|Prehistory of Egypt pre – 3100 BC. C.|
|Archaic period 3100–2686 BC. C.|
|Old Kingdom 2686–2181 BC C.|
|First intermediate period 2181–2055 a. C.|
|Middle Kingdom 2055–1650 BC C.|
|Second intermediate period 1650–1550 BC. C.|
|New Kingdom 1550–1069 BC C.|
|Third intermediate period 1069–664 a. C.|
|Late period 664–332 BC. C.|
|Hellenistic period 332–30 BC C.|
|Roman and Byzantine Egypt 30 BC C. – 641 d. C.|
|Islamic Egypt 641–969|
|Fatimid Egypt 969–1171|
|Ayubid Egypt 1171–1250|
|Mamluk Egypt 1250–1517|
|Ottoman Egypt 1517–1867|
|French occupation 1798–1801|
|Egypt under Mehmet Ali 1805–1882|
|Khedivate of Egypt 1867–1914|
|British occupation 1882–1953|
|Sultanate of Egypt 1914–1922|
|Kingdom of Egypt 1922–1953|
The Ancient Egypt was one civilization agriculture of antiquity , which originated along the middle reaches of the river and under the Nile , whose history spans more than three millennia. It is considered one of the most important of Humanity. [ 1 ]
The area called Ancient Egypt has varied over the centuries, but it is generally accepted that it ranged from the Nile delta in the north to Elephantine at the first cataract of the Nile in the south. It also controlled the eastern desert, the Red Sea coastline , the Sinai peninsula , and a large western territory dominating the scattered oases . Historically, it was made up of Upper and Lower Egypt , to the south and north respectively, which preceded the creation of a unified state. In its period of greatest expansion, it controlled the Amorite kingdoms of Palestine and northernSyria , reaching as far as the middle Euphrates , and the Nubian chiefdoms of the Sudan , as far as the Jebel Barkal , at the fourth cataract of the Nile. It exerted an important cultural influence among neighboring peoples, and even in regions as far away as Cyprus , the Anatolian coast. and the Hellenic peninsula .
The Egyptian civilization developed for more than 3,500 years. It began with the unification of some cities in the Nile valley, [ 2 ] around the year 3150 BC. C. , [ 3 ] and conventionally it is finished in the year 31 a. C. , when the Roman Empire conquered and absorbed Ptolemaic Egypt , which disappeared as a State . [ 4 ]This event did not represent the first period of foreign rule in Egypt, but it did lead to a gradual transformation in the political and religious life of the Nile Valley, marking the end of the independent development of its cultural identity . This, however, had gradually begun to fade after the conquests of the Persians ( 6th century BC ) and the Macedonians ( 4th century BC ), especially during the Ptolemaic period . The arrival of Christianity , and its expansion among the native Egyptians, cut off one of the last survivals of ancient Egyptian culture. In 535, by order of Justinian I, the cult of the goddess Isis was prohibited , in the temple of File with which ended a religion of more than four millennia. Nevertheless, the Egyptian language (called Coptic ) continued to be used, written in an alphabet derived from Greek , and the native Egyptians fully identified with Christianity, especially with the Monophysite doctrine . Then a Coptic literature emerged , of a Christian character, which collected myths, customs and beliefs of the old traditional religion. The disappearance of the Coptic and its replacement by Arabic, in the context of the Islamization of the country after its conquest, It was the final end of the last remains of Ancient Egypt.
Egypt has a unique combination of geographic features, located in Northeast Africa and bordered by Libya , Sudan , the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea . The Nile River was the key to the success of Egyptian civilization , since it allowed the use of resources and offered a significant advantage over other opponents: the fertile silt deposited along the banks of the Nile after the annual floods meant for Egyptians practice a less laborious form of agriculture than in other areas, freeing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological and artistic development.
Life was ordered around the development of an independent writing system and literature , as well as careful state control over natural and human resources, characterized above all by the irrigation of the fertile Nile basin and the mining of the river. valley and surrounding desert regions, organizing collective projects such as major public works, trade with neighboring regions of East and Central Africa and with those of the MediterraneanEastern and, finally, by a power capable of defeating any enemy, and that maintained an imperial hegemony and the territorial domination of neighboring civilizations in different periods. The motivation and organization of these activities was entrusted to a socio-political and economic elite bureaucracy , the scribes , under the control of Pharaoh , a semi-divine character, belonging to a succession of dynasties, who guaranteed the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate religious belief system . [ 5 ] [ 6 ]
The many achievements of the Egyptians include mining, topography and construction techniques that facilitated the erection of monumental pyramids, temples and obelisks, mathematical procedures , effective medical practice , irrigation methods and agricultural production techniques, the first known ships, [ 7 ] the technology of glass and faience , new forms of literature, and the oldest known peace treaty , signed with the Hittites. [ 8 ]Egypt left a lasting legacy, its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities were taken to the farthest corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imagination of travelers and writers for centuries. A new respect for antiquities and excavations in modern times have led to scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural heritage. [ 9 ]
The territory of Ancient Egypt consisted of the Delta and the Nile River Valley , a long and narrow strip in northeast Africa; a fertile territory less than 60 kilometers wide and 1,200 kilometers long, flanked largely by the Sahara desert .
The Nile is one of the largest river courses in the world. It is born in East Central Africa (in the Victoria Nyanza , Alberto Nyanza and Tana lakes ) and empties into the Mediterranean Sea forming the Nile delta .
