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Intro to Humanities Lecture 1c Civilization before the Greeks: Egypt

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1 Intro to Humanities Lecture 1c Civilization before the Greeks: Egypt
By David Kelsey

2 Egypt Satellite image of Egypt today

3 Egypt Egypt was the first national state
One people and one language In about 3100 under King Menes, the 2 kingdom’s of lower and upper Egypt were united… Source:

4 Egypt’s climate The climate of Egypt:
dry and consistently sunny with little likelihood of natural disasters Source:

5 Map of Egypt Here you can see the Delta of the Nile, the deserts to the East and West, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the major cities of Egypt such as Cairo and Alexandria Note also the Pyramids… Source:

6 The gift of the Nile The gift of the Nile
Begins in the heart of Africa, The longest river in the world Thousands of miles long Annual flooding: the river rises in summer and early fall. It leaves a deposit of silt that enriches the soil. The flooding was consistent and predictable Thus, Egyptian civilization congregated in narrow bands on both sides of the Nile

7 The Nile and the Delta The impact of the Nile on Egypt
This map shows the flow of the river Nile The current runs North and the winds run south which aided in travel by boat Source:

8 The Delta of the Nile Here you can clearly see the Delta of the Nile
About 100 miles before it empties into the Mediterranean, it splits into 2 branches, forming a fertile triangular shaped territory called Lower Egypt Source:

9 The Delta of the Nile Here you can see how Egyptian civilization was centralized in and around the Delta Source:

10 The Delta Egypt and the impact of the Delta:
Note how civilization focuses near the Delta and the banks of the Nile Source:

11 Map of Egypt Note how Egypt is protected by natural barriers protecting it from invasion Deserts to the East and West The Cataracts (or rapids) on the southern part of the Nile The Mediterranean sea to the north Source:

12 Egypt as a theocracy Egypt was a theocracy:
The king of Egypt is “a god by whose dealings one lives, the father and mother of all men, alone by himself, without an equal.” The king was given the title of Pharaoh which means ‘great house’ or ‘palace’ The pharaoh was a living god on whom life, safety and prosperity depended He was unchanging and eternal while humans were constantly fleeting and changing Animals like the cat were the objects of worship because they were part of the changeless natural world

13 The King and absolute power
The pharaoh had absolute power, but ruled according to the law of Ma’at, a spiritual precept that conveys the ideas of truth, justice, order and harmony The pharaoh was the instrument or tool who maintained and yet was subject to the harmony and order that exists in the universe The Pharoah did not rule alone: A bureaucracy develops Vizier: Directly responsible to the king In charge of the bureaucracy including police, justice and public works Egypt was also divided into 42 provinces, each ruled by a governor

14 The Ethical way of life Ma’at:
Life and religion were inseparable which lead to a very ethical way of life for the Egyptians… Egyptians were concerned about death because they loved life (life was good: security, prosperity and a benign climate with Pharoah on his throne and all right with the world…) and wished it to continue in a similar form after death. Right actions were important. You must follow the will of the Gods. Ma’at: the will of the gods and the principle of right action. Embraced order, truth, justice and righteousness. An ethical life leads to the good life in the after life. And so Death, Embalming and the tomb are fundamental concerns. Needed no code like Hammurabi’s

15 The Pharaoh Sculpture of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen, also known as King Tut Source:

16 Pharaoh Psusennes Sculpture of the Pharaoh Psusennes 1 ruler of the 21st dynasty Source:

17 Religion Religion in Egypt:
Egypt was part of a divinely inspired cosmic plan The Pharaoh was the divine being who preserved Egypt’s place within that cosmic plan Through rituals, Egyptians worked to maintain the cosmic order by appeasing the Gods Ritual ceremonies consisted of providing a God with food and items of various sorts

18 Gods and Goddesses Gods and Goddesses: Ra: Others:
The sun God, giver of life. Had the head of a falcon and the body of a human Worshipped as Atum in human form The Pharaoh took the title of ‘Son of Ra’, & was the Earthly embodiment of Ra Others: Osiris: God of the Nile Isis: God of nature and magic, wife of Osiris Horus: son of Osiris and Isis, God of war and the sky Anubis: God of the dead Ma’at: Goddess of justice, truth and order

19 Depiction of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

20 Egyptian God and Goddesses

21 The story of Osiris Osiris:
Originally God of the Nile and later God of the Underworld The story of Osiris: Brought civilization to Egypt with his evil brother Set Osiris was murdered by his wicked brother Set who chopped his body into 14 parts Isis, his wife, restored him to life by reassembling the bits. Osiris then rose but later descended to the nether world as judge of the dead. This lead people to believe in the promise of personal immortality. As Osiris did, one could hope to rise again So the dead were embalmed and mummified and placed in tombs Through a ritual of magic the dead became Osiris with the hope of being reborn

22 Tomb of King Tut Picture of the tomb of King Tut…
This picture shows the stone sarcophagus of Tutankhamen His tomb was discovered in 1922 and the collection was relatively intact.   His coffin was made of gold. Source:

