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EGYPT : A Thumbnail Sketch Cooperation—work toward common goal Nation-state—along Nile, bounded by ocean & desert (multi-ethnic) Theocracy (pharaoh is.

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Presentation on theme: "EGYPT : A Thumbnail Sketch Cooperation—work toward common goal Nation-state—along Nile, bounded by ocean & desert (multi-ethnic) Theocracy (pharaoh is."— Presentation transcript:


2 EGYPT : A Thumbnail Sketch

3 Cooperation—work toward common goal Nation-state—along Nile, bounded by ocean & desert (multi-ethnic) Theocracy (pharaoh is god made flesh) Lap of luxury. (No worries. Stable for the most part).

4  PHARAOH Queen & Vizier Priesthood & Scribes artisans, soldiers, merchants, farmers, herders, servants (or slaves?)

5 Matrilinear Materialism: Women in Power? Many rights and privileges in public as well as in private life. Property passed from the female to her heirs. Could draw up legal documents: >wrote their own wills & divorce decrees, >allowed to testify & bear witness. Held positions of power and control--from ship captain to pharaoh 5 female pharaohs (Hatshepsut + Cleopatra, last pharaoh of Egypt). Many of Egypt’s queens shared power with their husbands (Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s wife; Nefertari, Ramses the Great’s consort )

6 Beliefs : AFTERLIFE “As Above, So Below” (from Emerald Tablets of Thoth) Live pharaoh=incarnation of Ra/Horus Dead pharaoh unites with Osiris Polytheistic with one unified guiding principle (Ma’at) Monotheistic under Akhenaten, who instituted monotheism & dissolved all priesthoods other than Aten’s because he believed that there was only one true God. Beliefs Values Behaviors


8 Values: Unifying Principle  MA’AT: goddess of Harmony/Balance, Justice (based moral rather than highly legalistic code), & righteousness  Even the pharaoh was held accountable to Ma’at, who was symbolized by a feather.  TRUTH: (complex math/geometry is infused into practically all their agriculture, trade, art and architecture).  BEAUTY (jewelry, clothes, beads, weaving, make-up, wigs)  GOODNESS  MAGIC (Book of the Dead, Coffin Texts, Pyramid texts, etc.)

9 Behaviors Negative proclamations Thoth=scribe god Emerald Tablet Ammut, devourer of souls Everything counts Omniscient gods Provide for pharaoh at all costs Mummification Ritual lives

10 Emerald Tablets of Thoth  18 tablets  Hermes Trismegistus = unification of unification of Greek god Hermes & Egyptian god Thoth. Greek god Hermes & Egyptian god Thoth.  Ruled for 3226 years.  Conquered Typhon, symbol of ignorance.  Believed to have been mummified and entombed within Great Pyramid of Giza.  Hermetica = 42 books of Egyptian magic.  One translation of emerald tablet was of key importance to alchemists.  Papyrus books of Hermetica lost when Library at Alexandria burned to the ground in 626 c.e.  18 surviving treatises buried in desert.  Divine Pymander & The Vision

11 * Believed in numerous paradoxical & seemingly contradictory myths, embracing new ideas. * Gods and goddesses had power animals associated with them, many times appearing with human body and animal head. * Thoth, though, had two animals associated with him: ibis and baboon. When represented as a baboon, he didn’t display human characteristics; however, otherwise he appeared as an ibis headed man. * Sacred texts: Pyramid texts, Book of the Dead, Emerald Tablet

12 TECHNOLOGY  Writing: Hieroglyphics (sacred) Hieratic (like cursive) Demotic (Hellenistic) Coptic  Rosetta Stone—festival decree in 3 languages  enabled the 1 st translation of hieroglyphs pyramids + associated math and tools herbalism and aromatherapy jewelry, perfume, cosmetics, wigs, etc.

13 Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first known female pharaoh, was a cross dresser who donned the royal garb of male pharaohs--all the way down to the fake goatee that was a symbol of royal power. When she had a daughter instead of a son, Pharaoh Tutmose II, her husband and brother, bequeathed the throne to one of his harem consorts’ sons. Since Tutmose III was too young to serve as god- king, Hatshepsut became regent until the young king was old enough to rule. Rather than step down when he came of age, she instead built a temple in her honor, claimed the throne as her royal birthright. After 21 years as pharaoh, when Tutmose III took power, he commanded that Hatshepsut’s name and image be eradicated in an attempt to erase her from history and to deny her honor in the afterlife since Egyptians believed that the spirit lives on in the word and image.


15 Isis and Osiris were brother and sister, husband and wife, destined to become Lord of the Underworld/Judge of the Afterlife and Queen of Heaven, goddess of love who has ten thousand names (Isis Myrianymos). Their brother Seth, jealous of Osiris’ power, tricked his brother by giving a banquet in his honor and giving him a beautifully carved coffin for his burial.

16 Seth tricks Osiris When Osiris climbed into the coffin to try it on for size, Seth sealed it and threw it into the Nile hoping to be rid of his brother and usurp his power. But Isis, loving Osiris as she did, managed to rescue the coffin and hid it away. Seth took the throne and soon found out about Osiris, so he found him and cut his body into pieces, and threw it into the Nile. In turn, Isis--together with her sister, Nephthys, and Anubis, their son, the jackel headed god of mummification—patiently recollected all the pieces except for his penis, which, unfortunately, had been eaten by a crocodile. So...

17 In her early days, Isis was once a sorceress, back before she tricked Ra, the sun god, into telling her his secret name (By fashioning a snake from clay and setting it along the path to bite him, just before nightfall when he was a weak old man. He caved in to her demand, revealed his secret nameand she gave him the antidote, and that’s how she became a goddess, by claiming the secret knowledge of the gods). Finally, she decided to give up the search for the missing piece and fashioned him a new penis (some say it was made of gold, others say clay, still others claim wood).

18 REVENGE IS SWEET Once she puts his body back together, she speaks magic spells to resurrect him, and her words are the birth of the Book of the Dead. She makes love to him and conceives their son, Horus. Osiris goes to the underworld to judge the souls of the deceased, and Isis returns to earth to raise Horus in secret until he is old enough to reap vengeance for his father’s death. Ultimately Horus kills Seth… but not before Seth plucks out one of his eyes. Thoth makes him a new eye, and he takes the throne. Osiris appears green because he is a fertility god; he is depicted wrapped in linen as a mummy.

19 Wanted: Dead or Alive! While alive, pharaohs were believed to be the embodiment of Ra or Horus; once deceased, pharaohs united with Osiris.

20 Life in between

21  KA  spirit possessed by gods, men, and all nature (even temples & sacred sites); vehicle enabling the circle of life to flow through life forces of Sa (cosmic) and Sekhem (individual).  spirit possessed by gods, men, and all nature (even temples & sacred sites); vehicle enabling the circle of life to flow through life forces of Sa (cosmic) and Sekhem (individual).  immortal; matrix of the body that carries the spirit  when joined with physical form, constitutes mental, moral, spirituality of individual.  serves as rational guide & intuitive protector, akin to guardian angel.  ka statue in tomb-served food & drink, oiled and clothed.  can journey between physical and spiritual being.  BA  depicted as human-headed hawk  hovers over mummies, sometimes together with ka to awaiting the moment when they will be rejoined in the afterlife.  vehicle possessing all knowledge of past lives and can come and go from the physical body without loss of life or consciousness.  process of rebirth changes from hawk to migratory stork (reincarnation).



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