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The Stability of Ancient Egypt: Flood and Sun. Ancient Egyptian civilization Developed gradually from 5,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE along the Nile There were.

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Presentation on theme: "The Stability of Ancient Egypt: Flood and Sun. Ancient Egyptian civilization Developed gradually from 5,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE along the Nile There were."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Stability of Ancient Egypt: Flood and Sun

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3 Ancient Egyptian civilization Developed gradually from 5,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE along the Nile There were two independent Egypts: Upper and Lower Egypt Egyptian history is said to begin when Upper and Lower Egypt were united by Narmer, the king of Upper Egypt There were about 30 dynasties in ancient Egypt Life was unusually secure in ancient Egypt – why?

4 Ancient Egyptian civilization Developed gradually from 5,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE along the Nile There were two independent Egypts: Upper and Lower Egypt Egyptian history is said to begin when Upper and Lower Egypt were united by Narmer, the king of Upper Egypt There were about 30 dynasties in ancient Egypt Life was unusually secure in ancient Egypt – why? – Fertility of the Nile Valley, thanks to the nutrients deposited each year with flooding – Surrounding inhospitable deserts eliminated fear of invasion The stability of ancient Egypt and the highly centralized government is reflected in the monumental architecture of the pyramids

5 Stepped Pyramid of Zoser, Saqqara, Egypt (2600 BCE) -early pyramid, typically stepped -dates from the first dynasty Ziggurat of Ur

6 Egyptian art and culture With few exceptions, Egyptian art was remarkably consistent in style over 3 millennia – unquestioning acceptance of convention Sense of order and continuity pervades ancient Egyptian life and art Hieroglyphics developed before 3000 BCE

7 Like Sumerian, hieroglyphics represented complete ideas rather than individual units of sound (not phonetic)

8 The meaning of hieroglyphics was unknown until the Rosetta Stone was found and deciphered. The three languages (ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the late Egyptian ‘Demotic’ language, and ancient Greek) on the stone tell the same thing, allowing us to ‘decode’ ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

9 Religion Polytheistic (many gods and goddesses with various talents and connections to the natural world) Humans could, through offerings and sacrifice, influence the gods and goddesses Most important gods and goddesses related to cosmic forces (sun, earth, sky, air and water) as well as the Nile itself Gods and goddesses took animal forms that were associated with particular cosmic forces (sun = falcon headed man wearing a sun disc crown, joy and love = cow, which is associated with these qualities)

10 Hathor, Goddess of joy and love, wearing a cow crown Horus, god of the sun – head of a falcon and sun disc crown

11 Mastaba, earliest burial places of Old Kingdom nobility -oriented in cardinal directions -plan is believed to be based on house plans, as the mastaba was a tomb for the soul

12 Architecture in ancient Egypt – the Old Kingdom The Old Kingdom can be considered the glory days of ancient Egyptian architecture: massive and ambitious mega-projects galore Egypt lacked timber, although they did import some from elsewhere in Africa, Lebanon, etc. Most buildings (even the pharaoh’s home) were made of reeds (lotus and papyrus) which were bundled together and matted with mud and clay or mud bricks Softer stone such as limestone and sandstone was available from nearby quarries Harder stones were obtained from further away and had to be transported

13 Examples of soft stone and hard stone the Old Kingdom Sandstone – lighter, more workable stoneGranite – dense, heavy stone

14 Mastaba, earliest burial places of Old Kingdom nobility -oriented in cardinal directions -plan is believed to be based on house plans, as the mastaba was a tomb for the soul Stepped pyramid of King Zoser, 2600 BCE (3 rd Dynasty) -built in Saqqara on the west side of the Nile -the stepped pyramid is basically a stack of mastabas -built by Imhotep an astronomer/ writer/priest/physician, and King Zoser’s architect -came to be deified as the god of medicine and science the Old Kingdom

15 Imhotep

16 Great Pyramids, Giza -located on the west bank of the Nile in what is now Cairo -the west bank of the Nile was used for burials and was associated with death – why? -pyramids were built in the Fourth Dynasty, Old Kingdom the Old Kingdom

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18 The Pyramids: massive project, huge expense why bother? Pyramids evolved to be an important part of their system of beliefs: The pharaoh was considered divine and it was believed he or she would return to the gods after death – the pyramid form was meant to soar to heaven and the pharaoh was believed to scale its sides to join the sun god, Ra Triangular shape of the pyramids may symbolize the falling rays of the sun Satisfied the Egyptian cultural craving for permanence and the pyramid is one of the most stable geometrical forms the Old Kingdom

