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Standard Textbook CH2,Sct2
The Nile is the longest river in the world and is the
single geographic feature which allows life in
Egypt is surrounded by deserts to the west, east and
South… with the worlds largest desert “The
Sahara” forming its southern border.
UNLIKE most rivers on Earth the NILE river flows
from South to North.
WHY? - the elevation of central Africa is higher in
the Southern regions than in the Northern regions,
so water flows downhill, and North to the
Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile river is over 4,000 miles long or
approximately the same distance from Cape
Hatteras N.C. to Honolulu Hawaii.
The Nile divides Egypt into 2 territorial
boundaries over millennia:
Upper Egypt is Southern Egypt because it is UP
Lower Egypt or the land near the Nile Delta.
The Egyptians, like the people of Ancient
Mesopotamia, relied on their Nile river to survive.
The Nile provided:
a.) water to drink
b.) transportation
c.) fertilization of the soil through the annual flooding
d.) source of irrigation (made the desert bloom)
The Nile River unified the Egyptian civilization, and
the deserts which surrounded the Nile River valley
protected the Egyptians from invasion throughout
most of their history.
Religion in Egypt was the glue that bound the
Egyptian civilization together.
The Egyptians believed that their King or Pharaoh, or
“great house” was the son of their god… Ra – or the
“sun god”.
Other important gods in Egyptian religion… and the ones
on which the polytheistic religion was founded upon
A.) Isis
B.) Osiris
C.) Seth
Story time…..
Osiris – the god of resurrection, and the deity on
which the Egyptians developed there belief in
the afterlife.
Seth – The Brother of Osiris… he was the god of
the underworld, doomed to rule the
netherworld due to his transgressions against
Isis – the wife of Osiris, and goddess of life, and
fertility in ancient Egypt. Isis was represented
in the physical world by the Nile river or the
source of life for ALL Egyptians.
Egyptian history is divided into three large time
periods. They are:
a.) Old Kingdom
b.) Middle Kingdom
c.) The New Kingdom
The Old Kingdom:
This period lasted from approximately 2700-2200 BC,
which was about 4700-4200 years ago.
The King or Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt was a absolute
ruler of a unified state, unlike Mesopotamia, where
Kings were absolute rulers of city states and small
The Pharaoh was believed to be a god in the flesh and he
held ABSOLUTE power in ancient Egypt, however
Pharaoh’s did have help in ruling their country do to
its large size.
Bureaucracy – ALL the government officials and workers
necessary to operate a government.
In ancient Egypt a government official who held the title
of Vizier was the 2nd in command to the Pharaoh and
he made ALL the day to day decisions in Ancient
Egypt. The grand vizier answered to the Pharaoh only.
Egypt had 42 provinces, each with a governor, in the Old
Kingdom, with each governor answering to the vizier
and in turn the Pharaoh
In ancient Egypt a system of writing was
developed which used pictures of
Hieroglyphics to represent individual words in
some cases or phonetic sounds in others.
ALL important buildings were covered in
Hieroglyphics, including important
monuments and temples, such as tombs in the
Valley of the Kings and the temple at Karnack.
Mummification is the process wherein a body
preserved by a multi step process.
The steps involved in Egyptian Mummification
a.) Embalming
b.) Drying
c.) anointing
d.) wrapping
e.) packing
Why make mummies?
The Egyptians believed that a body would be needed for the
afterlife or their rebirth. This was due to the story of the
rebirth of Osiris that was commonly known to ALL
Egyptians. (you should be familiar with this story.)
After a body was mummified it was placed coffin, provided
with a death mask, and then later the mummy and its coffin
were placed into a larger stone coffin known as a
Depending on your status in ancient Egypt, you would be
placed into large tomb (pyramid) as in the case of the
Pharaoh, or a small burial chamber (mastabas) in the desert.
The Pyramids of Giza, were one of the great achievements of the Old
Kingdom. They were included in the original “7 wonders” of the
Ancient World, and are the ONLY one of the seven still around.
The pyramids of Giza were built as part of a larger complex of
buildings – or a city of the dead.
Each pyramid had associated buildings around it where the Pharaoh’s
were well supplied for the afterlife. Within these subterranean
warehouses the Egyptians buried:
a.) boats/ships
f.) horses
b.) Chairs
g.) Supply of food
c.) weapons and soldiers to wield them
d.) Dishes
e.) Gold
Inside the Tomb itself, decorations and furnishings were placed for
the afterlife.
The Middle Kingdom lasted from approximately 20501652 BC. The middle Kingdom has been regarded as
the golden age in Egyptian history.
This is due to several facts:
1.) The Egyptians began to build large public works
projects such as canals and irrigation systems – which
made the population grow to its highest point in
Egypt’s ancient history.
2.) Egypt conquered territory outside what it possessed in
the Old Kingdom to include Nubia(Sudan) as well as
Palestine (Israel) and Syria.
3.) Egypt was stable economically and politically with
little competition from the outside world.
The new kingdom lasted from 1567-1058.
During the New Kingdom, (approximately 150 years of it)
Egypt was conquered by an Bronze age people known as
the Hyksos. These people taught the Egyptians how to
make Bronze tools and weapons but ultimately this lead to
their downfall.
The new Kingdom was a time of great upheaval when Egypt
struggled between being a state with many gods, or a state
with a single god.
Also, Egypt began to lose territory that was gained by early
great Pharaoh’s of the period such as Ramses' II.
Following the collapse of the New Kingdom in 1058, Egypt
would be rule by successive empires including the Nubians,
Persians, Greeks and ultimately the Romans.