Ancient Egypt Unit - Mr. Standring's Page

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Ancient Egypt UnitGrade 10 Social Studies

Unit Outline: Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs Historical Overview Government Society and Culture ReligionSocial OrganizationEveryday LifeUrban and Rural LivingThe EconomyThe ArtsThe Sciences

Definitions – Please search the text book forthe answers to these definitions (74-121) Wadis Dynasty Hieroglyphics Monarchy Pharaoh Nomes Nomarch Polytheistic Ankh Mummification Corvee Duty Polygamy Demotic Secular Religious Cults

Geography The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as beingdivided into two types of land, the 'black land' andthe 'red land'. The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks ofthe Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land forgrowing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that couldbe farmed because a layer of rich, black silt wasdeposited there every year after the Nile flooded.

Geography Cont. The 'red land' was the barren desert that protectedEgypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt fromneighbouring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with asource for precious metals and semi-preciousstones.

Ancient Egypt – The British ore/main.html

Egyptian Oasis

Historical Egypt Egypt is one of the most fertile areas of Africa, and one ofthe most fertile of the countries around the MediterraneanSea. Because it is so fertile, people came to live in Egypt earlierthan in most places, probably around 40,000 years ago. At first there were not very many people, but graduallyEgypt became more crowded, so there was more need for aunified government. Around 3000 BCE (5000 years ago), Egypt was first unifiedunder one ruler, who was called the Pharaoh.

From that time until around 525 BCE, when Egypt was conquered by thePersians, Egypt's history is divided into seven different time periods. Thefirst being Predynastic Period 3100BCE to 2650BCE The other six are called the Old Kingdom (the First Intermediate Period) ,the Middle Kingdom, (the Second Intermediate Period), the Late Dynastic,Greek Period and Roman Period.“Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt has almost no existing record of independentcity-states.”

The Kingdoms of Egypt

Predynastic Period3100-2650BCEMenes was the firstKing in a long line ofkings beginning theEgyptian dynasty.He unites upper andLower Egypt.Memphis becomes thecapital of United Egypt.Pharaohs organized thefirst systematicirrigation from the NileriverHieroglyphics aredeveloped.

Old Kingdom 2650 BCE-2134 BCEThe Pyramids werebuilt in this periodas great tombs forthe Pharaohs.They were built bypeople who wereusually farmers, likemost people at thattime.**About the same time, another greatcivilization was arising in Sumeria.1st Intermediate period 2134BCE – 2040BCE

Middle Kingdom 2040 BCE – 1640 BCE Pharaohs are threatened bythe independence of localgovernorsEgypt recruits a standingarmyThe city of Luxor gainsprominence.Lots of trade from Palestineand Syria2nd Intermediate Period Hyksos dominate Egypt They introduce horse-drawnchariot, copper arrowheadsand daggers, curved-bladeswords and compound bow.2nd Intermediate period 1640BCE – 1550BCE

New Kingdom 1550BCE – 1070 BCE The empire extendsinto Southwest AsiaEgypt was the worldsstrongest empire. Egypt recruits andextends army anddevelops. Empire stretched toEuphrates River andTaurus Mountains King Ramses II Rules “Became a living god”

Late Dynastic 1070BCE – 332 BCE Decline of the Empirebegins Royals and High Priestsstruggle for power. Egypt lost territories abroadshowing weakness andattracting invaders. Finally invaded by GeneralPiankhi of Nubia, then ruledby Assyrians and Persians.

Greek Control 332BCE48BCEIn 332 BCE Alexander the Great conqueredEgypt with a Greek army. At first theEgyptians thought he would make themindependent again, but he did not.Alexander made Egypt part of his ownempire. When Alexander died in 323 BCE,his general Ptolemy (TA-low-mee) took overEgypt as his own territory.He and his successors (all called Ptolemy)ruled Egypt until the Roman Augustusconquered it from the last Ptolemy andQueen Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Ptolemiessucceeded in reconquering much of Israeland Syria.They brought Greek culture and the Greeklanguage to Egypt, though ordinary peoplecontinued to speak Egyptian and worshipEgyptian gods.

Roman Control 48BCE– 395CE By the time of the Roman Julius Caesar,around 48BCE, the Ptolemies, the Greekkings of Egypt, were much weaker than theRomans. When Julius Caesar visited Egypt,Cleopatra, begged him to help her fight acivil war against her teenaged brother andhusband, Ptolemy XIV. Julius Caesar did help her, but he leftRoman troops all over Egypt, and also tookCleopatra (klee-oh-PAT-rah) back to Romewith him as his girlfriend. When JuliusCaesar was assassinated in Rome in 44 BC,Cleopatra returned to Egypt with anotherRoman leader, Marc Anthony (who wasalso her boyfriend). In a civil war between Julius Caesar'snephew Augustus and Marc Anthony,Antony and Cleopatra were defeated. Theykilled themselves (or perhaps were killed)in 30 BC, and the Romans took over Egypt.