The geography of Ancient Egypt is very significant and greatly influenced its culture. Egypt is located in northeast Africa and is very isolated from other countries due to its geographical location. Its limits are: to the west, the Libyan desert; to the east, the Arabian desert; to the north the Mediterranean Sea and to the south the Ethiopian massif and the Nubian desert. That surrounding natural environment limited contacts with the outside, allowing an original culture to develop with little influence.
| Ancient Egypt |
Dynasties and Pharaohs
|Archaic period : I - II|
|Old Kingdom : III IV V VI|
|I PI : VII VIII IX X XI|
|Middle Kingdom : XI XII|
|II PI: XIII XIV XV XVI XVII|
|New Kingdom : XVIII XIX XX|
|III PI: XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV|
|Late period : XXVI XXVII|
|28 29 30 31|
|Hellenistic period :|
|Macedonian . Ptolemaic|
Obtaining an exact chronology of Ancient Egypt is a complex task. There are various dating criteria among Egyptologists , with differences ranging from a few years in the later periods, from decades to the beginning of the New Kingdom, and from almost a century during the Old Kingdom (see: Chronology of Ancient Egypt ).
The first problem arises from the fact that the Egyptians did not use a homogeneous dating system: they did not have a concept of an era similar to Anno Domini , or the custom of naming the years, as in Mesopotamia (see Limmu ). They dated with reference to the reigns of the various pharaohs, possibly overlapping the interregnum and the times of co - regency . An added problem arises when comparing the different Royal Lists of pharaohs , since they are incomplete or with contradictory data, even in the same text. The works of the best historian on Egypt, Manetho , were lost and we only know them through epitomesof later writers like Flavio Josefo , Eusebio de Cesarea , Sexto Julio Africano or the monk Jorge Sincelo . Unfortunately the dates of some reigns vary from one author to another.
The beginnings of Egyptian civilization
Archaeological evidence indicates that Egyptian civilization began around the 6th millennium BC. C., during the Neolithic , when the first settlers settled (see the predynastic period ). The Nile River , around which the population sits, has been the baseline for Egyptian culture since nomadic hunter-gatherers began living on its banks during the Pleistocene . The traces of these first settlers were left in the objects and signs engraved on the rocks along the Nile valley and in the oases .
Along the Nile, in the 11th millennium BC. C. , a culture of grain gatherers had been replaced by another of hunters , fishermen and gatherers who used stone tools . Studies also indicate human settlements in southwestern Egypt, near the border with Sudan , before 8000 BC. Geological evidence and climatological studies suggest that changes in the climate , around 8000 BC. C., began to dry out the hunting and grazing lands of Egypt, gradually forming the Sahara desert. The tribes of the region tended to group near the river, where small towns arose that developed an agricultural economy. There is evidence of grazing and the cultivation of cereals in the eastern Sahara in the 7th millennium BC. C.
Around 6000 a. C., had already appeared in the valley of the Nile organized agriculture and the construction of large towns. At the same time, in the Southwest they were engaged in cattle raising and also building. The lime mortar was used in 4000. It is the so-called predynastic period, which begins with the Naqada culture .
Between 5500 and 3100 BC. During the Predynastic, small settlements flourished along the Nile. In 3300 BC. C., moments before the first dynasty , Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, known as Upper Egypt Ta Shemau and Lower Egypt Ta Mehu . [ 10 ] The border between the two was located in what is now Cairo , south of the Nile Delta .
The history of Egypt, as a unified state, begins around 3050 BC. C. Menes ( Narmer ), who unified Upper and Lower Egypt, was its first king. The culture and customs Egyptian were remarkably stable and hardly changed in nearly 3000 years, including religion , artistic expression , architecture and social structure.
The chronology of the Egyptian kings begins at that time. The conventional chronology is the one accepted during the 20th century , not including any of the revisions that have been made during that time. Even in the same work, archaeologists often offer, as possible, several dates and even several chronologies, and therefore there may be discrepancies between the dates shown in the different sources. They also gave several possible transcriptions of the names. Traditionally Egyptology classifies the history of the pharaonic civilization divided into dynasties, following the narrative structure of the epitomes of the Aigyptiaká ( History of Egypt ), of the Egyptian priestManetón .
Periods of Egyptian history
Predinastic period (c. 5500 BC. -3200 BC.)
It is known from archaeological remains that the Sahara formerly had a Mediterranean climate , more humid than the current one. In the massifs of the Ahaggar and the Tibesti there was abundant vegetation. For those settlers, the Sahara would be an extensive steppe with large herbivores to hunt. Saharan cultures are largely unknown, but not nonexistent for that.
The successive phases of the Neolithic are represented by the cultures of El Fayum , around 5000 BC. C., the tasiense culture , towards 4500 a. C. and the culture of Merimde , towards 4000 a. All of them know polished stone, ceramics, agriculture and livestock. The base of the economy was agriculture that was carried out using silt , a natural fertilizer provided by the annual floods of the Nile River .
Around the year 3600 a. C. arises the Gerzean or Naqada II , which spreads throughout Egypt, unifying it culturally. This cultural consonance will lead to political unity, which will emerge after a period of struggles and alliances between clans to impose their supremacy.
To achieve greater efficiency and production, around 3500 BC. C. , the first canalization works began to be carried out and writing with hieroglyphics arises in Abydos . At this time the proto-states began:
The first communities made the country habitable and organized themselves into regions called nomos . The inhabitants of the Delta had a feudal organization and came to establish two kingdoms with two chiefs or monarchs respectively. A kingdom was settled in a swampy place, which was called the Kingdom of the Reed and had a reed stalk as its symbol. Its capital was Buto ; they had a cobra as a totem. The other kingdom had Busiris as its capital and a vulture as a totem, but its symbol was a bee and it became known as the kingdom of the Bee . Both kingdoms were separated by an arm of the Nile River.
