. It is said that Hatshepsut made her appearance more masculine after she took the throne from Thutmose III. She also wore the male pharaoh's clothing. Mostly a peaceful pharaoh, she did lead a few expeditions and even participated in war to prove to the people of Egypt that she too, like the rest of her family, was a warrior pharaoh. When Thutmose III came to power and regained the throne, Hatshepsut all but disappeared from history. Thutmose III was bitter about Hatshepsut and tried to remove all traces of her from the monuments. Her body has never been found, but her temples are beautiful.

Thutmose III: Thutmose III was heir to the throne when his father, Thutmose II died. His regent was Hatshepsut, Thutmose II's wife. Hatshepsut took the throne from Thutmose III and declared herself pharaoh until she died, at which time Thutmose III took his rightful position as pharaoh. He was likely a military man under Hatshepsut's rule. There must have been much bitterness and anger toward Hatshepsut, because when she died, Thutmose III destroyed all of the monuments to her, trying to erase her name from history. Thutmosis III's battles were recorded in lots of detail by his historian, marking him as a great pharaoh. Amenhotep II: An athletic young man, Amenhotep II probably reigned for most of his time as pharaoh pretty peacefully. In his early years, he led military battles to guarantee the peace for the later years. He built more temples and expanded on the monuments that were already there. There were likely many children that he fathered, but they are difficult to trace because he did not make his wives public. He also finished trying to wipe Hapshetsut's name from any monuments, to finish what his father, Thutmose III had started. Amenhotep III: Amenhotep III likely ruled for about 40 years as the 9th king of the 18th Dynasty. Egypt was very stable and properous during his reign. Egypt was pretty peaceful at this time too, and there weren't many military battles waged. Amenhotep III was likely a young boy when he was given the throne, and it is unknown who was acting as regent in charge during his early years. The kingdom propsered due to trade with other countries, and the royal family lived in luxury. Amenhotep IV: Amenhotep IV was better known as Akhenaten. He married Nerfertiti who was a commoner, but the daughter of a vizier. They had several daughters, but their most famous child was their son, Tutenkhamen. Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten when he began to follow the worship of Aten rather than worshipping Amun like everyone else typically did. He died after about 16 years of reign as king, but his mummy has not been located. Experts are not sure if it was destroyed or hasnt been found yet. Tutankhamun: Quite possibly born to Akhenaten, Tutankhamun was not as popular of a pharaoh as he seems to be today. He still is not very well known to the Egyptologists. King Tut was probably crowned king about age 9 so that Horemheb and Ay who were likely his caretakers, could take the rule. Scientists are not exactly sure why Tutenkhamun died at a young age either, though they think it might have been from a blow to the head or a deadly infection. He was buried in a small pyramid that was not well decorated like many who had passed on before him, though somehow, through the media hype, we still think of King Tut as a very popular Egyptian king. Horemheb:

As the last king of the 18th Dynasty, little is known about who Horemheb's parents were. He became a strong military leader during the reign of Akhenaten. Horemheb was a very ambitious man, and when Ay died, he declared himself king, taking the throne. It is possible that Ay and Horemheb had Tutankhamen murdered before reaching adulthood so they could rule the kingdom themselves. Horemheb is credited with the restoration of tombs that had been ruined and robbed during his rule, and the leaders of the 19th Dynasty give him credit as their founder.

19th Dynasty: 1295-1187 BC: Seti I: Seti I was the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre. Seti I is known for his great building accomplishments in various temples. He was also a good military leader, leading expeditions to Syria. Seti I also led an attack on Syria and Lebanon to fight the Hittites. Seti I's mummy is one of the best preserved mummies to date. It was not located in his tomb, but in the royal cache at Deir al-Bahari. Ramesses II: Seti I and Queen Tuya's heir to the throne was Ramesses II. He was the third king of the 19th Dynasty. He was called Ramesses the Great because he lived to be 96 years old and had 200 wives, 96 sons and 60 daughters. After his father died, he continued with the wars against Syria. The battles are shown as paintings in his temples. Ramesses II was buried in his own tomb when he died, but the priests systematically moved his body several times to keep common thieves from looting and destroying it. Merenptah: Merenptah was the thirteenth son of Ramesses II. The first twelve heirs to the throne had already died by the time Ramesses II had passed on, because he lived to be so old. It is likely that Merenptah was in his sixties when he started his reign as king, and it likely didn't last for more than 10 years or so. Most of his reign was peaceful, but there were a few military battles between Syria and Lebanon, where he finished what his father had started against the Hittites. Merenptah's mummy was found in the royal cache at Deir al-Bahari. Seti II: Seti II is either the 5th or 6th ruler of the 19th Dynasty. His father was Merenptah and he took over reign when Merenptah, who was older when becoming king, died. Seti II may have ruled along with Amenemesses at the beginning of his reign, as Amenemesses tried to steal the throne for himself. Once Seti II had kicked Amenemesses out of power, Seti II's rule was likely a fairly peaceful one.

