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Civ 101-03
The Rise of Civilization: Egypt
The Rise of Civilization: Egypt
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
– The West will see this feature in later manifestations
including the Greek notion of Paideia and the Christian
perfections associated with the body of Christ (virgin
birth, ascension, etc)
– Religion
• Royal divinity
– The people worshiped the pharaoh but the pharaoh could worship
any god . . . So disagreements arose
• The Amarna revolution
– Exemplifies the potential trouble as the pharaoh could pick and
choose among options for who and how to worship.
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Osiris, God of the Underworld
Of all the gods of Egypt Osiris
God was the best known; a
famous hymn to him from the
Book of the Dead captured his
essence. Osiris God is perhaps
the most easily recognized of the
gods. He was always dressed in
white mummy’s clothes; he wore
a beard and held in his crossed
arms the crook, the flail (whip),
and sometimes the scepter-all
signs of authority and power.
Most often he was depicted as
the judge of the dead person’s
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD/The Papyrus of Ani translated by E. A. WALLIS BUDGE [1895]
A body of texts which have reference to the burial of the dead and to the
new life in the world beyond the grave, and which are known to have existed
in revised editions and to have been in use among the Egyptians from about
B.C. 4500, to the early centuries of the Christian era.
Osiris was the god through whose sufferings and death the Egyptian hoped
that his body might rise again in some transformed or glorified shape, and to
him who had conquered death and had become the king of the other world
the Egyptian appealed in prayer for eternal life through his victory and power.
In every funeral inscription known to us, from the pyramid texts down to the
roughly written prayers upon coffins of the Roman period, what is done for
Osiris is done also for the deceased, the state and condition of Osiris are the
state and condition of the deceased; in a word, the deceased is identified
with Osiris. If Osiris liveth for ever, the deceased will live for ever; if Osiris
dieth, then will the deceased perish.
The Rise of Civilization: Egypt
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
– Writing and Literature
• Multiple Genres, though mostly inscriptions on tombs
and folktales
• Hymns (as we saw with the Book of the Dead/Hymn of
– Science and medicine
• A calendar
Egyptians are
responsible for the
appearance of the
solar calendar.
To make it, they
took the yearly
sunrise recurrence
of Sirius (the Dog
Star) in the eastern
sky as a fixed point
. . . this period
coincided with the
yearly flooding of
the Nile River.
Ancient Egyptians
developed a calendar
that featured 365 days
and 12 months (30 days
in each month and
additional 5 days at the
end of the year).
Due to the fact that
Egyptians didn't
account for the
additional fraction
of a day, their
calendar [became
wrong]. However
Ptolemy III-Euergetes of Egypt,
decided to add one
day to the 365 days
every 4 years.
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values
• Science and medicine
• Mummification
To live in the
next world, one
needs a preserved
1. The body was washed
2. A cut was made on the left side of the abdomen and the internal organs - intestines, liver, lungs, stomach, were
The heart, which the Ancient Egyptians believed to be the centre of emotion and intelligence, was left in the body
for use in the next life.
3. A hooked instrument was used to remove the brain through the nose. The brain was not considered to be
important and was thrown away.
4. The body and the internal organs were packed with natron salt for forty days to remove all moisture.
5. The dried organs were wrapped in linen and placed in canopic jars. The lid of each jar was shaped to represent one
of Horus' four sons.
6. The body was cleaned and the dried skin rubbed with oil.
7. The body was packed with sawdust and rags and the open cuts sealed with wax
8. The body was wrapped in linen bandages. About 20 layers were used and this took 15 to 20 days.
9. A death mask was placed over the bandages
10. The bandaged body was placed in a shroud (a large sheet of cloth) which was secured with linen strips.
11. The body was then placed in a decorated mummy case or coffin.
Introduction from: Great Cities of the Ancient World:
The Pyramids and the Cities of the Pharaohs
• A Quest for Eternal
Cultural Values
• Architecture
• Pyramids
• Funerary
• A Quest for Eternal Cultural Values (continued)
– Sculpture, painting, and minor arts: Rigid canon in sculpture and relief
• Exact proportion; front facing in statues, profiles in painting; eyes and shoulders and
fingers shown; no perspectivism.
• Houses for the eternal bodies of those represented.
Statue of Shebenhor,
Saite Period, Dynasty 26
(664–525 B.C.)
Statue of the God Horus
as a Falcon, Ptolemaic
Period (305-30 B.C.)
Statuette of the God Re
Horakhty, Third Intermediate
Period, Dynasty 21–26,
(about 1070–656 B.C.)
Hand Mirror, New Kingdom,
Dynasty 18–20
(c. 1550–1070 B.C.)
Dead Man standing in the barge of the sun
worshiping the phoenix, symoble of the sun
god of Heliopolis, Tomb of Irinefer.