Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Egypt and the Pharaohs

Side view of the Sphinx
Originally uploaded by A.M. Kuchling.

Aegypticus / the Latin name for Egypt

Exploring Egypt, "Gift of the Nile," and Africa
geography / Trudeau

1. Who were the outsiders who trekked deeply into North and West Africa - about the year 1000 AD - to trade and leave behind their cultural influences?
a) Arabs b) Romans c) Greeks d) Hindus
The desert-wise Arabs!
2. These intrepid traders crossed the Sahara to trade with the peoples of West Africa. The motivation for such a trek was (choose 3):
a) slaves b) gold c) ivory d) fabrics e) masks f) music & dance.
Slaves, gold & ivory - today the world loves the fabrics, masks and music & dance of the African continent.
3. The Romans conquered the lands on the rim of North Africa about the time of Christ. They established trade with and built cities in 5 African-Mediterranean nations: __, __, __, __, & __. Please see your atals.
4. East Africa's trading neighbors would be the Arabs and others from the nations that lie closest to the border. These 4 nations would be __, __, __ & __. See yr atlas , please.
5. Which location offers evidence that the Arabs sailed down the east coast of Africa to establish trading centers? a) Mogadishu b) Mombasa c) Dar es Salaam.
Dar es salaam means the"haven of peace" in Arabic.
6. Did the Pharaonic era Egyptians have serious trouble from Midddle Eastern tribal nations? Yes / No.
Yes. In fact, peoples from Palestine/Lebanon, the Hyksos, took ruled Egypt for a time during the age of the Pharaohs.
7. The "look" of a modern Egyptian: does he look a bit like the ancient Pharaohs and a bit like a blend of the ethnic groups who've invaded Egypt over the centuries? Do Egyptians look like a "crossroads" people? Yes / No .
Yes. This is my opinion, but I spent 6 weeks studying Egypt and Egyptians on a Fulbright Fellowship, so ...
8. What is the area of Egypt? __ million sq. miles. Is it about the same as that of Nigeria? __ million sq. miles.
9. What is the population of Egypt? __ million The population of Nigeria? __ million
10. How do you explain the differences between the Egyptian and Nigerian statistics? _____________

Which came first, the Great Pyramids or the Valley of the Kings?
The pyramids came from the Old Kingdom, the Valley of the Kings from the Middle Kingdom.

* Egypt was part of the Roman Empire. Supplied wheat to Rome and the rest of the empire. Was a source of wild animals used in the coliseums' gladiatorial extravaganzas.

* The reading of hieroglyphic messages fell into disuse after the invasion of Alexander the Great (which preceded the Roman era). He brought the Greek language and culture to Egypt and the Middle East. With the extinction of the priest class and the old-style pharaohs, Hieroglyphics were replaced by Greek and Demotic script.

* Rosetta Stone: in 1799 Napoleon's soldiers dug up a basalt announcement stone with 3 scripts: Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphics. Written about 200 BC, it was the key to translating the hieroglyphics. Credit for translation goes to Frenchman Jean Francois Chompollion.

Today the Rosetta Stone is in the British Museum, London.

* The white limestone blocks that clad the Great Pyramids in a smooth "skin" were also lost in antiquity. They were taken from the Pyramids to be used as building stone for palaces and businesses. Subsequently the dark, 2-ton blocks which make the body of the pyramids are bare.

* Another lost technology: how to make glass of the type found in the blue bands of King Tut's golden burial mask.

Cairo, Time Life Books.
World History Encyclopedia, DP.
The Arab World, Time/Life.

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Lives of the Pharaohs

Tutankhamen, pronounced toot ahngk AH muhn, served as king of Egypt from about 1347 B.C. until his death in 1339 B.C. His name is also spelled Tutankhamun or Tutankhamon. His reign was unimportant. But interest in Tutankhamen began in 1922, when the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb. The tomb had not been opened since ancient times and still contained most of its treasures. It is the only tomb of an ancient Egyptian king to be discovered almost completely undamaged. See CARTER, HOWARD.

