The Egyptian empire
The Egyptian empire began in 3100 BCE, (Early Dynastic Period), under the Pharaoh Narmer, and ended in 30 BCE, with Cleopatra’s suicide, and the Roman Empire’s complete takeover in the region. It was an extremely interesting and wide spanning empire.
Cause – The Egyptian empire was caused by the unity of Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt. Their respective red and white crowns were united into one red and white crown. This event happened under Narmer. This caused Ancient Egypt, as we know it today. Prior to that, Upper, and Lower Egypt were entirely different country’s, with different customs, and different rulers. We don’t know a lot about Neolithic Egyptian culture, but we can assume that the arrival of the new Egyptian religion also opened up the land for a new set of rulers, being the pharaohs.
Effect – There was widespread effect throughout history. We see influence in architecture, in buildings such as the Eiffel Tower. Also we see influence in later empires, particularly in the social hierarchy, and worker pay. They also had many notable inventions such as the vase, the plow, and most notably, paper. They also invented the long – term time system the western world still uses today, (24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 4 weeks in a month, and 12 months in a year. As well as that, from Egypt we have the first semblance of a baptism, which has been so significant in the western world and religion.
Demise – The end of ancient Egypt is a matter of much dispute, but we can presume that the beginning of the end came in the time of Ramesses II, when Egypt is widely believed to have been in its prime. The Egyptians main foes at this time were the Hittites, and they had many battles. At one such battle it is believed that The Egyptians charged at the Hittites with their bronze sword, but the Hittites fought them back with their new, stronger swords, made of iron. While being by no means a decisive failing, this event is believed by many to be where the seeds were sown for the demise of ancient Egypt. Around this time cracks started to form in Egypt democracy, most prevalent in the rebel movement in the south, and the murder of Ramesses III. After this came The Roman Invasion, the Persian invasion, and The Last native king in 342 BC, Cleopatra’s suicide, (marking the end of ancient Egypt,) and the closure of the last pagan temple in the sixth century.
How Do We Know?
Historians and Archeologists have found a lot of artwork, artifacts, and architecture, among other things, from ancient Egypt. The most notable would be the pyramid, in which there were many invaluable objects, such as vases made of gold, and silver, and beautiful death masks, such as the one made for Tutankhamen. Also we have hieroglyphic inscriptions, of the names of Pharaohs, and the names of gods. Outside of that, we have funeral texts, such as The Book Of The Dead, which detailed the life after death in the underworld. Many people speculate that the reason we have found so many artifacts is because the Egyptians buried their artifacts in their tombs and coffins for when they died. The tombs were extremely hard to enter, so the artifacts have laid buried for thousands of years.
What would it have been like to be a Slave \Woman\Child?
The Life of a woman: To be a woman in ancient Egypt wouldn’t have been terrible, and civil rights for women were slightly better than rights in other civilizations of the time, but ancient Egypt was a civilization ruled by men. However, women and men were represented equally in court, and a woman didn’t have to be married to own land. It was not uncommon for wealthy women to own large amounts of land after their husbands died. While this might not sound like much, (and all things considered it isn’t.) it was a better life for women than many other civilizations of the time.
The Life of a Child: A Childs life in Egypt probably would have began on some “birth bricks” amid prayers to the childbirth god Taweret. Most of the time either the child, or the mother didn’t make it through the ordeal. In toddler years the children’s only responsibility was to learn to walk, talk, and play. Around age five children of the very rich started being tutored in maths, reading, and writing, by tutors or slaves, but the vast majority were taught to be good homemakers, particularly girls. Most children were homeschooled, but there was probably some sort of school, where beatings were common, and brutal. Around age 12 many girls started to marry, so 12 to 13 are considered by many to be the general age of adulthood.
The Life of a Slave: Slaves were usually prisoners of war from other countries, and so were often treated poorly. They are represented at the bottom of the Egyptian social hierarchy. They were forced to do the most backbreaking labor, like working in the fields in the brutal heat. They were sold off, they couldn’t get treatment when they were sick, and when they died they were buried in mass graves. They were often taken from their family at very young ages, and trained to cook, and farm. However, on a rare occasion a slave would be treated like a member of the family, (well, more like a good cat or dog, but still). But 90% of the time, the life of a slave in ancient Egypt was awful.
Geography: Ancient Egypt was protected by barren, red desert. Any rogue invader would be killed by heatstroke, or dehydration. Their rotting corpse would be vulture food. And any army would surely face massive losses while crossing the desert. Also in the desert there were many precious stones and metals, which were a valuable trading commodity. But desert was not the only geographic terrain. Ancient Egyptian society divided their land into two parts, the “red land”, and the “black land”. The red land, being the desert, and the black land being the only part farmable. It was there that many crops were grown, such as garlic, and sugar cane. The reason it was called the “black land”, was because when the Nile flooded each year, it would deposit a thick layer of rich, black, silt, which was brilliant for farming. However the location of the silt near the river meant the occasional death by crocodile!
Ancient Egyptian religion was vast. The first leader god, and by way first pharaoh was Ra, the sun god. He was a good leader for a while, but he became old, and senile, but refused to give up the throne to someone younger. Ra had heard of two godly lovers named Geb, and Nut. There was a prophecy that one of their children would over throw Ra, so he did everything he could to keep them apart. But they did end up having children, and Osiris, (god of the afterlife, and the underworld) their eldest, did end up overthrowing Ra, by having his wife Isis, trick Ra into retiring. She did this by tricking him into revealing his secret name to her, which, other than retiring him to the heavens, also gave her many magical powers. Osiris was depicted as a good, and fair king while he was in charge, as he taught man to farm, and also built the first city in Egypt. But Osiris’s younger brother, Set was jealous, and tricked his brother into lying down in a golden coffin, upon which he cut him into many pieces, which he scattered around the land. Isis saved the day again though; by collecting all the pieces, and putting them back together, restoring him to a half-life, for at least long enough conceive the rightful heir to the throne of Egypt, Horus. More on him later. But by the time she had done this, Set had already become Pharaoh. Set was the god of evil, chaos, and the desert, and his reign was not pleasant for the people described in the Egyptian myths. But Horus stepped in, once he came of age, and overthrew Set. Horus was a good king, and every mortal pharaoh after that was called a descendent of Horus. Some other gods worth mentioning are Anubis, (god of death) Sobek, (god of crocodiles, and usually worshipped at Crocodilopolis) Bes, (Dwarf god, and also god of the household. Usually worshipped as people went about their daily routine.), and Khonsu, (god of the moon)
Architecture – Architecture was one of the most important things that ancient Egypt passed on, and influenced, particularly through the pyramids. In the modern age, we can see many buildings influenced by them, such as the Eiffel Tower. On a smaller scale, there many mud brick houses in Egypt, inhabited by farmers, and slaves. The hot ancient Egyptian climate helped these buildings stay strong, and not melt away in the rainy season. Another big architectural masterpiece of ancient Egypt was the tombs, the pyramids among them. These important structures were built to last, and so were built out of fail-safe stone. The tombs had wide courtyards, filled with high pillars and pedestals