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Ancient Egypt
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  1. Ancient Egyptian Civilization | edX
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Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Fish, meat, and fowl could be salted or dried, and could be cooked in stews or roasted on a grill. The architecture of ancient Egypt includes some of the most famous structures in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the temples at Thebes.

Building projects were organized and funded by the state for religious and commemorative purposes, but also to reinforce the wide-ranging power of the pharaoh. The ancient Egyptians were skilled builders; using only simple but effective tools and sighting instruments, architects could build large stone structures with great accuracy and precision that is still envied today. The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary Egyptians alike were constructed from perishable materials such as mud bricks and wood, and have not survived.

Ancient Egyptian Civilization | edX

Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces of the elite and the pharaoh were more elaborate structures. A few surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in Malkata and Amarna , show richly decorated walls and floors with scenes of people, birds, water pools, deities and geometric designs. The architectural elements used in the world's first large-scale stone building, Djoser 's mortuary complex, include post and lintel supports in the papyrus and lotus motif. The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples , such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns.

In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon , the open courtyard , and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Greco-Roman period. The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other.

Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs. The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change.

Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette , for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs. Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone as a medium for carving statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute.

Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores red and yellow ochres , copper ores blue and green , soot or charcoal black , and limestone white. Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed. Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art , such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife.

In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife. Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or political attitudes. Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception; pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings.

The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system.

Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials.

Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people. The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains or a substitute, such as a statue as a permanent home.

The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh , or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a " feather of truth. The ancient Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death.

These customs involved preserving the body by mummification , performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the deceased would use in the afterlife. The arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the elaborate burial preparations available to the elite. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs and use artificial mummification, which involved removing the internal organs , wrapping the body in linen, and burying it in a rectangular stone sarcophagus or wooden coffin.

Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, some parts were preserved separately in canopic jars.


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By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification; the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron. The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated.

Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Funerary texts were often included in the grave, and, beginning in the New Kingdom, so were shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased. The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in the ancient Near East.

The military protected mining expeditions to the Sinai during the Old Kingdom and fought civil wars during the First and Second Intermediate Periods. The military was responsible for maintaining fortifications along important trade routes, such as those found at the city of Buhen on the way to Nubia.

Forts also were constructed to serve as military bases, such as the fortress at Sile, which was a base of operations for expeditions to the Levant. In the New Kingdom, a series of pharaohs used the standing Egyptian army to attack and conquer Kush and parts of the Levant.

Typical military equipment included bows and arrows , spears, and round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had earlier been introduced by the Hyksos invaders. Weapons and armor continued to improve after the adoption of bronze: shields were now made from solid wood with a bronze buckle, spears were tipped with a bronze point, and the Khopesh was adopted from Asiatic soldiers.

Ancient Egypt

In technology, medicine, and mathematics, ancient Egypt achieved a relatively high standard of productivity and sophistication. Traditional empiricism , as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri c. The Egyptians created their own alphabet and decimal system. Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience , which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone.

Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica , small amounts of lime and soda , and a colorant, typically copper. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian Blue , also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing or sintering silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment.

The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque. The medical problems of the ancient Egyptians stemmed directly from their environment.

Living and working close to the Nile brought hazards from malaria and debilitating schistosomiasis parasites, which caused liver and intestinal damage. Dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos were also a common threat. The lifelong labors of farming and building put stress on the spine and joints, and traumatic injuries from construction and warfare all took a significant toll on the body.

The grit and sand from stone-ground flour abraded teeth, leaving them susceptible to abscesses though caries were rare. The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease. Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East for their healing skills, and some, such as Imhotep , remained famous long after their deaths. Medical papyri show empirical knowledge of anatomy, injuries, and practical treatments.

Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures, nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection, [] while opium thyme and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess Isis. Moldy bread, honey and copper salts were also used to prevent infection from dirt in burns.

Ancient Egyptian surgeons stitched wounds, set broken bones , and amputated diseased limbs, but they recognized that some injuries were so serious that they could only make the patient comfortable until death occurred. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that the oldest planked ships known are the Abydos boats. Discovered by Egyptologist David O'Connor of New York University , [] woven straps were found to have been used to lash the planks together, [6] and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams.

Early Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams. The " Khufu ship ", a Early Egyptians also knew how to fasten the planks of this ship together with mortise and tenon joints. Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern Mediterranean, especially Byblos on the coast of modern-day Lebanon , and in several expeditions down the Red Sea to the Land of Punt.

In archaeologists from Italy, the United States, and Egypt excavating a dried-up lagoon known as Mersa Gawasis have unearthed traces of an ancient harbor that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut 's Punt expedition onto the open ocean. In , an ancient north-south canal dating to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt was discovered extending from Lake Timsah to the Ballah Lakes. The earliest attested examples of mathematical calculations date to the predynastic Naqada period, and show a fully developed numeral system.