The kingdom of the Bee conquered the kingdom of the Junco so that the Delta was unified. But some of the defeated fled to settle in the Upper Egypt area where they founded cities giving them the same name as those they had left in the Delta. That is why many cities of this time have similar names in Upper and Lower Egypt. These people prospered considerably until they became organized into a state.
Periodo protodinástico (c. 3200-3000 a. C.)
Considered the final phase of the predynastic period, also known as dynasty 0 , late predynastic, or Naqada III period. It is ruled by rulers of Upper Egypt who will reside in Tinis , are represented by a serech, and worship Horus . The names of these kings appear on the Palermo Stone , engraved 700 years later. In this period the first authentic cities emerged, such as Tinis, Nubet , Nejeb , Nejen , etc. Typical of this era are the magnificent stone-carved vessels, ceremonial knives and paddles, or the heads of votive maces. Narmer he may have been the last king of this time, and the founder of the I dynasty.
Archaic Period (c. 3100-2686 BC)
At the end of the predynastic period, Egypt was divided into small kingdoms; the main ones were: that of Hierakonpolis (Nejen) in Upper Egypt and that of Buto (Pe) in Lower Egypt . The process of unification was carried out by the kings of Hierakonpolis.
The Egyptian tradition attributed the unification to Menes , this being reflected in the Royal Lists . This character is, according to Alan Gardiner , King Narmer , the first pharaoh of whom it is known that he reigned over all Egypt, after a series of fights, as was attested in the Narmer palette . This period is made up of Dynasties I and II.
Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2181 BC)
Under Dynasty III the capital was definitively established in Memphis , from where the name of the country comes from, since the name of the main temple, Hat Ka Ptah "house of the spirit of Ptah ", which became Greek as Aegyptos , with time designated first to the neighborhood he was in, then to the entire city, and later to the kingdom.
At the time of the third dynasty, the custom of erecting great pyramids and monumental stone ensembles began, thanks to the pharaoh Dyeser . Also the great pyramids of Giza , attributed to the pharaohs Cheops , Khafre and Menkaure are dated to this period.
The dynasty V marks the rise of the high clergy and influential local governors ( nomarchs ), and during the long reign of Pepy II a time of strong decentralization will be accentuated, called first intermediate period of Egypt . The Old Kingdom includes dynasties III to VI.
First Intermediate Period (c. 2190-2050 BC)
It was a time when power was decentralized and runs between the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom. It ranges from Dynasty VII to the middle of Dynasty XI, when Mentuhotep II reunited the country under his command. Despite the decadence, this era stood out for a great literary flourishing, with doctrinal or didactic texts, which show the great social change. The important change in mentality, as well as the growth of the middle classes in the cities originated a new conception of beliefs, reflected in the appearance of the so-called Sarcophagus Texts . Osiris became the most popular deity, with Montu and Amun . The nomes of Heracleópolisand Thebes became hegemonic, the latter finally imposing itself. They are the VII to XI dynasties.
Middle Kingdom (c. 2050-1750 BC)
It is considered to begin with the reunification of Egypt under Mentuhotep II . It is a period of great economic prosperity and foreign expansion, with pragmatic and enterprising pharaohs. This period is made up of the end of the 11th and 12th dynasty.
Ambitious irrigation projects were carried out in El Fayum , to regulate the great floods of the Nile (Caused by the large bodies of water from the Mediterranean Sea evaporated in the deserts near the empire), diverting it towards Lake Moeris (El Fayum). Trade relations with the surrounding regions were also strengthened: African, Asian and Mediterranean. The artistic representations were humanized, and the cult of the god Amun was imposed . In the mid 1800's C., the Hyksos leadersthey defeated the Egyptian pharaohs; What began as a gradual migration of Libyans and Canaanites to the Nile Delta, eventually transformed into a military conquest of almost the entire Egyptian territory, causing the fall of the Middle Kingdom. The Hyksos won because they had better weapons, and they knew how to use the surprise factor.
Second Intermediate Period (c. 1800-1550 BC)
During much of this period, the Hyksos rulers , chiefs of nomadic peoples on the periphery, especially Libyans and Asians, who settled in the delta, and had the city of Avaris as their capital, dominated Egypt . Finally, the Egyptian leaders of Thebes declared independence, being called the 17th dynasty. They proclaimed the "salvation of Egypt" and led a "war of liberation" against the Hyksos. They were dynasties XIII to XVII, partially contemporary.
New Kingdom (c. 1550-1070 BC)
It is a period of great external expansion, both in Asia - where they reach the Euphrates - and in Kush (Nubia). The 18th dynasty began with a series of warrior pharaohs, from Amosis I to Tuthmosis III and Tuthmosis IV . Under Amenophis III expansion came to a halt and a period of internal and external peace began.
After a period of monarchical weakness, the military castes came to power, the XIX or Ramsesid dynasty which, mainly under Seti I and Ramses II , was energetic against the expansionist Hittite kings .
During the reigns of Merenptah , successor of Ramses II , and Ramses III , of the 20th dynasty , Egypt had to face the invasions of the Peoples of the Sea , originating from various areas of the eastern Mediterranean ( Aegean , Anatolia ), and the Libyans. .