19 Constructing the pyramids: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=lasCXujNPfs&feature=fvw

20 The four sides of the pyramids faced the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) The blocks of limestone used to create the pyramids came from the east side of the Nile and were floated to the west side on barges The largest and oldest pyramid, Cheops, used 2.3 million blocks, averaging 2.5 tons in weight! Phenomenal feat of engineering to assemble them Inside the pyramids: corridors and rooms where the body of the pharaoh was placed along with food and possessions that would accompany him to the afterlife The pyramids were once covered in polished white limestone the Old Kingdom

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22 The limestone was taken off during the medieval pyramid when many beautiful mosques were built in Cairo the Old Kingdom Sultan Hassan Mosque, Cairo

23 Book of the Dead Always the expectation that there was life after death – this belief influenced all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture The Book of the Dead explains what the dead had to experience before reaching the ‘Field of Reeds’ or eternal state What are some of the parallels between what Ancient Egyptians believed and Christian belief? the Old Kingdom

24 Book of the Dead Always the expectation that there was life after death – this belief influenced all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture The Book of the Dead explains what the dead had to experience before reaching the ‘Field of Reeds’ or eternal state What are some of the parallels between what Ancient Egyptians believed and Christian belief? – Life after death – Judgment day, on which you are judged on what you did in life – If judged favorably, the decease will join other souls in a realm of peace and joy (heaven?) – The concept of ka or soul – the indestructible essence of each person the Old Kingdom

25 Sculpture Depiction of humans: – Bodies are slim and athletic, rather rigid – Clothes are thin and cling to the body – The king wears a false beard and headdress to symbolize rank – Statues of humans were built to last for eternity in case the mummy was destroyed – A set of standard poses was established in the Old Kingdom and went unchanged for 3,000 years! Being innovative was not the goal. 1.Sitting on a block 2.Standing with one foot forward (arms often rigid against the body) but do not appear to be walking 3.Sitting cross-legged on the floor 4.Kneeling on both knees (rare) the Old Kingdom

26 Sculpture Depiction of humans: – Bodies are slim and athletic, rather rigid – Clothes are thin and cling to the body – The king wears a false beard and headdress to symbolize rank – Statues of humans were built to last for eternity in case the mummy was destroyed – A set of standard poses was established in the Old Kingdom and went unchanged for 3,000 years! Being innovative was not the goal. 1.Sitting on a block 2.Standing with one foot forward (arms often rigid against the body) but do not appear to be walking 3.Sitting cross-legged on the floor 4.Kneeling on both knees (rare) the Old Kingdom

27 Sculpture Depiction of humans: – Bodies are slim and athletic, rather rigid – Clothes are thin and cling to the body – The king wears a false beard and headdress to symbolize rank – Statues of humans were built to last for eternity in case the mummy was destroyed – A set of standard poses was established in the Old Kingdom and went unchanged for 3,000 years! Being innovative was not the goal. 1.Sitting on a block 2.Standing with one foot forward (arms often rigid against the body) but do not appear to be walking 3.Sitting cross-legged on the floor 4.Kneeling on both knees (rare) the Old Kingdom

28 Sculpture Depiction of humans: – Bodies are slim and athletic, rather rigid – Clothes are thin and cling to the body – The king wears a false beard and headdress to symbolize rank – Statues of humans were built to last for eternity in case the mummy was destroyed – A set of standard poses was established in the Old Kingdom and went unchanged for 3,000 years! Being innovative was not the goal. 1.Sitting on a block 2.Standing with one foot forward (arms often rigid against the body) but do not appear to be walking 3.Sitting cross-legged on the floor 4.Kneeling on both knees (rare) the Old Kingdom

29 Sculpture Depiction of humans: – Bodies are slim and athletic, rather rigid – Clothes are thin and cling to the body – The king wears a false beard and headdress to symbolize rank – Statues of humans were built to last for eternity in case the mummy was destroyed – A set of standard poses was established in the Old Kingdom and went unchanged for 3,000 years! Being innovative was not the goal. 1.Sitting on a block 2.Standing with one foot forward (arms often rigid against the body) but do not appear to be walking 3.Sitting cross-legged on the floor 4.Kneeling on both knees (rare) the Old Kingdom

30 Relief Sculpture and painting Tightly linked as reliefs were often painted Clarity in storytelling was prioritized, rather than naturalistic representation Big humans = high status Depictions of humans in relief and painting combines frontal and profile views Tomb paintings depict daily life were not meant to be viewed except by the soul or ka Topics generally focused on military exploits the Old Kingdom

31 The Middle Kingdom Period of political upheaval Egypt once again divided into Upper and Lower Egypt – no leader could unite Egypt as Narmer had 1000 years earlier Egypt finally united by Mentuhotep II but most power lay in the hands of governors, not the king Paintings now featured domestic and farm life Stone architecture imitates bundled reed and clay architecture

32 The Middle Kingdom Period of political upheaval Egypt once again divided into Upper and Lower Egypt – no leader could unite Egypt as Narmer had 1000 years earlier Egypt finally united by Mentuhotep II but most power lay in the hands of governors, not the king Paintings now featured domestic and farm life Stone architecture imitates bundled reed and clay architecture

