Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Life in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an oasis in the desert of northern Africa; Ancient Egyptian Civilisation relied on the Nile River’s yearly flood to feed its agricultural population. The rich floodplain of the Nile valley; It’s where the river flows between bands of limestone hills, and the Nile delta; Which was spreading into multiple branches north of present-day Cairo, where the country’s primary source of wealth. A fluctuating belt of low desert ran between the river and the hills, supporting a certain quantity of wildlife. Egypt’s only mode of transportation was the Nile.
The country’s only well-defined boundary inside an inhabited region was the First Cataract at Aswan; Where a strip of granite transforms the riverbed into rapids. To the south, Nubia was a significantly less pleasant country; The Nile flowing over low sandstone hills left just a relatively short strip of cultivable soil in most areas. Egypt’s periodic southerly expansion and access to items from further south were both aided by Nubia. The parched Sahara, west of the Nile, was broken up by a line of oasis 125 to 185 miles (200 to 300 km) from the river and devoid of all resources save a few minerals. The eastern desert, between the Nile and the Red Sea, was more significant since it was home to a small nomadic population and desert wildlife; as well as many mineral reserves, including gold, and served as a gateway to the Red Sea.
Suez Canal and Ancient Egypt Civilization
The Suez Canal was to the northeast. It provided the primary path for communication with Sinai, where turquoise and potentially copper were obtained, as well as with southern Asia, Egypt’s most significant region of cultural interaction, where stimulus for technical improvement and agricultural varieties were supplied. Attracted by the country’s stability and wealth, immigrants and eventually invaders crossed the isthmus into Egypt. Numerous land and marine raids were launched throughout the eastern Mediterranean coast beginning in the late 2nd millennium BCE.
Economy in the Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Although there was limited cultural interaction across the Mediterranean Sea at first, Egypt maintained economic links with Lebanon’s Port of Byblos from the beginning (Jbail in the present days). Egypt only required a few imports to sustain basic living standards; but excellent lumber was required and not readily accessible in the nation, therefore it was mainly imported from Lebanon. Minerals like obsidian and lapis lazuli were brought in from far away places like Anatolia and Afghanistan.
The production of cereal grains, namely emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum) and barley, was the mainstay of agriculture and Ancient Egyptian Civilization. The land’s fertility and the inundation’s overall regularity ensured great yield from a single yearly crop. This productivity allowed vast surpluses to be stored in case of crop failures, and it also served as the foundation for Egyptian riches, which was the biggest of any state in the ancient Middle East until the emergence of the large empires of the 1st millennium BCE.
Agriculture in Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Multiple cropping was not possible until much later, save maybe in the lakeside area which Is located in Fayoum. Basin irrigation was accomplished by basic techniques, and multiple cropping was not possible until much later. The area accessible for farming in the Nile valley and delta rose as the river deposited alluvial silt, rising the floodplain’s level, and the land was recovered from the marsh, while pastoralism fell slowly.
Fruit and vegetables, in addition to grain crops, were significant, with the latter being irrigated year-round in small plots. Fish was also an important part of the diet. Papyrus was harvested wild and then farmed in wetlands, where it flourished abundantly. It was undoubtedly used to manufacture rope, matting, and sandals, and it may have been utilized as a food crop. It furnished, above all, the distinctive Egyptian written material, which, along with grains, was the country’s primary export in the late period Egyptian and subsequently Greco-Roman periods.
Egyptian Animals and Cattles
Cattles played an important role in Ancient Egyptian Civilization; Cattle in northern Africa might be adopted; Many were raised as draft animals and for other products by the Egyptians, demonstrating some of the interest in breeds and individuals that may still be seen in Sudan and eastern Africa today. The donkey, which was the main mode of conveyance (the camel did not become popular until the Roman era), was most likely domesticated in the area.
In the second millennium BCE, the native Egyptian sheep breed fell extinct and was replaced by an Asiatic variety. Sheep were mostly exploited for meat, and their wool was rarely used. Sheep were outnumbered by goats. Pigs also were bred and consumed. Many of the huge numbers of wild and migratory birds found in Egypt were killed and caught, and ducks and birds were maintained for sustenance. The nobility hunted desert wildlife, mostly various types of antelope and ibex; hunting lions and wild cattle was a royal luxury. Dogs, which were also employed for hunting, cats, and monkeys were among the pets. Furthermore, the Egyptians were fascinated by and knowledgeable about the majority of mammalian, avian, snake, and species of fish found in their surroundings.
