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One of the most impressive ancient civilizations we know about: CH. 3.1 THE KINGDOM OF EGYPT GEOGRAPHY As mentioned before, rivers were essential to many ancient civilizations. The Nile was the lifeblood of Ancient Egypt. It flooded very predictably, and flows for 4000+ miles. Around it, it is surrounded by desert. Vid Because of the flooding, the narrow band of land nearest the river is very fertile, and makes growing crops easy. The delta, or fan at the end of the river going into the ocean, is also very fertile as well. Cataracts are areas of rapids. In fact, the name Egypt means “Black Land”, so named for the dark silt that provides nourishment for the plants and people of Egypt. DYNASTIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT A powerful group or family that maintains its position for a number of years. The history of ancient Egypt is divided into several different eras, with three main periods, which were: the Early Dynastic Period (3,100-2,700 B.C.E.) the Old Kingdom (about 2,700-2,200 B.C.E.) the Middle Kingdom (2,050-1,800 B.C.E.) the New Kingdom (about 1,550-1,100 B.C.E.). The New Kingdom was followed by a period called the Late New Kingdom, which lasted to about 343 B.C.E. (Intermediate kingdoms — those without strong ruling families — filled the gaps of time in between the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.) EARLY DYNASTIC EGYPT: THE NARMER PALETTE First Egyptian Dynasty: WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Dates from 3100 BCE (in other words, it is REALLY old) Has some of the earliest hieroglyphics known. Is believed to show the unification of Egypt by the King Narmer / aka Menes Shows Narmer on one side wearing the bulbed white crown of Upper aka Southern Egypt On the other side, he is wearing the red crown of lower (northern) Egypt Earliest known depiction of an Egyptian king The Egyptologist Bob Brier has referred to the Narmer Palette as "the first historical document in the world" WHAT WAS EGYPT LIKE BEFORE NARMER? It was divided into two main parts: Upper (Southern) Egypt, whose leader used a white crown that looked like this: Lower (Northern) Egypt, whose leader used a red crown that looked like this: Notice that each one of these crowns is depicted in the Narmer Palette? See if you can find it: A UNITED EGYPT As far as we know, Narmer (aka Menes) was the first Pharaoh to unite both Upper and Lower Egypt. As a symbol of the two lands, the later Pharaohs wore a crown that combined the two former crowns, as shown. Much of this era is shrouded in mystery. New discoveries continue to give us new info. Why is it important to keep an open mind when it comes to history? Pretend you are an archaeologist, and you have made an important new discovery about ancient history; write down that discovery. Now, share it with a classmate. about 2,700-2,200 B.C.E. THE OLD KINGDOM THE OLD KINGDOM The Old Kingdom Intro About 300 years after Narmer / Menes united Egypt, (c. 2650 BCE) its rulers formed a central government in which they held supreme power. This was the beginning of the Old Kingdom. (Kings tend to rule from a central place, which is why the early dynastic period is not technically considered a kingdom.) During the Old Kingdom, pyramid building flourished. Cheops had the six-million-ton Great Pyramid of Giza constructed as his tomb. Under Chephren, a Fourth Dynasty ruler, the Great Sphinx was built. The end of the Old Kingdom was marked by civil wars between pharaohs and nobles. PYRAMIDS What is a pyramid? Definition: Geometry. a solid having a polygonal base, and triangular sides that meet in a point. Just like the geometric definition, many of the ancient pyramids were shaped exactly like this. They changed over time, getting to this point. The first pyramids were more like ziggurats, eventually evolving to look like the traditional pyramid shape we know today. HOW DID THEY BUILD THEM? For many years, many different theories were suggested: Some thought that they were rolled on wooden rollers, to ease friction. Others thought that they used a wooden track that was greased. And other weird ideas… What do YOU think they did, in order to move those giant stones? Write down your answer on an index card, The actual answer may surprise you: Water ANOTHER QUESTION: WHY? Pyramids were built for religious purposes. The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to believe in an afterlife. They believed that a second self called the ka lived within every human being. When the physical body expired, the ka (or spirit) enjoyed eternal life. Those fortunate enough to pass the test of Osiris (we’ll discuss later) wanted to be comfortable in their lives beyond earth. The Great Pyramids were simply grand tombs of powerful pharaohs. CONT. Additionally, the Egyptians believed that you could take your earthly belongings with you to the afterlife. Hence the chambers inside the pyramids where you find all sorts of goodies hidden away with the pharaohs and others who were mummified. In the early days, dead nobles were often buried with their living slaves and animals. This practice eventually proved too costly, though So, artists instead depicted scenes of human activity on the inside walls. Some pyramids were even equipped with a rest room for the pharaoh. MUMMY CURSE? Great precautions were taken to protect the tombs from looters. Egyptians believed that a defiler of a pharaoh's resting place would be cursed for eternity. VID The entrance to the inner chambers was carefully hidden. The pharaoh's mummy was placed in a huge coffin called a sarcophagus, which was made of the hardest known stone blocks. But despite such warnings and precautions, tombs were raided over the years by grave robbers. The pyramids, however, have stood the test of time. Although their outer limestone layers have long since been stripped or passed into dust, the pyramids still stand. About 80 dot the horizons of modern Egypt. They remain as time capsules cast forward by a once-great civilization. Vid (2,050-1,800 B.C.E.) THE MIDDLE KINGDOM THE MIDDLE KINGDOM Montuhotep