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Unit 2a: Ancient Egypt
“Egypt is wholly the gift of the Nile.” –
Greek Historian
“Father of History”
Ancient Egypt
“Hymn to the Nile”
 “The bringer of food, rich in provisions, creator of all good,
lord of majesty, sweet of fragrance… He who… fills the
magazines, makes the granaries wide, and gives things to the
poor. He who made every beloved tree to grow…”
 What does this primary source reveal about the ancient
Geography of the Ancient Nile Valley
People settled and established farming villages along the Nile.
Egyptians depended on annual floods to soak the land and deposit a
layer of silt, or rich soil. (The “Miracle” of the Nile”)
Egyptians had to cooperate to control the Nile, building dikes,
reservoirs, and irrigation ditches.
Rulers used the Nile to link and unite Upper and Lower Egypt.
The Nile served as a trade route connecting Egypt to Africa, the
Middle East, and the Mediterranean world.
Natural barriers: Mediterranean Sea, Sahara Desert, Red Sea
Egypt began along
the Nile River in
North Africa
Egypt was
bordered on both
The Nile River’s
annual floods
& protected
Nile flooded
so predictably
designed their
calendar around it
 Cataracts - waterfall
 Delta -triangular area
of marshland formed
by deposits of silt at
the mouth of some
 Flow of Water –
South to North
 Fertile Soil
Menes & Unification of Egypt
 Modern historians have divided ancient Egyptian history into
three periods – the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and
New Kingdom.
Initially, Egypt was ruled by a number of tribal chieftains.
Around 1300B.C.E, Menes united Upper and Lower Egypt
into a single kingdom.
Egyptians kings eventually adopted the title of pharaoh
(meaning “great house” or “palace”)
Egyptian Kings claimed to be gods – theocracy (government
run by religious figures)
Using the Nile, Egyptian leaders would expand trade to
Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.
Old Kingdom (2660B.C.E. - 2180B.C.E.)
 Egyptian pharaohs were absolute rulers
 Bureaucratic government develops
 Office of Vizier – “Steward of the Whole Land”
 Vizier was in charge of the numerous departments of the bureaucracy
 Departments included police, justice, river transport, public works,
agriculture, and treasury.
•Old Kingdom is sometimes called the Pyramid Age.
•Pyramids were tombs for eternity.
•Egyptians believed in the afterlife; they preserved
bodies of dead rulers and gave them everything they
needed in their new lives.
•Pharaohs would begin building tombs as soon as they
inherited the throne.
 Do-Now: Take a reading from the projector stand and
summarize the main points.
Middle Kingdom – The Golden Age
(2080B.C.E – 1640B.C.E.)
 Change of role for the pharaoh
 Now viewed as a “shepherd of
his people”
 Responsible to build
public works and provide
for public welfare.
Canal built from Nile to the
Red Sea
 Social Classes established during
Old and Middle Kingdoms
 Weak pharaohs –
primogeniture –first born
 1700 B.C. foreign invaders, the
Hyksos from the Arabian
peninsula, occupied the delta
region for 100 years.
 They adopted the Egyptian
customs, beliefs, and even
Ancient Egyptian Women
 They enjoyed a higher status and greater independence.
 Under Egyptian law, women could inherit property, enter
business deals, buy and sell goods, go to court, and obtain a
 Women could enter the priesthood, but many were not
literate – they could not become scribes or hold other
government jobs.
New Kingdom
(1570B.C.E – 1075B.C.E)
 Exposure to new aspects of
warfare from the Hyksos led to
use of new weapons
 Horse drawn chariot, heavier
swords, and compound bow.
 Egypt becomes an empire
Palestine, Syria, and Libya would
fall under Egypt’s borders.
 Egypt would expand to the
Euphrates River.
9/21/12 Do-Now
 Take out your reflections. In pairs answer the following
questions. (Think – Pair – Share)
 What evidence does the author present that “kites” could be
used to move obelisks?
 How does this evidence change history?
 Do you think the Ancient Egyptians were that advanced?
Major New Kingdom Pharaohs
 Queen Hatshepsut
 She began ruling because a male heir
was too young to take the throne.
 She wore a false beard as a sign of
 Her greatest accomplishment was
sending expeditions to Punt
encouraging mining, agriculture, and
 Ebony, ivory, and spices
 Medicines and Monkeys
 Ramses II
 He was famous for military victories.
 After years of fighting with Hittites,
Egypt signed a peace treaty with them –
this was the first of such document to
have survived.
•Pharaohs organized
a strong central
state, were absolute
rulers, and were
considered gods.
