Sonia Clark Bailey Washer 2nd block AP World August 26, 2012 The Egyptian Civilization Template The fourth millennium was a time of rapid surmounted change in the Middle East. A foreign concept –civilization- was engrossing the population, The prevalent growth led to not only new civilizations, but also a new way of life, never before experienced beforehand in primitive hunter-gatherer communities. In a world full of instability, the regular cycle of the flooding of the Nile was the key component that led to the establishment of Egyptian society. The Egyptian civilization was centered around the Nile River. In the desert of Egypt, the Nile is the only significant fresh water source. Thus, the Nile River was essential to the survival of the Egyptian society. The ancient Egyptian year was separated into three basic “seasons”. The first, lasting from June to September, was called Akhet. Akhet was the time that the Nile flooded. The second season, Peret, was sowing time, and lasted from October to February. Lastly, there was Shemu, the time of harvest, which lasted from mid February to May. This cycle was not only about the flooding of the Nile, but inspired the Egyptians to believe the universe was an orderly place. To the ancient Egyptians, the flooding cycle represented birth, death, and rebirth, which played directly into their beliefs about the natural order of all things. The cycle of the Nile was also inherent to the success of Egyptian agriculture. By the understanding of this abundant resource, the Egyptians mastered the system of irrigation and maximized the potential of the fertile land. Subsequently, population growth was flourishing within the civilization. Crops like wheat, barley, and beans became the fundamental essence of the growing society, following the natural rhythm that was their lives. The religious beliefs of the Egyptians were also based on the idea of the cycle. They believed that the god Osiris, the god of the river, was killed and restored to life, representing renewal. Egyptians believed in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth into the afterlife. Archaeologists have not been able to discover much more about their beliefs in the afterlife, but mummification is just one of many ways the Egyptians portrayed the overwhelming importance of the afterlife. The importance of their religion overflowed into their government system as well. Pharaohs were undoubtedly believed to be gods who had come down to earth to ensure order and wellness for the people of Egypt. Their key role, along with priests, was to please the gods and ensure truth and justice would prevail. Egyptians believed that if they went against the natural order of things, chaos would ensue. This fear of the gods and state of chaos motivated the Egyptians to obey the pharaoh. They worshipped in many forms, including lavish temples, exquisite pyramids, royal tombs, and numerous large monuments. The cycle of the Nile was also inherent to the success of Egyptian agriculture. By the understanding of this abundant resource, the Egyptians mastered the system of irrigation and maximized the potential of the fertile land. Subsequently, population growth was flourishing within the civilization. Crops like wheat, barley, and beans became the fundamental essence of the growing society, following a cycle similar to the other aspects of their orderly lives. The idea of order was essential to Egyptians. They believed that everything had its place and order, and even the pharaohs and gods were not immune to this pattern. They had many gods that represented different aspects of the world, some of the most important being the goddess Ma’at and the gods Osiris and Re. Ma’at was the goddess of truth, justice, and order. Through her, the pharaohs were able to ensure order in Egypt. Osiris was the god of the Nile River, the underlying factor in Egyptian agriculture and daily life. The god Re was the sun god, and was often used to represent the daily cycle, riding in a boat across the sky as the sun moves across during the day.