The pharaohs of the New Kingdom began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun , whose growing cult was based in Karnak . They also built monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. Hatshepsut will use such hyperbole during her reign of almost twenty-two years that it was very successful, marked by a long period of peace and prosperity, with commercial expeditions to Punt, the restoration of foreign trade networks, major construction projects, including an elegant temple. funerary that rivals the Greek architecture of a thousand years later, colossal obelisks and a chapel at Karnak.
Despite her achievements, Hatshepsut's heir , her stepson Tuthmosis III , tried to erase all traces of her legacy towards the end of the reign, appropriating many of her achievements. He also tried to change many established traditions that had developed over the centuries. Possibly it was a futile attempt to prevent other women from becoming pharaoh and thus curb their influence in the kingdom.
Around 1350 a. C., the stability of the Empire seemed threatened, even more when Amenhotep IV ascended to the throne and instituted a series of radical reforms, that had a chaotic result. Changing his name to Ajenatón , he promoted the hitherto dark solar deity Aten as the supreme deity , initiating a religious reform tending to monotheism.. In part, Akhenaten's monotheism was a product of royal absolutism; the old gods had disappeared, but the king maintained — for his own political gain — his traditional role as mediator between men and the wishes of the new god. The pharaoh suppressed the worship of most other deities and, above all, tried to nullify the power of the influential priests of Amun in Thebes, whom he saw as corrupt. By moving the capital to the new city of Ajet-Aten (present-day Amarna), Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to events in the Near East (where the Hittites, Mitanni, and Assyrians were vying for control) and concentrated solely on the new religion. The new religious philosophy brought with it a new artistic style, which highlighted the king's humanity over monumentality.
After his death, the cult of Aten was quickly abandoned, the priests of Amun regained power and returned the capital to Thebes. Under his influence later pharaohs - Tutankhamun , Ay, and Horemheb - attempted to erase all mention of Akhenaten and his "heresy," now known as the Amarna Period .
Around 1279 a. Ramses II ascended to the throne , also known as the Great . His would be one of the longest reigns in Egyptian history. He had more temples, more statues and obelisks built, and more sons than any other pharaoh. A bold military leader, Ramses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in present-day Syria); After coming to a standstill, he finally accepted a peace treaty with the Hittite kingdom. It is the oldest registered peace treaty, around 1258 BC. Egypt withdrew from most of its Asian possessions, leaving the Hittites to compete, unsuccessfully, with the rising emerging power of Assyria and the newly arrived Phrygians.
The wealth of Egypt, however, had become a tempting target for invasion; in particular, for the Libyan Bedouin of the west and the Peoples of the Sea , who were part of the powerful confederation of Greek pirates of the Aegean Sea . Initially, the army was able to repel the invasions, but Egypt ended up losing control of its territories in southern Syria and Palestine, which largely fell to the Assyrians and Hittites. The impact of external threats was compounded by internal problems such as corruption, the theft of royal tombs, and popular unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests of the temple of Amunin Thebes they had accumulated vast tracts of land and much wealth, weakening the state. The country ended up divided, beginning the Third Intermediate Period .
Third Intermediate Period (c. 1070-656 BC)
It begins with the establishment of two dynasties of Libyan origin that divided Egypt: one, from Tanis , the biblical Zoan, in Lower Egypt , and another, whose kings took the title of High Priests of Amun , from Thebes . The period ends with the domination of the Cushite kings . They are the dynasties, partially contemporary, XXI to XXV.
Late Period or Low Epoch (c. 656-332 BC)
It begins with the Saite dynasty , followed by a Nubian dynasty, an Assyrian invasion attempt, and two periods of Persian rule , as well as several contemporaneous dynasties of independent Egyptian rulers. Egypt eventually became a satrapy . They are the XXVI to XXXI dynasties.
Hellenistic period (332-30 BC)
It begins with the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 332 BC. C. , and the arrival to the power in 305 a. C. of the Ptolemaic dynasty , of Macedonian origin. It ends with the incorporation of Egypt to the Roman Empire after the battle of Actium , in the year 31 BC. C. In the year 30 a. C. dies Cleopatra and Egypt becomes a province of the Roman Empire.
Roman period (30 BC-640 AD)
The Byzantine Empire passed to his successors after the Roman Empire was divided into the West and East in 395, and it remained in their hands until the conquest by the Arab people in 640 . The last vestiges of the traditional culture of Ancient Egypt definitively end at the beginning of the 6th century , with the last priests of Isis , who officiated the temple on the island of Phile , when the cult of the "pagan gods" was outlawed.
Egyptian society was hierarchical in three levels:
- Pharaoh: Depositary of divine rights, all powers were attributed to him through Horus.
- High officials: high priests and scribes.
- People: peasants, artisans, slaves, among others.
Ancient Egypt was organized into 2 kingdoms, Upper and Lower Egypt.
From the year 3000 BC they were unified into a single kingdom that had a monarchical, absolutist and theocratic government:
- Monarchist: a single king ruled in Egypt.
- Absolutist: Pharaoh had all the power.
- Theocratic: Pharaoh was considered a god.
Pharaoh was the representation of god on earth and all Egypt belonged to him: lands, crops, commerce.
Some functions of the pharaoh were:
- It dictated the laws.
- Organized the army.
- He directed the religious life.
- He was in charge of justice.
- He distributed the food to the town.
The economy of Egypt was based on agriculture and livestock. Life depended on the crops of the lands flooded by the Nile River . They had a system of dikes , ponds, and irrigation canals that spanned all the farmland. On the banks of the Nile the Egyptian peasants grew many kinds of cereals . The harvested grain was kept in granaries and later used to make bread and beer . The main crops were wheat, barley, and flax.