20th Dynasty: 1186-1069 BC: Ramesses III:

Ramesses III was the second king of the 20th Dynasty. He was one of the last great pharaohs of ancient Egyptian times. During his reign there was some economic trouble and Ramesses III also had to deal with a failed consipiracy to kill him. His harem of wives and others close to him went to trial and were accused of trying to murder the king. Many of them were put to death because of this. Ramesses III wife, Queen Tiy was put to death as a result of the trial. It was likely during the conspiracy trial that Ramesses III died himself, though its unknown what caused his death. The death of Ramsses III was the sign of the New Kingdom time period coming to an end.

Ancient Life: Families : Ancient Egypt has always fascinated people, because of the way that they lived more so than the way that they died. Ancient Egyptians were also devoted to their families, which were apparent in the activities that they enjoyed with friends, music, parties, swimming, fishing, hunting, sailing, and especially their children. The traditional family was the fundamental social unit of ancient Egypt. The father was responsible for the economic well-being of the family. Upper-class men often became scribes or priests, while lower-class men often were farmers, hunters, potters, or other craftsmen. The mother supervised the household, including servants, and cared for the upbringing of the children. Upper-class women could become priestesses, and all women could become musicians or professional mourners. Most objects that we use everyday become worn and fall apart. Do you think that your sneakers, back packs, or dishes will last 3000 years? Because the ancient Egyptians included objects that they needed everyday and scenes of daily life in their tombs, we can get an idea of how they lived. Where did they live? Most Egyptians built their homes out of mud bricks made from the mud along the Nile River mixed with straw and pebbles. Wealthy homes were decorated with wall paintings on the inside. Furnishings were simple. They included stools for seating, chests to store things. They slept on wooden beds and used headrests instead of pillows What did they wear? Linen woven from the flax plant was the most common fabric for clothing. Men usually wore a simple kilt tied at the waist, and women wore sheath dresses. Egyptian clothes were often decorated with pleats as we see in this carving of a court official on the left. Notice that he is also wearing a wig, which would have been made from human hair. Egyptians usually kept their own hair short or their heads shaved. Both men and women also wore make-up. Palettes, like the one on the right, were used to grind mineral pigments for make-up. The ground powder was probably mixed with animal fat and then applied to the face. Black and green eye make-up were especially popular. They also adorned themselves with jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, armlets, bracelets, anklets, and rings.

Work: Much of what has been learned of the types of work done by ancient Egyptians has been gathered from the collections of the artifacts found inside their burial chambers. What is known is that there were

several classes of workers, both an upper and lower class. The upper class workers consisted of the scribes and priests. The lower class usually consisted of the merchants and farmers You may already know about several people who lived in ancient Egypt. For example, King Tutankhamen (Tut for short) is famous for the riches found in his tomb. Cleopatra , the ambitious queen who ruled Egypt, is known for her tragic death. These two people were pharaohs - the most important and powerful people in Egyptian society. Ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was a god. The pharaoh communicated with the gods for the Egyptian people by performing special rituals and ceremonies in the temples. Therefore, the pharaoh was at the top of a social pyramid that looked something like this:

People usually married within their social group and continued in the same job as their parents. We find people from all social groups represented in Egyptian art. Nobles & Priests, Soldiers, Scribes, Merchants, Artisans, Farmers, and even Slaves & Servants are depicted in sculpture

Nobles: The noble class of Ancient Egypt typically worked for the pharoahs or the royal family in some way. The man in this relief is Maya , the "Overseer of the Royal Treasurer" under three Egyptian pharaohs, including King Tutankhamen. Maya's job was to make sure that taxes were collected. He also supervised the preparation of the king's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

We can tell that Maya is important because he wears a fancy pleated kilt and apron. He must have done a good job because the two gold necklaces that he wears were probably a gift from the pharaoh.

