Essay question #1
October 13th, 2012
The main key to the civilization of Egypt was the Nile River. The Nile over flowed once a year leaving deposits of minerals and fertile black soil, which made it the richest agricultural region in the Mediterranean world(17). The whole civilization ran up and down the Nile, no more than fourteen miles away in either direction. Egyptian history was divided into three periods called kingdoms(Old, Middle, New and two intermediate periods).
Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, lower in the north and upper in the south, since the Nile flows from south to north. Two of the major cities were actually developed in Lower ...view middle of the document...
The use of papyrus was used all the way into the Middle Ages. It also gave jobs to people called Scribes. The Scribes were very important since they were the ones teaching literacy. People who could master the skill of reading and writing hieroglyphics were highly respected and usually way better off than people who could not.
One of the two amazing architectural additions from Egypt is the Step Pyramid of Djoser. A man by the name of Imhotep was the right-hand man of Djoser. He was far advanced in science, math, astronomy, and theology. He was basically an architect(22). He designed the Step Pyramid, which was the first building in history that was made out of all stone. It was built near the capital at Memphis. They believed in the after-life, which is why the Egyptians started building pyramids. They thought their spirit(“ka”) was going to live on, so they also built mazes and traps to protect against robbers(22).
After the Step Pyramid of Djoser was built, it set a standard that all other pharaohs should do the same. The second, and (one of the seven ancient wonders of the world), was the Great Pyramids of Giza. The actual Great Pyramid was build for Khufu(Cheops). Herodotus, a Greek historian, estimated that it took twenty years and 100,000 laborers to build it. It was originally thought that the pyramids were built by slaves, but it was really willing workers(23).
Egyptian society was divided into three groups, the pharaoh, the nobles and scribes, then basically everyone else. The nobles were extremely wealthy like the pharaoh and lived in luxury. They kept dogs, cats, and monkeys as pets(24). Everybody else lived in mud-brick homes in crowded communities. There was not really a middle class. Although one could be skilled in a profession and offer their family some measure of luxury, but not much(24). Women in Egypt actually had some freedom. They could file for divorce, defend themselves in court, and buy/sell property. Women were not allowed to be scribes or be a noble. Lastly the wealthy could just sleep around, even though Egyptians believed in monogamy. There was not much discrimination to women as there was in other cultures of the past and present times.
Religion in Egypt revolved around the pharaoh of that current dynasty. The people believed that the pharaoh had control over the Nile and to the gods. They did however have a myth of human creation, Osiris and Isis. Osiris was the first pharaoh and was killed by his jealous brother Seth. Then Osiris' sister found his body and revived it, creating the god Horus. Then Seth stole Osiris' body back and chopped him up and spread his remains over Egypt. Then Iris reassembled Osiris' body(which is where mummification came from). Then Horus defeated Seth, and Osiris was made god of the underworld(25).
The Middle Kingdom started with Mentuhotep II when he declared himself ruler of all Egypt. The main government was moved to Thebes instead of Memphis. Mentuhotep II appointed...