May 23, 2024
Egyptian Civilization

Egyptian Civilization

Egyptian civilization arose in the Nile River basin in present-day Egypt around 5000 BC and lasted for more than 2,500 years. The wanderings, practices and contributions of the Egyptians in all fields of knowledge, science, architecture, urbanization, medicine, religious culture are unforgettable. Which is still a matter of great interest and curiosity to people.

The Egyptian civilization of about 5 thousand years ago is still an unknown curiosity. Therefore, many believe that the Egyptian civilization was far more advanced than the modern human civilization of today.
Now let’s come to the detailed discussion of it.

History:

Egypt is called the gift of the Nile River, the fertile soil deposited in the Nile River basin was the main reason for the rise and development of the Egyptian civilization. Entire civilizations have revolved around this river. The civilization was divided into two parts, Lower or Northern Egypt and Upper or Southern Egypt.

The Nile River
The Nile River

Originally, the ancient Egyptian polity was based on kingdoms and kings, with hereditary dynasties ruling the kingdom in addition to serving as high priests, and the Egyptians called them ‘Pharaohs’. In 3200, Norman or Menes became Egypt’s first patriarch and priest. Famous among the ‘Pharaohs’ or emperors of Egypt were King Menes, Ahmose I, King Thutmose, Emperor Ikhnaton and Ramesses I and II, during which Michar reached the height of his success.

Dynasties, political periods:

In ancient Egyptian civilization, the whole of Egypt was ruled by about 31 dynasties and this political period is divided into four eras.

# Pre-Dynastic Era: This era ruled from 5000-3200. At that time the whole of Egypt was divided into two parts, Upper Egypt or Southern Egypt and Lower or Northern Egypt. Around 4300, a battle called ‘Namar’ in northern Egypt brought the two Egypts together in political unity.

# The Old Dynastic Era: This era spanned from 3200 to 221 AD. Rulers from the First to Tenth Dynasties ruled Egypt. A united Egypt split again in 3200, when Menes, the leader of Upper or Southern Egypt, reunited and founded the Egyptian dynasty.

# Middle Dynastic Period: The Eleventh to Seventeenth Dynasties ruled Egypt from 2132 to 1573 AD. At that time the nomadic tribe ‘Hicks’ from Syria invaded Egypt.

# Eight hundred and thirty-one dynasties ruled Egypt from 1573 to 332 AD. One of the most famous pharaohs of the 19th dynasty was ‘Ramses II’ during his reign the Jews were freed from slavery and came to the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

Social Status:

Egyptian society was stratified and social status was always clearly defined. Farmers were the largest section of the society. But their crops were owned by the state, the temple or a noble family who owned the land. Farmers had to pay labor taxes and work in irrigation and construction under karvi system.

Class divisions in Egyptian society :

1. Royal family 2. Priestly class 3. Aristocracy 4. Business class 5. Clerks 6. Artists and 7. Peasants and slaves.

Slavery existed in ancient Egypt, but its prevalence and extent are unclear. Ancient Egyptians treated men and women equally at all levels of society under the law, with the exception of slaves and lowly peasants who could seek justice from a vizier.

Both men and women had the right to acquire and sell property, enter into contracts, marry and divorce, inherit and sue in court. Married couples can jointly own property. Husband’s wife and children can claim maintenance in case of marriage breakdown. Egypt’s social conditions were stable at that time.

Religion:

The Egyptians were the first to practice religious beliefs. Religion had an important influence on the way of life of the ancient Egyptians. Egyptians’ social, state, economic, cultural life, that is, religious education is reflected in every aspect of life.

The name of the main deity of the Egyptians was ‘Amon-Re’. Another god of the civilization based on the Nile was called ‘Osiris’. Osiris was also known as the god of the Niles. Both these gods were dominant. Other gods and goddesses were not so influential. The Egyptians believed in eternal life and in hell and heaven. As a result, they kept the body of the deceased in the pyramid.

Legal Procedure:

The head of the Egyptian legal system was the ‘Pharaoh’, whose important responsibility was to establish justice and maintain law and order through legislation. The Egyptians called this concept Ma’at. Although no codified laws have been found in ancient Egypt, court records suggest that Egyptian law was based on a general concept of good and evil, emphasizing conflict resolution and reaching consensus rather than strict adherence to specific laws.

