- Slides: 30
Geography • Nile River – 4, 100 miles long, flows northward from eastern central Africa • The Nile is the longest river in the world! • Every year in July the river flooded REGULARLY leaving behind rich soil.
Geography Continued • Forbidding Deserts on either side of the Nile = Natural barriers • Ancient Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile. ”
Environmental Challenges • If the Nile flood was just a few feet lower than normal, the amount of silt and water for crops was greatly reduced. (Many people starved. ) • If the Nile flood was higher that usual, it destroyed houses, granaries, and seeds for the new crop. • The vast deserts on either side of the Nile acted as natural barriers protected Egypt from invaders and limited contact with other peoples.
• Ancient Egyptians lived along the Nile from its delta well into the interior of Africa. • River travel was common, but could only travel as far south as the first cataract (area of churning rapids in the river)
Transportation on the Nile • The Nile provided a reliable system of transportation between upper and lower Egypt. The Nile flows north, so northbound boats simply drifted with the current. The prevailing winds in Egypt flow from north to south. Boats wishing to sail south would hoist their sails and allow the wind to power them up the river.
Upper and Lower Egypt • Egypt contained two very different regions: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. • Because its elevation is higher, the area in the south is referred to as Upper Egypt. The fertile land is only a narrow strip very near the Nile. • The area closer to the mouth of the Nile is lower and marshier. The Nile river fans out into a delta and the area of fertile becomes much wider.
Lower Egypt Upper Egypt
Egypt Unites • The kingdoms of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt were united by King Mendes around 3000 BCE. Mendes: • Established a capital, Memphis • Established first Egyptian Dynasty • United Upper and Lower Egypt
The crown above and to the left is the crown of Upper Egypt. The crown above and in the middle is the crown of Lower Egypt. The crown to the right shows the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Pharaohs • Egyptian kings were called pharaohs • The Egyptians viewed their pharaohs the same as the gods – KINGS WERE GODS • Stood as center of religion as well as government and army • Type of Government is a Theocracy
Theocracy – a type of government in which rule is based on religious authority.
Pyramids • Egyptians believed their kings ruled even after death. • For the kings of the Old Kingdom, the resting place after death was a pyramid. • Pyramids demonstrate the Old Kingdom dynasties had developed the economic strength, leadership, government organization and technologies to support massive public works projects.
Trade • By 3200 BC, Egyptians were trading with the Mesopotamians • Also traded up and down the Nile – Gold – Ivory – Cattle – Granite blocks
Religion • Polytheistic • 2, 000 gods and goddesses • Built huge temples to honor gods • Believed in afterlife – Osiris – god of the dead
Social • Very different from the citystates of Mesopotamia • Egypt’s united kingdom allowed –High degree of unity –Stability –Cultural continuity (staying the same)
Life in Egyptian Society Pharaoh, Queen, royal family (Royal Advisor) Priests Wealthy landowners, Government Officials Traders/Merchants Ordinary Citizens Slaves
Intellectual • Early writing was a form of pictographs, but scribes developed hieroglyphics (which comes from the Greek for sacred carving) • Originally written on stone, but developed papyrus, a paper-like substance made from reeds.
• Developed a calendar to keep track of the time between floods and when to plant. • Developed written numbers for recording taxes – Addition, subtraction • Used geometry to survey land after the floods. • Built pyramids, palaces, stone columns • Most advanced medicine in the ancient world – could take pulse, set bones, had effective treatments for wounds and fevers, also performed surgery to treat some conditions.
Egypt Cont. • The history of Egypt is broken down into three major periods known as the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. • Periods known for peace, productivity and longterm stability. • The Intermediate periods were known for political chaos and invasion. • King Mendes united the Upper and Lower kingdoms of Egypt to create the first Egyptian dynasty in 3100 B. C. E.
The Old Kingdom (2700 - 2200 B. C. E. ) • Many of the greatest and largest pyramids were built during this time period. • The title of pharaoh was given to the leader of Egypt. • Egypt was divided into 42 provinces, which were run by governors appointed by the pharaoh.
The Middle Kingdom (2050 - 1652 B. C. E. ) • Followed a 150 year period of chaos. • This period was marked by expansion of the empire. • The period was also known for compassionate pharaohs. • Public works projects replaced pyramids and idol construction.
The New Kingdom (1567 - 1085 B. C. E. ) • The Hyksos, using war chariots defeated the Egyptians and ruled for 100 years prior to the New Kingdom. • The New Kingdom was a period of military expansion and construction.