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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) 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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