33 New Kingdom a tribe from the Eastern Mediterranean called the Hyksos conquered Egypt, bringing with them the horse drawn carriage and bronze weapons Egyptians then utilized these tools to re-unite the country for another 1,000 years, until Egypt was conquered by Persia in 525 BCE The new capital of Egypt in the New Kingdom was Thebes, where much religious and political architecture was built Art was produced not only for religious purposes but to show off wealth and sophistication the New Kingdom

34 Architecture in the New Kingdom No more pyramids for burials – Egyptians now realized they attracted too many thieves Royalty and nobility were now buried in chambers hollowed out from the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile in the Valley of Kings While the Old Kingdom was the era of pyramids, the New Kingdom was the era of temples the New Kingdom

35 Architecture in the New Kingdom continued…. Queen Hatshepsut was buried separately from her temple (a New Kingdom development) Her temple had a stone roof, requiring many columns to hold it up – columns could only be as far apart as the length of a stone lintel terraces once had gardens Sculptures were used lavishly and the walls were carved in low relief and painted Chambers are dedicated to herself and to gods: cow- headed goddess, Hathor; god of embalming and protector of the dead, Anubis the New Kingdom

36 Temples at Luxor – major building center for temples Domestic architecture – most of what we know about Egyptian culture is from the nobility, who left the most traces – Everyday houses have also been excavated so we know the typical layout of homes – Nobles homes featured gardens, pools, grape arbors – All homes made of mud brick and reeds, even the king’s Architecture in the New Kingdom continued…. the New Kingdom

37 Mud brick and bundled reed homes – artist’s representation

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39 Sculpture in the New Kingdom Stylistic continuity with Old Kingdom Four seated statues of Ramses II, dedicated apparently to the Sun God (65 feet high), look nearly identical with Old Kingdom sculpture Ramses II temple nearly destroyed by the flooding for the Aswan dam the New Kingdom Amenhotep / Akhenaten and Nefertiti

40 Religious Revolution: Amenhotep becomes Akhenaten Amenhotep believed the sun was the source of all life He abolished the pantheon of Egyptian gods and established a monotheistic religion to the sun disk ‘Aten’, which he worshipped exclusively He was so dedicated to Aten that he changed his name to Akhenaten (“the shining spirit of Aten”) He shifted the capital from Thebes to el-Amarna All of these changes ended when King Tutankhaten assumed the throne

41 Reliefs and painting in the New Kingdom Very similar to that found in the Old and Middle kingdoms, although there were some innovations: the New Kingdom

42 Reliefs and painting in the New Kingdom Very similar to that found in the Old and Middle kingdoms, although there were some innovations: the New Kingdom

43 Reliefs and painting in the New Kingdom Very similar to that found in the Old and Middle kingdoms, although there were some innovations: the New Kingdom

44 Religious Revolution: Amenhotep becomes Akhenaten How did Amenhotep’s religion differ from Egyptian religion in general?

45 Religious Revolution: Amenhotep becomes Akhenaten Amenhotep believed the sun was the source of all life He abolished the pantheon of Egyptian gods and established a monotheistic religion to the sun disk ‘Aten’, which he worshipped exclusively He was so dedicated to Aten that he changed his name to Akhenaten (“the shining spirit of Aten”) He shifted the capital from Thebes to el-Amarna All of these changes ended when King Tutankhaten assumed the throne

46 Monumental Royal Sculpture: -intended to preserve and guarantee the king’s existence after death -materials for funerary images was made of the hardest stone – granite, rather than sandstone or limestone -idealized physics for royalty only Sculpture for the everyday -lesser, non-royal figures depicted more naturally, not idealized types -

47 Reliefs and painting in the New Kingdom Very similar to that found in the Old and Middle kingdoms, although there were some innovations the New Kingdom Why would such paintings be included in tombs?

48 Father knows best? Advice from an Akkadian and Egyptian father *see instructive literature on page 47 and page 102

49 King Tutankhamun -only royal tomb in ancient Egypt to have escaped looters King Tut’s tomb discovered: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQY7bvsjpg c King Tut’s mystery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beFJc9ewL XQ

50 Egypt in the popular imagination The topic of many films The pseudo-discipline, ‘Egyptology’ The addition on the Louvre in Paris, by the architect I. M. Pei (1988) Architecture in the Victorian-era

51 Egypt in the popular imagination The topic of many films The pseudo-discipline, ‘Egyptology’ The addition on the Louvre in Paris, by the architect I. M. Pei (1988) Architecture in the Victorian-era

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53 Egypt in the popular imagination

54 http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/camb yses-army-remains-sahara.html http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/camb yses-army-remains-sahara.html


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