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Ancient Egypt.docx

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McGill University
ANTH 210
Henricvan Gjsohard

Ancient Egypt:  Mediterranean , cataracts (rocky regions)  Relatively isolated- geography and enemies surrounding  The Nile is fed by violent monsoon rains that flood the surrounding area once a year- deposits rich sediment once waters recede  Several years of thin floods meant starvation  Common theme in Egyptian religion: flooding and uncertainty of how much flooding will occur- pharaoh convinces people that he controls flooding and sun rising/ setting  Legitimacy of the pharaoh is questioned when floods do not happen  Very arid environment- little rainfall  Sustenance relies on flooding of the Nile  The New Kingdom: know more about this era than others because earlier occupations are destroyed by the flooding and later periods who destroyed earlier period artifacts- occupied same area along banks of the river  Zone between arable land and desert is stark  Black land= Egypt, arable land (black soil) (temet)  Red land= desert, sand (deshret)  Akhet (inundation): July-October  Peret (growing): Oct- March  Shemu (drought): April- July  Nilometer: calculated maximum amount of flooding within a year- calculated hwo much land each community would be capable of growing on each year- allowed kings to set a tax rate that was manageable- finances  Shaduf: basket system o irrigate land further from irrigation canals  Emmer wheat and barley for normal people- and fish for protein  Fruit trees and meat reserved for elite  Detailed Egyptian art gives us much information about practices: intended by Egyptians to show after life- that was much like normal life but always plentiful and easy- if you worked hard in your life you would be very successful in the after life  Food, beer or bread was a form of trade or redistribution of wealth by elites- seen as a reward for service and hard work  19 century craze in Europe for Egyptian artifacts and architecture- art deco influenced by Egyptian architecture- especially in London  Manetho: Greek priest’s writing- left a detailed list of kings- dynastic history of Egypt- years of reign and accomplishments- discontinuities showed a change in throne  Old, middle and new kingdom distinguished by intermediate periods  pyramids: experiment in statehood characteristic of the old kingdom- failed ultimately due to unsustainable nature  Napoleonic expedition 1798: o Tried to secure a passage to the Red Sea- controlled by Ottomans o Wanted a strategic presence in North Africa o Failed o Brought savants with him in charge of studying antiquities, people, etc. o Dominique Vivant Denon: pornographer- drew Egyptian monuments- responsible for inspiring Europe- lost forgotten city- o Rosetta stone discovered: translation key to hiero
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