The agriculture was focused on the cycle of the Nile There were three stations. Akhet, Peret, and Shemu. Akhet, the flood season, lasted from June to September. After the flood, a layer of silt remained on the banks, enriching the land for the next harvest. In Peret, the sowing season between October and February, farmers waited until the water was drained, plowing and sowing the rich soil. With the work finished, they irrigated using dikes and canals. Shemu was the station harvested from March to May, when collected with sickles of wood .
In the orchards , peas (peas), lentils , onions , leeks , cucumbers and lettuces were grown , as well as grapes , dates , figs and pomegranate. Among the animals they raised for their meat are pigs , cows, sheep , goats , geese, and ducks .
The Egyptians grew more food than they needed, and traded their products. Some of the materials that they imported from foreign territories were incense , silver , and fine cedar wood . Much of the products of Egyptian trade was transported by ships , on the Nile and the Mediterranean.
For most of its existence, some three millennia, Ancient Egypt was the richest country in the world.
Trade, routes and commercial expeditions
The commercial transactions of the ancient Egyptians were not limited to the exchange of agricultural products or raw materials , but there is also evidence of expeditions to feed the royal treasury of the pharaohs with ornamental goods and jewels , and of slave sales activities , and even of their own administrative or service positions in the temples.
In Ancient Egypt there was the figure of the shutiu, a kind of commercial agents who carried out sales activities at the service of the great pharaonic institutions (temples, royal palace, large crown farms, etc ...). But they could also sell slaves to simple individuals, or they could carry out commercial transactions outside the institutions for their own benefit.
The almost 200 clay tablets and the numerous inscriptions discovered by archaeologists in the ancient city of Balat show that this town, located in the middle of the Egyptian Sahara , was used as a base of operations and supply point for commercial expeditions sent by the pharaohs to the heart of Africa at the end of the third millennium BC. From this enclave in the Dakhla oasis , expeditions, made up of about 400 men, would set out, the purpose of which was to search for a pigment that once obtained was sent by caravans to the Nile valley .
The route would be marked from ancient times as evidenced by the presence of pitcher deposits located at intervals of 30 kilometers in the desert, which reach Gilf el-Kebir in the extreme south-west of Egypt. It is unknown how far the route went, although specialists accept as the most likely hypothesis that it would reach the Lake Chad area . [ 11 ]
Administration and finance
Egypt was divided into several sepats (provinces, or nomos in Greek) for administrative purposes. This division can be traced back to the predynastic period (before 3100 BC), when the nomes were autonomous city-states, and they remained for more than three millennia, maintaining their customs. Under this system, the country was divided into 42 nomes: 20 from Lower Egypt, while Upper Egypt encompassed 22 nomes. Each nome was governed by a nomarch, a provincial governor who held regional authority.
The government imposed various taxes, which, since there was no currency, were paid in kind, with labor or merchandise. The Tyaty ( vizier ) was responsible for controlling the tax system on behalf of the pharaoh, through his department. His subordinates had to keep the stored reserves and their forecasts up to date. Taxes were paid according to the work or income of each one, the peasants (or the landowners in later periods) on agricultural products, the artisans with part of their production, and similarly the fishermen, hunters, etc.
The state required one person from each house to carry out public works a few weeks a year, making or cleaning canals, in the construction of temples or tombs and even in mining (the latter, only if there were no prisoners of war). Hunters and fishermen paid their taxes with catch from the river, the canals, and the desert. Wealthy families could hire substitutes to satisfy this right.
Ancient Egyptian constitutes an independent part of the language of the Afro-Asian (macro) family . Its closest relatives are the Berber , Semitic and Beja groups . The oldest written documents in the Egyptian language have been dated to 3200 BC. C., making it one of the oldest and most documented. Scholars group Egyptian into seven major chronological divisions:
- Archaic Egyptian (before 3000 BC)
- Ancient Egyptian (3000-2000 BC)
It is the language of the Old Kingdom and of the first intermediate period . The texts of the pyramids are the largest body of literature of this phase, written on the walls of the tombs of the aristocracy, which from this period also show autobiographical writings. One of the characteristics that distinguishes it is the triple mixture of ideograms , phonograms, and determinatives to indicate the plural. It does not have great differences with the following stage.
- Classical Egyptian (2000-1300 BC)
This stage, also called media, is known from a variety of texts in hieroglyphic and hieratic writing , dating from the Middle Kingdom . They include the funerary texts inscribed on the coffins such as the Sarcophagus Texts ; texts that explain how to conduct oneself in the afterlife, and that exemplify the Egyptian philosophical point of view (see the Ipuur papyrus ); tales that detail the adventures of certain individuals, for example the story of Sinuhe ; medical and scientific texts such as the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyrus ; and poetic texts praising a god or pharaoh, such as the hymn to the Nile. The vernacular it began to differ from the written language as evidenced by some hieratic texts of the Middle Kingdom, but classical Egyptian continued to be used in formal writings until the last dynastic period.
- Late Egyptian (1300-700 BC)
Documents of this stage appear in the second part of the New Kingdom . They form a wide body of texts of religious and secular literature, encompassing famous examples such as the story of Unamón (Wenamun) and the instructions of the Ani . It was the language of the Ramsesid administration . It is not totally different from the Middle Egyptian, since many classicisms appear in the historical and literary documents of this phase, however, the difference between the classic and the late is greater than between that and the old one. It also better represents the language spoken since the New Kingdom. Hieroglyphic spelling achieved a great expansion of its graphic inventory between the Late period and thePtolemy .