Islamic Egypt (700present)As part of the rise of thenew religion of Islam inWestern Asia, the Arabsestablished a new empirecentered on Syria.They soon conqueredEgypt as well, so that justas under the Assyrians andthen the Persians, Egyptcame under the rule ofWest Asia.Gradually most Egyptiansconverted fromChristianity to Islam, andlearned to speak Arabic(the remaining Christiansin Egypt are called Copts).A new capital wasestablished in the north atCairo (KYE-row).

Egyptian GovernmentThe Pharaoh (FARE-oh) owned all ofEgypt, and everything in it.All the land, all the tools, all theanimals, and all the people. He (orsometimes she) could tell anybodywhat to do, and they would have to doit. This is called a monarchy.Power was passed down to the eldest“chief wife’s son” as opposed to thechildren of the “lesser wives”. In historydaughters had also claimed the throne.,

Government ContinuedWhen the Pharaoh was weaker,especially in the First and SecondIntermediate Periods, sometimeshe (or she) could not make the richpeople do what he (or she) wantedthem to.Often the Pharaoh had tocompromise with them. But at leastin theory, the rich people had to dowhatever the Pharaoh said, andordinary people had to dowhatever the rich people said.Egypted was broken up into 42provinces called Nomes andgoverned by an official called aNomarch.

Egyptian Justice and LawEach Nome had their owncourt.Egyptians had harshpunishments for breakingthe law. The laws werebased on a common senseview of right and wrongNext, there were many lawsin Egypt, as there were manypunishments for breaking alaw.One of the punishmentswere one hundred strokes ofa cane, and if the crime wasworse, five bleeding cutswere added.Other punishments includedbranding, exile, mutilation,drowning, beheading, andburning alive.

Egyptian Justice and LawThe worst crime was tomb raidingbecause the treasures in the tombwere sacred. A lot of punishmentswere fatal, such as drowning,beheading, and burning alive.Most nomarch controlled justice intheir nomes.If a criminal ran away and couldn’tbe caught, their family would receivepunishment for their crime.

Egypt: Society andCulture – Gods andDeathEgypt was polytheistic throughout the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and theNew KingdomSome of these gods were Anubis, Osiris, Isis, and Horus. Egyptians worshipped thesegods with animal sacrifices and with incense and many processions where peoplecarried the image of the god from one place to another.Egypt belonged to the gods, and that the Pharaoh was the representative on earth ofthe gods, or maybe a kind of god himself, and so everything in Egypt sort of belongedto the Pharaoh.When you died, Anubis would weigh your soul against a feather, and if your soul washeavier than the feather (with bad deeds), you would be punished.After you died you went to a new world, just like this one, and so they put into yourgrave everything you would need in the next world.

Religion But little by little some Egyptians began to convertto Christianity, and by the time of the GreatPersecution in 303 CE, there were many Christiansin Egypt. After the Roman Emperors became Christian andthe persecution ended, most of the people of Egyptseem to have converted to Christianity.

Religion The Persian invasion of Egypt in 539 BC doesn't seem to havemade any difference to Egyptian religion. The Egyptians justkept right on worshipping their own gods. But the Persiansare known for their religious tolerance. When Ptolemy took over Egypt in 323 BC, that did make adifference. Under Greek rule, the Egyptians did begin toworship some Greek gods, although they kept onworshipping the old Egyptian gods as well. Greek people in Athens began to worship the Egyptiangoddess Isis. They learned about Isis from traders sailingover from Egypt. Persians 500BCE – NO change, worship same Egyptian gods Greeks 323BCE – Believed in Greek and Egyptian gods Romans 0-300CE – Christianity 300CE- Great Persecution 600-700CE and after- Conversion to Islamic State.

Social Organizations

Society In Ancient Egypt there were definite social classes.At the bottom of the "Social Pyramid" were soldiers,farmers, and tomb builders, who represented thegreatest percent of the Egyptian population. The workers supported the professionals abovethem, just as the base of the pyramid supports therest of the structure. Above the workers were skilled craftsmen, such asartists, who used primitive tools to make everythingfrom carts to coffins.

SocietyAbove the craftsmen were the scribes. The scribes werethe only Egyptians who knew how to read and write, andtherefore had many types of job opportunity. A scribe'sduties ranged from writing letters for townspeople, torecording harvests, to keeping accounts for the Egyptianarmy. Priests were devoted to their religious duties in thetemples at least three months out of every year, duringwhich time they never left the temple. At other times theworked as judges and teachers. Viziers was the pharaoh’s most trusted advisor. Heoversaw many of the key functions of governmentincluding building projects, the state archives, and thestate judiciary system.