23 Differences between Egypt and Mesopotamia
The Egyptians believed in reincarnation while the Mesopotamians believed that the soul died with the body Mesopotamia’s polytheism was pragmatic and self serving Since the Gods could be mad or happy at my behavior it was in my best interest to please them. I needed to look out to best please the Gods not anyone else. Hence, ethical conduct becomes secondary and self interest primary. With the Egyptians, living a happy life here and after death was the focus which lead to an essential Ethical life…

24 Egyptian dynasties The basic framework for Egyptian history comes from Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian who lived in the early 3rd century B.C. Egyptian history is divided into 31 dynasties of Kings Egypt’s history is divided into the old, middle and new kingdom The three kingdoms were periods of stability, characterized by great leadership, freedom from invasion, construction of temples and considerable cultural and intellectual activity. Between each kingdom is an intermediate period of instability…

25 The Old Kingdom In about 3100 under King Menes, the 2 kingdom’s of lower and upper Egypt were united… The king would then be called ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’ The Old Kingdom: ( B.C.) Kings of the 4th through 8th dynasties The Pyramid age The 4th dynasty Lasted 4 centuries Construction of the greatest and largest pyramids The capital of the old kingdom was Memphis Egyptian writing develops during the old and middle kingdoms Later called Hieroglyphics by the Greeks

26 The Old Kingdom: administratively centered at Memphis

27 Hieroglyphics Hieroglyphics:
Means ‘priest carvings’ or ‘sacred writings’ Signs that depicted objects No alphabet Initially carved on stone and later on papyrus The hieroglyphics in the upper picture are painted on the tomb of Ramesses VI The hieroglyphics in the lower picture are written on papyrus Source:

28 The Pyramids The Pyramids:
Visual symbols of the wealth of the pharaohs and the power of the gods Were usually built on the flat banks of the Nile River Were designed as a succession of spaces of increasing holiness with the inner sanctuaries reserved only for the priesthood Built as complexes dedicated to the dead A large pyramid for the pharaoh Smaller pyramids for his family

29 The pyramids of Saqqara, Snefru and Khufu
The first pyramid was a step pyramid built at Saqqara in the 3rd dynasty for King Djoser About 2600 B.C. the first full pyramid was completed for King Snefru The largest pyramid was built for Snefru’s son Khufu. This is the famous pyramid at Giza and was built about 2500 B.C. Khufu’s pyramid measures 756 feet on each side and stands 481 feet tall Its four sides are almost perfectly oriented to the compass Made of limestone and granite blocks from upper Egypt Reported to have taken 100,000 Egyptians 20 years to complete

30 The pyramid of Saqqara The pyramid of Saqqara:
Located 19 miles south of current day Cairo Built in the 3rd dynasty, in the 27th century B.C., for Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep his vizier 203 feet tall Sides measure 410 ft x 358 ft Source:

31 The Sphinx The great Sphinx of Giza:
Built around 2500 BC for the Pharaoh Khafra 241 feet long, 63 feet wide and 66 feet high Combines the body of a lion with the head of the Pharoah Khafra Carved out of the bedrock. A solar temple was built under its paws for worship of the sun god Amon Re. Source:

32 Great pyramids at Giza The great pyramid area consists of Khufu’s pyramid, Khafre’s pyramid, Menkaure’s pyramid, the Great Sphinx and Mastaba Cemetery… Built about 2500 BC Source:

33 The Pyramid of Khufu The Pyramid of Khufu:
Built sometime around 2500 BC Largest of the Egyptian pyramids with a height of 481 feet, sides of 756 feet and an angle of 51.5 degrees. It is the only surviving of the classic Seven Wonders of the world. There are 3 satelite Pyramids for members of Khufu's familly. Source:

34 The Middle Kingdom The Middle Kingdom (2010-1630 B.C.)
Decline in centralized authority and a drought brought about the collapse of the Old Kingdom A new royal dynasty unites all of Egypt bringing about a new period of stability called the Middle Kingdom The Middle Kingdom consists of dynasties but most important is the 12th dynasty

35 The 12th dynasty The 12th dynasty: Founded by the vizier Amenemhet I
The Provinces are more precisely organized Called the golden age of Egypt The Pharaohs now have more of a concern for the people: not God Kings but the Shepherd of the people Responsible for building public works and providing for public welfare Resembled a democratic state, a very high standard of living Art flourishes Egypt embarks on expansion: Lower Nubia conquered military expeditions into Syria and Canaan.

36 The Middle Kingdom The Middle Kingdom
The key cities and the locations of the pyramids are indicated Source:

37 Comparison: The Old and Middle Kingdoms
This slide shows the addition of territory from the Old to the Middle Kingdom Egypt begins to expand in the Middle Kingdom Lower Nubia was conquered Military expeditions to Syria and Canaan as well Source:

38 The New Kingdom The New Kingdom (1539-1069 B.C.)
The Hyskos invade the Delta region of Egypt in the 17th century The Hyskos introduced: the war chariot The use of bronze to make weapons and tools a heavier sword The compound bow The Pharaoh Ahmose I overthrew the Hyskos He reunited Egypt, founded the 18th dynasty and established the new kingdom Took Egypt on a more imperialistic path, one of conquest