- Demotic Egyptian (7th-4th century BC)
The demotic language is chronologically the last, it began to be used around 660 BC. C. and it became the dominant writing around 600 a. C., being used for economic and literary purposes. In contrast to the hieratic, which was usually written on papyri or ostraca, the demotic was also engraved on stone and wood.
In texts written in earlier stages, it probably represented the spoken language of the time. But as it was increasingly used solely for literary and religious purposes, the written language diverged more and more from the spoken form, giving the later demotic texts an artificial character, similar to the use of Middle Classical Egyptian during the Ptolemaic period. At the beginning of the fourth century it began to be replaced by the Greek language in official texts: the last known use is in the year 452 AD. C., on the walls of the temple dedicated to Isis , in File . It shares much with the later Coptic language.
- Greek (305-30 BC)
It was the language of the court after the conquest of Alexander, the Koine dialect , "common language", which was a variant of the Attic used in the Hellenistic world, and which in Egypt coexisted with the Coptic used by the common people.
- Coptic (3rd-7th century AD)
It is attested around the third century, and appears written with hieroglyphic signs, or in the hieratic and demotic alphabets. The Coptic alphabet is a slightly modified version of the Greek alphabet, with some demotic proper letters used to represent various non-existent Greek sounds. As a daily language, it had its heyday from the 3rd to the 6th century, and it lasts only as the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church after being replaced by Arabic in Islamic times.
For years, the oldest known inscription was the Narmer Palette , found during excavations at Hierakonpolis (current name, Kom el-Ahmar) in 1890, dated to 3150 BC. Recent archaeological finds reveal that the symbols engraved in the Gerzeh pottery, from the year 3250 BC. C., resemble the traditional hieroglyph. In 1998 a German archaeological team under the command of Günter Dreyer, excavating the Uj tomb in the necropolis of Umm el-Qaab in Abydos , which belonged to a predynastic king, recovered three hundred clay labels inscribed with hieroglyphics and dated to the period. of Naqada III -a, in the33 a sigh. C. [ 12 ]
According to research, Egyptian writing appeared around 3000 BC. C. with the unification of the Kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt and the advent of the State. For a long time it was only composed of about a thousand signs, the hieroglyphs, which represented people, animals, plants, stylized objects etc. Their number did not reach several thousand until the late period. [ 13 ]
Egyptologists define the Egyptian system as a hieroglyph, and it is considered the oldest writing in the world. The name comes from the Greek "hieros" (sacred) and "glypho" (carving, engraving). It was part syllabic, part ideographic. Hieratic was a cursive form of hieroglyphs and began to be used during the First Dynasty (c. 2925-2775 BC). The term demotic, in the Egyptian context, refers to the writing and language that evolved during the late period, that is, from the 25th Nubian dynasty , until it was displaced at court by the Greek Koiné in the last centuries to . After the conquest by Amr ibn al-As in 640 , the Egyptian language persisted in the Coptic language during the Middle Ages .
Around 2700 BC C., pictograms began to be used to represent consonant sounds. About 2000 a. C., 26 were used to represent the 24 main consonant sounds. The oldest known alphabet (c. 1800 BC) is an abjad system derived from these single-letter signs, like other Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Hieroglyphic writing finally fell into disuse as courtier writing around the 4th century BC. C, under the Ptolemies, replaced by the Greek, although it lasted in the temples of Upper Egypt , guarded by the Egyptian clergy. Cleopatra VII was the only Ptolemaic ruler who mastered the ancient Egyptian language. European attempts to decipher it began in the 15th century , although there were earlier attempts by Arab scholars.
- c. 1800 BC C .: History of Sinuhé and papyrus of Ipuwer .
- c. 1600 a. C.: Papiro Westcar.
- ç. 1300 a. C .: Papiro Ebers y Poema de Pentaur .
- c. 1180 a. C.: Papiro Harris I.
- c. 1000 BC C .: History of Unamón and Papiro de Ani .
The Egyptian religion , embodied in mythology, is a set of beliefs that permeated all of Egyptian life, from predynastic times until the arrival of Christianity and Islam in the Greco-Roman and Arab stages. They were led by priests, and the use of magic and spells is doubtful.
The temple was a sacred place where only priests and priestesses were admitted, although in important celebrations the people were admitted in the courtyard.
The existence of mummies and pyramids outside Egypt indicates that the beliefs and values of the Egyptian culture were transmitted in one way or another through trade routes. Egypt's contacts with foreigners included Nubia and Punt to the south, the Aegean and Greece to the north, Lebanon and other regions of the Middle East and Libya to the west.
The religious nature of Egyptian civilization influenced his contribution to the arts. Many of the great works of ancient Egypt depict gods, goddesses, and pharaohs, considered divine. Art is characterized by the idea of order and symmetry.
During 3,000 years of independent culture, every animal portrayed or worshiped in art, writing, or religion is indigenous to Africa. The dromedary, domesticated in Arabia , appeared in Egypt at the beginning of the second millennium BC. C.