Priests: Because the pharaoh could not perform ceremonies at all the temples throughout Egypt, he appointed high priests to carry out the sacred rituals at each temple. Priests often passed down their positions from father to son. They enjoyed great power and wealth in Egyptian society. This picture of a priest is a detail from "The Book of the Dead." Priests were often represented bald, as we see here, because they had to shave their heads to ensure cleanliness.

Farmers: Peasant farmers worked lands belonging to the pharaoh, the government, temple, or a rich landowner. Their pay barely covered their living expenses. In addition to plowing, planting, and harvesting, they maintained the irrigation canals that brought water to their fields and were required to work on the pharaoh's tomb construction project each year.


Artisans: The Egyptian objects that we see in museums today were created by anonymous artists employed by the pharaoh, the government, or temples. Artists worked in large workshops rather than in individual studios as they do today. Carpentry, metalwork, jewellery making, pottery, sculpture, wall painting, glass making, and weaving are some of the crafts they practiced.


Merchants: Egypt was one of the wealthiest countries in the ancient world. Egyptian merchants (actually, they were more like traders) carried products such as gold, papyrus made into writing paper or twisted into rope, linen cloth, and jewellery to other countries. In exchange, they brought back cedar and ebony wood, elephant tusks, panther skins, giraffe tails for fly whisks, and animals such as baboons and lions for the temples or palaces.

Scribes: Scribes were highly valued members of Egyptian society. They studied for many years to learn to read and write. Scribes had great opportunities as accountants, priests, doctors, and government officials of all sorts. One scribe, Horemhab , even became pharaoh!

Soldiers: The Egyptian army was well organized and included infantry and chariot troops. The infantry, or foot soldiers, carried spears, shields, and battle axes. The chariot troops were

archers and shot arrows from the platform of the chariot. During peace time, soldiers worked on government projects such as digging irrigation canals for farming, or transporting stone for the king's tomb.

Servants and Slaves: The lowest class of Egyptian society, these workers were often foreigners. They worked in the household or in the fields. Slaves could be bought and sold like property. People could also sell themselves into slavery and buy themselves out

of it.

Education: Education, of course, covers both the general upbringing of a child and its training for a particular skill. The upbringing of males was left largely in the hands of their fathers, that of females was entrusted to their mothers. Parents acquainted their children with their thoughts about the world, with their religious outlook, with their ethical principles, with correct behavior toward others and toward the super-natural beings in whom everyone believed. They taught them concerning folk rituals and so forth Right now you are sitting at a computer - you probably use it to write homework assignments and other projects. If you lived in ancient Egypt, you probably wouldn't know how to read or write! If you did, it would take you many years to learn! Ancient Picture Writing . . . Hieroglyphs , one of the oldest forms of writing, are found on monuments almost 5000 years old! There were around 700 different hieroglyphic signs -- no wonder only about 1% of the population knew how to read and write! Some signs, or pictures, stand for words; others simply stand for a sound and are joined with other signs to make a word. Hieroglyphs were carved on buildings and written on papyrus documents. For letters, business contracts, and other documents, scribes used another form of writing called Hieratic . Later, an even quicker form of writing developed called Demotic

Art and Culture. Ancient Egypt is perhaps the most fascinating of the ancient civilizations. Even the Ancient Greeks looked at themselves as a young and unknowing society compared to the Egyptians. Indeed, the Ancient Egyptian civilization was one of the most extended in the west, beginning in approximately 3000 B.C., and lasting until nearly 300 B.C. What is amazing about the Egyptian's culture is not their rapid growth and development, but their ability to retain the past and prevail with relatively little

change. For example, today in the United States we drastically change the style of our clothing each decade, while Egyptian attire did not vary over the thousands of years. Theirs was a civilization where ancient was still modern. Find out more about the ancient Egypt art and culture. Why is King Tut So Famous? Archaeology! .