•Egyptians built
pyramids at Giza.
•Power struggles,
crop failures, and
cost of pyramids
contributed to the
collapse of the Old
•Large drainage project
created arable farmland.
•Traders had contacts
with Middle East and
•Corruption and rebellions
were common.
•Hyksos invaded and
occupied the delta region.
Introduced the Egyptians
to the Bronze Age
•Powerful pharaohs
created a large
empire that reached
the Euphrates River.
encouraged trade.
•Ramses II seized
Syria and expanded
Egypt’s borders.
•Egyptian power
declines. Nubians
will invade.
Decline of the Egyptian Empire
 Assyrians and Persians
conquered the Nile
 Later on, Greek and
Roman armies took over
the rich Nile Valley.
 Egypt continued to
influence its conquerors
through the richness of
its heritage and the
awesome magnificence
of its physical remains.
9/24/12 – Do-Now
 With a partner, answer the following question
You go to CVS and buy the following items
 What do all of these items have in common?
Egypt and Nubia
For centuries, Egypt traded or fought
with Nubia.
During the New Kingdom, Egypt
conquered Nubia.
 Nubians served in Egyptian armies
and influenced Egyptian culture.
 Egyptian art from this period shows
Nubian soldiers, musicians, or
When Egypt declined, Nubia conquered
 Nubians did not see themselves as
conquerors. Nubians saw themselves
as “restorers of Egyptian glory and
Lasting Contributions
For many centuries, the people of Egypt lived
in two Kingdoms, Upper Egypt and Lower
Egypt. Upper Egypt extended north from the
Nile’s first area of rapids to the Nile delta.
Egypt’s first
cities area
The delta is a broad, marshy,
of rich land. Lower Egyptformed
began here
continued north to the Mediterranean,
like Cairo just
100 miles away.
Lasting Contributions
 Specialized Workers:
Lasting Contributions
 Government :
Pharaohs ruled Egypt as “kingIn preparing the pharaoh for life
after death, their bodies were
to preserve them.
 Egyptians constructed pyramids &
elaborate tombs for the pharoahs
Lasting Contributions
 Mummification – the preservation of the dead.
 Embalmers removed vital organs, then dried and
wrapped the body in strips of linen.
 The process took months to complete.
 Pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings.
 King Tut was found by British archeologist
Howard Carter – the tomb provided treasures and
evidence about Egyptian civilization.
Lasting Contributions
 Religion:
Egyptians were polytheistic &
believed the gods controlled all
aspects of life and the afterlife.
Lasting Contributions
 Religion:
 The chief god was the sun god, Amon-Re –
kings were believed to be closely linked to
 Osiris was an important god because he was
the ruler of the underworld, and also the god
of the Nile.
Lasting Contributions
 Religion:
 A pharaoh named Akhenaton worshipped the god
Aton instead of Amon-Re.
 Egyptians resisted this change.
 After his death, priests of the old gods reasserted
their power.
Lasting Contributions
Early hieroglyphswere
also written on scrolls
Egyptian hieroglyphics
made of early paperwas both pictograms &
called papyrus
a phonetic alphabet
 Hieroglyphics were translated
using the Rosetta Stone by French
scholar Jean Champollion.
Lasting Contributions
 Literature, Arts & Architecture:
 The Tale of Sinuhe
 This story helps us see how
Egyptians view themselves and
the people of the desert.
 Painting and sculpture
 The arts of ancient Egypt
included statues, wall paintings in
tombs, and carvings on temples.
Lasting Contributions
 Scribes also acquired skills in
mathematics, medicine, and
 Temple scribes kept records of
ceremonies, taxes, and gifts.
 Demotic – a simpler form of
writing for everyday use.
Lasting Contributions
 Technology:
Egyptian ideas included a 365-day
calendar, geometry, astronomy, &
Lasting Contributions
 Math, Science & Technology:
 They used trial and error to find a solution.
 Through mummification, they learned a lot
about the human body.
Many medicines that Egyptian doctors
prescribed are still in use.
They mapped constellations and charted the
movements of planets.
They developed geometry to survey the land
– also used to calculate the size of stone for
pyramids and temples.
Oldest literature found were hymns and
prayers to the gods, proverbs, and love
Final Discussion:
 A museum has been forced to downsize the Ancient Egyptian
exhibition. As Global History experts, you have been
consulted to determine what 3 aspects of the ancient
Egyptian civilization should be retained. Using your
knowledge of social studies, make an argument for the 3
aspects you wish to be salvaged.