Although analysis of hair from mummies from the Middle Kingdom has revealed evidence of a stable diet, mummies from circa 3200 BC. C. show signs of anemia and hemolytic disorders, symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. Compounds of copper, lead, mercury, and arsenic that were used in pigments, dyes, and makeup of the time may have caused the poisoning, especially among the wealthy class. [ 14 ] [ 15 ]
Life after death
They believed that after death, the ka (double in spirit form ) divided into ba (soul) and akh (spirit). The ba lived in the grave of the deceased and was free to come and go at will. The akh was heading straight for the underworld where he was following his judgment. The great god of the underworld Osiris was in charge of judging the spirit of the deceased. Anubis placed the heart of the deceased on one side of his scale and Ma'at , the goddess of truth and justice, placed her pen of truth on the other side. If the heart and the feather weighed the same, the akh(spirit) went to the great kingdom where good spirits mingled with the gods in a life of peace and harmony. If not, the deceased would suffer an eternity of punishment. In addition, the Egyptians believed that every deceased should have a home in his other life, that is why they built pyramids and hypogea to the corpses. Also since they believed that the second life was almost the same as the first and one continued doing the same as in the first, they left their jewels and trinkets, clothes, food and games in the tombs. The other fear of the Egyptians (besides the judgment of their souls) was that someone would loot the house of their spirit. If his grave was looted or his corpse destroyed, the ba was left without a home and both he and the akhthey would experience a much worse second death. Statues of the deceased were sometimes placed on the pyramids in case the ba became homeless, remained in the statue, and avoided the second death. [ 16 ]
Formerly only the pharaohs had the right to participate in the future life, but when the new empire arrived, all Egyptians expected to live in the afterlife , and they prepared, according to their economic possibilities, their tomb and their body; The organs were extracted from the corpses, which were deposited in the canopic vessels , and then the body was covered with resins to preserve it, wrapping it with linen. Food and belongings of the deceased were deposited in the burial chamber for use in the afterlife.
The achievements of Ancient Egypt are well studied, as well as its civilization that reached a very high level of productivity and complexity.
- Art and engineering were present in the constructions to determine exactly the position of each point and the distances between them ( Topography ). The mortar was invented by the Egyptians. These knowledge were used to orient exactly the bases of the pyramids, as well as for other works:
- The irrigation canals built for the use of Lake El-Fayum , which made the area the main producer of grain in the ancient world. There is evidence that twelfth dynasty pharaohs used the natural lake of El Fayum as a reservoir to regulate and store excess water, for use during dry seasons.
- Beginning in the first dynasty, or earlier, the Egyptians exploited the turquoise mines of the Sinai Peninsula.
- The earliest evidence (c. 1600 BC) of traditional empiricism is credited to Egypt, as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri , as well as the decimal system and complex mathematical formulas, used in the Papyrus of Moscow and the Ahmes . The origins of the scientific method also go back to the Egyptians. They knew the golden number , reflected in numerous constructions, [ 17 ] although it may be the consequence of an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony. [ 18 ]
- They created their own writing: the hieroglyphics , towards the end of the fourth millennium BC. C.
- The manufacture of glass developed extraordinarily, as evidenced by the numerous everyday objects and ornaments discovered in the tombs. [ 19 ] [ 20 ] have recently been discovered the remains of a glass factory. [ 21 ]
- About 3500 a. They invented sailing, the first application of a non-animal (or human) energy to locomotion. An invention that they used exclusively for about 2100 years since there is no documentary evidence of its use by the Phoenicians until 1400 BC. C. [ 22 ]
- 3500 a. C .: Senet , the oldest board game .
- 3500 a. C .: Faience , the oldest known glazed pottery.
- 3300 a. C .: first works in bronze .
- 3200 a. C .: first hieroglyphs ( Abydos ).
- 3100 BC C .: linear hieroglyphs , the oldest known alphabet .
- 3100 BC C .: decimal system , [ 23 ] used for the first time in the world.
- 3100 BC C .: wineries , the oldest known.
- 3050 BC C .: shipyard in Abydos . [ 24 ]
- 3000 BC C .: Palette of Narmer , one of the first representations of a pharaoh.
- 3000 BC C .: Wine exports from the Nile to Canaan and Lebanon : Dated circa 3000 BC. C (time of Narmer ), a piece of pottery has been found in Israel whose studies conclude that it is the fragment of a wine amphora from the Nile Valley.
- 3000 BC C .: copper works (see Copper in antiquity ).
- 3000 BC C .: papyri , the oldest " paper " in the world.
- 3000 BC C .: the world's first health institutions (see: Medicine in Ancient Egypt ).
- 2700 BC C .: the world's first surgeons (see: Edwin Smith Papyrus ).
- 2700 BC C .: topographic studies ( Egyptian Museum of Turin ).
- 2600 BC C .: construction of the Sphinx , the largest sculpture in a single stone block in the world, until the 20th century.
- 2600 BC C. - 2500 a. C .: naval expeditions in the reigns of Seneferu and Sahura .
- 2600 BC C .: use of barges to transport stone blocks.
- 2600 BC C .: construction of the Pyramid of Djoser , the first in the world in stone.
- 2600 BC C .: construction of the Pyramid of Menkaura and the red one , the first with stone carvings.
- 2600 BC C .: construction of the Red Pyramid , the first "classical" pyramid (with smooth faces) in the world.
- 2580 BC C .: construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza , which was the tallest construction in the world until 1300 AD. C.
- 2500 BC C .: beekeeping begins .
- 2400 BC C .: they begin to use the calendar , which was used even in the Middle Ages for its regularity.
- 2200 BC C .: first references to beer consumption .
- 1860 BC C .: construction during the reign of Sesostris III of a canal on the Uady Tumilat, from the Red Sea to the Nile River, for the transport of goods by barge. Evidence indicates its use in the 13th century BC. C., during the time of Ramses II . [ 25 ] [ 26 ]
- 1800 BC C .: The demotic alphabet arises .
- 1800 BC C .: Moscow papyrus , with formulas to find volumes.
