Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Egyptian Pharaohs

Egyptian Pharaohs were the Ancient Egyptian secular and spiritual leaders of ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were responsible for safeguarding the well-being of all Egyptians in ancient times. The term 'Pharaoh' is a Greek interpretation of the Egyptian word Per-aa literally meaning 'Great House'.
Pharaoh is a title used to refer to the rulers of ancient Egypt in the pre-Christian and pre-Islamic period. The term 'Pharaoh', as in the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, is a Greek interpretation of the ancient Egyptian word Per-aa literally meaning 'Great House', used in the Old Kingdom as part of phrases like 'smr per-Aa' literally meaning 'Courtier of the Great House', with specific reference to the buildings of the court or palace itself. From the Twelfth Dynasty onwards the word appears in a wish formula 'Great House, may it live, prosper and be in health', but only with reference to the buildings of the court rather than the king himself. The earliest certain instance where 'Per Aa' is used specifically to address the king is in a letter to Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) in the mid-Eighteenth Dynasty (1539-1292 BC) which is addressed to 'Pharaoh, given life, prosperity and health, the Master'. From the Nineteenth Dynasty onwards it is used as regularly as hm.f 'His Majesty'.
Ancient Egypt was a long-lived ancient civilization geographically located in north-eastern Africa. It was concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River reaching its greatest extension during the second millennium BC, which is referred to as the New Kingdom period. It reached broadly from the Nile Delta in the north, as far south as Jebel Barkal at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile. Extensions to the geographical range of ancient Egyptian civilization included, at different times, areas of the southern Levant, the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coastline, the Sinai Peninsula and the Western Desert (focused on the several oases).
Ancient Egypt developed over at least three and a half millennia. It began with the incipient unification of Nile Valley polities around 3500 BC and is conventionally thought to have ended in 30 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered and absorbed Ptolemaic Egypt as a province. (Though this last did not represent the first period of foreign domination, the Roman period was to witness a marked, if gradual transformation in the political and religious life of the Nile Valley, effectively marking the termination of independent civilisational development).
The civilization of ancient Egypt was based on a finely balanced control, by ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, of natural and human resources, characterised primarily by controlled irrigation of the fertile Nile Valley; the mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions; the early development of an independent writing system and literature; the organisation of collective projects; trade with surrounding regions in east / central Africa and the eastern Mediterranean; finally, military ventures that exhibited strong characteristics of imperial hegemony and territorial domination of neighbouring cultures at different periods. Motivating and organizing these activities were a socio-political and economic elite that achieved social consensus by means of an elaborate system of religious belief under the figure of a (semi)-divine ruler (usually male) from a succession of ruling dynasties, Egyptian Pharaohs, and which related to the larger world by means of polytheistic beliefs channeled through the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs