Egypt is wholly the gift of the Nile
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Belief in an Afterlife
Art and Literature
, “Egypt is wholly the gift of the Nile,” While the desert protected Egypt from invasion, it limited where people can settle.
Farmers took advantage of the Nile Valley to grow wheat and flax, a plant whose fibers were used for clothing.
The Nile rises in the highlands of Ethiopia and the lakes of central Africa.
In ancient times,
people awaited annual flood
, which soaked the land with life-giving water deposited a layer of rich silt, or soil.
Ancient Egypt had two distinct region, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt
Upper Egypt stretched from the first
(waterfall) of the Nile northward within 100 miles of the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt covered the
region where the Nile empties the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile river served as a trade route. Merchants traveled up and down the Nile exchanging products of Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean world.
Inherited from their earliest ancestors a variety of religious belief and practices.
Amon-Re was the chief god of the sun.
The pharaoh were viewed as gods as well as monarch
Osiris ruled the underworld and god of the Nile. He controlled the annual flood that made the land fertile.
Isis was believed to:
Teach women to grind corn.
Care for children.
The gods promised the faithful they would have a life after death.
Scholars debate that Akhenaton was trying to introduce a new religion based on worship of a single god.
in an Afterlife
Egyptians believed that each soul would pass a test in order to win eternal life.
According to legend, Osiris would weigh the dead person’s heart against the feather of truth
The Book of the dead contained spells, charms, and formulas for the dead to use in afterlife.
Mummification is the preservation of the dead.
At first, mummification was a privilege reserved for rulers and nobles. Eventually, Egyptians won the privilege.
Many pharaohs are buried in the desolate Valley of the Kings.
both a god and earthly leader
, the pharaoh stood at the top of society.
Directly underneath were high priests and priestesses, who served the gods and goddesses.
Most Egyptians were peasant farmers.
Peasant men were expected to:
Serve the pharaoh
Laboring to build palaces, temples and tombs.
Peasant women were expected to:
Working in fields
Trade offered new opportunities to the growing merchant class
Foreign conquests brought riches to Egypt, more business for artisans.
Under Egyptian law, women could inherit property,
enter a business deals
, buy and sell goods, got to court, and obtain a divorce.
The ancient Egyptians developed a form of picture writing called Hieroglyphics. Carved on stone.
Earliest were pictograms that depicted objects.
Egyptians developed new forms of writing:
are pictures that symbolized an idea or action
of writing for everyday use
; were made of
(paper would not be invented until 100 A.D. in China)
Rosetta Stone, discovered by Jean Champollion in the 1800s, contained messages in hieroglyphics, demotic, and Greek.
Art and Literature
The arts of ancient Egypt included: statues, wall paintings, and carvings on temples.
everyday scenes of trade
, farming, family life, and religious ceremonies.
Pharaohs and gods were much larger than any other human figures.
Some human figures have animal heads that represent special qualities. Example: Great Sphinx
The oldest literature of ancient Egypt includes: hymns and prayers to gods, proverbs, and love poems.
The Tale of Sinhue helps us see how Egyptians viewed both themselves and the people of the surrounding desert.
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