- 1650 BC C .: Ahmes Papyrus : formulas on geometry, algebraic equations, arithmetic series, etc.
- 1600 BC C .: Edwin Smith Papyrus , collects the methods used in medicine since 3000 BC. C.
- 1550 BC C .: Ebers Papyrus , the first treatise on tumors .
- 1500 BC C .: the first glass factory in the world.
- 1300 BC C .: Berlin Papyrus, on fractions and algebraic equations. [ 27 ]
- 1258 a. C .: first peace treaty of which there is evidence, between Ramses II and Muwatalli II after the battle of Qadesh .
- 1160 a. C. : Papyri Turin (1879, 1899 and 1969) Wady Hammamat , the first map geological and topographical of which has been reported.
- 1000 BC C .: use of tar for embalming .
- 500 BC C. - 400 a. C. or earlier: war games called petteia and seega , forerunners of chess .
Other Ancient Egyptian themes
- Ancient Egyptian customs
- Egyptian literature
- Ancient Egypt culture
- Scribes in Ancient Egypt
- Mathematics in Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Egypt religion
- Portal: Egyptology . Content related to Egyptology .
- Library of Alexandria
- Egypt history
- Egyptian languages
- Egyptian art
- Egypt's predynastic period
- Egypt's proto-dynastic period
- "Article of Egypt in antiquity" .
- Dodson y Hilton, 2004, «The Great Pyramide Builders», p. 46.
- "Chronology" . Digital Egypt for Universities, University College London. Archived from the original on March 16, 2008 . Retrieved March 25, 2008 .
- Clayton, 1994, «The Graeco-Roman Period», p. 217.
- James, 2005, p. 8.
- Manuelian (1998) pp. 6-7.
- Ward, Cheryl. "World's Oldest Planked Boats", en Archaeology (vol. 54, nº 3, mayo/junio 2001). Archaeological Institute of America.
- Clayton, 1994, «The Queens of Ramses», p. 153.
- James, 2005, p. 84.
- Adkins, L. and Adkins, R. (2001). The Little Book of Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Londres: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-79485-2.
- Moreno García, Juan Carlos (2007). "Sellers in Ancient Egypt". In Felip Masó Ferrer, ed. Sellers and civilizations . Würth España, SA pp. 11-36. ISBN 84-611-6707-4 .
- Discovery Channel, December 2005.
- "Egipto", Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen
- Macko S, Engel M, Andrusevich V, Lubec G, O'Connell T, Hedges R (1999). «Documenting the diet in ancient human populations through stable isotope analysis of hair». Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.
- Marin A, Cerutti N, Massa E. «Use of the amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) in the study of HbS in predynastic Egyptian remains». Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper.
- Sarah Bartlett (2009). The Mythology Bible. Octopus Publishing Group/Gaia Ediciones.
- Overview of Egyptian Mathematics.
- The Egyptian Pyramids - Mathematics and the Liberal Arts. Truman State University.
- * Fruen, Lois. Ancient Glass .
- Kemp, Barry (1989). Ancient Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-01281-3.
- Shortland, A. J. (2007). Ancient Egyptian Glass. Cranfield University.
- Gorostiza Dapena, Leopoldo (2006). The First Ships of the Mediterranean . Cajasol Obra Social - Foundation. ISBN 978-84-8455261-1 .
- Egyptian mathematics, in English.
- Pierce, Richard (en inglés). «After 5,000 year voyage, world's oldest built boats deliver.» Nordic Underwater Archaeology. Consultado el 12 de abril de 2016.
- Classic encyclopedia.
- Encyclopedia of de Orient.
- Richard J. Gillings (1972). Mathematics in the Time of the Pharaohs. Dover (Nueva York). ISBN 0-486-24315-X.
- Clayton, Peter A. (1994). Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Londres: Thames and Hudson. pp. 224. ISBN 0-500-05074-0.
- Dodson, Aidan; Hilton, Dyan (2004). The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Londres: Thames & Hudson. p. 320. ISBN 0-500-05128-3.
- Gardiner, Alan (1994). The Egypt of the pharaohs . Laertes. ISBN 84-7584-266-6 .
- Grimal, Nicolas. History of Ancient Egypt . Akal. ISBN 84-460-0621-9 .
- James, Thomas Garnet Henry (2005). The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Egypt. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 208. ISBN 0-472-03137-6.
- McDermott, Bridget (2006). The war in ancient Egypt . Barcelona. ISBN 84-8432-727-2 .
- Padró, Josep (2005). The Egypt of the Old Kingdom . Madrid. ISBN 84-95921-97-9 .
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- Shaw, Ian (2007). History of Ancient Egypt . original: Oxford University Press . Translation from English by José Miguel Parra Ortiz. Madrid: The Sphere of Books. ISBN 978-84-9734-623-8 .
- Trigger, B. G. & Kemp, B. J. & O’Connor, D. & Lloyd, A. B. Historia del Egipto antiguo. Crítica. ISBN 84-7423-838-2.
- Vercoutter, Jean (1989). Egypt, in the footsteps of the pharaohs . Col. « Aguilar Universal » ( nº 1 ). Madrid: Aguilar, SA de Ediciones . ISBN 9788403600553 .
- Wikimedia Commons hosts a multimedia category on Ancient Egypt .
- Manetón : History of Egypt ( Αίγυπτιαχά ; in Latin , Aegyptiaca ).
- Isaac Asimov : Introduction to the History of Egypt .
- Spanish text , with electronic index.
- Ancient Egypt: history, economy, administration, culture, science and language ANCIENT TIMES