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The Akkadian and Egyptian Empires


Isfet - god of disorder, chaos. Egyptian Ritual ... More Egyptian Deities. Atum demiurge, creator' of the first gods. Ra god of the Sun ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Akkadian and Egyptian Empires

The Akkadian and Egyptian Empires
2350-2150 BC
The Later Egyptian Empire
Order and Chaos
  • What are the sources for order and chaos?
  • Creation, destruction and regeneration myths.
  • Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Jews had things in
    common (a) Rivers that flooded,
  • (b) Deserts,
  • (c) Weather
  • (d) Similar latitude.

Celestial Sphere View from 35 º North
  • Stars rise in the east and set in the west.

Circumpolar Stars
  • These stars never set (within a cone defined by
    the latitude angle, e.g. 35 º North).
  • They appear to orbit the pole star.

  • Cosmology The science of the origin and
    development of the universe.
  • Cosmogony The origin of the Universe within a

Egyptian Civilization
  • Consistency and Continuity Harmony
  • Personify and Visualize forces of change
  • Osiris god of regeneration
  • Apophis mythical creature (snake-like) of
  • Maat - goddess of order
  • Isfet - god of disorder, chaos

Egyptian Ritual
  • The priestly rituals in the temples were to
    ensure the maintenance of Maat (Order) and keep
    Isfet (Disorder) at bay.
  • Apparent success sustained the complex, but
    logical, belief system.
  • Long-term order exists Maat seems to
    ultimately win or get the upper hand.

More Egyptian Deities
  • Atum demiurge, creator of the first gods
  • Ra god of the Sun
  • Nut goddess of the sky
  • Shu god of the air
  • Tefnut goddess of moisture
  • Ptah (or Geb) god of the Earth
  • Thoh god of record keeping, calculation,

Genesis The Biblical Story
  • Despite similarities between Genesis stories and
    those of the neighboring religions of Babylon and
    Egypt, there are significant differences.
  • Creation ex nihilo - or creation out of nothing
    the Demiurge (developed further by Greeks)
    formed the world out of pre-existent matter.
  • Monotheistic!

Babylonian, Egyptian and Ancient Jewish view of
the World
  • The world was formed out of water.
  • The world was formless and empty, darkness was
    over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of
    God was hovering over the waters. Genesis
  • World in flat layers Sky, Earth and the
  • Four corners of the Earth held up the Sky

Ras Voyages
  • Ras daily (and nightly) journey
  • Mythology linked to
  • Astronomical observations
  • 36 Gates or portals, and their Decans
  • The 36 gates become 24 hours

Science in Egypt
  • Zodiacal Signs form the inner ring. The planets
    are depicted amongst them, as gods holding
  • Around the outside (adjacent to the hands of the
    supporting goddesses) are the 36 decans.

Solar Terms
  • Solstice (sun - sol make stand) occurs twice
    a year when the sun reaches the highest and
    lowest points in the sky at noon, resulting in
    the longest and shortest day. (hence summer and
    winter solstice)
  • Equinox (equal nights) occurs when days and
    nights are of equal duration (12 hours). 22 Sept
    and 20 March

Lunar and Solar Calendars.
  • Ras annual birth at the Winter Solstice
  • Early year was 360 days long
  • Later editions had 365 days, the extra 5 days
    have an elaborate mythical birth story.
  • Lunar Month has 29.5 days between new moons. 12
    months 354 days ? 1 year
  • Devised formulae to link the two.

Moon Sun Apparent Link
  • 235 synodic (each of 29.5 days) months is almost
    exactly equal to 19 years (with an error of only
    two hours.)
  • This coincidence, together with the apparent
    similarity in the size of the sun and moon,
    serves to create the illusion that there is some
    fundamental connection between their motions.

The Zodiac and the Ecliptic
Flooding of the Nile
  • Nile Flooded when sun rose near the star Sirius
    (the Dog star, in the Canis Major
    constellation, is the brightest star in the sky).
  • Monitoring this sighting crucial for planting
  • Leap years introduced.
  • Eventually formalised in the Julian Calendar ,
    46 BC.

Gregorian Calendar (1582 AD)
  • Introduced by Pope Gregory XIII
  • The precession of the equinoxes (due to earths
    wobble on its axis) results in seasons drifting
    over 26,000 year cycle.
  • Gregorian Calendar maintains the seasons in the
    proper months of the year

Gregorian Calendar
  • 1 extra day in every 4 years (leap year) is too
  • Leap year at the close of the century omitted,
    unless year a multiple of 400!
  • i.e 1600, 2000 leap years
  • 1700, 1800, 1900 not leap years

7 Wanderers 7 Day Week
  • Wanderers in the Zodiac
  • Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and
  • (Latinised names)
  • (Now reflect on the 7 days of Genesis)

Gods in the Sky