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Western Civilization I HIS-101


Western Civilization I HIS-101 UNIT 1 Origins of Western Civilizations (Prehistory to 1700 BCE) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Western Civilization I HIS-101

Western Civilization IHIS-101
  • UNIT 1 Origins of Western Civilizations
    (Prehistory to 1700 BCE)

Stone Age Background
  • Pre-History started roughly 3-4 million years
  • Early man and archeological evidence
  • Tool-making hominids appear about 2 million years
  • Paleolithic Period (c. 2.5 million years ago -
    8,000 BCE)
  • Heidelberg Man (600,000-400,000 years ago)
  • Deliberately buried their dead
  • Neanderthal Man (30,000-200,000 years ago)
  • Possibility of abstract thought
  • Upper Paleolithic Age (c. 40,000 -11,000BCE)
  • Homo sapiens sapiens
  • Finely crafted tools
  • Cave paintings at Lascaux

  • Paleolithic Cave Painting at Lascaux

Upper Paleolithic Age
  • Period of the Ice Age
  • Temperatures in the Mediterranean averaged around
    60F in the summer and 30F in the winter
  • There was a jump in human advancement
  • Sophisticated figurative artwork
  • Evidence of religious beliefs
  • More effective tools like fish hooks, sewing
    needles, and arrowheads
  • Humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies
  • Small bands of people, constantly moving in
    search of food

Paleolithic or Old Stone Age
  • Characteristics of hunter-gatherer societies
  • They lacked material wealth
  • There were no societal hierarchies
  • All were hunters and gatherers
  • Internal struggles would lead to fragmentation
  • There was a lack of specialization
  • By the end of the Ice Age, the larger game herds
    left the Near East region
  • The warmer, wetter conditions were ideal for wild
    grains to grow

Neolithic or New Stone Age
  • Neolithic Period (11,000 to 4,000 BCE)
  • Intense social and technological development
  • Development of managed food production
  • Included the domestication of plants and animals
  • Gradual process with revolutionary consequences
  • In the west, it started in the Fertile Crescent
  • Surplus food and storage
  • This lead to an increase in population
  • Also lead to development of animal domestication

Neolithic or New Stone Age
  • Beginning of permanent and semi-permanent
  • This led to the rise of villages and small cities
  • This helped to stabilize society
  • There was the rapid intensification of trade
  • Exchange of commodities and new ideas
  • Increase in wealth
  • Social stratification
  • Rise of a new class of social elites
  • There was also the rise of specialization
  • Included the rise of priestly class

  • Neolithic cutlery and foodstuffs found in

  • Civilization
  • A complex culture in which large numbers of human
    beings share a number of common elements
  • Emerged between 6,500 to 3,000 BCE
  • Historians disagree as to why it came about
  • Developed independently in Mesopotamia, Egypt,
    India, and China
  • Challenge and Response theory
  • Challenges forced human beings to make the
    necessary efforts that led to the rise of
  • This could be due to material forces surpluses
    such as food
  • Or it could be due to non-material forces such as

  • Characteristics of civilization
  • Development of agricultural skills
  • Rise of specialization
  • A division of labor
  • Urban revolution
  • New political structures including government
    bureaucracies and militaries
  • Distinct religious structures
  • Advanced technical skills were developed,
    including the use of bronze tools
  • Complex economies, including long-distance trade
  • New social structures based on economic power
  • Development of writing

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Civilization in Mesopotamia
  • Located in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys
  • Desert region
  • River flood enriches the soil near the rivers
  • Flooding was very unpredictable
  • Development of irrigation systems
  • Governments were theocracies
  • Priests and priestesses had great power
  • Temples owned much of the city land and livestock
  • Over time, they had to share their power with
  • The kings received their power from the gods and
    they were seen as agents of the gods