They understood basic concepts of algebra and geometry , and could solve simple sets of simultaneous equations. Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million. Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number; so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively.

Standard tables of values facilitated this. Ancient Egyptian mathematicians knew the Pythagorean theorem as an empirical formula. They were aware, for example, that a triangle had a right angle opposite the hypotenuse when its sides were in a 3—4—5 ratio. The golden ratio seems to be reflected in many Egyptian constructions, including the pyramids , but its use may have been an unintended consequence of the ancient Egyptian practice of combining the use of knotted ropes with an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony. Greek historian Herodotus claimed that ancient Egyptians looked like the people in Colchis modern-day Georgia.

This claim has been largely discredited as fictional by modern-day scholars. For the fact is as I soon came to realise myself, and then heard from others later, that the Colchians are obviously Egyptian. When the notion occurred to me, I asked both the Colchians and the Egyptians about it, and found that the Colchians had better recall of the Egyptians than the Egyptians did of them. Some Egyptians said that they thought the Colchians originated with Sesostris ' army, but I myself guessed their Egyptian origin not only because the Colchians are dark-skinned and curly-haired which does not count for much by itself, because these features are common in others too but more importantly because Colchians, Egyptians and Ethiopians are the only peoples in the world who practise circumcision and who have always done so.

A team led by Johannes Krause managed the first reliable sequencing of the genomes of 90 mummified individuals in from northern Egypt buried near modern-day Cairo , which constituted "the first reliable data set obtained from ancient Egyptians using high-throughput DNA sequencing methods.

What's more, the genetics of the mummies remained remarkably consistent even as different powers—including Nubians, Greeks, and Romans—conquered the empire. Other genetic studies show much greater levels of sub-Saharan African ancestry in the current-day populations of southern as opposed to northern Egypt, [] and anticipate that mummies from southern Egypt would contain greater levels of sub-Saharan African ancestry than Lower Egyptian mummies. The culture and monuments of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world. The cult of the goddess Isis , for example, became popular in the Roman Empire , as obelisks and other relics were transported back to Rome.

Early historians such as Herodotus , Strabo , and Diodorus Siculus studied and wrote about the land, which Romans came to view as a place of mystery. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance , Egyptian pagan culture was in decline after the rise of Christianity and later Islam , but interest in Egyptian antiquity continued in the writings of medieval scholars such as Dhul-Nun al-Misri and al-Maqrizi. This renewed interest sent collectors to Egypt, who took, purchased, or were given many important antiquities.

Although the European colonial occupation of Egypt destroyed a significant portion of the country's historical legacy, some foreigners left more positive marks. In the 20th century, the Egyptian Government and archaeologists alike recognized the importance of cultural respect and integrity in excavations.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities now approves and oversees all excavations, which are aimed at finding information rather than treasure. The council also supervises museums and monument reconstruction programs designed to preserve the historical legacy of Egypt.

Tourists at the pyramid complex of Khafre near the Great Sphinx of Giza. Ancient Egypt portal.


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the British history magazine, see Ancient Egypt magazine. For the language, see Egyptian language. All years are BC. First Dynasty I c. Old Kingdom. First Intermediate. Middle Kingdom. Second Intermediate. New Kingdom. Third Intermediate. Late Period. Thirty-first Dynasty 2nd Persian Period. Ptolemaic Hellenistic. Argead Dynasty — Ptolemaic Kingdom — See also: List of Pharaohs by Period and Dynasty. Part of a series on the. Main article: Predynastic Egypt.

Main article: Early Dynastic Period Egypt. Main article: Old Kingdom of Egypt. Main article: First Intermediate Period of Egypt. Main article: Middle Kingdom of Egypt. Main article: Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. Main article: New Kingdom of Egypt. Main article: Third Intermediate Period of Egypt. Main article: Egypt Roman province. Main article: Ancient Egyptian agriculture.

See also: Ancient Egyptian cuisine and Gardens of ancient Egypt. Further information: Mining industry of Egypt. Main article: Ancient Egyptian trade. Main article: Egyptian language. Main articles: Egyptian hieroglyphs and Hieratic. Main article: Ancient Egyptian literature. Main article: Ancient Egyptian cuisine. Main article: Ancient Egyptian architecture. Main article: Art of ancient Egypt. Main article: Ancient Egyptian religion. Main article: Ancient Egyptian burial customs. Main article: Military of ancient Egypt.

Main article: Ancient Egyptian technology. Main article: Ancient Egyptian medicine. Main article: Egyptian mathematics. Main article: Population history of Egypt. Main article: Ancient Egyptian race controversy. See also: Tourism in Egypt. Archived from the original on 16 March Retrieved 25 March Archaeological Institute of America. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 22 July Aston, James A. Harrell, Ian Shaw Paul T. Nicholson and Ian Shaw editors. Also note: Barbara G. Aston See on-line posts: [1] and [2].

