Egypt, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
With Ancient Egypt is meant civilization developed along the Nile Valley from the roofs, to the south and to the border with the present Sudan, to the mouth, to the delta, in the Mediterranean Sea, for a total extension of about 1000 km.
Though the territory was much wider, including much of the Libyan-Nubian Desert, human settlements, from the earliest times, developed only in the narrow green belt near the banks of the broad river, at some points even a few hundred of meters. The fertile valley of the Nile gave its inhabitants the opportunity to develop a solid economy based on agriculture and an increasingly sophisticated and centralized society which turned out to be one of the fundamental starting points of the history of human civilization. The first nomad hunter-gatherers settled in the Nile Valley towards the end of the Middle Pleistocene, about 120,000 years ago. Around the end of the Paleolithic, in fact, the arid North African climate began to become more and more hot and dry, forcing people to settle along the coasts. At different times the various groups developed. The largest of these cultures, in Upper Egypt (the southern part), was the Badari Culture, probably originated in the West Desert; is especially known for the high quality of its ceramics and stone tools, and for the use of copper.
The Archaic Period of Egypt coincided, roughly, with the beginning of Sumerian-Akkadian civilization in Mesopotamia and with the civilization of Elam.
Maneton, priest and Egyptian historian of the Hellenistic period (3rd century BC), grouped the long series of pharaohs, starting from the archaic Narmer (also Menes) in thirty dynasties; its system is still in use.
Huge advances in architecture, art, and technology took place during the Old Kingdom, as a result of a significant increase in agricultural production and consequent demographic growth – all controlled by sophisticated central administration. Some of the most notable and celebrated monuments of Egyptian civilization, such as the Giza Pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza, and the Chephren Statue on the throne, date back to this period.
After the collapse of the Egyptian central government and the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country’s economy, and local governors could no longer rely on Pharaoh for support in times of crisis: the shortage of Foodstuffs, as well as political controversy, soon died of famine and civil wars on a tiny scale. Subsequently, the pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom re-established the prosperity and stability of Egypt, stimulating a Renaissance of the arts, literature and monumental architecture. When, around 1785 BC, the Pharaonic power came to a new period of crisis, an Asian population, the Hyksos, had already settled in the northeastern city of Avaris; the Hyksos extended their dominion over most of Egypt, occupying it, and forcing the central power to retreat to Thebes.
Then the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom after defeating the Hyksos gave birth to an age of unmatched splendor, making sure the boundaries and fervently engaging diplomatic relations with nearby powers such as the Methane Empire, Assyria, and Canaan.
At the death of Ramses XI, in 1078 BC, Smendes I assumed the control of northern Egypt, governed by the city of Tanis; the southern part was under the actual government of the high priest of Amon, a resident of Tebe, who recognized the authority of Smendes I only nominally. After that period the Nubians intruded.
The Nubian dynasty was definitely over, and a native sovereign, Psammitic I, was placed on the throne of Egypt as a vassal of Ashurbanipal Assyrian.
Without a permanent occupation plan to be followed to conquest, the Assyrians delegated the Egyptian government to a series of vassals destined to become the Saudi Pharaohs (ie, rulers of the Sais city) of the XXIV Egyptian dynasty. In 332 BC, encountering minimal resistance from the Persians, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, which embedded in his own empire. The Egyptians welcomed the Macedonian leader as a liberator.
The administrative subdivision established after long wars by the successors of Alexander led to the establishment of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, which preserved ancient Egyptian culture while having a fundamentally Hellenistic culture capital, Alexandria of Egypt.
As Rome began to rely more and more on imported wheat from Egypt, the interference of the Romans with Egyptian politics became decisive: continual revolts, political ambitions and heavy pressures from the Near East led to an unstable situation, laying the foundations of the Roman conquest of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt.
Egypt became a Province of the Roman Empire in the 30th century, following the defeat in the Battle of Azio, Marco Antonio and the last Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by the Roman General Ottaviano.
Some deities are more important in certain historical periods, others are created by a healthy plant and later erased from Egyptian history (just remember the god of Akhenaten).
Groups of gods:
1)The Ennead – An extended family of nine gods produced by Atum during the creation of the world. The usual Enneade consisted of Atum, his sons Shu and Tefnut, their sons Geb and Nut, and their sons Osiris, Isis, Sets, and Nephites.
2) The four sons of Horo – Four Gods who protected the mummified body, especially the internal organs in canopies.
3) The Ogdoad – A set of eight deities that personified the Chaos that existed before creation. Ogdoad was formed by Amon, Amaunet, Nun, Nunet, Huh, Huh, Kek, and Keket.
4) Pe and Nekhen souls – A set of divinities that personify the mythical chauvinistic sovereigns, rulers of Upper and Lower Egypt.
According to the Egyptians, the body was made up of different parts: the body or soul, the ka or vital force, the divine force or divine force inspired by life. To get a life after death, however, ka needed the body of the deceased, which had to remain intact, and this was only possible thanks to the technique of mummification. The Egyptians did not regard death as the complete extinction of man, but rather denied it, believing that there was a continuation of life in the afterlife conceived as a true immortality. For the Egyptian conception of man there are supernatural elements, common to the deity, that allow endless life:
The Akh, the divine force, represented by the hieroglyph of the Ibis; Probably Akhenaten is in correlation with this force, also seen in its correspondence to the initials and its physical forms.
Ba, the soul, depicted as a bird (benu, egyptian phoenix);
Ka, spirit or vital force.
Ra is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most venerated gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Sun worship has known over the centuries many local variants, which have represented it in various forms and known by numerous names.
The myth of Osiris, which has become the Egyptian national legend over the centuries, is the result of the fusion of many variants, belonging to various places and different epochs. The same possible interpretation of its mythological content originated from different theses, from the comparison of which one can have a complete picture of the legend.
An Egyptian temple could be large (eg Abu Simbel temple) or small.
Some temples are Ptah at Menfi, Osireon (a temple dedicated to Osiris god), the Temple of Dendera and Luxor; there is also the Karnak complex. Often there were depictions of Egyptian gods and pharaohs, near sphincter files.
Egypt, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
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