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Ancient Egypt was a very important time in our time period. They had their own way of life. Egyptians had their own writing, burials, government, religion, cooking, and games. They were educated people with many talents. They were good with their hands and brains. Ancient Egyptians were a magnificent race of people.
The Ancient Egyptians called their country Kemet, which means “Black Land.” The dark soil from the Nile River was very fertile. The Nile overflowed at the same time every year, leaving farmers with very fertile soil. The Nile provided much needed water for their crops during the dry season by using their irrigation system. The Nile River also provided the Egyptians with drinking water, and a way for them to travel, allowing them to explore and trade. In addition, the desert around the river was called “Red Land” by the Egyptians. This is where they lived, grew and prospered. The desert provided much gold for the Egyptians to trade with other countries or to keep for themselves. They brought back silver from Syria, cedar wood, oils, and horses from Lebanon, copper from Cyprus, gems from Afghanistan, ebony, wood, and ivory from Africa, and incense from Punt.
Egyptians cherished family life the way we cherish food or money. Children were considered a blessing. They prayed for them and used magic to have children, but if a couple could not conceive they adopted. Men were the head of the household and the oldest son inherited everything of the father’s. Egyptian women were to obey their fathers and husbands, but were equal in many other ways. For example, women could have jobs, some rights in court cases, and they were able to own land. Women were also allowed to own businesses. Only noble women, however, could be priestesses. The women raised the children and took care of the house. Wealthy families would hire maids and nannies to do such things. Divorce was not common in Ancient Egypt, though it was an option. Problems were talked about between families, and if they could not be settled a divorce would take place. Some women became rulers but only in secret. The only woman who ruled as a pharaoh in the open was Queen Hatsheput. Ordinary men normally had one wife, while pharaohs and kings had several. Most marriages were arranged by parents. Most girls married at age twelve while boys were usually a little older.
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Ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptians Egyptian Women Own Way Way Of Life Drinking Water Other Countries Court Cases
Children were expected to take care of their elderly parents. Young boys who could afford it went to school at seven years old. Boys also learned their father’s trade. Only the son of scribes could be scribes, so it was almost impossible to move up in the class system. Girls did not go to school, but some were taught at home. The Egyptians had cats and dogs as pets, and farmers kept cattle, goats, sheep, ducks, and geese.
The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed a good time with many different activities. They went fishing, swimming, crocodile hunting, and played boat games on the Nile River. Hippo hunting was another popular, but dangerous sport that any age could play as long as an adult was present. They also chased lions, antelope, wild bulls, gazelles, and hares for sport as well as hunting foxes and hyenas. Plays were held in the temples and richer families had big fancy parties. Egyptians played instruments, such as, flutes, harps, and the lyre. Egyptian children played many games, some of which we still play today, like leapfrog and tug-of-war. Their favorite types of games were board games. Some examples are Snake, and Senet, which was said to be like the fight between good and evil in the after-life. Another very popular board game that Egyptians liked to play was Hounds and Jackals. Children also played with wooden carved animals, spinning tops, dolls, and clay balls.
Since the weather was so hot and dry, the Egyptians wore light colored clothing made from different kind of linens. Women wore long dresses with see-through cloaks. Men usually wore long robes, cloaks, or kilt skirts. Children were naked in the summer and wore long thick cloaks in the winter. Kings and Queens wore clothing decorated with gems, sequins, precious and semiprecious stones. Ordinary people went barefoot, while wealthy people wore specially made sandals.
The Egyptians had very specific hairstyles. Young girls wore French or regular braids and pig tails. Boys shaved their heads, though some had one long braid extending out the side of their head. Wealthy people wore wigs made of human hair and sheep’s wool. Royal women wore hair cones that made their hair sweet smelling and greasy.
All Egyptians wore jewelry, regardless if you were rich or poor. They wore amulets, jewelry that would fight off evil sprits and bad luck. Children wore fish amulets that kept them from drowning in the Nile River. They also wore collars made of precious and semiprecious stones. Men and women both had pierced ears.
The Ancient Egyptians bathed daily, and wore lots of makeup. They bathed in the Nile River or out of a water basin at home. They rubbed perfume oil on themselves. Eye shadow was a green color put on with thick black lines that extend out to the face. These lines were said to heal poor eye sight and prevent eye injures. They also wore cheek makeup [blush] and lip makeup [lipstick]. Henna was used to dye their finger nails red and orange.
