Ancient Egypt Essay Research Paper Ancient EgyptStarting

Ancient Egypt Essay, Research Paper

Ancient Egypt

Starting about 8,000BC, all of Northern Africa became a drier, more desert-like

place. Back then, man lived in nomadic groups of hunters and gatherer. The

climate forced man to migrate to more hospitable lands, some migrated to Nile

River Valley which is a vast land surrounding the Nile River. There in this

land abundant with life, there were plenty of food and water for these people.

During the Neolithic Revolution (10,000BC to 3,500BC) man discovered the art of

agriculture, this skill arrived in Egypt approximately 7,000BC. Humans were

finally able to use the rich silt brought by the yearly flooding of the Nile

River which annually flooded since 60,000 years ago.

The Nile River is the world’s longest river , it is approximately 4,160 miles

long and flows from the highlands in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea.

It is the main reason why the Ancient Egyptians were such a successful people,

the moisture from the river was the only thing keeping Egypt from change to a

desert. Even back then, everybody knew that without the river they had no

chance of survival. First of all the main food the Egyptians ate were bread

made from the grain grown with the precious silt and water from the Nile River.

Barges and boats made with papyrus reeds or wooden planks(used after 3,000BC)

were filled with different thing such as grains were floated downstream and

carried by the current, or if they needed to be floated upstream, you would

simply just raise the sails up and the ship would sail upstream, the Egyptians

invented sails at approximately 3,200BC. Although the Nile is such an abundant

source of life, it fertilize just a narrow strip of land, eventually the

Egyptians built large irrigation systems which would carry water into the desert.

Ancient cultures were often plagued with warfare and attacks from other cultures,

Egypt’s geography protected it from most of its neighbors. The Mediterranean

Sea, the Red Sea, the Nubian Desert, and the Libyan Desert surrounded Egypt, it

was very hard for an outside to even enter Egypt. In the Nile River there are

six cataracts, waterfalls or rapids, these prevented people from a region called

Kush which would be modern day Ethiopia from using the river to travel to Egypt

and attack it. Still there were invaders who would attack Egypt, from the Sinai

Peninsula invaders attacked Egypt, but Egypt also used this land as a path to

conquer other people.

The small villages that lined the river eventually became two kingdoms, Upper

Egypt and Lower Egypt. The name of the king that eventually united the two

kingdoms is Menes, he originally ruled just Upper Egypt, but by conquering Lower

Egypt, he not only increase his own power, he created one of the greatest

civilizations ever. His successors, the king after him, wore a double crown to

symbolize that they ruled both kingdoms.

Sometime between 1,554BC and 1,304BC, people began calling their kings

“pharaohs” which means “great house”. Egyptians believed that the pharaohs were

descendants of the sun god, Amon-Ra. A “dynasty” is a government where the

right to rule passes father to son. Occasionally these dynasties were

overthrown or died out and a new dynasty is formed. The first dynasty was said

to have been establish by King Menes who united Upper Egypt with Lower Egypt.

There are about 30 dynasties that ruled Egypt, historians and archeologists have

divided the history of Egypt into three parts based on these dynasties. The Old

Kingdom(2,700BC to 2,200BC), the Middle Kingdom(2,050BC to 1,800BC), and the New

Kingdom or Empire Age(1,570BC to 1,090BC).

With every ancient society we have seen a unique religion, the Egyptians are no

exception. Egyptian mythology or religion did not influence their culture as

religion did to other cultures much, a unified sense of faith never existed

among them. What I mean by this is that since each city worshipped a different

god or goddess, there wasn’t really a togetherness in their religion. So if I

use the word “worship” in this report, I am referring to the fact that they

thought that god or goddess was important. In fact the Egyptian religion

contains a remarkable amount of conflicting beliefs, this is probably base on

the fact that their religion is just a collection of stories and mythology

The earliest of the Egyptian gods to be invented were in the form of animals

such as the sacred cat of Babastis, these gods were worshipped before Egypt

united. Later however, gods were half human-half animal creatures, usually a

human with the head of some animals.

According to the Egyptian account of creation, only the ocean existed at first.

Then Ra, the sun(later confused by the Egyptians with Amon, this created a new

god Amon-Ra), came out of an egg (a flower, in some versions) that appeared on

the surface of the water. Ra brought forth four children, the gods Shu and Geb

and the goddesses Tefnut and Nut. Shu and Tefnut became the atmosphere. They

stood on Geb, who became the earth, and raised up Nut, who became the sky. Ra

ruled over all. Geb and Nut later had two sons, Set and Osiris, and two

daughters, Isis and Nephthys. Osiris succeeded Ra as king of the earth, helped

by Isis, his sister-wife. Set, however, hated his brother and killed him. Isis

then embalmed her husband’s body with the help of the god Anubis, who thus

became the god of embalming. The powerful charms of Isis resurrected Osiris, who

became king of the netherworld, the land of the dead. Horus, who was the son of

Osiris and Isis, later defeated Set in a great battle and became king of the

earth. The Ancient Egyptians also believed in life after death, in fact they

have the world’s most elaborate rituals. After a person dies the Egyptians

believes that the soul or ka live in the kingdom of the dead, but the believed

that the ka could not survive without the body. The Egyptians mummify the body

in order to keep it preserved, but in the event that the corpse is destroy there

are wood or stone replicas of the body which will serve as a body, the more

replicas in a tomb the better chances of the ka surviving.