Most Egyptians are descended from prehistoric immigrants who came to the Nile Valley in search of a better life, with population growth fueled by natural fertility. Immigrants from Nubia, Libya, and, particularly, the Middle East, arrived at various times. Their numbers are unclear, but they were historically substantial and may have contributed to population expansion. The majority of people resided in the Nile valley and delta’s villages and towns. Dwelling units were often made of mud brick and have long since vanished beneath increasing water tables or contemporary town sites, decimating evidence of settlement patterns.
The most preferred position for communities in history, as it is now, was on slightly higher land near the riverbed; It’s where transportation and water were readily available and floods were improbable. Egypt was not nearly as developed as Mesopotamia until the first centuries Bce. Instead, a few cities, especially Memphis and Thebes, drew people, mainly the elite, while the remainder of the population was distributed rather equally over the region. The population grew from 1 to 1.5 million in the 3rd millennium BCE to perhaps double that amount in the late 2nd millennium and 1st century BCE, according to estimates. (In Greco-Roman periods, population numbers were far greater.)
Ancient Egyptian Civilization Overview;
Ancient Egyptian civilization was the leading in the Mediterranean world for over 30 centuries; From its unity around 3100 B.C. through Alexander the Great’s invasion in 332 B.C; From the Old Kingdom’s towering pyramids to the New Kingdom’s military victories; Egypt’s magnificence has captivated archaeologists and historians for centuries, spawning a thriving area of study called Egyptology. The various monuments, items, and objects that have been found from archaeological sites, covered with hieroglyphs that have just lately been interpreted, are the principal sources of knowledge about ancient Egypt. The image that emerges is of society with few peers in terms of the beauty of its art, the craftsmanship of its building; and the diversity of its religious traditions.
Predynastic Period (c. 5000-3100 B.C.)
Limited written documents or objects have been discovered during the Predynastic Period, which spanned at least two thousands of years of Egyptian civilization’s slow growth.
What if I told you that During Akhenaton’s reign, his spouse Nefertiti was a key figure in the monotheistic cult of the sun god Aton, both politically and religiously. Nefertiti’s remarkable beauty and status as a living goddess of fertility are depicted in images and statues and paintings.
Neolithic (late Stone Age) civilizations in northeastern Africa switched from hunting to cultivation; It achieved early advancements that laid the way for Egyptian crafts, skills, science, politics, and religion to evolve later (including a great reverence for the dead and possibly a belief in life after death).
3400 B.C. two different monarchies were set up near the Fertile Crescent, an area that was home to many of the oldest known civilizations: the Red Land to the north, based in the Nile River Delta and extending possibly as far as Atfih; and the White Territory to the south, extending from Atfih to Gebel es-Silsila. Around 3200 B.C., a southern monarch named Scorpion attempted to capture the northern kingdom for the first time. Monarch Menes would conquer the north and unify the kingdom a century later, and became the first king of the first dynasty.
Archaic (Early Dynastic) Period (c. 3100-2686 B.C.)
In the north, near the peak of the Nile River delta, King Menes established the capital of ancient Egypt at White Walls (later known as Memphis). During the Old Kingdom, the capital grew into a massive city that controlled Egyptian civilization. The Archaic Period saw the establishment of Egyptian society’s underpinnings, especially the all-important royal philosophy. The monarch was regarded as a godlike figure by the ancient Egyptians, who associated him with the all-powerful god Horus. This is also when the oldest known hieroglyphic writing was discovered.
Most ancient Egyptians were peasants living in tiny villages during the Archaic Period, as they were during all earlier periods, and agriculture (mostly wheat and barley) was the Egyptian state’s economic foundation. Each year, the annual flooding of the Nile River provided the required irrigation and fertilizer; farmers seeded the wheat after the floods subsided and collected it before the hot weather and dryness return.
Old Kingdom: Age of the Pyramid Builders (c. 2686-2181 B.C.)
The Old Kingdom began with the kings of the third dynasty. Around 2630 B.C., King Djoser of the third dynasty commissioned Imhotep, an architect, priest, and healer, to create a burial monument for him; the result was the Step-Pyramid at Saqqara, near Memphis, which became the world’s first large stone edifice. With the erection of the Great Pyramid at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egyptian pyramid-building attained its pinnacle. The structure was built for Khufu (or Cheops in Greek), who reigned from 2589 to 2566 B.C., and was later called one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by classical historians. It took 100,000 men 20 years to build, according to Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian. At Giza, two more pyramids were erected for Khufu’s descendants, Khafra (2558-2532 B.C.) and Menkaura (2558-2532 B.C.) (2532-2503 B.C.).