One of King Tutankhamen's Nobles is now in Rochester, New York

This relief depicts Maya, an important official during the reign of three pharaohs: Tutankhamen, Ay, and Horemhab. He supervised the preparation of the tombs of these pharaohs, collected taxes for them, and performed other tasks to serve the king.

The Memorial Art Gallery bought this carving in 1942. It originally decorated the inside wall of Maya's tomb in Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient city of Memphis, southwest of Cairo. How did it get to Rochester? Here Today, Gone Tomorrow....The Discovery of Maya's Tomb Maya's tomb was excavated in 1843 by an archaeologist named Richard Lepsius. Like many 19thcentury archaeologists, he was sent to Egypt by a European ruler -- the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Lepsius was supposed to record and bring back Egyptian art, and he did remove some limestone reliefs from the tomb and send them back to the Berlin Museum. In those days it was not difficult to get permission from the Egyptian authorities to dismantle parts of tombs and temples and ship them out of the country. Today strict laws govern the export of ancient art from Egypt and other countries. We don't know exactly when the Gallery's Maya relief was taken from the tomb, but it was probably in the second half of the 19th century. Lepsius made drawings of the sculptures that decorated the tomb. These drawings record what the decoration of the tomb looked like when the Memorial Art Gallery relief was in place. Over time the tomb was covered over by sand and its location lost!. It's Back.....The rediscovery of Maya's Tomb In 1975, more than a century after Lepsius' excavations at Saqqara, a joint expedition of archaeologists from the Egypt Exploration Society in London and the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands, began to look for Maya's tomb. In 1986, the tomb was rediscovered! Soon we'll have activites for you to explore the mysteries surrounding Maya..

Religion The Religion of the ancient Egyptians is a very difficult topic to learn about. Even modern religion is hard to completely understand, even though we have modern teachers and books. But there are no teachers left from ancient to tell us exactly how their religion worked, and while we do have some books left from ancient times, they are not very easy to read or understand. When we study ancient Egyptian religion, we normally learn about some very specific subjects. These include the "gods", the stories about the "gods", and about other religious topics known as mythology, and the cult centres (temples) where they were "worshipped".

The Gods of Ancient Egypt: There is really a problem with the word "Gods" when we talk about many ancient religions. Today, most people who think about "God" belong to one of three major religions, consisting of Christianity, Islam or Judaism. All of them believe in only one, all powerful God. Yet, in each of these religions, there are also other supernatural beings. We do not refer to them as gods. They have specific names, such as angels, demons, etc. However, when we refer to supernatural beings of ancient religions, we usually call all of them gods, even though almost none of them can be thought of as all powerful, such as our modern God. In fact, what we call gods in the ancient Egyptian religion could usually die, be hurt, had mothers, fathers and children and many could even make very bad mistakes. Some of these supernatural beings could be mostly good, or mostly evil, but sometimes the evil ones could be good, and sometimes the good ones could be evil. It was also very rare that one ancient Egyptian "God" was more powerful than all the others, though there were exceptions. However, much of the time, some of the most important "gods" were said to gather in a council to make decisions. It also seems like the ancient Egyptian "Gods" were more involved with humans, and even depended on them. People, and particularly the King, did things for the "Gods", but in return, the "Gods" were expected to help humans. Amun and Amun-Re - The King of the Gods: Amun-Re was associated with the pharaohs of Egypt, and instead of causing trouble for the rulers, Amun-Re helped them out. The pharaoh got power from the god, and the god

was able to influence the pharaoh's people. The king supported the temples and the worship of Amun. Amun-Re could even turn himself into a human man and get the pharaoh's wife pregnant, so that a son would be born to the pharaoh that would keep the worship of Amun-Re alive. According to official history, Egypt was actually ruled by Amun-Re through the pharaohs, with the god revealing his will through oracles. Anubis - God of Embalming Anubis, as the God of Embalming, watches over the process of preserving bodies as mummies. He is usually shown in the form of a man, with the of a jackal. His head is black, and this connects him with being a god of the Anubis escorts the souls through the underworld, testing their knowledge of gods and their faith. He places their heart on the Scales of Justice during the Judging of the and he feeds the souls of wicked people to Ammit.