After leaving the tomb, the souls of the dead supposedly were beset by

innumerable dangers, and the tombs were therefore furnished with a copy of the

Book of the Dead. Part of this book, a guide to the world of the dead, consists

of charms designed to overcome these dangers. After arriving in the kingdom of

the dead, the ka was judged by Osiris, the king of the dead. The Book of the

Dead also contains instructions for proper conduct before these judges. If the

judges decided the deceased had been a sinner, the ka was condemned to hunger

and thirst or to be torn to pieces by horrible executioners. If the decision

was favorable, the ka went to the heavenly realm of the fields of Yaru, where

grain grew 3.7 m (12 ft) high and existence was a glorified version of life on

earth. All the necessities for this perfect existence, from furniture to

reading matter, were, therefore, put into the tombs. As a payment for the

afterlife and his benevolent protection, Osiris required the dead to perform

tasks for him, such as working in the grain fields. Even this duty could,

however, be obviated by placing small statuettes, called ushabtis, into the tomb

to serve as substitutes for the deceased.

Egypt had a very simple social structure consisting of only three classes. The

ruling class were on the top of the list followed by the middle class, and on

the bottom of the list were the peasants and slaves. The ruling class were the

most respected and well treated people in the society, besides the pharaoh the

preist were the most important people in the society because people thought that

they cuold talk to the gods who controled everything from life to death. The

priest often positions as governors of provinces, court officials, or tax

collectors. The chief minister, who administered the business of the country in

choosen from this class. The middle class were a small group of people who

consists of merchants, traders, and artisans. Traders brought dyes, gold, and

ivory which the merchants sold to the nobles, artisans were paid by nobles to

make things such as pottery, stone carvings, glass objects, wooden carvings, and

linen so fine that it looked like silk. Most Egyptians were farmers who does

the same thing each day over and over again, they waited for the Nile to flood

and then they plant their crops when the water recedes. The peasant live a

simple life with brick houses and few furniture, they paid half their harvest to

government tax. They were also require to work on palaces, temples, clear

irrigation ducts, and serve in the army. Slave were mostly descendants of war

prisoners some lived like free peasant and others llived in the houses of nobles

serving them.

The ancient Egyptian society really respected women, women had the right to buy

or sell land. There weren’t many divorces, but women had the right to divorce

as well as men. The most important thing that makes it more equal for woman are

that property is inherited through the female line.

In the Egyptian society, there were few people who were not farmers besides the

nobles. Since the Egyptians didn’t have any money, worker were often paid in

wheat and barley or other goods, extra amounts could be traded for needed goods

or services. Farmer worked mostly on the land of the royal family, temples, and

other rich people, they got a small amount of the crop because a large amount

was taxed. Others rented lands of their own from rich landowners. Craftsmen

worked in small shops which they manufacture things such as pottery, bricks,

tools, glasses, weapons, furniture, jewelry, perfume, rope, basket, mats, and

writing materials. Miners mined for limestone, sandstone, copper, gold, tin,

gems, and granite for the construction of pyramid and monuments. Traders sailed

to different lands trading for stuff like silver, iron, horses, ivory, leopard

skins, copper, cattle, cedar logs, and spices. The royal family and temples

also employed other kinds of skilled workers such as architects,

engineers,carpenters, artists, sculptors, bakers, butchers, teachers, scribes,

accountants, musicians, butlers, and shoemakers.

The Egyptians had many different invention and contribution to future society.

First of all, all the Egyptian had many advances in the math and sciences. Each

year after the floods by the Nile River, farmers had to measure the boundary

lines all over again. This led them to develop advance ways to measure the land.

Geometry was the most advance field of mathematics they developed, they knew

how to figure out the volume of a circle or the area of a square. Needs to

predict the yearly flooding of the Nile forced them to look carefully at the

stars. Their priest-astronomers developed the first 365-day calendar; there

were 12 months, three seasons(the Nile flooding season, the planting season, and

the harvest season), each month had 30 days and the last month had 5 extra days.

The problem with their calendar is that they did not account for leap years,

later on, the Romans and Greeks modified this calendar to the one that we use

today. The stone cutting and medical techniques developed by the Egyptians were

also very impressive. They used hot fire and cold water make rock crack. They

had ways to treat bone and spinal injuries too, the Greeks and Romans learned

most of their medical knowledge form the Egyptian. These contribution as well

as the monument and marks left behind made Ancient Egypt such a renown place.

Nowadays, Ancient Egypt is gone and what is left behind is just a fraction of

what was.


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