Egypt had a golden period of peace and wealth throughout the third and fourth dynasties. The pharaohs ruled with absolute authority and established a stable central administration; the kingdom had no substantial external challenges; and effective military expeditions in nations such as Nubia and Libya added to the kingdom’s tremendous economic wealth. The king’s riches progressively dwindled throughout the fifth and sixth dynasties; Partly due to the enormous cost of pyramid construction, and his absolute control waned in the face of the rising influence of the nobles and clergy that rose up all around sun deity Amun Ra. The Old Kingdom period ended in turmoil after the murder of King Pepy II of the sixth dynasty; who reigned for 94 years.
First Intermediate Period (c. 2181-2055 B.C.)
The seventh and eighth dynasties followed the fall of the Old Kingdom with a quick succession of Memphis-based kings until around 2160 B.C., when the central authority was entirely abolished, resulting in civil war amongst regional governors. Bedouin incursions exacerbated the chaos, which was followed by starvation and illness.
Two distinct kingdoms arose during this period of conflict between Memphis and Thebes; A dynasty of 17 monarchs based in Heracleopolis (dynasties nine and ten) governed Middle Egypt; while another dynasty of rulers developed in Thebes to challenge Heracleopolitan supremacy. Theban ruler Mentuhotep overthrew Heracleopolis and unified Egypt in 2055 B.C; marking the start of the 11th dynasty and the end of the First Intermediate Period.
Middle Kingdom: 12th Dynasty (c. 2055-1786 B.C.)
After the assassination of the 11th dynasty’s final monarch, Mentuhotep IV; The crown fell to his vizier, or top minister, who became King Amenemhet I, the founder of the 12th dynasty. While Thebes remained a major religious center, a new capital was created at It-towy, south of Memphis. Egypt prospered once more under the Middle Kingdom, as it had done throughout the Old Kingdom. The monarchs of the 12th dynasty maintained a peaceful succession of their line by appointing each ruler as co-regent; a practice that dates back to Amenemhet I.
The Middle Kingdom in Egypt conducted an active foreign affair, invading Nubia; (with its abundant gold, ivory, amber, and other resources); and driving out the Tribesmen who had penetrated Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. This kingdom also established diplomatic and commerce contacts with Syria, Palestine, and other countries; as well as undertaken public works projects like army strongholds and mineral quarries, and returned to the Old Kingdom’s pyramid-building heritage. The Middle Kingdom peaked under Amenenhet III (1842-1797 B.C. ); its collapse began under Amenenhet IV (1798-1790 B.C.) and continued under his sister and regent, Queen Sobekneferu (1789-1786 B.C. ), Egypt’s first acknowledged female pharaoh and the 12th dynasty’s last pharaoh.
Second Intermediate Period (c. 1786-1567 B.C.)
The thirteenth dynasty began yet another era of unrest in Egyptian history, during which a series of monarchs struggled to establish control. As a result, Egypt was divided into many zones of power throughout the Second Intermediate Period. The formal royal court and seat of administration were moved to Thebes, although a rival dynasty (the 14th), headquartered on the Nile delta area, appears to have existed concurrently with the 13th.
Around 1650 B.C., a line of colonial masters known as the Hyksos acquired control of The region by exploiting the country’s instability. Many existing Egyptian traditions in administration and culture were taken and preserved by the Hyksos monarchs of the 15th dynasty. They reigned alongside the 17th dynasty’s local Theban monarchs, who maintained authority over most of southern Egypt despite having to pay Hyksos taxes. (The monarchs of the 16th dynasty are thought to be Theban or Hyksos.) Around 1570 B.C., conflict between different tribes erupted, and the Thebans began a war against the Hyksos, driving them out of Egypt.
New Kingdom (c. 1567-1085 B.C.)
Egypt was reunified once more under Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. Egypt regained control of Nubia and initiated military incursions in Palestine during the 18th dynasty, contending with other regional kingdoms such as the Mitannians and Hittites. The kingdom went on to build the world’s first major imperial power, which stretched from Nubia to Asia’s Euphrates River. Moreover, strong kings like Amenhotep first, Thutmose first, and Amenhotep third toke power. On the other hand; the New Kingdom was notable for the role of royal women like Queen Hatshepsut (1503-1482 B.C. ), who began ruling as a lord protector for her youthful son-in-law; (who afterward had become Thutmose third one of the most powerful kings in Egypt history).
