Regions in Egypt: • Nubia • Upper Egypt • Lower Egypt • The Nile valley kemet • The desert deshret
Environment • 965 km between Aswan and Cairo • Average annual rainfall 10 millimeters • Inundation
Upper Egypt Nile at Aswan 1st cataract
Lower Egypt Nile delta Nile bank
Resources • Agriculture • Domesticated animals • Stones and metals
Egyptian civilization lasted essentially unchanged for 3000 years. The Egyptians are the most successful human culturein history.
Chronology • Early Dynastic Period (c. 3100-2686 BC) • Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BC) • 1st Intermediate period (c. 2160-2055 BC) • Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BC) • 2nd Intermediate period (c. 1650-1550 BC) • New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC) • 3rd Intermediate period (c. 1069-664 BC) • Late Period (664-332 BC) • Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC)
The Palette of Narmer Funerary Mask, Ptolemaic Period
Before the decipherment of the Rosetta Stone in 1822 by Jean Francois Champolion, we had only classical authors such as Herodotus (5th century BC) and Manetho (3rd century BC) from whom to reconstruct Egyptian history.
Written Records Of Egyptian Life Edwin Smith surgical papyrus Scribes writing Chester Beatty Papyrus Ebers Papyrus
Hieroglyphic Writing • Ideograms (signs standing for ideas or concepts) • Phonograms (signs standing for sounds) In addition to traditional Hieroglyphic writing, two alternate scripts also evolved: Hieratic Demotic
Gods: • take many forms • have many names • can be combined • permeate all areas of human life Gods are “conceptualizations of an abstract force” which is the divine. Pharaoh with Hathor (left) and Osiris (right) The image of a god represents the essential, not the actual.
Egyptians had great interest in • cosmology (rules that govern the universe as a whole) and • cosmogony (the creation of the universe) • Society consists of four parts: • gods • king • blessed dead • humanity Ma’at = order Personified as a goddess
Egyptian World View • a love of paired opposites, • dualities and groups • a love of symmetry • a desire to impose order • seeming inconsistency, • but insistence on • continuity Ma’at
Tomb of Kha, 18th dynasty Bread Pomegranates Jar of roasted duck
Linen robe from the tomb of Kha Painting from tomb of Nebamun
More Scenes from Everyday Life Winnowing grain Herding cattle Metalworkers Veterinarians at work
Concluding Thoughts (for now): • Writing and art are sacred; so just about everything you can read or see means something. • Human life in Egypt is seen as part of a sacred whole. • Concepts of Ma’at (order) and Izfet (disorder) are central. • The potential for disaster is always present and • it’s typically humans who cause problems. • The sun represents the potential for order and continuity, and Osiris represents the • potential for rebirth. • Amun, the Sun, represents a culmination • in Egyptian theological development.