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Chapter 2 Section 2 Notes
I. The Geography of Egypt
A. The Gift of the Nile
1. Nile River is 4,100 miles long
2. Every July rains, and melting snows cause the river to overrun it’s banks
3. In October the river recedes and a rich layer of silt covers the Nile valley
B. Upper Egypt (south ) and Lower Egypt (North)
1. Lower Egypt is the last 750 miles separated by a cataract or waterfall
2. In the North or Lower Egypt was a delta where the water fanned out
and flowed into the Mediterranean Sea (about 100 miles long)
a. The Delta is a broad marshy, triangular, silt rich area of land
3. The Nile was a reliable system for transportation
a. Boats traveled northward by current
b. Boats traveled southward by Estacian winds of the Mediterranean
C. Environmental Challenges
1. Even though the Nile did flood on predictable bases if it was just a few feet
below normal it could have devastating affect on crop production
2. If the Nile was just a few feet over normal mud brick villages could be
destroyed along with granaries
3. The vast deserts on the sides did provide protection from invaders but also
kept them from interaction with other peoples
a. Thus Egypt was spared constant warfare that plagued the Fertile
D. Movement of Goods and Ideas
1. By 3200 B.C. Egypt was trading with Sumer
2. By 2000 B.C. Egypt was trading with lands to the south
a. Nubia
b Kush
II. Egypt Unites into a Kingdom
A. By 3200 B.C. Upper and Lower Egypt were two separate kingdoms
B. By 3100 B.C. King Menes unites both
1. Capitol at Memphis
C. Old Kingdom lasted from 2660 B.C. to 2180 B.C.
D. Pharaohs Rule as gods
1. In Egypt kings were seen as gods
2. Egyptian god kings became known as Pharaohs
3. Ruled their kingdoms as a Theocracy
a. Pharaoh duty to promote truth and justice
E. Builders of the Pyramids
1. Pharaoh’s (ka) or eternal spirit lived after their death and would
control the government from a resting place
2. So kings were buried in an immense structure called a pyramid
3. The great pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom
a. The limestone was quarried 400 miles upriver
b. Each stone weighed 2.5 tons
c. 2 million blocks stacked some 481 feet tall
III. Egyptian Culture
A. Egyptians were polytheists
1. Most important god was Ra, the sun god and Horus, the god of light
2. The most important goddess was Isis, the ideal mother
3. More than 2000 gods and goddesses
B. Egyptians believed strongly in a good after life
1. The god Osiris would weigh each persons heart, no heavier than a
feather or the Devourer of Souls would eat your heart
C. Mummification or embalming and drying the corpse became important
1. The process took 70 days
2. All types of goods were placed with the dead
D. Life in Egyptian Society.
1. Society formed a pyramid
a. King and Queen at the top
b. Next Upper Class
1. Land owners
2. Government officials
3. Priests
4. Army commanders
c. Middle Class
1. Merchants
2. Artisans
d. Lower Class (largest class)
1. Peasants
2. Unskilled laborers
2. Were not locked into their class
a. Hard work, loyalty, read and write could advance one
E. Egyptian writing
1. Hieroglyphics ( sacred carvings)
2. Papyrus was a reed plant they made paper from
F. Egyptian Science and Technology
1. Collection of taxes led to numbering system, adding and subtracting
2. Geometry to survey land for property during the floods
3. Geometry for the construction of the Pyramids
4. Developed a calendar based on the star Sirius 365 days
5. Medicine
a. Heart rate
b. Splint broken bones
c. Some surgery
III. Chariot Riders Invade Egypt
A. During the Middle Kingdom from 2080 B.C. to 1640 B.C. there were more
1. Public projects
2. New Dikes and irrigation projects
B. Asian invaders called Hyksos ( the rulers of the uplands) invade in 1640 B.C.