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Chapter 4

Crossroads & Culture:Chapter 4.doc

Course Code
Carol Chin

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(Sept 17-19) HIS102Y1 Chapter 4: Pages 105-136
Chapter Four: Creation of Empire: North Africa and Southwest Asia
Empire: A large political unit that imposes its rule over diverse regions, peoples, and cultures;
empires can take many different forms.
Imperial Egypt and Nubia (1550 B.C.E.–350 C.E.)
-Northwest Africa, the kingdoms of Egypt and Nubia dominated the Nile Valley (3000 b.c.e.)
-1550-660 b.c.e., first Egypt then Nubia formed the core of the first empires in part of the world
-Egypt thrived for more than 400 years because of a sequence of strong pharaohs
-Centuries later, Nubia became the dominant power, ruling over Egypt for 70+ years
-Egyptian culture continued to have a powerful influence in Nubia.
-Egyptians ignored Nubian culture
-Nubians promoted Egyptian culture in both the conquered Egyptian state and Nubian homeland
-Nubian culture assimilated, producing a unique mix of local and foreign influences that
categorized the region for many centuries after Nubia’s empire had faded away
-Assimilation: The process by which one group absorbs the cultural traditions of another group
The Imperial Might of New Kingdom Egypt (1550–1070 b.c.e.)
-Egyptians started a sustained period of expansion first, they expelled the Hyksos—foreign
rulers who had occupied the Nile Delta for some 150 years—and marched into the area now
occupied by Syria and Palestine large armies
-King Thutmose III (r. 1479–1425 b.c.e.) was an aggressive empire builder, driving his troops
into Syria seventeen times to force local rulers into submission.
-Two hundred years later King Ramesses II (r. 1279–1213 b.c.e.) had to fight massive battles
against the Hittites to maintain control over part of the region.
-Egypt expanded south into Nubia, occupying some seven hundred miles along the Nile River.
-Conquest brought many riches to Egypt allowed pharaohs to build massive temples + tombs
-Queen Hatshepsut was famous for her monuments she seized power in 1473 b.c.e., when the
heir Thutmose III was still a young boy, and ruled Egypt until 1458 b.c.e.
-To honour her after death, she ordered that a temple be constructed on west Nile bank of the
capital Thebes ships sailed down to obtain materials needed to construct the temple
Years after her death, people turned against her and defaced her relics
-Women seemed to possess more influence + legal autonomy than anywhere in the ancient world
-Most notable episode in Egypt’s religious history was reign of King Amenhotep IV (r. 1352–
1336 b.c.e.), who early in his rule adopted the name Akhenaten meaning “servant of Aten.”
-King abandoned all traditional deities, focusing all attention on the god of the sun disk, Aten.
Built an entire city in his honour and made it his capital
-Depicted himself and his family as only humans who could communicate with Aten
-Did not forbid his people from worshipping other deities
-After his death, Amun, the highest god, and his priesthood regained their prominence in Egypt.
-He failed to impose long-term cultural change not because he lacked power while he lived, but
because the changes he sought challenged the status of another powerful group in his state.
New Kingdom Egypt = unequal society in terms of wealth and status

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(Sept 17-19) HIS102Y1 Chapter 4: Pages 105-136
To an extent, all benefited from the empire’s existence, at least insofar as it produced
internal peace and economic stability.
-New Kingdom empire was so large with many diverse people, that Egyptians were obliged to
adjust their attitude toward subjects in response to local conditions
-Egyptians showed no respect for the culture of Nubians considered inferior and uncivilized
-Primary interest in Nubia was its gold mines
-Egyptian governors ignored local culture and founded Egyptian settlements with administrative
buildings and temples devoted to Egyptian gods.
-Some elite Nubians entered the Egyptian administration, adopting an Egyptian lifestyle to do so.
-Around 1200 b.c.e. the Eastern Mediterranean system collapsed, and the Egyptian Empire
gradually lost its foreign territories by 1070 b.c.e. Nubia became an independent kingdom
-Nubians used the practices they had observed among the Egyptians to develop a culture
Nubia’s Rise and Rule of Egypt (1000–660 b.c.e).
-Nubians had their capital in Napata
-Nubia developed as a strong centralized state shortly after 1000 b.c.e.
-During that time, Egypt was divided among several competing dynasties and chiefdoms
-In Egypt’s south, the Theban high priest of Amun ruled as if he were a king.
-In 8th century, political power shifted to new system that centered on women of the royal court.
Highest religious office became that of the high priestess of Amun
To maintain political control over her possessions, she could not marry and have
children. Passed on her office by adopting her successor, princess from strongest dynasty
-In 736 b.c.e., Nubian king, Piye, gave his sister the office of high priestess.
-Northern Egyptian rulers did not accept Piye’s authority and threatened to attack Thebes.
-In response, Piye led his troops northward from Napata to Memphis, forcing submission
-Egypt and Nubia reunited Nubia in control ruled like earlier Egyptian pharaohs
-Supported Egyptian cults, portrayed themselves as Egyptian rulers, and headed a bureaucracy
-Bureaucracy: A system of gov’t employing nonelected officials to administer a variety of
specialized departments
Nubians did not attempt to influence Egyptian culture.
Instead, they absorbed Egyptian customs they saw as expressions of power and prestige
-Claimed to be legal rulers of Egypt by presenting themselves as Egyptians instead of Nubians
-Only way to distinguish Nubian from Egyptians is by their retention of Nubian birth names.
-Copied many aspects of Egyptian life—temples, tombs, mummification, language, script
-Nubians retained some aspects of their culture they valued most
-Stability of Nubians brought time of prosperity
-However, around 660 b.c.e., the Assyrians of Southwest Asia invaded Egypt and drove the
Nubians out of Egypt. When the Assyrians’ grip on the country loosened a few years later, a
family from the north of Egypt established itself as the new ruling dynasty.
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