Egyptian Civilization

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Map of Ancient Egypt (


1. Women

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In Egypt, women were much freer than their counterparts in other lands, though they were not equal with men, both men and women in Egypt accepted that everyone had their roles in ma'at (the natural order of the universe) and that the roles of men and women were different.

In the tomb paintings of royal family, women are depicted with dignity and affection, though they are clearly subordinate to the men. Legal documents
show that women could own property, inherit from their parents and will their property to whomever. Marriage was usually monogamous. Either party could dissolve the relationship.

2. Population

Varied. Dark-skinned people related to the populations of sub-Saharan Africa to lighter-skinned akin to the people of north Africa and western Asia.

3. Peasants

Those in rural villages engaged in the seasonal tasks of grain agriculture. They extended the irrigation network, domesticated animals, shared implements to help one another, and feasted together. Periodically they had to contribute labor to state projects. (pyramids, for instance)


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1. Writing

  • hieroglyphics A system of writing in which pictorial symbols represented sounds, syllables, or concepts. It was used for official and monumental inscriptions in ancient Egypt. Because of the long period of study required to master this system, literacy in hieroglyphics was confined to a relatively small group of scribes and administrators.
  • Papyrus A reed that grows along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. From it was produced a coarse, paperlike writing medium used by the Egyptians and many other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.

2. Belief

  • Gods: The consistency of their environment persuaded the Egyptians that the natural world was a place of rec
    urrent cycles.
Re (sun god) of Heliopolis
Amon of ThebesPtah of Memphis
  • The King: chief-priest of the country, intervened with the gods on behalf of his land and people
  • Many towns had temples for locally prominent deities.
  • Public Cults: Cult activities were carried out in the inner reaches of the temples. During great festivals, priests carried the shrouded statue and cult items of the deity around the town,
  • Burial and Afterlife: Egyptians believed in afterlife and made extensive preparations for safe passage to the next world. This led to concern about the physical condition of the cadaver and to the perfection of mummification techniques to preserve the dead body.

3. Science and Technology:

  • Mummification taught them human anatomy.
  • They developed mathematiques to measure the dimensions of fields and to calculate the quantity of agricultural produce owed to the state.
  • Careful observation of the stars enabled them to construct the most accurate calendar in the world.
  • Pyramids, temple complexes and other monumental buildings called for great engineering skills.

Humans in the Environment:

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Scenic views of the Nile River Delta.
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The lands the Egyptians inheireted.

Egyptians had the fate of their civilization in constant conflict with the natural world around them. Beneficiaries to what Herodotus termed the “Gift of the Nile,” this generous endowment of natural resources helped stabilize the Nile River Delta into political organizations that endured for millennia.
The Ancient Egyptians, bordered by a vast lifeless desert and an inhospitable seacoast, flourished in relative isolation throughout its long and storied history. With rainfall uncommon, all agriculture depended upon the yearly and predictable floods of the Nile to be just that. These floods that struck every September left the ground rich with minerals that allowed Egyptian farmers to thrive. Much of the political structure was based upon these rises: often times the downfall of a political dynasty correlated with a series of underwhelming floods. The Egyptians were also largely self-sufficient because of these resources and tended to care less for trade than their contemporaries.


The Egyptians enjoyed (literally) the fruits of their labor. A prospering system of agriculture, employing a comparatively small portion of the labor force, was typically able to provide for the entire diverse population of Egyptians. The farming system was quite remarkable, in the ancient world, few systems were its equal: peasants maintained a complex system of ditches, protective barriers, and canals that helped to replenish the supply of nutrients to the land and to irrigate their crops.
They also employed a large slave labor force for compulsory mining service. Nubia, the lands generally south of the Second Cataract of the Nile, was particularly flush with gold and Egyptians often acquired mining space through militant force. Copper and other precious materials matriculated their ways down the Nile from extensive mining projects.
While Egypt was largely an isolationist for much of its Ancient existence, occasionally they did overcome their xenophobia enough to organize long distance trade missions. These often included threat of militant force, however, and typically involved an Egyptian takeover of economically viable lands.

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A map of geographical zones of the area and a modern day tourist/humorist.


The abundance of resources attracted a larger population along the Nile, which gave way to the rise of local hierarchies and complex political system. It wasn’t until 3100 B.C., King Menes, the ruler of Southern Egypt, united the two Kingdoms to create a centralized leadership for all of Egypt.

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As shown in the image to the left, upon the union of Upper and Lower Egypt, rulers wore two crowns in representation of the conhesive political structure. Ma’at is the Egyptian term for its theocratic leadership- the concept of divine ordinance and power enforced the political power of the Pharaoh. According to Egyptian political tradition, the Pharaoh was sent from the Heavens to maintain order on Earth- his will, wants, and desires are authorized by the Gods.


Thus, birthed the famous burial structures in 2630 B.C. that stand even to this day- Pyramids. These large monuments stand as symbols of the wealth, power, and political significance in Ancient Egypt. The inside of Pyramids, pre-looting, were filled with treasures: precious metals, hieroglyphs, and exotic tributes for the ruler to carry into his (or the rare- her) afterlife.

For fun. For other fun.