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Lecture 1

NE STUD 18 Lecture 1: NES 18 Lecture 1: Introduction

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Department
Near Eastern Studies
Course Code
NE STUD 18
Professor
Carol Redmount

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NES 18: Introduction to Ancient Egypt
Professor: Carol Redmount
Lecture 1
Ancient Egypt in Popular Imagination (Past and Present)
oEgyptomania - prominent today
Geography of Ancient Egypt
oModern Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa:
North = Mediterranean Sea
West = Libya
South = Sudan
East = Red Sea
Northeast, Across Sinai Land bridge = Israel, Jordan
oAncient Egypt had similar borders: Mediterranean Sea in the North to Aswan
and the First Cataract in the South
Aswan - First Cataract (area of natural blockage that restricted river
travel) - formed a natural southern border for Egypt
oFive other cataracts south of Aswan blocking the course of the Nine River -
Ancient Egypt ended after the first cataract, Modern Egypt ends after the 2nd
oAnother difference – Ancient Egypt was restricted to area flooded by the Nile
River, surrounding desert - not part of Ancient land
oNorth - delta, South - valley
oNorthern Egypt/Nile Delta ("Ta-Mehu" or The North Land) = Lower Egypt
(because the Nile flows North)
Flat and fertile
Famous for cattle herding, hunting in the marshes and various estates
Closer to the med - open to more diverse foreign influences
Many ancient remains (Tells - remains of ancient cities)
oSouthern Egypt/Nile Valley ("Ta-Shemau" or the South Land) - Upper Egypt
Cliffs, sometimes come to within a few yards of the river (desert cliffs)
Formed a natural barrier which only a few Egyptians would try
to cross
High desert - served as an effective defense and helped insulate the Nile
valley from foreign influences
oMiddle Egypt (Area Between Memphis and Asyut)
Northern part of Nile Valley - broad flood planes, settled later than the
South was)
Includes Amarna
Defined as the Nile Valley between Memphis and Asyut (end point can
vary from scholar to scholar)
Memphis - first capital - always remained a city of major political,
economical and religious importance - located S of modern day Cairo because
the apex of the river has moved North
Archaeologically, we know little about the city
The Necropolis lies to the West of the City (burial grounds,
cemeteries - best represented by the Pyramids at Giza and Sakkara)
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Description
NES 18: Introduction to Ancient Egypt Professor: Carol Redmount Lecture 1  Ancient Egypt in Popular Imagination (Past and Present) o Egyptomania - prominent today  Geography of Ancient Egypt o Modern Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa:  North = Mediterranean Sea  West = Libya  South = Sudan  East = Red Sea  Northeast, Across Sinai Land bridge = Israel, Jordan o Ancient Egypt had similar borders: Mediterranean Sea in the North to Aswan and the First Cataract in the South  Aswan - First Cataract (area of natural blockage that restricted river travel) - formed a natural southern border for Egypt o Five other cataracts south of Aswan blocking the course of the Nine River - Ancient Egypt ended after the first cataract, Modern Egypt ends after the 2nd o Another difference – Ancient Egypt was restricted to area flooded by the Nile River, surrounding desert - not part of Ancient land o North - delta, South - valley o Northern Egypt/Nile Delta ("Ta-Mehu" or The North Land) = Lower Egypt (because the Nile flows North)  Flat and fertile  Famous for cattle herding, hunting in the marshes and various estates  Closer to the med - open to more diverse foreign influences  Many ancient remains (Tells - remains of ancient cities) o Southern Egypt/Nile Valley ("Ta-Shemau" or the South Land) - Upper Egypt  Cliffs, sometimes come to within a few yards of the river (desert cliffs)  Formed a natural barrier which only a few Egyptians would try to cross  High desert - served as an effective defense and helped insulate the Nile valley from foreign influences o Middle Egypt (Area Between Memphis and Asyut)  Northern part of Nile Valley - broad flood planes, settled later than the South was)  Includes Amarna  Defined as the Nile Valley between Memphis and Asyut (end point can vary from scholar to scholar)  Memphis - first capital - always remained a city of major political, economical and religious importance - located S of modern day Cairo because the apex of the river has moved North  Archaeologically, we know little about the city  The Necropolis lies to the West of the City (burial grounds, cemeteries - best represented by the Pyramids at Giza and Sakkara) o Faiyum - 20 kilometers west of the Nile Valley (opposite Northern Egypt) - large basin that extends over an area of 4500 square kilometers  Lake Qarun - confined to the Northwestern corner of the Faiyum  Linked to the Nile River by a natural channel called the Bahr Yusuf  Popular hunting and fishing area, very fertile, one of the most agricultural
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