Wednesday, July 23, 2008


By 3100 BC, Egypt had a centralized government controlled by a line of hereditary rulers. These kings, called pharaohs, kept a royal court of advisors and nobility, and oversaw the governors of the provinces of the kingdom. They were also commanders of the Egyptian army. Even the priests and priestesses who officiated at the complex religious ceremonies and attended on the gods served the pharaohs. The rule of the pharaohs is considered dynastic; it can also be considered absolute in the truest sense of the word. The pharaohs came to be considered as the representatives of the gods on earth and even as gods themselves. [1] Most importantly, it was Pharaoh’s duty to ensure truth and justice. According to Egyptian mythology, Ma’at was the goddess of truth, justice, and order.The most famous Egyptian pharaoh today is, without doubt, Tutankhamun. The boy king died in his late teens and remained at rest in Egypt's Valley of the Kings for over 3,300 years. The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 is considered the most important archaeological find of the century. After years of painstaking work in the Valley of the Kings, Carter's patron, Lord Carnarvon, had warned him that that would be the last season of work because nothing significant had been found. On November 22 of that year, Carter's persistence finally paid off. Tutankhamun became a household name, and his magnificent treasures became the measuring stick for all future archaeological discoveries. The mysteries surrounding his life and death are gradually being solved. And his story continues to unfold as new theories are proposed in an attempt to explain what really happened to the boy behind the golden mask.

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Egyptian Interaction with the Middle East

Egypt has a rich and fascinating history with the Middle East. Although Egypt is the best known and most researched empire in the area, the others in the Middle East contributed to its grandeur. No culture has ever began with only its own traditions and methods.
Other cultures from the area contribute to all the things that distinguish one culture from another.
Interaction between Egypt and its neighbors has added many different aspects to Egyptian culture that we study today.
The most apparent interactions take place directly. These interactions are those that make direct connections from one culture to another.
Trade route that intersect areas and wars involving two or more cultures are examples of direct interaction.
Indirect interaction is less apparent, but none the less, it is just as important. Indirect interaction is the dealings that cultures have with others that don�t directly go from one popular culture to the next.
As ideas and goods are exchanged indirectly, they are modified to fit the culture that has adopted them. Indirect interaction with Egypt�s Middle Eastern neighbors was very influential in making Ancient Egypt what it was

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

King Akhenaten

18th Dynasty
Perhaps the height of Egyptian wealth and power came between 1550 and 1290 BC. The dynasty began with the expulsion of the Palestinian Hyksos rulers from the north of Egypt by King Ahmose I - an event that may have inspired the Biblical story of the Exodus. Carrying forward the momentum of this act, subsequent rulers, in particular Thutmose III, established an empire of client states in Syria-Palestine, and dominions stretching towards the heart of Africa. War booty and lively international trade founded on Egypt's highly productive gold mines made Egypt a major world player.

Around 1350 BC, however, King Akhenaten (formerly known as Amenhotep IV - see above) turned Egypt on its head by abolishing all the nation's gods, and replacing them with a single sun-god, the Aten. The new faith was accompanied by a radical new art-style, as seen in the statuette above, currently owned by the Louvre.
The cult of Aten, however, barely survived the death of its patron. Within a few years, orthodoxy had been re-established and Akhenaten's very dynasty had died out, leaving the throne to a series of generals, the last of whom, Ramesses I, was the founder of a new 19th Dynasty.