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Ancient Egypt
Section 1: Geography and Ancient Egypt
Egyptian civilization developed along a 750 mile stretch of the Nile River in Northern Africa.
• The Nile River:
• Is the longest river in the world at 4,000 miles
• Runs from South to North
• The Nile flooded every year, coating the land along the river with silt.
• The floods allowed Egypt to settle in this area.
• Without the floods, Egyptians could not have grown food.
Egypt was protected from invasions by the deserts to the east and west, the Mediterranean Sea to
the north, and the cataracts along the Nile River.
Two Regions of Ancient Egypt
1. Upper Egypt – located in the south (upriver on the Nile)
2. Lower Egypt – located in the north
Around 3100 BC, King Menes of Upper Egypt unified the 2 regions and wore a double crown to
symbolize his leadership.
• Menes is Egypt’s first PHARAOH and founder of Egypt’s first DYNASTY.
Section 2: The Old Kingdom
2700 BC to 2200 BC
Rule by Pharaohs
• Believed to be both a king and a god
• Had absolute power (political and religious)
• Hired government officials (usually from own family) to help carry out responsibilities
• Responsible for preventing disasters and bringing good fortune
Social Structure
Pharaoh/Gods
Upper Class
(Nobles: Priests, Government Officials)
Middle Class
(Scribes, Craftspeople, Merchants, Skilled Workers)
Lower Class
(Farmers – 80% of the population, worked on building projects during the floods)
Servants and Slaves at the bottom
(Slaves were prisoners of war and worked on building projects)
Religion
• Polytheistic – belief in many gods
• Built temples to their gods
Egyptian Gods
• Re (Amon-Re) – the sun god, creator of the world and other gods
• Osiris – god of the underworld
• Isis – goddess of magic
• Horus – sky god, god of pharaohs (Pharaohs were believed to be Horus in human form.)
• Anubis – god of the dead
The Afterlife
• Egyptians believed that once a person died, his KA, or life force, left the body and
became a spirit. The ka was connected to the body and could not leave the burial site.
The ka had all the needs a living body did, including food, drink, clothing, tools,
weapons, and furniture.
• Therefore, the body had to be preserved for the afterlife through embalming and
mummifying.
The Pyramids
Because burial was so important, the Egyptians built pyramids to bury their rulers in. The size
of the pyramid symbolized the pharaoh’s greatness.
Section 3: The Middle Kingdom
2050 BC -1750 BC - a period of stability and prosperity
The New Kingdom: 1550 – 1050 BC
After being conquered during the Middle Kingdom, the Egyptians decided to create a
professional army and began conquering their neighbors. They became wealthy from the
natural resources, trade, and payments the new lands gave to them.
Queen Hatshepsut
 best known for increasing trade and bringing wealth back to Egypt.
 She used this money to renew the tradition of building monuments and temples.
Ramses the Great
 A great warrior and monument builder who is considered to be Egypt’s greatest and most
powerful pharaoh
Work Life
The most common jobs:
• Scribes – kept records for the government and wrote and copied religious and literary
texts
• Artisans – sculptors, builders, carpenters, jewelers, and metalworkers
• Architects – designed temples and royal tombs
• Artists
• Soldiers
• Farmers/Peasants
• Slaves