Midterm Readings - Textbook.docx

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Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
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Z.Mc Quinn

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Midterm Readings - The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt NMC343 Table of Contents Chapter 1 Introduction_______________________________________________________________________________________2 Chronology ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________2 From Prehistory to History: Late Predynastic Artefacts and the Palermo Stone_______________________________2 King-Lists, Royal Titles and the Divine Kingship ____________________________________________________________________3 The Role of Astronomy in Traditional Egyptian Chronology ______________________________________________________5 Co-Regencies ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________5 Dark Ages and Other Chronological Problems_______________________________________________________________________5 Egyptian History________________________________________________________________________________________________________6 Chapter 2 Prehistory: From the Palaeolithic to the Badarian Culture (c. 700,000 4,000 BC)____7 The Badarian Culture ____________________________________________________________________________________________________7 Chapter 3: The Naqada Period (c. 4,000 3,200 BC) ______________________________________________________8 Chronology and Geography _____________________________________________________________________________________________8 Naqada I (Amratian) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________8 Naqada II (Gerzean)____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10 Chapter 4: The Emergence of the Egyptian State (3,200 2,686 BC) __________________________________12 State Formation and Unification _____________________________________________________________________________________ 12 The Early 1 Dynasty___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 13 The Royal Cemetery at Abydos _______________________________________________________________________________________ 14 The Tombs of High Officials at North Saqqara and Elsewhere __________________________________________________ 15 Expansion of the Early State into Southern Palestine and Nubia _______________________________________________ 15 The Invention and Use of Writing____________________________________________________________________________________ 15 Early Dynastic Cult Centres ___________________________________________________________________________________________ 16 nd The 2 Dynasty State __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 17 Conclusion _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 18 Chapter 5: The Old Kingdom (c. 2,686 2,160) __________________________________________________________19 Chronological Considerations and the Main Characteristics of the Period____________________________________ 19 Large-Scale Building Projects as Catalysts of Change_____________________________________________________________ 19 The 4 Dynasty (2,613 2,494 BC) __________________________________________________________________________________ 20 Kingship and Afterlife__________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20 The Old Kingdom Economy and Administration __________________________________________________________________ 21 Royal Funerary Cults___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 22 Midterm Readings - The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt NMC343 Chapter 1 Introduction All history is clearly reliant on some form of chronological framework, and a great deal of time has been spent on the construction of such dating systems for Ancient Egypt. Ever since the first Western-style history of Egypt was written by an Egyptian priest called Manetho in the third century BC, the pharaonic period, from c. 3,100 to 332 BC, has been divided into a number of periods known as dynasties, each consisting of a sequence of rulers, usually united by such factors as kinship or the location of their principal royal residence. This essentially political approach has served very well over the years as a way of dividing up Egyptian chronology into a series of convenient blocks, each with its own distinct characteristics. Some of the new work shows that at many points in time Egypt was far less culturally unified and centralized than was previously assumed, with cultural and political changes taking place at different speeds in the various regions. Chronology Modern Egyptologists chronologies of ancient Egypt combine three basic approaches: 1. Relative dating methods - Stratigraphic excavation - Sequence dating of artifacts (invented by Flinders Petrie in 1899) - Forms of seriation o Harco Willems seriation of Middle Kingdom coffins 2. Absolute chronologies - Calendrical and astronomical records obtained from ancient texts 3. Radiometric methods - Radiocarbon dating - Thermoluminescence *Traditional calendrical system of dating virtually always has a smaller margin of error than radiocarbon dates, which are necessarily quoted in terms of a broad band of dates (that is, one or two standard deviations), never capable of pinpointing the construction of a building or the making of an artifact to a specific year (or even to a specific decade). From Prehistory to History: Late Predynastic Artefacts and the Palermo Stone There are only a small number of artefacts from the late Predynastic period that can be used as historical sources, documenting the transition into full-unified statehood. These include: - Funerary stelae Commemorate different kinds of royal acts (Kings death and - Votive palettes burial/his own devotion to one of the gods or goddesses) - Ceremonial maceheads - Small labels (of wood, ivory or bone) originally attached to items of elite funerary equipment Midterm Readings - The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt NMC343 The ancient Egyptians show little inclination to distinguish consistently between event and ritual, and indeed it might be argued that Egyptian ideology during the pharaonic period particularly in so far as it related to kingship was reliant of the maintenance of some degree of confusion between real happenings and purely ritual or magical acts. One of the most important historical sources for the Early Dynastic Period (3,000 2,686 BC) and the Old Kingdom (2,686 2,160 BC) is the Palermo Stone - Part of a 5 Dynasty basalt stele (c. 2,400 BC) inscribed on both sides with royal annals stretching back to the mythical prehistoric rulers - The slab must originally have been about 2.1 m long and 0.6 m wide, but most of it is now missing - Enumerates the annals of the kings of Lower Egypt o Beginning with the many thousands of years that were assumed to have been taken up by mythological rulers, until the time of Horus (said to have given the throne to the human king, Menes) th o Human rulers are then listed up to the 5 Dynasty - Types of events recorded on Palermo Stone: o Cult ceremonies o Taxation o Sculpture o Building o Warfare o Records of Nile inundation - This, along with day books, the annals and king lists inscribed on temple walls, and the papyri held in the temple and palace archives, was doubtless the kind of document that Manetho consulted when he was compiling Aegyptica. King-Lists, Royal Titles and the Divine Kingship Apart from the Palermo Stone, the basic sources used by Egyptologists to construct the chronology of political change in Egypt are: - Manethos history (has survived only in the forms of excerpts) - King-lists - Dated records of astronomical observations - Textual and artistic documents (such as reliefs and stelae) bearing descriptions referring to historical events, genealogical information and - Synchronisms with non-Egyptian sources such as the Assyrian king-lists Like most other ancient peoples, the ancient Egyptians dated important political and religious events not according to the number of years that had elapsed since a single fixed point in history (such as the birth of Christ in the modern Western calendar) but in terms of the years since the accession of each current king (regnal years) day 2 of the first month of the season peret in the fifth year of Nebmaatra (Amenhotep III). It is important to be aware of the fact that, for the Egyptians, the reign of each new king represented a new beginning, not merely philosophically but practically, given the fact that dates were expressed in such terms. This means that there would probably have been a psychological tendency to regard each new reign as a fresh point of origin: every king was, Midterm Readings - The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt NMC343 therefore, essentially, reworking the same universal myths of kingship within the events of his own time. One important aspect of the Egyptian kings
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