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Aten - The Sun Disk and later God Aten is the ancient Egyptian term for a circular disk. This was used when talking about the sun, and the life it gave to people and crops. Sun worship predates ancient Egyptian times, but was continued on through Egyptian history. Atum - The All-Father Creating himself, or rising out of nothing, all other gods and pharaohs were created by Atum. Bast - Beautiful Cat Goddess Bast was a wild goddess, usually depicted as a desert cat, or a woman with head of a cat. Because she was wild, her powers were great. To be in her would get you great blessings, to be ill willed would receive serious wrath.

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Bes - Protector of Childbirth Bes is depicted as an ugly dwarven god, usually holding a rattle. Being the protector of childbirth, he would dance around the room shaking his rattle to scare off any demons that might curse the new baby. Geb - God of the Earth Geb is sometimes represented as a goose, or a man who wears a white crown. Geb was an extremely important god and could be closely associated with nature. His parents were the god of air, and the goddess of moisture, all descended from high level gods. Hathor - Goddess of Music and Dance Tributes to Hathor were for inspiration and creativity. Her clerics were artisans, musicians and dancers who would use their talents to create rituals for honoring their goddess. Horus - King of the Gods on Earth

It is nearly impossible to distinguish a "true" Horus from all his many forms. In fact, Horus is mostly a general term for a great number of falcon gods, some of which were worshipped all over Egypt, others simply had local cults. Yet in all of his forms he is regarded as the prince of the gods. Isis - Queen of the Gods Isis may be the oldest deity in Egypt. She may also be the most important, because Isis was worshipped by almost all Egyptians. She was revered as the great protector, prayed to for guidance, and begged to for peace in the world. Temples to Isis are found everywhere in Egypt, some of them from ancient times, and many houses had shrines to her devotion. Khenmu - The Great Potter Being the Great Potter, Khenmu created statues of people out of the clay of the Nile River and then held them up to the sky for Ra to shine his life-giving rays on them, then put them into a mother's womb to be born as babies to the people. Kephri - The Great Scarab The word kheper means scarab, and as the animal was associated with life and rebirth, so was Khephri. The scarab lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls it to hide in a safe place. From this animal waste, the Egyptians observed new life emerging. They believed that Khephri, in the form of a gigantic scarab, rolled the sun like a huge ball through the sky, then rolled it through the underworld to the eastern horizon. Each morning Khephri would renew the sun so that it could give life to all the world. Khonsu - God of the Moon He was believed to influence the creation and birth of both humans and animals, and was even connected to stories and myths about creation. Maat - Lady of Truth and Order Maat was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Maat," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth. Min - God of Fertility Min was honored with a variety of ceremonies, some involving the harvest, others praying for a male heir to the pharaoh. Lettuce was his sacred plant, for it was believed by the Egyptians to be an aphrodisiac. An aphrodisiac is something that makes people want to have babies. Fertile plants made lots of food for the people, and fertility in people assured that the Egyptians would not become extinct. Min is usually depicted as a man with a large erect penis, and is sometimes shown dressed in pharaoh's clothing. Mut - Grandmother of the Gods Mut is usually seen as a vulture headed woman or a woman wearing a vulture like a crown. The very word Mut means "mother" and Mut was the great mother goddess of Egypt, even outranking Isis.

Often Mut was believed to be a sort of grandmother figure, as Isis was the mother figure for the world. Nefertem - Lord of the Sunrise Nefertem was the god of the sunrise who helped to bring the sun into the sky where Ra was. According to myth, he had no father and no mother, instead being born from a lotus blossom. He wore a crown of lotus flowers on his head. Nekhbet - Goddess of the Power of Kings In her form representing the king's power, she is shown wearing a white crown and carrying the symbols of life and power in her talons. Ancient pharaohs would pray to Nekhbet for power to rule the people, and the power to withhold any opposition to the throne. Neith - Goddess of War and Funerals When someone died and they were mummified and buried in a tomb, a lot of times there would be weapons buried with the deceased. These weapons were blessed to Neith (also known as Nit) who would use them to guard the spirit of the person who had passed on from evil spirits and those who would do the body harm and keep the soul from resting peacefully. Neith worked with other gods and goddesses to protect those who had moved on to the afterlife. Because of this, she was often depicted holding a shield and arrows. Nephthys - Lady of the Wings Nephthys is usually shown riding in the funeral boat with the dead into the Blessed Land. She is not exactly the personification of death, but she is the closest thing to it in Egyptian belief. Nun and Naunet - Gods of Chaos and Water The Egyptians believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark chaos. Nun and Naunet were a set of dieties that lived in that chaos. Nun was shown as either a frog-headed man, or as a bearded blue or green man. Naunet, his wife, was thought to be a snake-headed woman who ruled over the watery chaos with Nun. The stories say that Nun and Naunet were mother and father to Ra, the sun god. Nun and Naunet were two halves (male and female) of a whole, rather than individual dieties in themselves.

