Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt

Politics
Kingship was created when the Upper and Lower Egypt was united by Menes.
Egypt had 30 dynasties. Period of centralized power was called the "Old," "Middle", and "New Kingdom" while the declining periods were called the "Intermediate Periods".
Egyptians king were called Pharaoh. They were believed to be a god to maintain Ma'at, the divine authorized order of the Universe.
Bureaucrats worked for the Pharaoh and they were in charge of keeping track of land, products, and people, and extracting tax. Government monopolies the economy and long distance tradings.
Statue of the pharaoh Khafre
Statue of the pharaoh Khafre

Economics
Agricultural strongly relies on the Nile river. Regions near to the Nile river was called the "Black land" with fertile black soil while lands in the desert was called the "Red land".
The Nile River floods at exactly the right time. It makes the Egyptians easier to plant crops. However, when the flood was too high, it destroyed the inhabitats. When it flooded too little for years, it caused femine.
Egyptians were isolated because they had sufficient resources and considered foreigners to be enemies. They were only interested in gold in Nubia and ivory, dark ebony wood, and exotic jungle animals in Tropical Africa.
They exported much of the papyrus reed, a material to produce a paper-like material, throughout the ancient world because it was not grown anywhere else.
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/images/cyperus%20papyrus%20.jpeg.jpg
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/images/cyperus%20papyrus%20.jpeg.jpg


Huamns and their environment
Nile River was the main path of travel.
Egyptians found many useful resources in the area (unlike Mesopotamian who had to get it from trading)
  • Papyrus reeds for sails ropes and papers
  • Hunters got wild animals and birds in the marshes and on the edge of the desert
  • Fishermen nettted fish from the river
  • Clay for mud bricks
  • Exploit copper and turquoise deposits in the east and gold from Nubia in the south
Culture
Religion:
Egyptian believed in recurrent cycles and periodic renewal.
  • Sun rose everyday in a clear cloud sky
  • Nile river flooded on schedule every year (unlike that of Mesopotamia)

God Names: Ptah of Memphis, Re of Heliopolis, and Amon of Thebes.
They believed in after life journeys, according to the Book of Dead found in many tombs.

Scribe Hunefer in judgment from Book of the Dead
Scribe Hunefer in judgment from Book of the Dead

Pyramids:
Because Pharaohs were belived to be a god, the had royal tombs known as the pyramids, hoping their well being after death. Without any machinery, people believed that almost unlimited human muscle power was utilized. They might have taken such labor as a religious service to ensure prosperity.

Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Egypt


Hieroglyphics
This is the writing system of Egypt. It is use as administrators, copyist, and multiple types of literature. They write on writing material made by papyrus reed.


Social
Many Egyptians were involved in rural villages and agriculture, therefore, city sites were not as grand as those in Mesopotamia.
There are no formal class structure.
  • King
  • High-ranking officials
  • Lower-level officials, local leaders, priests, professionals, artisans, and well-to-do farmers
  • Peasants (vast majority)
Woman:
They were depicted with dignity and affection, though under the domination of man.
They were expected to do indoor works and could own property from their parents.
Queen and Queen's mother played a behind-the-scene role some times through out the period.
Generally more rights than those in Mesopotamia.
Technology
Mummufication
People wanted to preserve the body well; therefore, Egyptians mastered in mummification. This lead them to their knowledge of anatomy.
Egyptians were also good at mathematics for calculation of land area. They also had advanced engineer that created canals to link the Nile Valley to the Red Sea.
Howard Carter works on King Tutankhamen's mummy
Howard Carter works on King Tutankhamen's mummy

Bulliet, Richard. Earth and Its People, AP Edition, (Boston: Wadsworth, 2011) Page 24-27

"Ancient Egypt." Map. World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012.

"Statue of the pharaoh Khafre." Image. Jon Bodsworth/The Egypt Archive. World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012.

"Egyptian Religion and the Afterlife (Overview)." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012.

"Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Egypt." Image. Corel. World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012.

"Howard Carter works on King Tutankhamen's mummy." Image. Library of Congress. World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 14 Sept. 2012.