Writing The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important torecord and communicate information about religion andgovernment. Thus, they invented written scripts thatcould be used to record this information. The most famous of all ancient Egyptian scripts ishieroglyphic. However, throughout three thousand yearsof ancient Egyptian civilization, at least three otherscripts were used for different purposes. Using these scripts, scribes were able to preserve thebeliefs, history and ideas of ancient Egypt in temple andtomb walls and on papyrus scrolls.

WomenUnlike the position of women inmost other ancient civilizations,including that of Greece, theEgyptian woman seems to haveenjoyed the same legal andeconomic rights as the Egyptianman *at least in theory.This notion is reflected inEgyptian art and historicalinscriptions.It is uncertain why these rightsexisted for the woman in Egyptbut no where else in the ancientworld.It may well be that such rightswere ultimately related to thetheoretical role of the king inEgyptian society.

Education Not very many boys and girls went to school in Ancient Egypt. Most ofthese boys and girls came from rich families and went to scribal school. They went to school so maybe one distant day they could grow up andenter the royal service, maybe even a famous pharaoh or wealthy scribe.In scribal school, they still used the utensils of a scribe: a reed brush, inkmade out of soot and water, and the world’s first paper papyrus. If you were not going to study to be a scribe, you would probably not goto scribal school. However some people who were not scribes did have ascribal school education. Instead you would become an apprentice. For example, if you wanted tobecome a doctor, you would go to work with a doctor and learn fromhim. If you wanted to become a baker, you would become a baker’sapprentice and work with him to learn how to be a baker.

Clothing/CosmeticsBoth men and women in Egyptwore tunics which were sewn to fitthem.These tunics were like a long T-shirtwhich reached to the knees (formen) or to the ankles (for women).They were usually made of linenand were nearly always white.Most Egyptians, both men andwomen, do not seem to havecovered their heads with any kindof cloth. They often went barefoot,but sometimes they wore leathersandals.Both men and women wore blueand green eyeshadow and blackkohl eyeliner, when they weredressed up.Men wore their hair short, whilewomen wore their hair down totheir shoulders. Both men andwomen wore gold jewelry if theycould afford to.

AgricultureThe ancient Egyptian economy wasbased on farming. Farmers had to give3/5 of their crops to the pharoah as atax.Farming land was called "black land forcrops." Irrigation was VERY important forfarming. Without irrigation, farmingwould have been impossible in thedesert of ancient Egypt.Irrigation is watering dry land by usingstreams, canals -- even by carrying waterback and forth in skin bags. TheEgyptians were the first to use irrigationmethods. Flooding of the Nile wasimportant for growing crops. Farmersworked by the rise and fall of the Nile ina yearly cycle.They never needed fertilizers becausethe flood soil was so rich. The Egyptiansbelieved that when Osiris, the god ofdeath and rebirth, was dead, the riverwas low, but when Osiris was alive, theNile river would overflow.Farming jobs included watering, plowingand sowing. Egypt's most importantexport crop was cotton.

Literature Writing in Egypt goes back to pretty much the earliest writing anywhere. Nobodyreally knows yet whether the Egyptians figured out how to write for themselves,or whether they learned it from the Sumerians, who also began writing aboutthe same time, about 3000 BC. The Egyptian form of writing, hieroglyphs, does not look the same or work thesame as the Sumerian form of writing, cuneiform. So if they did get the ideafrom the Sumerians, the Egyptians certainly changed it a lot. What we have left of Egyptian writing, like Egyptian art, mostly comes out oftombs. Because of this, most of what we have left is prayers (because that is thekind of thing you put in people's tombs). Other writing like laws, letters to your mom, and lists of who gave their fair shareto the temple mostly has rotted away, over the years. We don't know whether the Egyptians wrote novels or stories, but if they didthen these stories have also rotted away. Probably they didn't write muchliterature, or some of it would have been saved.

The Shaduf

Pyramids People tend to think that Egyptian styles stayed the same for thewhole period of Egyptian history, but that's not true. The Egyptians built different kinds of buildings at different times, justlike any other group of people.In the beginning, they built mainly mastabas, a kind of tomb with aflat roof like a house. Then throughout most of the Old Kingdom, theEgyptians built the pyramid tombs which are now so famous. In the Middle Kingdom, the mastaba tomb came back again, althoughin a more elaborate form for the Pharaohs. No more pyramids werebuilt. Then in the New Kingdom there was a lot of building that was nottombs: temples for the gods especially, but also palaces for thePharaohs.

Egypt belonged to the gods, and that the Pharaoh was the representative on earth of the gods, or maybe a kind of god himself, and so everything in Egypt sort of belonged to the Pharaoh. When you died, Anubis would weigh your soul against a feather, and if your soul was heavier