Osiris - Lord of the Dead In the underworld, Osiris sits on a great throne, where he is praised by the "good" souls of those who have died. All those who pass the tests of the underworld become worthy to enter The Blessed Land, that part of the underworld that is like the land of the living, but without sorrow or pain. Osiris is traditionally shown as a green skinned or mummified man, wearing the clothing of a pharaoh. Ptah - The Creator Ptah did not exist as a child from anyone else, he just was. He gave hand in the creation of the world, of the heavens and of the earth. Ptah also was known to have built the boats used in the underworld, to aid the souls of the dead on their journey to the Blessed Land.

Re (Ra) - The Sun God The early Egyptians believed that Re was the creator of the world. The sun rising every morning was a symbol of creation, as well as depending on the sunlight for survival. The pattern of the sun rising and setting each day, only to have it rise again the next morning stood for renewal in ancient times. Set - God of Evil At first, Set was worshipped as the god of wind and desert storms. The ancient Egyptians would pray to him in hopes that they would gain favor and be blessed with the strength of a desert storm. Set's personality was dark and moody, but in the beginning he was not an evil god. As time progressed, the way Set was viewed changed. He was associated with the other evil gods, and became the Egyptians' image of evil. After Set became the god of evil, he really was not worshipped as a main diety. Shu - God of the Air and Sky Shu is the creator of wind, and is responsible for that which separates the earth from the sky. Being the lord of the sky and cool air, he is usually shown with his hands above his head as if he's holding something heavy. Sobek - Guard of the Gods Sobek was a bodyguard to the gods, protecting them. He did the same for the pharaohs, giving them the strength to overcome any obstacles and evil magic. Sobek was usually portrayed as a man with the head of a crocodile, wearing a crown made of feathers. Taweret - Demoness of Birth She was a fierce demoness, the protector of mothers and newborn babies. Taweret was a combination of a pregnant hippo, a lion and a crocodile. All of these animals are known to kill to protect their young. She was also a goddess of fertility. Tefnut - Goddess of Moisture As dry as Ancient Egypt was, Tefnut was still the goddess of moisture, and of the warm, moist air near the Nile River that nourished the crops. Thoth - God of Wisdom Thoth is usually shown with the head of an ibis (bird) and the body of a man. He is usually seen carrying a tablet to write with because Thoth was a scribe to the gods, and a mediator (solver) of problems. He was the one the other gods went to when they had problems or needed disputes solved. He is the creator of magic, the inventor of writing, teacher of man, and the messenger of the gods. Wadjet - The Serpent Goddess Wadjet is a usually seen as a cobra, and is the defender of the pharaohs. This is why the pharaoh wore a headpiece with a cobra on top of it. She also became the goddess of heat and fire, giving her even more powers to defend the pharaoh with.


There are many different types of ancient Egyptian sites. Some can be considered monuments, while others are ancient towns that are more than a single monument. However, we can usually describe ancient monuments as temples, tombs, including pyramids, huge statues, government buildings, including palaces, and private property, such as houses. Most of the best preserved monuments of ancient Egypt are Temples and tombs, because they were built to last longer than such places as houses or palaces. In fact, many temples and tombs were meant to last for a million years. Therefore, they built them out of tough stone, while they built houses, palaces and other government buildings out of bricks made of mud. Temples: We can divide the types of Egyptian Temples into three kinds, though all of them served ancient Egyptian "Gods" in one form or another. The largest and grandest of the temples were those built by the Egyptian State for important national "Gods". However, common people were usually allowed into much of these temples. Therefore, a second type of temple, much smaller and less grand, were sometimes built by common people their own worship of the gods. The final kind of temple was the mortuary temples, built for kings, who were also considered gods.

