Ancient Egypt Terms to Know Cataract

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Grade 6 Study Guide

Ancient Egypt

Terms to Know

  1. Cataract: areas that have waterfalls or shallow rapids

  2. Delta: a fan shaped area of silt near where a river flows into the sea

  3. Kemet: dark muds left from flooding

  4. Irrigation: a system that supplies dry land with water through ditches, pipes, or streams

  5. Shadoof: a bucket attached to a long pole that lifts water from the Nile and empties into basins

  6. Papyrus: a reed plant that grows wild along the Nile River (used to weave rope, sandals, baskets, and later used it to make paper)

  7. Hieroglyphics: system of writing made up of thousands of pictures/symbols (created by Egyptains)

  8. Pharaoh: an Egyptain king/ruler

  9. Scribe: a person who writes down documents – a record keeper

  10. Dynasty: when rule passes from father to son

  11. Unskilled Worker: not having or requiring any special skill or training

  12. Incense: a material that produces a pleasant smell when burned

  13. Embalming: the process of treating a body to prevent it from decaying

  14. Mummy: a body that has been embalmed and wrapped in linen

  15. Pyramids: great stone tombs for Egyptian pharaohs

  16. Tribute: payment made by one group to another to show obedience or to obtain peace or protection

  17. Desiccant: minerals/materials that remove water from an object

  18. Rosetta Stone: slab of black rock carved in 3 languages (hieroglyphics, demotic, greek)

People to Know:

  1. Narmer: also known as Menes before he changed his name- established the first dynasty and conquered Lower Egypt, unifying the kingdom. He built the capital at Memphis.

  2. Khufu: buried in the Great Pyramid

  3. Hatshepsut: a queen who ruled in Egypt first with her husband

  4. Thutmose III: stepson of Hatshepsut (wanted to erase all traces of her existence) – through trade and conquest, Egyptians learn other ideas and blend cultures

  5. Amenhotep/Akhenaton: made many unsettling changes- introduced a new religion that had only one god, Aton, to be worshipped (he also claims to be equal to the god, Aton)

  6. Tutankhamen (King Tut): was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the New Kingdom. He reversed several changes made during his father's reign. He ended the worship of the god Aton and restored the god Amun to supremacy. The capital was also moved back to Thebes. He initiated building projects, where he dedicated a temple to Amun

  7. Ramses II: long rule, many children (52 sons + daughters), had temples and tombs built

  8. The Hyksos: from Western Asia, attacked Egypt- they were great warriors and used bronze and iron weapons

  9. The Kush: invaded the Egyptians and put an end to the Egyptian Empire

  10. The Nubians: the center of culture and military might in Africa. Ancient Nubia had a wealth of natural resources such as gold, ivory, copper, frankincense and ebony, but they also produced and traded a variety of goods such as pottery.

  11. Osiris,_Isis,_Aton,_Seth_)__Amon-Re'>Egyptian Deities (Amon-Re, Hapi, Osiris, Isis, Aton, Seth)

    1. Amon-Re: most important god, sun god

    2. Hapi: god of the Nile, appeared as a well-fed man who dressed like a farmer, made the Nile flood each year according to the earliest Egyptians.

    3. Osiris: god of the underworld, judges the dead and the rise and fall of Nile believed to be the death and rebirth of Osiris.

    4. Isis: wife of Osiris, brought him back to life

    5. Aton: the sun god

    6. Seth: god of evil who killed Osiris, believed to cause failed harvest

Places to Know:

  1. Egypt: located in Africa where 2 kingdoms developed along the Nile (Upper & Lower Egypt)- approximately 30 dynasties from 2700 BC to 1090 BC

  2. Sahara Desert: located West of the Nile River, where the dead were buried

  3. Nile River (upper and lower): Nile River flows North, two Kingdoms developed along here

  4. Memphis: Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt, unifying the kingdom, the capital was built here

  5. Thebes: the new capital in Upper (southern) Egypt (created by the Middle Kingdom)

  6. Giza: home of the Great Pyramid, built in the Old Kingdom

  7. Valley of the Kings: during the New Kingdom, pharaohs were buried here

  8. Meroe: the capital of Napata was then moved here

Do I Know:

The 3 different Egyptian Kingdoms – how did they start and how did they end

Old Kingdom

Middle Kingdom

New Kingdom


~ 2700 BC – 2200 BC

~ 2050 BC – 1800 BC

~ 1570 – 1090 BC


Upper Egypt conquering Lower Egypt – had strong pharaohs & built pyramids

Years between kingdoms without ruling dynasty usually marked by civil wars and/or invasion


Power struggles, crop failures, and cost of pyramids caused collapse

Hittities invaded and conquered

Nubians then others invaded

The role women played in Ancient Egypt

  • Women in Ancient Egypt had a lot more freedom than those in most other ancient civilizations. They had the right to own and sell their lands. Some of those with education were priestesses, had jobs in administration, were supervisors, treasurers and sometimes advisors to the pharaohs. 

  • Those of the lower classes could be hairdressers, weavers, or dancers.

  • Women also took care of children and the household, and would work on farms if they were of that class. Women in Egypt could also become pharaoh, if they were of that class.

Different Levels of Social Classes in Egypt

Why did Egyptians mummify their pharaohs? Egyptians mummified their pharaohs because they wanted to preserve them for the afterlife

The importance of irrigation in farming the Nile Valley: irrigation allowed the Egyptians to use the Nile’s waters for a variety of purposes. Irrigation granted them greater control over their farming. Flood waters were diverted away from certain areas, such as cities and gardens, to keep them from flooding. Irrigation was also used to provide drinking water to Egyptians.

Why Pharaohs had their pyramids built: Pharaohs had their pyramids built to serve as tombs where they would be buried and preserved for the afterlife (they were buried with all the items they wanted to bring with them). The bigger the pyramid was, the more powerful the pharaoh.

Major scientific accomplishments of the Egyptians: The Egyptians invented and used many basic machines, such as the ramp and the lever, to aid construction processes. Egyptian paper, made from papyrus, and pottery was also a major contribution. Irrigation, glass work, the building of pyramids, are also huge accomplishments of the Egyptians.

Know different places on the Mideast map – refer to Egypt map

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