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Transcript
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.