The Egyptians lived very close to the Nile River. Their houses were made of mud bricks stuffed with straw and wheat to make them stronger. Ordinary people lived in one room houses while wealthy people had many rooms. Some wealthy homes had separate rooms for their maids and servants, and some even had a pond of fish or an orchard of fruit trees. Occasionally there was a small room on the roof where the family slept on hot summer nights. Each room had at least one fly catcher. Mats woven from reeds covered the floors all through the house. The floors were made with tile. The windows were covered with mats to keep out the flies, dust and heat. Shrines were also kept for the Gods. Everyone had some kind of furniture, whether you were wealthy or poor. They used clay ovens and ate with their fingers. The Ancient Egyptians did not have bathrooms, so they went in the Nile River.
Beer and bread were the Egyptians most important food. The beer had to be strained and the bread was gritty. Wheat and barley were their main crops. Food was prepared many different ways such as cooking, boiling or grilling. Only the rich and wealthy were able to afford wine, and some even had dishes made of gold.
The rulers of Ancient Egypt were the Pharaohs who were in complete control of everything. The people believed the Pharaohs were Gods. The pharaohs appointed officials to help them rule. Governors were under the Vizers, and they controlled sections of Egypt. The Scribes were next and they were the record keepers. Overseers were in charge of the farming and the peasants, or the common people. Pharaohs married close relatives like sisters, stepsisters, or sister in laws. This was to keep the rule in the family. Ancient Egypt had over thirty different ruling families. There were three major classes of people in Ancient Egypt; the Upper, Middle, and Lower. The Upper Class was the Royal family, government officials, senior priests and priestesses, scribes, and doctors. Middle class was traders, merchants, and craftsmen. Lower class was the unskilled and farmers, which was the largest of the three groups.
The Ancient Egyptians worshiped over 1,000 gods. Most gods were animals or half human, half animal. The most important god was Ra, the sun god. Sobek was the god of the Nile, half human, half crocodile. Bastet was the goddess of cats, musicians, and dancers. Thoth was the moon god, half human with the head of a baboon. The people believed that Thoth gave them hieroglyphic writing. Osiris, god of the dead, was in charge of the underworld. Horus was the god and protector of the pharaohs. Anubis, the god that watched over the dead, had a head of a jackal. Aten was the sun king of all the gods. The Egyptians held festivals for their gods and they built fabulous temples for them.
The Ancient Egyptians believed that you went to the kingdom of the underworld when you died. The dead were mummified by priests. To mummify a body, all of its organs except the heart were taken out. Then the body was salted and left to dry for forty days. Mummies were buried in special cases with masks that were a replica of their faces. Pharaohs’ coffins were buried inside lavish pyramids or tombs.
The Ancient Egyptians built magnificent and large pyramids for their rulers. The pharaohs were buried with their precious possessions, treasures and wives with the belief that they could use them in the after-life. Every single pyramid was robbed of its treasures long ago except for one. There are three giant pyramids at Giza that are more than 4,500 years old. The largest is called the Great Pyramid. It took more than twenty years to build, using more than 4,000 stone masons and thousands of other workers. Each block used to build this pyramid weighed more than 4,000 pounds which is more than two tons. This magnificent pyramid was built for King Khutu. The first pyramids ever built had step sides. They were giant staircases that the pharaohs would climb to reach the gods. The beautiful Great Sphinx guards the way to King Kufu’s tomb. The Sphinx is a huge statue with the head of a man and the body of a lion. Around 2150 B.C the pharaohs were buried in tombs in the Valley of Kings. King Tutankhamen’s tomb, which was the only one not robbed of its treasures, was discovered only eighty-seven years ago.
The Egyptians had over 700 symbols for a writing called hieroglyphics. They wrote on papyrus which was very expensive. The scribes kept very detailed written records of everything that went on in Egypt on papyrus. The papyrus was then put into books. Ink was made from water, soot, charcoal and minerals. The ancient Egyptians kept wonderful libraries. Only the wealthy could read, so they were the only ones who used these libraries.
The Ancient Egyptians were very knowledgeable people. They kept three different calendars; the Astronomical calendar, the Priest’s calendar, and the Family, or Everyday calendar. Their doctors knew how to set broken bones and take care of many illnesses. They were great astronomers, farmers and builders. By using astronomy, they were able to predict when the Nile River would flood. The irrigation system that they developed is still used today! In addition, the Ancient Egyptians were great sculptors. How do you think they made their beautiful death masks or the Great Sphinx?
In conclusion, the Ancient Egyptians were a magnificent race of people. Their many talents led to beautiful pyramids, interesting games, and a unique form of writing. Learning about their way of life can still baffle people today. As you can see, these Ancient Egyptians were educated and unique. I had a lot of fun researching Ancient Egypt.
