What makes a civilization you ask?

As Richard Bulliet says on page 5 of our textbook:
"Scholars agree that certain, political, social, economic and technological traits are indicators of civilization:
1. Cities as administrative centers
2. a political system based on control of a defined territory rather than a kinship connection
3. many people engaged in specialized, non-food producing activities
4. status distinctions based largely on accumulation of substantial wealth by some groups
5. monumental architecture
6. system of records (writing)
7. long distance trade
8. major advances on science
9. major advances in the arts"
(Bulliet, p 5)

Ancient Egypt


Egypt found it's beginnings along the coasts of the Nile River. Without the Nile, Egypt would never have come about. The areas along the River up to the Mediterranean Sea and out into the Desert were unified into one territory by the first Pharaoh around 3000 BCE. The Pharaoh was the divine king, the link between the Gods and the regular people. Religion played a large part in politics; in fact, the Pharaoh was considered part God himself, and the political well-being of the timewas linked directly to the attitudes of the gods of Egypt. The Pharaoh had absolute power over all political and religious decisions in the country, including complete control over the army.
The period of unification in Egypt can be split into three different kingdoms; the Old, Middle, and New. Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom, while Thebes was the capital of the Middle and New Kingdoms. Other large cities such as Antinoe developed along the Nile at successful trading ports.


There was no real money in Egypt, but instead a trading system based on grain and silver and copper coins. Trading routes were set up with neighbors like Nubia and Canaan to obtain goods not found within Egypt.

Human Interactions:

The Nile River was the center of communities in Egypt. Every year at the same time the river flooded the fields, and when it receded, it left behind a fine silt that was excellent for growing crops. This silt is the reason farmers in Egypt were able to grow plants even in the harsh Egyptian climate. Domesticated animals were used to pull plows, and crops like barley were planted because they would withstand the harsh sun. Irrigation canals were dug from the river to the fields as well. During the dry season, grain and other nonperishable goods were stored in case of drought. Dikes were built on the sides of the Nile to protect villages and farmland from over-flood. Papyrus plants that grew on the coast was used to make sails, ropes, and paper. Hunters went after animals and birds that survived off of the Nile too, and fishermen used boats to fish as well. People who were not farmers, and farmers during the dry season, specialized in crafts such as tool-making, architecture, and traders.
The Egyptians developed stone tools, and made bricks out of mud and clay, but there was not much bronze or any type of metal. The creation of the Pyramids, Sphinx, and other fantastic temples not only represented the amazing advances in technology and science made by the Egyptians, but art as well.


The ancient Egyptians were dependent on the Nile River. They believed that life was madeup of continuous cycles, like the flooding of the river. Their religion was based off of nature around them, and the Pharaoh was their link to the gods. Examples of gods from Egypt are Re, the Sun God, and Osiris, the king of the Underworld. Religion stressed preparing for the afterlife; those who could afford it were wrapped in linens (called mummification) and buried in elaborately decorated sarcophaguses within tombs filled with their possessions and wealth. The Pharaohs were buried beneath the most elaborate archeological tombs. Examples of these are the Pyramids, which were created by a work force of farmers during the dry season to honor their Pharaoh. The walls in the tomb were painted in amazing designs, which have become known as famous Egyptian art and can be seen in modern Museums on tiles and pottery.
They writing system developed by the Egyptians was called Hieroglyphics, which consisted of a myriad of pictograms and some phonetic syllables. It was only
in around 1800 ADE, when the Rosetta Stone was found, that we were able to decipher Hieroglyphics.
In Egypt, women had more rights their their Mesopotamian counterparts. They were able to own business' and were not bound to men. Egyptian poetry reveals an idea of romantic love for women as well.


No formal class structure developed in ancient Egypt. This does not mean that there were no rich or poor, but that anyone could become rich or poor based off their work. Bureaucrats were in charge of tracks of land on which poorer people or farmers lived. The bureaucrats were considerably richer than the peasants. Farmers are taxed by the bureaucrats. Peasants made up a large portion of the population. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms, the Egyptians were fairly isolationist; all foreigners were considered enemies.

Works Cited:

Bulliet, Richard, et al. Earth and Its People, Fifth Edition, (Boston: Wadsworth, 2011)pgs 38-45.

"Ancient Egypt." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 Dec. 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egypt>.

Photos from:

“10 Interesting Facts about the Great Pyramids of Giza.” Ancient World Wonders. Web. 14 September, 2012. <http://th3ancient-egypt.blogspot.com/>

“Egyptian Sarcophagus Covered with Hieroglyphics.” Make it Abstract. Web. 14 September, 2012. <http://th3ancient-egypt.blogspot.com/>

“Map of Ancient Egypt.” Karens Whimsy. Web. 14 September, 2012. <http://th3ancient-egypt.blogspot.com/>