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Land of the Pharaohs
Early Egypt c.5500BCEc.3100BCE
• Prehistoric people were
attracted to the Nile for
the plentiful food
sources in the area.
• Like in Mesopotamia
the people turned to
agriculture to assure
that there would be
plenty of food to feed
their growing
• They began to settle
into permanent villages.
• They began to create
pottery and to decorate
• They made tombs for
their dead and
developed a complex
Political Developments
• Two separate kingdoms
developed along the
• One in Upper Egypt and
one in Lower Egypt.
• King Narmer united
them around 3100 BCE.
• Dynasty 0 (3150-3050):
Scorpion, Narmer
• Dynasty 1 (3050-2890):
Aha, Dejer, Dejet, Den
• Dynasty 2 (2890-2686):
Peribsen, Khasekhemwy
• These early kings built
the Egyptian capital at…
Old Kingdom c. 2686BCE-c.2181BCE
Time of the pyramid builders
• This period is when Egyptologists see the
organizational skills of the Egyptians combine
with the prosperity of the Nile flood plain
combine to create the biggest and most
successful civilization yet.
Political developments
• The crown in this period had
tight control over its people
and its resources. So much so
that it could make the people
build the most remarkable
buildings, the Pyramids.
• These huge buildings were
still the tallest in the world in
the 19th century CE when
Napoleon conquered Egypt
and were definitely one of the
wonders of the ancient world.
• More remarkable to us today
may be that they did it
without wheeled vehicles of
any kind.
• Kings expected to go on
to the afterlife and
continue to enjoy the
same lifestyle they had
enjoyed in their earthly
• The pyramids they built
were designed so that
they could do this.
Son of Ra
• The king in this period was an
intermediary between the Gods
and the people.
• He was introduced as “son of Ra”
and it was believed the Gods
chose him and when he died he
would go back to them.
• Ordinary Egyptians believed the
King could guarantee the Nile
flood cycle would continue.
• It was therefore in their interest
to be sure he had everything he
needed/wanted for the afterlife.
Owner of all he surveys
• The Kings of Egypt owned
outright all of the resources
and commander of the
people, could extract taxes
and lay claim to any and all
land at will.
• Egypt was not at this time a
culture built on the backs of
slaves, but during the
flooding seasons people
could not farm and
therefore were available in
mass to build monuments.
Dynasty 3(2686-2613BCE)
• Djoser, Sekhemkhet,
Khaba, Huni
• By this period the
hieroglyphic system was
fully developed , The
step Pyramid of Djoser
Imhotep son of Ptah
• The architect of Djoser’s
pyramid was rewarded
with deification for his
work and was said to be
the son of the God Ptah
and the patron of scribes
and physicians, his name
was Imhotep.
• Imhotep was also a high
priest of the temple of
Heliopolis pointing to the
early importance of the
sun god Ra (Ra-atum).
Dynasty 4 (2613-2498BCE)
• Snefru, Khufu,
Djedefre, Khafre,
Menkaure, Shepseskaf
• Snefru’s pyramids, The
Great Pyramid of Khufu
and the Great Sphinx,
and the pyramids of
Khafre and Menkaure.
The great pyramid of Kufu
• Some of the Old Kingdom
Kings were very devoted to
their wives too.
• Kufu had temples built for
three of his wives next to his.
This side of Kufu seems to be
different from his reputation
for being a harsh ruler which
he gained by the size of his
• A boat was even brought to
the site to aid the king on his
journey. Kufu’s burial also has
a huge guardian statue…The
Great Sphinx.
Dynasty 5 (2498-2345BCE)
• Userkaf, Sahure,
Niuserre, Unis
• Achievements: Abusir
pyramids of Sahure,
Neferirkare-Kakai and
Niuserre, The Sun
Temples at Abu Girab,
Saqqara pyramid of Unis
with the first pyramid
texts and the Tomb of Ti.
Ra and the cult of Osiris
• The sun temples tell us of
the growing importance
of the sun God Ra and
how he was becoming
almost the state God at
this time.