II (2,007-1,956 B.C.E.), an Eleventh dynasty pharaoh, was the last ruler of the Old Kingdom and the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom. He and his successors restored political order. High Official Tomb: Amenemhet III (1817-1772 B.C.E was responsible for the construction of two great projects. He completed the building of the giant waterwheels of the Faiyum region that diverted the floodwaters of the Nile. Amenemhet also constructed the Pyramid of Hawara, which became known as the Labyrinth. It contained about 3,000 rooms. VID ART & DECLINE The Middle Kingdom is remembered as a time of flourishing arts, particularly in jewelry making. Egypt became a great trading power during this period and continued massive construction projects. Eventually, the long reign of prosperity gave way to old problems: crop failures, economic woes, dynastic power struggles, and foreign invaders. (about 1,550-1,100 B.C.E.) THE NEW KINGDOM HYKSOS INVASION Who were the Hyksos? The Hyksos, a Semitic-Asiatic group, invaded the Nile Delta region around 1720 BCE. These advanced warriors used new tools for war: bronze weapons, laminated bows and horse-drawn chariots. They defeated the Egyptians, who fought on foot with copper-and-stone weapons. They ruled for 150 or so years, maintaining much as it had been before, before finally being expelled from Egypt by the native Egyptians in 1550 BCE, who utilized the same technology to defeat them. Imagine that you are a native Egyptian. Flip that index card over, and write your response: Even though the Hyksos are pretty good rulers (they respected local customs, adopted Egyptian ways, etc.), why might you feel the need to kick them out of your country? Give three reasons you might feel this way. Do things like this occur today? THE NEW KINGDOM After successfully rebelling against the Hyksos, the Egyptians decided the best way not to get bullied was to become the bully themselves. They built an empire that extended south into Kush, a kingdom further up the Nile, and into Palestine as well. Trade flourished, and these areas would serve as a buffer zone should anyone try to take over Egypt again. They also created Egypt’s first permanent army, adopting the archers and charioteers that the Hyksos had used to subject them. As a result of all this, trade and the kingdom flourished. QUEEN HATSHEPSUT Women in Egypt had many rights VID. Hatshepsut wanted more. Queen Hatshepsut holds the title of the longest reign of a female ancient Egyptian ruler. She lived from 15001458 BC and ruled over Egypt for 21 of those years. VID Hatshepsut went to great lengths to become queen of Egypt. She used her bloodline and concocted a story about being co-regent with her father, Thutmose I. The Royal Steward, Senemut, named her: “God’s Wife, King’s Daughter, King’s Sister, Great Royal Wife Hatshepsut” in an inscription at Aswan. She also claimed that her father declared her his heir before he died. To further instill the idea in the ancient Egyptians’ minds that she was no less a king than any other, she dressed up in men’s clothing and wore a false beard. She also insisted that people address her as “King” and “His Majesty”. She is known for her peaceful reign and for the building of many monuments, including the mortuary complex at Deir el-Bahri. A NEW ERA, A NEW KINGDOM It was a time of renaissance in artistic creation, but also as the end of dynastic rule. Lots of corruption in this period. Amenhotep IV and his wife Nefertiti triggered a religious revolution. Before Amenhotep's rule, Egypt was a polytheistic society that believed in many gods, the most important named Amon. VID They believed only in Aton, the sun god. Belief in only one god (monotheism) was a radical notion. To show his devotion to Aton, the pharaoh changed his name to Akenhaton ("he who is loyal to Aton"). Akenhaton moved his capital from Thebes, where Amon was worshipped, to Tell el Amarna. If you were one of the traditional priests, imagine how you might feel about these changes. Would you resist them? Why? Naturally, the priests who represented the other gods did not like this change one bit. Many Egyptians also did not like the pharaoh discrediting their gods. After the death of Akenhaton, the powerful priests forced the new capital to be moved back to Thebes . OTHER FAMOUS PHARAOHS The pharaoh who moved the capital back to Thebes was a boy-king. He ruled for nine years, attempted to pacify the priests, and was responsible for some modest building projects. He began his reign at the age of 10 but died of a head injury at 19. VID But, his name is famous: Tutankhamun, or more familiarly, King Tut. Tut is mostly remembered because of his beautiful tomb — one of the very few that was not pillaged by grave robbers. Video about King Tut OTHER FAMOUS PHARAOHS, CONT. Ramses II, or Ramses the Great, was another important ruler during this period. He died about 1,213 B.C.E. at age 96. His nearly 200 wives and concubines bore him 150 children. He also built two temples at Abu Simbel, a covered hall of giant pillars at Karnak, additions at the Luxor Temple, and the Ramesseum, a compound consisting of two temples and a palace. Last great Egyptian Pharaoh. VID After Ramses' rule, Egypt fell into steady decline. Today, his 3,000-year-old mummy lies in a display case on the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt's capital. Over the course of the next nine centuries, the Nubians, the Assyrians, and the Persians bounded into Egypt and ravaged the area. When Pharaoh Nectanebo II retreated to Memphis to avoid death at the hands of oncoming Persian invaders in 343 B.C.E., he became the last Egyptian-born pharaoh, ending over 2,500 years of Egyptian self-rule. HW: Read Ch. 3.2 Egyptian Culture (for next time) What was daily life like for the Egyptians? Blast from the Past Letter: Write a letter, as if you went back in time. You can focus on the Egyptians, or any of the other civilizations we have discussed thus far. Due Monday (the Letter) See the handout (also online) Pick a pharaoh, that you think was most influential / important and why. Research, and report on Monday!