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Archived from the original on 28 March Retrieved 9 March A Companion to Ancient Egyptian Art. Archived from the original on 30 March Archived from the original on 4 March British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 March Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. Archived from the original on 29 December Clayton p.

Quote: "First coined in by the French Egyptologist G. The use of quotation marks in association with the term "Sea Peoples" in our title is intended to draw attention to the problematic nature of this commonly used term. It is noteworthy that the designation "of the sea" appears only in relation to the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Eqwesh. Subsequently, this term was applied somewhat indiscriminately to several additional ethnonyms, including the Philistines, who are portrayed in their earliest appearance as invaders from the north during the reigns of Merenptah and Ramesses Ill see, e.

Hencefore the term Sea Peoples will appear without quotation marks. Yet in the inscriptions themselves such a migration nowhere appears. After reviewing what the Egyptian texts have to say about 'the sea peoples', one Egyptologist Wolfgang Helck recently remarked that although some things are unclear, "eins ist aber sicher: Nach den agyptischen Texten haben wir es nicht mit einer 'Volkerwanderung' zu tun.

D —" , Ramsay MacMullen , p. University College London. Retrieved 8 April Archived from the original on 13 December Retrieved 11 December University of Chicago, Retrieved 31 August Retrieved 28 August Volume II, Part 2. Carnivora Hyaenas and Cats ]. Michael Hogan. Encyclopedia of Earth, eds. Jorgensen and C. See also University College London web post, Mysterious Universe. Retrieved 23 December Live Science. S Edwards—C. L Hammond-E. Sollberger, Cambridge at the University Press, p. Archived from the original on 19 March The Tomb in Ancient Egypt. Redford , p.

Archived from the original on 24 March Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Filer p. Medicinski Pregled. Discover Magazine. Imhausen et al. Greek Historians. Oxford University Press. Brill's studies in intellectual history. Leiden: Brill. In Mary Depew; Dirk Obbink eds. Matrices of Genre: Authors, Canons, and Society. Harvard University Press. The Histories. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nature Communications. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Aldred, Cyril Akhenaten, King of Egypt. London: Thames and Hudson. Allen, James P.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Badawy, Alexander A History of Egyptian Architecture. Vol III. Billard, Jules B. Ancient Egypt: Discovering its Splendors. Cerny, J Clarke, Somers; R. Engelbach Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture. Clayton, Peter A. Chronicle of the Pharaohs. Cline, Eric H. Dodson, Aidan Egyptian Rock Cut Tombs.

Dodson, Aidan; Hilton, Dyan El-Daly, Okasha Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. London: UCL Press. Filer, Joyce Gardiner, Sir Alan Oxford: Griffith Institute. Hayes, W. October JNES No. Lennart Katz, V. Princeton: Princeton University Press. James, T. Kemp, Barry Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. London: Routledge. Killebrew, Ann E. Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol 1. London: University of California Press. Lichtheim, Miriam Loprieno, Antonio a. Ancient Egyptian: A linguistic introduction. Loprieno, Antonio b.

In Sasson, J. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Loprieno, Antonio In Woodward, Roger D. Lucas, Alfred Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 4th Ed. London: Edward Arnold Publishers. Mallory-Greenough, Leanne M. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Manuelian, Peter Der Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs. McDowell, A. Village life in ancient Egypt: laundry lists and love songs. Meskell, Lynn Oxford: Berg Publishers. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Nicholson, Paul T. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology.

Oakes, Lorna Egyptian Calendar. Ancient Egypt Timelines. The Neighbors: Kush and Nubia. Ancient Egyptian Tall Tales. Freedom of Speech - Poor Soldier. Creation Stories. Isis and Osiris retold by Lin Donn. More Stories. Interactive Games, Activities. Ancient Egypt Jeopardy Games. Interactive Quiz about Ancient Egypt with answers. Investigate Real Life Artifacts.

Ancient Egyptian Artifacts. School Sites. Learn more about ancient Egypt using online sites from several different schools. Daily Life. Women in Ancient Egypt. House of Life. House of Books. Farming in Ancient Egypt. Donn's 6th grade classroom. Many Religious and Joyous Festivals.

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Bark and Bark Shrines. Preparing for the Afterlife. Weighing of the Heart. Book of the Dead. Canopic Jars also spelled Canpic. Sequence Chain: Mummification. Make a Mummy interactive. Sequence Chain: Funerals. Howard Carter. The Mummy's Curse and Other Curses. Magic and Superstitions. For Teachers. Activities and Projects for Ancient Egypt. Lesson Plans and Units for Ancient Egypt.