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University of Toronto St. George
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Zoe Mc Quinn

NMC343: Lecture 1 9/13/2012 2:17:00 PM  Zoe MCquinn  Office: Room 332, 4 Bancroft Ave.  Office Hours: Thursday 1:00 pm – 4:00 PM  Telephone: 416-956-0818  E-mail: [email protected]  Egypt is a contact point between three major continents. Located in what we consider Africa but it touches the tip of Asia, only separated by Sinai and the red sea. Very close to Europe across the Mediterranean. This allows Egypt to be very unique and have contact with many cultures. It also have a barrier between them: the libian desert to the west, the Sudanese desert to the south, and the sahara to the east? It’s hard to cross.  Egypt in the ancient Egyptian mind is the center of the universe. Egyptian thinks of the universe as a bubble, surrounded by water, in this bubble is a flat disk that makes up the earth were we live. The water can crush this bubble, but thanks to the gods, the bubble will always be there. The waters are nun, or nunette the female version of nun.  Shu is the air that forces the bubble out and keep nut the sky goddess as a barrier between the waters and the universe. The rim that makes this bubble is sometimes refer to as pet (the air goddess)?  In egyptian cosmology, the heavens are female, and the earth male. If they meet, all life will be destroyed, so shu has to stand between them to keep them apart.  On the earth where we live is the first life. When we die we go to the next. This land has an opposite side. This is one half of the bubble, the other half extends downwards. It is an exact imagine of what is above, but it is the second life, where the deceased goes to die.  The world would not exist without the sun. the sun gives life to everything. When the earth is in darkness it is because the other world is in light. The akhet is the contact point (the horizon). That is where the sun sets and rises. It is a dangerous time when the sun is setting and emerging. It is considered very dangerous magical in Egyptian terms.  Egyptian geographical terms:  Ta-meri, ta-mri is “the land of the hoe”. The fact that they had food because of their agriculture abilities means that it was a safe place. The land of the hoe was very symbolic and where you can plant safely.  Tawi, ta-wi means the “two lands”. In Egyptian art, religion and art, the idea of duality is important. Duality is this balanced pair system. Egyptians see it in this land constantly. 2 is a very powerful number.  The black land: where you can grow land: kmt, kemet  The red land: desert: deshret: the death land  Ta-smaw: ta-shemau Upper Egypt “land of the reeds”  Ta-MHW: ta-mehu “land of papyrus”  lower land  There is much more growing land in the delta than anywhere else in Egypt.  Remember duality it will be on the test  Other termsL  Nubia: nbw, nebu “means gold”. To the Egyptians nebu is the land of the Gods.  Mediterranean ocean: wad-wr, wadj-wer “great blue-green”  The nile (the most important word: ITRW  the only thing with the one word)  itchru  EGYPT IS a hydraulic civilization. Egypt is the gift of the nile. Without the nile Egypt would not exist. Because of the water operates it was also security. There is no rain so it would almost be impossible to grow without the Nile. Every year like clockwork the Nile would flood. That guaranteed Egyptian life.  It’s a hydraulic civilization, everything is based in this cycle of water. Even the calendar.  The agricultural calendar, every year in Egypt, the AXT or akhet (the inundation), mid july to mid November, the Nile floods.  Prt-peret (literally means “coming forth”, the growing season), mid- November to mid march  Smw-shemu (harvest-time), mid-march to mid-july  Each season consisted of four months (month = abd) of 30 days. (day=sw). agriculture, solar, lunar, and regnal (based on the reign of the king) calendars existed.  Measuring the flood is important. If it too high, you have trouble clearing the… if it’s too low, you have bad crops. It has to be perfect. It is measured by the nilometer, located at aswan, dating from the early dynastic period. The oldest Islamic monument is on roda and is a nilometer.  Climate:  400,000 B.C – palaeolithic period in north eastern Africa it was very wet. People didn’t live there because they didn’t need to. You can get food within the north Africa. It is not until 25000 bc that the onset of a drier climate  10,000 – 5000 b.c – Mesolithic period.  That is when they have people living closer together and no longer rely specifically on hunting and gathering practices, rather starting for the first time domesticate plants and animals for great numbers for society  6000 b.C – a gradual moistening of the climate which leads to a growth in the civilization and crops. Very important date in the Egyptian civilization.  Domestication of animals and plants changed everything  Fauna (animal life): cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, variety of birds, dogs, cats, doonkeys as well as gazelle, oryx, hyena, monkeys and ibez. Dogs are the most important pets and the most numerous. Then monkeys. Number three cats  Mk woolly-sheep  Nk horses and zebu.  Flora (plants): barley, wheat and flax  Grapes, dates, figs, pomegranate.   Egypt has vast mineral resources, like Canada!!  It has a massive variety of stone, including sand stone, lime stone, granite, dorites, alabaster (milky white stone, when you make it thin enough on the side, of you shine light through it it glows. Very valuable stones.  Arsenic copper has arsenic percentage in it.  Natron: wonderful carbonate. Excellent for perfume ba
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