• It is also during this time
that the cult of Osiris
• It was believed that when
a person died they
entered the kingdom of
Dynasty 6(2345-2181BCE)
• Teti, Pepi I, Mernere, Pepi II,
Nitocris (?)
• The pyramids of Teti and Pepi I at
• The status of the king in this
period began to weaken.
• The king was no longer
untouchable. This didn’t mean
that they were short-lived kings,
Pepi II was king for some 94
• His reign was full of problems
and the economy of Egypt began
to collapse and the local
administrators began to run
everything instead of the central
government headed by the king.
First Intermediate Period
Dynasties 7-10 (2181-2160BCE)
• Egyptologists label the periods of ancient
history by the political state of the country.
The intermediate periods are called this
because during these times there was a lot of
fighting for power and not much central
• Ancient Egyptians too found this period very
different when the capital of Egypt moved
from Memphis to Herkleopolis.
Dynasty 11 (2133-2160)
• Wahankh Antef II,
Mentuhotep I-III
• It was not until the
Theban ruler of the 11th
dynasty, Nebheprtera
Mentuhotep II defeted
the Herklepolitan ruler
and reunited Egypt
under Theban rule
which began…
Middle Kingdom (20401782BCE)
A regional power to recon with
• Egypt strengthened its control of Nubia in this
period. They were getting mostly gold, but
also amethyst, turquoise, copper, etc. from
Nubia. In this period there was a shift in
beliefs as well. Egypt also looked out to the
wider world of Asia and the Agean.
The ba
• Now people began to
believe that all people,
not just the king had a
ba, of spiritual force.
• This brought a new
emphasis on personal
spirituality and early
writings on the
consequences of suicide
to the progression of
the soul.
• Literacy was also more
widespread than in the
Old Kingdom period.
The usurper
• Amunemhet I may have
usurped (taken the
throne by force) and
also may himself, have
been assassinated, but
Egyptologists are not
sure. Some political
propaganda still exists
from this period.
The Prophesy of Neferty p146(written at the
time of Amunemhet I)
Then a king will come from the South,
Ameny, the justified, by name
Son of a woman of Ta-Seti, child of Upper Egypt.
He will take the white crown,
We will wear the red crown;
He will join the Two Mighty Ones [the two
Dynasty 12 (2060-1991BCE)
• Amunemhet I,
Senwosert I,
Amunemhet II,
Senwosert II, Senwosert
III, Amunemhet III,
Queen Sobekneferu
• Dynasty 13 (17821650BCE): Khendjer
• The White temple at
Krnak, tomb of
SarenputII at Aswan,
and some of the earliest
examples of portraiture
are from this time.
The Royal Palace
• There were 3 inner divisions in
order of importance.
• The kap or residence of the
royal family, including the
nursery for the royal children,
and their schoolroom.
• The wahy was next the
columned audience area
where banquets were held.
• The khenty, or outer palace,
where business of the court
was conducted and the vizier
and other officials stayed.
• Outside this was the shena
where servants stayed.
Second intermediate period (16501570BCE)
• Another intermediate or disunited period and
one where foreign Asiatic kings ruled part of
Egypt, they were called the Hyksos kings.
• The Hyksos kings ruled until Kamose and then
Ahmose reunited the kingdom and destroyed
their remaining power bases.
• Dynasty 14 (1650 BCE)
• Dynasty 15-16 (1663-1555BCE): Hyksos kings
• Dynasty 17 (1663-1570BCE): Sekhnnre Tao II and
New Kingdom (c.1550-1069)
Not king but Pharaoh
• Egypt’s kings began to go by the title Pharaoh
in this period and they began to build their
tombs in the Valley of the kings.