The 18th Dynasty
The late 18th dynasty’s controversial Amenhotep IV (c. 1379-1362) launched a religious rise up, effectively ending priesthoods loyal to Amon-Re (a mix of the native Theban god Amon and the sun god Re) and mandating the worship of another sun god, Aton. He rebuilt a new metropolis in Middle Egypt named Akhetaton, subsequently known as Amarna; After renaming himself Akhenaton (“servant of the Aton”). The capital was restored to Thebes after Akhenaton’s death, and Egyptians resumed their worship of a plethora of gods.
The Ramesside period (called after the dynasty of rulers named Ramses) witnessed the rebuilding of the weakening Egyptian kingdom as well as an astonishing quantity of construction, including huge monuments and towns. The exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt may have occurred under the reign of Ramses II, as according biblical chronology (1304-1237 B.C.).
Apart from Akhenaton, all of the New Kingdom monarchs were buried in the Valley of the Kings; It was a burial place on the Nile’s west bank facing Thebes, in deep, rock-cut tombs (not pyramids). With the exception of Tutankhamen’s tomb and riches (c.1361-1352 B.C. ), which was discovered substantially intact in A.D. 1922, the majority of them were robbed and burned. The magnificent funerary temple of Ramses III (c. 1187-1156 B.C. ), the last great monarch of the 20th dynasty, was also remarkably well maintained, indicating the continued wealth of Egypt during his reign. The monarchs who came after Ramses III were less successful; Egypt permanently lost its territories in Palestine and Syria, was subjected to military invaders (particularly by the Libyans), and its riches was progressively but ultimately diminished.
Third Intermediate Period (c. 1085-664 B.C.)
The Third Intermediate Period, which lasted 400 years, saw significant developments in Ancient Egyptian civilization politics, and society. Under the 21st dynasty ancient Egyptians, centralized administration gave way to the revival of local authorities; while immigrants from Libya and Nubia seized control and left a lasting impression on Egypt’s people. King Sheshonq, a descendant of Libyans who invaded Egypt during the late 20th dynasty and lived there; He founded the 22nd dynasty in approximately 945 B.C. During this time; many local monarchs were effectively self-governing, and dynasties 23-24 had little documentation.
Nubian pharaohs, beginning with Shabako, ruler of the Nubian state of Kush, formed their own dynasty–the 25th–at Thebes in the eighth century B.C. Egypt was at odds with the expanding Assyrian empire under Kushite control. The Assyrian prince Esarhaddon forced the Kushite king Taharka out of Memphis and devastated the city in 671 B.C. He then chose his own rulers among regional rulers and leaders who were sympathetic to the Assyrians. One of them, Necho of Sais, ruled briefly as the 26th dynasty’s first monarch until being assassinated by the Kushite commander Tanuatamun in a last-ditch attempt to seize control.
From the Late Period to Alexander’s Conquest (c.664-332 B.C.)
The Saite dynasty governed a reunified Egypt for fewer than two millennia; beginning with Necho’s son Psammetichus. At the Battle of Pelusium in 525 B.C., Cambyses, Ruler of Persia, beat Psammetichus III, the last Saite king; Later Egypt became part of the Persian Empire. Darius (522-485 B.C.) and other Persian rulers ruled Egypt on largely the same terms as native Egyptian kings: Darius supported Egypt’s religious cults and built and restored its temples. Xerxes’ (486-465 B.C.) harsh rule spurred more revolutions under him and his followers. In 404 B.C., one of these revolts was successful, ushering in a last period of Egyptian independence under native kings (dynasties 28-30).
The Persians Invasion and its effect on the Ancient Egyptian Civilization
The Persians invaded Egypt again in the mid-fourth century B.C.; reigniting their kingdom under Artaxerxes III in 343 B.C; the Greek emperor Alexander the Great of Macedonia overcame the Persian Empire’s forces and conquered Egypt about a decade later, in 332 B.C. Egypt was controlled by a succession of Macedonian rulers after Alexander’s death; beginning with Alexander’s general Ptolemy and continuing through his successors. In 31 B.C., the mythical Cleopatra VII, the final monarch of Ptolemaic Egypt abandoned Egypt to the legions of Octavian (later Augustus). Following six centuries of Roman control, Christianity became the official religion of Rome and the regions of the Roman Empire (including Egypt). The Arab invasion of Egypt in the seventh century A.D.; Together with the arrival of Islam, would wipe out the remaining vestiges of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization and thrust the country into its contemporary form.