Tutankhamen became king at about the age of 9. He probably received much assistance from Ay, his vizier (minister of state). Tutankhamen's original name was Tutankhaton, meaning the living image of Aten or the life of Aten is pleasing.

Akhenaten had made Aten the sole god of Egypt. He wanted Egyptians to stop worshiping the chief sun god Amon and other traditional gods. But many Egyptians, including the powerful priests devoted to Amon, rejected the worship of Aten. About four years after becoming king, Tutankhaton took the name Tutankhamen and restored Egypt's old religion. See AKHENATEN.

Historians believe Tutankhamen died at about the age of 18, but they are unsure about the cause of his death. Ay succeeded Tutankhamen as king and held his funeral in the Valley of the Kings, a burial center at Thebes. Horemheb, a leading general, later succeeded Ay as king. Horemheb and his successors destroyed or removed all monuments built by or in honor of Tutankhamen and others who had accepted Aten as Egypt's chief god. Partly because of these actions, little was known about Tutankhamen until Carter's discovery.

Ramses, II pronounced RAM seez, was a famous Egyptian pharaoh (king) who reigned from about 1290 to 1224 B.C. Ramses came to the throne at an early age. He served as coregent (co-ruler) with his father, Seti I, for a short time before he began his own long reign.

During the early part of his reign, Ramses tried to end Hittite control of Syria. About 1285 B.C. he fought an indecisive battle against the Hittites at Kadesh and claimed a great victory. But about 1269 B.C., Ramses made a treaty with the Hittite king that divided Syria between them (see HITTITES).

During the rest of his long reign, Ramses devoted his energies to a vast building program. He built a new capital in the Nile Delta. He completed the hypostyle (col-umned) Great Hall of the Temple of Amon-Re at Karnak. He also built the mighty rock temples at Abu Simbel, and other temples in nearly every major Egyptian city. He also took credit for many buildings of his ancestors.

Ramses was probably the pharaoh spoken of in the Biblical book of Exodus. His mummy is preserved in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Akhenaten, pronounced ah kuh NAH tuhn, also called Ikhnaton, ruled ancient Egypt as pharaoh from about 1367 to 1350 B.C. He was married to Queen Nefertiti. Akhenaten was a religious reformer devoted solely to the worship of Aten, the sun god. During the early part of his reign, perhaps while coregent with his father, Amenhotep III, he abandoned the state religion of Amon. Akhenaten built a new capital at Amarna, which he called Akhetaton, meaning horizon of Aten. Late in his reign, he attacked the old religion and removed the name of the national god Amon from monuments. Akhenaten was also known as a poet and a patron of the arts. See also EGYPT, ANCIENT (The New Kingdom); NEFERTITI.

Hatshepsut, pronounced hat SHEP soot (?-1469 B.C.?) was the fourth female pharaoh in Egyptian history. The daughter of King Thutmose I and his chief wife, Queen Ahmose, Hatshepsut married her half-brother, King Thutmose II. When Thutmose II died unexpectedly about 1490 B.C., Hatshepsut's stepson, Thutmose III, inherited the throne. But because he was too young to rule, Hatshepsut served as regent (temporary ruler).

Within a few years, and with the support of the priests of the god Amon, Hatshepsut had herself crowned pharaoh alongside her stepson. Because Egyptians believed their kings were divine, she justified her new role by claiming to be the god Amon's daughter. She also had herself represented as a man on monuments.

As pharaoh, Hatshepsut encouraged trade and sent an expedition to the land of Punt, somewhere on the northeast coast of Africa. She also sponsored a vast building program at home. She added to the temple of Amon at Karnak and built for herself a great memorial temple, known today as Deir el-Bahri. These monuments, though badly damaged when Thutmose III attacked Hatshepsut's memory after her death, have preserved her fame into the present day.

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