Essay on Egyptian Civilization
Periods of Egyptian civilization
The Egyptian civilization is not only viewed as one of the oldest civilizations, but also as one of the most durable ones. It is traditionally divided into the following major periods:
1) Pre-Dynastic period (Prior to 3100 BC). During this period 42 territorial and political unities were formed. As a result of political, economic and military cooperation, they were merged creating the two major political formations: Upper Egypt (south) and Lower Egypt (north). Those, in turn, become part of a single Egyptian state. 2) Early Dynastic Period (1st–2nd Dynasties). Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Menes, the founder of the 1st Dynasty united Egypt in a whole. The integrity of the country was strengthened by establishing a centralized irrigation system and an administrative apparatus of the invention and spread of hieroglyphic writing. 3) Period of the Old Kingdom (3rd–6th Dynasties). Egypt is considered to be a powerful state based on economic and political factors. Economic prosperity and political stability have made possible the improvement of the irrigation system, as well as the construction of the pyramids such as Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure – symbols of Egyptian civilization. 4) The first transitional period (VII-X Dynasties). This is a time of the internal strife and the collapse of the centralized state. The city of Thebes became one of the major centers that played a huge role in Ancient Egypt. 5) Period of the Middle Kingdom (XI-XIII Dynasties). The country was reunited, and the power of the prefecture leaders was limited. Egypt increased its territory, particularly in the south. In addition to this, it launched glass manufacturing and started a proliferation of tools made of bronze. 6) The second transitional period (XIV-XVII Dynasties). Egyptian states collapsed due to the invasion of the Hyksos – nomadic tribes of Semitic origin, invaded from Asia and conquered the northern and central parts of the country. The rulers of Thebes led national liberation struggles that ended the expulsion of the Hyksos. As a result, “the Hyksos attacked Egypt and occupied the Egyptian lands. Yet, the princes of Thebes, led by Ahmos I, managed to expel them out of Egypt” (“Pharaonic Era,” 2009, para. 9). 7) Period of the New Kingdom (XVIII-XX Dynasties). The era of the heyday of Egyptian civilization. Egypt expanded its ownership to the Euphrates in the east and the third cataract of the Nile in the south. Pharaohs put more effort to keep their land in the fight against the Hittite Empire, and later with the Sea Peoples. 8) Late Period (XXI-XXVI Dynasties). The time of strife, invasions and alien dominations: Libyan, Nubian, Assyrian. During this period, Egypt survived its last ascent. 9) The period of Persian rule (XXVII Dynasties). The Persian Empire conquered Egypt, but the increase in the tax oppression and abuse led to the Persians, the Egyptians revolted and liberated the country. 10) The last period of the independence of Egypt (XXVIII-XXX Dynasties). The union reduced to the internal strife that caused the weakening of the state and the restoration of Persian influence. 11) The period of the Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine domination (342 BC. – 646 BC.). In 332 BC, Persians were driven out by Alexander the Great. After the collapse of the empire Alexander the Great in Egypt established the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted until the time of the Roman conquest.
However, “the end of the Old Kingdom was not the end of Egyptian civilization…The calamity triggered by low Nile floods was the impetus to radical social changes and a reformulation of the notion of kingship. The legacy of this period is still with us today” (Hassan, 2011, para. 20).
Hence, as we can see Ancient Egypt started with the primary association of tribes in the valley of the River Nile in 3150 BC and ended around 31 BC, when the Roman Empire conquered Egypt. The latter event is not the first period of foreign Dominion, but the arrival of the Romans marked significant changes in the cultural and religious life of Egypt, as well as the termination of Egypt as a unified civilization. Ancient Egypt developed over three and a half thousand years. It all started with the primary association of tribes in the valley of the River Nile in 3150 BC and ended around 31 BC, when the Roman Empire conquered Egypt. The latter event is not the first period of foreign reign, but the arrival of the Romans marked the significant changes in the cultural and religious life of Egypt, as well as the termination of Egypt as a unified civilization.
The significance of the Nile River
The basis of the existence of ancient Egypt was a constant control of balance of natural and human resources , which primarily meant control over the irrigation of the fertile valley of the Nile , the use of minerals occurring in the valley and surrounding desert regions, the development of independent systems of writing and literature, the organization of collective projects, trade with neighbors in eastern and central Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, and, finally, military campaigns, which demonstrated the strength and power of the empire, as well as the territorial advantage over neighboring cultures at different periods of time. Those actions were organized and motivated by socio-political and economic elite that reached a social consensus through a system of religious means. For administrative purposes, Egypt was divided into different districts. Starting from the pre-dynastic period (3100 BC) ‘noma’ represented an individual city. In the days of the Pharaohs a whole country was divided into 42 nomes.