39 The New Kingdom and a new world power
Military might became right: Egypt became the most powerful state in the ancient near east King Thutmose I ( ): Expanded Egypt’s border to the south by conquering Nubia King Thutmose III ( ): Led 17 military campaigns into Canaan and Phoenicia The locals were permitted to rule, although Egyptians occupied these lands King Amenhotep ( ): Successor of Thutmose III, campaigned in the near East and solidified the Egyptian empire King Amenhotep III ( B.C.) The Empire reached its height under Amenhotep III Concerned more about the Empire he had than expansion Spent much of his time creating new buildings and temples Faced a growing military challenge from the Hittites

40 Amenhotep Amenhotep IV (1353-1336 B.C.)
By his reign Egyptian religion was becoming debased its ethical foundation was reduced as superstition and magic grew resulted in increased power of the priesthood Amenhotep drove the priests from their temples confiscated their property and ordered the names of the traditional Gods removed throughout Replaced the capital of Thebes with Akhetaten He then commanded the people to worship a God called Aten (god of the Sun disk) He also changed his name to Akhetaton, meaning servant of Aten He then ordered all worship be directed to him personally. But this attempt at religious reformation failed Amenhotep’s preoccupation with religious reformation lead to the loss of both Syria and Canaan

41 The Decline of Egypt Egypt’s decline
King Tutankhamun ( B.C.): Son-in-law of Amenhotep IV Returned the capital to Thebes and restored the old Gods Ramesses II ( B.C.): Regained control of Canaan Restored Egypt as an Imperial power Constructed mammoth new temples and statues of himself After the death of Ramesses II, there are struggles for the throne The New Kingdom expires in 1069 B.C. Egypt fell in succession to the Cushites, Assyria, Persia and finally Alexander the Great. In 30 B.C. Egypt became an important Roman province

42 Map of the New Kingdom Here is a map of the territory of the New Kingdom Notice the expansion of territory to the North and South in particular Source:

43 Comparing the territory of the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms

44 Expansion of the Egyptian Empire

45 Images of Thutmose III and Amenhotep IV
Upper image of Thutmose III and lower image of Amenhotep IV Source of image of Thutmose III: Source of image of Amenhotep IV:

46 Statues of Ramesses II These 4 colossal statues stand at the entrance to the tomb of Ramesses II Source:

47 Egyptian Art Egyptian Art: Dates from 3000 B.C. to 100 A.D.
Symbolism is seen widely Animals are highly symbolic Both painting and sculpture The Pharaoh is usually the largest figure depicted Tend to depict Gods, human beings, heroic battles and nature

48 Narmer’s palette Narmer’s palette:
A small dark green schist stone is carved into a shield-shaped ceremonial palette Depicts pharaoh Narmer’s rise to power. Represents the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. 23 inch high palette decorated on both sides One of the oldest known ‘canvases’ of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing The worlds oldest historical document. It is now housed in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. Source:

49 Khufu’s statue Khufu’s statue:
Small ivory statue, 3 inches tall, of Pharaoh Khufu The only portrait of Khufu discovered so far. Found near the temple of Osiris Khufu’s Statue is today housed in the Cairo museum. Source:

50 The Book of the Dead The Book of the Dead: 17 feet long
It was buried in the tomb of an Egyptian who died around 1100 B.C. Consists of magic spells that assisted a dead person’s journey through the underworld and into the afterlife Currently displayed at the British museum in London Source:

51 Astronomical Ceiling at the Tomb of Senenmut
Dated to the 15th century B.C. Located in the tomb of Senenmut on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor Senenmut was the architect of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s tomb complex. Features an astronomical map on the ceiling which is the world’s oldest map of its kind. The map consists of 2 sections: the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. The northern section includes the earliest known twelve month Egyptian calendar illustration and representations of the northern constellations. The southern section of the map lists stars and planets visible to the naked eye. Source:

52 Thutmose III statue Statue of Thutmose III
A basalt statue of Thutmose III (ruled B.C.) Dated to the 15th century B.C. Currently displayed at the Luxor Museum. Source:

53 Nefertiti Bust Nefertiti Bust:
Created in 1345 B.C. by the famous sculptor Thutmose A painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten Owing to the work, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty Discovered in 1912 in Thutmose’s tomb Since 1924, displayed at the Neues Museum in Berlin although Egyptian authorities have demanded its return ever since Source:

54 Tutankhamen's Golden Death Mask
Was discovered with Tutankhamen's tomb in He was wearing it… Is made of gold inlaid with colored glass and semiprecious stone. Stands 21 inches high The emblems on the forehead (vulture and cobra) and on the shoulders (falcon heads) were symbols of the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt and of divine authority. Source:

55 Statue of Cleopatra VII Philopator
Dates to the 1st century B.C. The black basalt statue is one of the most pristine images of the last Egyptian pharaoh, Cleopatra VII Depicts her as Egyptian goddess Greek influences Cleopatra wears a corkscrew wig the front of her headdress is adorned with royal snakes, symbolic of Egyptian royalty. In her other hand she holds the ankh, the ancient hieroglyph meaning life. Displayed at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia Source:

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