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Lecture

Egypt

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Department
History
Course
History 2173
Professor
Barbara Murison
Semester
Fall

Description
Sept, 20, 2012 Egypt -In the south it is protected by the Nile and at the north the Mediterranean -In the east there was desert as well as to the west and this was to their advantage but it was negative also because they were isolated from new ideas -Was divided into three sections which were lower, middle, and upper Egypt in the south -They did not depend on rains throughout the year but relied on the floods that happened once a year that peaked in September (silt carried by the river was spread over the land and fertilized their fields) -Was easy to obtain agricultural surplus there and irrigation works were designed to extend the floods of the Nile not prevent them and this was a large scale project and led to an organized way of life -Nomes (provinces) were what the villages were grouped into and eventually the whole country became unified -The 30 Dynasties that lasted to 332 BC were over taken by Alexander the Great -The people were a combination of African and Asian elements and their language was the same Prehistoric Cultures – c. 4500 BC: -Can be traced back and progress was slow and steady down to 3200 BC -At the end of the period the Nomes had emerged and we are certain trade had begun -On a vase we see that there are many ores on ships and cabins on board with a banner representing mountains and this may tell us about the origins of the people (possibly Crete) and this tells us they were trading far away -The northern sections (delta area) tend to be more advanced than in the south -In the south the recurring pattern is that the north over takes their territory and then a ruler from the south rebels and takes over the north (usually princes from the south rise) Archaic Period (Narmer / Menes) – c. 3200 BC: -Contains Dynasties I and II -Narmer was said to have founded the capital at Memphis and thus is an important figure -Menes is said to have done the same thing so speculation says maybe they were father and son or maybe it was the same person known by two names (had throne names other than their regular name) -Little in known about this period internally and it ended in confusion but all the same the foundations of Egyptian culture was laid here (use of papyrus, cursive or joined writing, and a system of calculation that was vital) -People had to be able to calculate when each year the flood could be expected -Hieroglyphs came in at an early time were used for record keeping and they developed to be much more elaborate -Starting from Upper Egypt a homogenous culture was spread throughout the country and we see this with knife handles and made heads and we also see that the state is now thinking about war (pictorial representations of power do show aggression) -If you were successful in war you needed to memorialize this and put up monuments -One of the most important finds from before the unification were the cosmetics palates that were used ritually that were made of hard slate and placed in tombs and temples -The Narmer Palette was an important tribute to the pharaoh and it was found in Upper Egypt -It was decorated on both sides and on one side Narmer is seen wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt and is shown holding a mace and a flail -The person behind him is his sandal bearer and is not important and in front of him there is a long haired man and four standard bearers and 10 decapitated corpses (not afraid of showing violence because they show you are ruthless and worthy of rule) -There are various symbols thought to deal with particular towns that were taken over and in the centre there are two men holding ropes attached to mythical animals (combination of serpents and lions) and one suggestion is that showing the animals intertwined and being hybrid represents the unification of Egypt -On the last sections there is a bull knocking down city walls and trampling someone and this may represent the pharaoh vanquishing his enemies -On the top of both sides there is a cow goddess who was the mother of Horace (king’s reincarnation) and a temple building Sept, 20, 2012 -On the other side he is wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt and a girdle with a lion’s tail and he is holding a mace and he is holding a captive from Libya (pose ritualized with the pharaoh’s raised arm to show domination) -There is the falcon god Horace holding a captive on a leash and he is perched on six stylized lotus blossoms which is interpreted as 6000 prisoners being taken or it could represent the Nile Delta -At the bottom there are naked fleeing Libyans trying to avoid a dreadful fate -The whole object commemorates the god king Narmer who unified Egypt and triumphed over his enemies and the message is that permanent order has been established -The mace was the most commonly used close range weapon of the period and it was a symbol of the pharaoh’s authority and most had a hollow stone head with a cutting base -We have many written materials and they are dominated by administration but some of it has been exaggerated and confined by religion (religion stifled technological development as well) -We have medical texts that testify to the effectiveness of the mace in combat and show that doctors deal with a lot of skull fractures (could distinguish types and treat each) and these documents show us the effects of these weapons which is useful to us) -The axe was copper or stone for a long time but bronze comes in and replaces them (more powerful) -There was still a problem of attaching the blade to the shaft (Sumerians had the socket axe to solve this) -The Egyptians were behind technologically so for a long time they split the shaft, inserted the blade and bound it but the Hyksos brought the socket axe and then the Egyptians adopted it (Hyksos also brought sickle sword) -It could be argued that for a while Egyptians did not need to bother with military tools because their problems were internal again because of their isolation and their feeling of protection (felt they were superior and they felt no need to work on their military) Old Kingdom (Dynasties III-VI) – c. 2600-2180 BC: -Examples of all blue hieroglyphs from Dynasty 5 are very standardized with a cartouche of the pharaoh -In Dynasty three we see the introduction of some worship and one of the Great Pyramids took 20 years to build with 100,000 men and this shows a totally enslaved population -Rulers were seen as the sons of Re not as gods in their own right and there is a decline in status as time goes on -No one is sure about the date of the Sphinx or who it is depicting but it must have been a great drain on the economy to build things like this and thus over time these works decline over time st 1 Intermediate Period – c. 2180 BC: -Separates the Old and middle Kingdoms and was a period of confusion and there were many invasions -To Egyptian minds this shows the power of a strong pharaoh but the confusion in the north was taken advantage of by a Theban prince -Internal cohesion was strong and they felt no need to be ready for war but things changed in the Middle Kingdom Middle Kingdom (Dynasties XI-XII) – c. 2080 BC: -Considered the classical period and Dynasty 12 has a few warrior pharaohs -There was the development of a standing army and a lot of work was done on the landscape -Military success was more a part of royal propaganda with much evidence from archaeology showing fortresses -The 12 Dynasty pursued much conquest and expanded their territory quite extensively -A network of forts was built that were very impressive and surrounded by walls and ditches with watch
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