VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 28 POSTED ON: 3/22/2013
Ancient Egypt Earliest Inhabitants • There were hunter/gatherer societies in the Egyptian region as far back as 5000-6000 B.C. • Cave paintings in Sahara region show elephants, rhinoceroses, buffalo, hippopotami, crocodiles, antelopes, giraffes, and fallow deer (see picture in Lamb, p. 122) • Obviously, most of these animals are not present in great numbers today in the Sahara region – this confirms an earlier wetter climate. Departure of Big Animals • Elephants, giraffes, and rhinos were rare by 2900 B.C., gone by 2600 B.C. • Some elephants still remained in Algeria (Hannibal used them militarily to invade Europe in 218 B.C.) Drying Event • Some say the great reduction in habitable land in Egypt actually forced the development of agriculture and therefore gave rise to the mighty Egyptian civilization Egyptian Geography • Nile river valley and delta is very fertile, but surrounded by two deserts • Arabian Desert (Eastern) - few oases, sparse population • Libyan Desert (Western) - no oases, very harsh climate Egyptian Climate • Two seasons: • Hot season (May-October) - inhabited areas reach over 100°F. • Cool season (November-April) - 55-70°F • Deserts have more extreme seasons - average 114°F maximum during daytime, 42°F minimum during nighttime Egyptian plants and wildlife • Most common is date palm; others include the carob, tamarisk, and sycamore. • Rushes grow along streams. In the arid regions halfa grass and thorn trees are common. • Lack of forest and grassland limits wildlife. The few species found include the fox, jackal, boar, and hyena. Crocodiles are found in the Upper Nile. • Lots of birds and fish. Vegetation of the Nile Delta Agriculture • Limited to Nile delta and flood plain • Flood plain soils tend to be rich and need little or no fertilizer • The rest of Egypt has very poor soil Early Capital of Lower Egypt Early Capital of Upper Egypt Egyptian Historical Periods • Old Kingdom (2700-2200 BC) - Pyramid builders - most successful time • Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BC) • New Kingdom (1570-1090 BC) New developments • Following unification, Egyptians developed an elaborate culture which produces the plow, a complex religion, copper working, hieroglyphic writing, and 365 day calendar. • Egyptians called writing medu netcher, or "the words of the gods” - it was thought that writing was granted to Egyptians by their god Thoth - All of the universe was interpreted as writing Hieroglyphics • Writing was pictorial at first - everything was represented by a picture • This was inefficient (too many pictures and uncertainties in representation), so glyphs came to represent syllables. • The catch is that they only represent the consonants to the syllables - vowels are missing. Hieroglyphics Egyptian Gods • Egyptian religion included many deities • The culture lasted so long that many of these deities came and went or changed form • Many of the deities had naturalistic attributes from animals or the sun Ra • Sun god, grandfather of Isis and Osiris • Sometimes merged with other gods (e.g. Amun- Ra) • Often depicted with a barge Osiris • Supreme god • God of the dead • Instrumental in creation myth Isis • Main female deity • Mother figure • Sometimes winged Horus • Sometimes son of Osiris • Sometimes human with falcon head, other times a falcon • Was added to Egyptian pantheon when Horus worshippers invaded pre-dynastic Egypt Anubis • Guardian of the underworld Aten • Unifying deity, lord of all • Akenaten (heretic king) tried to unify religions and kingdoms • No physical form – just sun rays
"medu netcher - Houghton6"