Natural Resources:

Egypt was also rich in natural resources, Wadi Hammamat was a well-known source of granite, gold greywacke. Flint was the first collected mineral used to make tools, flint axes are the first evidence of human habitation in the Niland Valley. Razor-sharp blades and arrowheads were made by striking chunks of flint, continuing after the introduction of copper. Egyptians first used minerals like sulfur for cosmetic purposes.

The most important metal used by the Egyptians for making tools was copper, which was produced from malachite ore found in the Sinai. Gold nuggets were collected from sedimentary rocks. Again gold is extracted from quartzite by grinding.

Iron was later produced from iron mines found in northern Egypt. High-quality stone used in construction was abundant in Egypt; Limestone was collected from the Nile Valley, granite from Aswan, basalt and sandstone from the oases of the Eastern Desert. Ornamental stones such as alabaster, greywacke and granite were found in abundance in the Eastern Desert and were collected as early as the First Dynasty. During the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, emeralds were mined from Wadi Sikait and Wadi el-Hudi.

Writing Method:

The writing system of the Egyptians is called ‘hieroglyphics’ and the Egyptians were the first to discover the writing system. Which was called holy script. This writing system had twenty-four signs and each sign indicated a special meaning. Words were expressed by carving each symbol side by side. This type of script was used to write dharma and publish the edicts of the king. Gradually the writing style improves. Scripts used range from image-based to letter-based and finally letter-based. Scripts were first carved on stone or wood.

Hieroglyphics
Hieroglyphics

The Egyptians first made paper from the papyrus plant. This paper was called papyrus. Scribes wrote on papyrus. The contribution of the Egyptians to world civilization is unparalleled. Their contribution was not only limited to writing system, state and society, economy, but their contribution to all aspects of ancient civilization is memorable.

Agriculture:

Agriculture in ancient Egypt was completely dependent on the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians identified three seasons, Akhet (flood season), Peret (planting season) and Shemu (harvest season). The flood season was from June to September. The fertile alluvium accumulated on the banks of the river during the floods of this period.

The period of crop production was from October to February after the flood waters receded. Farmers plow the land and sow seeds. The land was irrigated through canals. Egypt had little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile.

From March to May the harvest was done with sickles and the grain was separated by threshing. Then the grain is threshed to separate the chaff. The bran-free grains were made into flour or beer or stored for future use.
The Egyptians cultivated wheat, barley and other crops. They were used to make bread and beer, the two staple foods of the Egyptians.

Trade:

During the Predynastic period, trade relations were established with Nubia to collect gold and incense. Trade with them was also established in the Palestinian territories, as oil vessels are found in the tombs of First Dynasty pharaohs in the Palestinian territories.

There was an Egyptian colony in Canaan sometime before the First Dynasty. King Narmer made Egyptian pottery in Canaan and imported it into Egypt. During the Second Dynasty wood was imported from Jubail which was not available in Egypt.

During the Fifth Dynasty, Punt began to import gold, resin, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons. Egypt was dependent on Anatolia for tin and the necessary additional copper, both elements of bronze. The Egyptians prized lapis-lazuli, which came from as far away as Afghanistan. Olive oil and other products came to Egypt from Crete and Greece in the Mediterranean region. Cereals, linen, gold, papyrus and a variety of glass and stone objects were exchanged for various luxuries from Egypt.

Architecture and sculpture :

No other civilization has matched the Egyptians’ talent for sculpture. The grandeur, variety and religious motifs impressed by the gigantic stone idols bear testimony to their excellence in the art of sculpture. Each sculpture was influenced by religious concepts, rituals, ideologies.

Every art was a religious art. The largest of these sculptures is the incomparable Sphinx of Giza. A sphinx is a statue with the body of a lion, but the face of a man. The largest pyramid in Egypt is the Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu. The temples reflect the wonderful patterns of Egyptian sculptural architecture.

Over 5000 years old this Egyptian civilization rule, architecture is still a curiosity and wonder to us. Egypt is like a star in the history of world civilization. Egyptian civilization has many important contributions to our 20th century modernity.

Share with us what you think about the ancient Egyptian civilization in the comments below.

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