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In ancient Egypt, Temples were not built for the same reasons that we build Temples, Churches and Mosques today. The gods were not so much worshipped in Egypt's ancient temples as they were taken care of by the priests. Common people were usually not allowed into most of the temples, where priests washed, clothed and delivered food to statues of the Gods. Most of the temples of ancient Egypt were fairly similar in many ways. They often had one or more open courtyards, one or more halls with columns that Egyptologists call hypostyle halls, in inner chapel known as a sanctuary, where the god's statue was placed, and they were often surrounded by a wall, with a large front part known as a pylon. However, some had many pylons separating many open courtyards. Most temples also had other buildings for storage and houses for the priests. Temples were given much farm land and sometimes treasures, mostly by the king, so that the temple would have money to pay the priests and run the temple. Much of the time, the temples were the largest land owners in ancient Egypt. Pyramids and Tombs: There are many types of tombs in Egypt. However, throughout Egypt's past, the tombs of kings and high officials, upper class artists and craftsmen, and the very poor people were very different. For very poor people, the types of tombs they used stayed about the same, but the tombs of kings and high officials changed a lot over time, as did the location of their cemeteries.

At first, the kings of Egypt were buried in what are known as mastabas in southern Egypt, mainly at a place called Abydos. Mastaba is an Arabic word meaning bench, because these tombs looked like a bench. They consisted of a pit where the dead were buried in the ground covered by stones above ground. Later mastabas sometimes had many rooms below ground and many above ground for the storage of items that the dead person wished to take with him or her into the afterlife. Later, during a period known as the Old Kingdom, the kings decided to be buried in a more northern location around the capital of Egypt. This was a city called the White Walls, but the Greeks called it Memphis. There were several cemeteries used around Memphis. The first was a place called Saqqara, where the earliest pyramids were built. These were not true pyramids, because they had stepped sides rather than being smooth. Later kings experimented with true pyramids at a place called Dashure, where they finally built the first true pyramid tomb. However, the largest and grandest pyramids where later built at a place called the Giza Plateau, which is now just outside of the modern city of Cairo, Egypt. However, there were a number of other locations where the kings of Egypt built pyramids, but almost all of these were built near Memphis in the north, or only as far south as a place called the Fayoum. By a period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom, the Egyptian kings stopped building pyramids, choosing instead to to build hidden tombs in Southern Egypt near a new capital that we usually call Thebes. Tombs robbers often stole the rich items from the tombs that the kings wanted to take to the afterlife with them, so at Thebes, the tombs were dug into the rocks and the entrances were then hidden. Though there are exceptions, most of the time all of the tombs were built on the west side of the Nile River, while the living cities were built on the eastern side. This is because the sun rises to begin the day from the east and sets to end the day on the west. Other Ancient Pharaonic Sites: Today, we have discovered many other ancient sites in Egypt. Some are palaces, while others are entire towns, including public buildings, agricultural buildings, common houses and other buildings. Some of the most famous are the worker's villages, where the craftsmen, artists and laborers who build the tombs (including pyramids) lived. Others include famous forts and huge statues. Unfortunately, many of these buildings were not built as well as ancient tombs and temples. The Egyptians used bricks made out of mud to build these types of buildings. Temples and tombs were usually built out of stone which lasts much longer. After the Pharaohs in Egypt:

Egypt's history is very long, and even after the pharaohs there are many important ancient sites. For example, there are Roman fortresses, ancient Christian monasteries and churches, and more recently, famous old Mosques (where Muslims pray) and Mausoleums, which are Islamic tombs. Unlike Christian monuments, which often are decorated with religious paintings, the Mosques and Mausoleums are decorated with designs, but no pictures or paintings. We can usually tell that a building is a Mosque because it has a minaret, a tall tower. We can tell that a building is a Mausoleum because they usually have big domes. The ancient Christian monasteries are some of the oldest in the world, and are very famous. In fact, the first Christian monasteries were built in Egypt. Some monasteries no longer have monks that live in them, but other's still do. Most of the monasteries are built like forts because in ancient times they were sometimes attacked. The oldest monastery in the world that has always had monks living in it is St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt. There are also many old churches throughout Egypt, many of which are still used today.

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