Dynasty 18 (1570-1293BCE)
Ahmose, Amunhotep I,
Thutmose I, Thutmose II,
Hatshepsut, Thutmose III,
Amunhotep II, Thutmose
IV, Amunhotep III,
Amunhotep IV/Akhenaten,
Tutankhamun, Ay,
Aegean connections
• This period saw many new
tombs built and a lot of
temples like the Luxor
temple, and the Colossi of
Memnon, there is also
increased trade and
international relations in
this period, we know this
from Minoan art that has
been found in upper Egypt
from this period. (The
Minoans were from Crete in
the Mediterranean)
• After the death of
Thutmose II his queen
Hatshepsut ruled Egypt
as regent and then
retained power
preventing Thutmose III
from ruling until her
death. She ruled as a
Pharaoh not as a queen.
Religious revolution
• With the reign of
Amunhotep IV there is a
break with religion in Egypt.
The pharaoh felt the priests
had gained too much power
and so he becomes a
heretic (someone who goes
against their religion) so he
changed his name to
Akhenaten and says that
people are only to worship
Aten and that only he can
access Aten.
The Amarna period
• This is seen by some as an
early form of
monotheism, though
others say because
people were still
supposed to worship the
Pharaoh that this is still
polytheism. Akhenaten
also moved the capital to
Tell el-Amarna, beginning
what is called the Amarna
Queen Nefertiti
• Akhenaten seems to
have had a very happy
marriage to the famous
Queen Nefertiti. This
period also had a
distinctly different
artistic style of
elongated figures.
Religious restoration
• The old religion was
restored by Tutankhamun,
whose name he had
changed to signify the
return of the old religion.
His successor was his vizier
Ay who may have switched
his own tomb for Tut’s so
that his could be grand. He
also tried to erase Tut’s
name from history. Ay also
married Tut’s young wife
(and sister).
Dynasty 19 (1293-1185BCE):
• Ramesses I, Seti I,
Ramesses II,
Amenmesses, Seti II,
Siptah, Tausret.
• Seti I built the Temple of
• In the reign of Ramesses II
there is a war with the Hittites
and a peace treaty followed by
Ramesses II marrying the
Hittite princess.
• The Capital was moved again
to per-Ramesses in the Delta
very close to where the Suez
Canal is today.
• The Ramesseum and Abydos
temple is built and other
temples are expanded.
Dynasty 20 (1185-1069 BCE)
• Sethnakht, Ramesses III,
Ramesses IV-XI, Herihor
Third Intermediate period
• In this period the North was ruled by kings
from the Delta and the South by High priests
from Thebes and other local rulers.
The Late Period (c.747-332BCE)
• This period is characterized by foreigners
ruling Egypt. Most of them are from the areas
in Mesopotamia like Assyria and Persia
The Macedonian
• In 332 there is a new
kid on the block (and I
do mean kid he was
only 23 and he was
taking the world by
storm. He was from
Macedonia, just North
of Greece, and his name
was…Alexander and he
changed everything for
good in Egypt)
The Ptolemy’s and the Hellenistic
period (332-30BCE)
• Ptolemy was one of
Alexander’s generals
and after Alexander
died he became ruler of
• His decedents ruled
until 30 BCE
• The dynasty’s last ruler
was one of the most
powerful women in the
ancient world.
Cleopatra the grand finale
• Cleopatra Philopater was
the last of the Ptolemys,
and the last Pharoah.
• She, as a Greek queen
spoke Greek and Latin
(handy because all of her
boyfriends were Romans)
and she was the first in
her family to learn the
Egyptian language of her
• More on her next year…
A lost Egypt
• Much of the grandeur of
Egypt was lost to the
sands of time with the
tides of political change
and people from outside
of Egypt ruling a country
whose language virtually
none of them knew, the
old temples, and religion
were eventually
• When the French
invaded in the 18th
century it was the first
time Europeans had
really experienced
Egypt in centuries and
by this time the new
field of archeology was
beginning to grow and
Egyptology was born.
Romantic ruins
• When the Ramesseum
was found it prompted
Percy Bysshe Shelley to
write the famous poem
‘Ozymandias’ (Usermaat-re Setep-en-re)
I met a traveller from and antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the hear that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains, Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.