In Egypt, different taxes were paid according to the type of activity. The vizier controlled revenues from the people in the budget and plans for the collection. The householders also have to pay taxes, as annually they were engaged in social work for at least several weeks. There is no doubt that Egyptian civilization is widely known for its major achievements. This was “a time of a spectacular development in mathematics, astronomy, transport, government organization, and food production” (Kozma, 2006, p. 303). It was a civilization that has reached a very high standard of production and intellectual activity as well as art and engineering (surveying), which led to the creation of the pyramids. Egyptians invented the hydraulic cement. In fact, “the first pyramid ever built in Egypt was Zoser’s, then Midum’s pyramid. However, the Giza pyramids together with the Sphinx, built during the 4th Dynasty, are the most famous of the 97 pyramids built to be tombs for Pharaohs” (“Pharaonic Era,” 2009, para. 12). Thanks to the irrigation system, Egypt became the breadbasket of the ancient world. Lake Fayoum was used by Pharaohs as a reservoir for the storage of excess water, which was very important during droughts.
Egyptians’ cultures and worldviews were mainly based on the River Nile. Their view of the world, unlike most other nations, was focused not on the north and south, but mostly on the origins of the river. In addition, the river itself determined the three main seasons. Each of them consisted of four months: 1) July – October; 2) November – February; and 3) March – June – the harvest period and the lowest water level. Hapi as the god of the annual flooding of the Nile was portrayed as a fat man who brings gifts to the gods of the earth. Many pharaohs and the local nobility compared themselves with this divinity. In fact, “the Nile River brought an unlimited supply of water to the desert and the yearly flood built a fertile valley along the riverbanks. The almost regular and predictable pattern of yearly flooding of the Nile River guaranteed irrigation of the fields and adequate food production which caused the civilization to flourish” (Kozma, 2006, p. 303). Thus, it is possible to sum up that “the Nile valley is one of the oldest places in the world where its ancient inhabitants husbanded the water resources that engendered the valley a cradle of civilization, thereby creating ancient polities and empires” (Arsano, 2007, p. 25). The Nile River was an important shipping thread connecting Upper and Lower Egypt with Nubia (Ethiopia). In such favorable conditions, Egypt began the construction of irrigation canals. The need to service an extensive irrigation network has led to the emergence of polynomials – large territorial associations of early farming communities. This particular area is denoted as a nome, written in the ancient Egyptian language depicting the land, and divided into sections of the irrigation network of the correct form. The system of Egyptian nomes, formed in the 4th millennium BC, remained the basis for Governorates of Egypt to the end of its existence. Creating a unified system of irrigated agriculture has become a prerequisite for the emergence of a centralized state in Egypt. At the end of the 4th century BC and at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC the process of unification of certain polynomials has been implemented. This distinction throughout Egyptian history preserved in the division of the country into Upper and Lower Egypt and was reflected even in the titles of the Pharaohs, who were called “Kings of Upper and Lower Egypt.”
Egyptian people venerated many different gods. Some of them were very old and looked more like animals – cats, bulls, and crocodiles – and thus they were kept in special rooms, ponds or stalls. Any insult to animals was punishable by death. Each nome had its own gods (sometimes unknown outside it), but there were various deities accepted throughout the country: Gore, Ra, Osiris, Isis, and others. As a result, Egyptians associated myths about the gods with the phenomena of nature, the major seasons, the flooding of the Nile River.
In addition to the above-mentioned information, it is possible to add that thanks to Ancient Egypt, many contemporary people can use various inventions in their everyday lives, such as the invention of the alphabet and calendar. Like other nations, the Egyptians first took a time-calculation basis for the lunar year (354 days). But they soon realized that such a system did not have sufficient accuracy and prevented the smooth functioning of complex administrative machinery.
Thus, taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that Egypt is not only considered to be one of the oldest civilizations, but also one of the most durable ones. The major reason is, first of all, its location: the country as it stands alone, apart from other states and empires. As a result, Egypt got the opportunity to grow in the fertile valley of the Nile, without any outside interference and influence. Like a long stem of the papyrus, it stretches from the south to the north, where the river flows into a series of flows in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Egyptian civilization is widely recognized for its major achievements in different aspects of our life. This was a time of various developments in various fields such mathematics, astronomy, food production, and more. Indeed, it was a civilization that has reached very high standards of production and intellectual activity as well as art and engineering processes (surveying), which resulted in the creation of the different pyramids known all over the world.
The flooding of the Nile is like a gift for many farmers in Egypt. In addition, it is an important natural cycle in Egypt because it is presented in the form of brown sludge on the farmers’ lands. Moreover, Egypt itself has developed as a centralized state with its own system of writing. It soon became the center of a highly developed civilization where philosophy and literature, architecture and art, science and medicine have been flourished, as well as the management systems and the organizations of society have been formed. All in all, due to its geographical location and access to the Mediterranean Sea, the Egyptians had a brilliant opportunity to contact with Europe, which is constantly expanding, and the influence of Egypt on the western culture has enriched the entire world civilization.