Civilization in Mesopotamia
  • Economy was primarily agricultural
  • Industry and commerce rose in importance as well
  • Foreign trade was primarily a royal monopoly
  • Traded such goods as wool, barley, wheat, copper,
    tin, aromatic woods, fruit trees
  • Mesopotamian society was broken into three
  • Nobles
  • This included royal and priestly officials and
    their families
  • Commoners (free citizens)
  • 90 of population were farmers
  • Slaves
  • The richest people tended to own the most and
    talented slaves

  • The Sumerians

Sumerians (c. 6000 to 2500 BCE)
  • The Sumerians inhabited southern Mesopotamia
  • Ubaid Period (5900-4300 BCE)
  • Sophisticated irrigation systems
  • Intense temple-building
  • Development of a religious structure
  • Included the rise of a priestly class
  • Priests were responsible for managing economic
  • Uruk Period (4300-2900 BCE)
  • The first city-states start to develop
  • Temple building more prominent and elaborate
  • Writing also developed during this period

  • Sumerian clay ball with tokens

Development of Writing
  • Token and ball system
  • Objects would be represented with clay tokens
  • Would then be used in a transaction
  • This was later replaced with writing on clay
  • Pictographs
  • Earliest writing systems
  • Symbols that resembled the physical object they
  • Evolved into representing ideas as well as
  • Eventually represented a particular phonetic

Development of Writing
  • Cuneiform (c. 3100 BCE)
  • Abstract writing
  • Used a durable reed stylus
  • Cuneus Wedge shaped impression in clay
  • Symbols became more and more abstract
  • Used for every possible consonant-vowel
  • It was difficult to master and took years to
  • Houses of the Tablet

  • Evolution of writing

  • Cuneiform tablet
  • c. 2300 BCE

Early Dynastic Period (2900-2350 BCE)
  • Period of constant warfare between the
  • Cities grew in size from 10,000 to over 50,000
  • This made competition for resources more intense
  • Rise of war leaders (lugals)
  • Held the status of king
  • Acted as both secular and religious figures
  • They led the armies of their gods into battle
  • It was important to them to remain in their gods
  • Replaced the priests as the leaders of the
  • Because of constant warfare, no one lugal became

  • Statue of a man worshiping
  • Early Dynastic Period (c.2750-2600BCE)

Sumerian Religion
  • Religion played a major role in the Sumerian
  • Sumerian pantheon included around 1,500 gods
  • Each city felt that their city was the property
    of one particular god or goddess
  • Therefore, they sought to glorify by exalting
    their own city
  • The physical environment had a major impact on
    how the Sumerians viewed the world
  • Massive floods, heavy downpours, oppressive
    humidity, and scorching winds
  • Suffered from the famines that resulted from
    these disasters
  • According to Sumerian myth, humans were created
    to do the manual labor the gods were unwilling to
    do themselves

Sumerian Religion
  • They were afraid of being punished by the gods if
    they did not worship and praise them enough
  • They sought to appeaseor not be punished bythe
  • Performed rituals and sacrifices
  • Land of No Return
  • Development of divination
  • They wanted to discover what the gods were going
    to do
  • Believed the gods would give some sort of sign or
  • Rituals and prayers were developed to influence
    the gods and ward off demons
  • However, the only people who knew these rituals
    and prayers were the priests

Sumerian Technology and Trade
  • They learned how to smelt tin and copper into
    bronze which ushered in the Bronze Age (c. 3000
  • They used the wheel for transport
  • Oldest known wheel in Mesopotamia dated to c.
    3,500 BCE
  • Were used for two-wheel chariots and four-wheel
  • Development of math system
  • Based on 60, using combinations of 6 and 10 for
    practical solutions
  • Used multiplication and division and created
    tables for the computation of interest
  • Geometry was used for building domes and arches

Sumerian Technology and Trade
  • The Sumerians developed astronomy
  • They charted the chief constellations
  • Development of a lunar calendar
  • Had 354 days based on a 12 month lunar year
  • An extra month was added to bring it into sync
    with the solar year
  • They also developed a complex trade system
  • They traded for raw materials that they did not
  • They built trade routes throughout the
    Mesopotamian region
  • Expanded to the Persian Gulf and the

  • Akkadian Empire
  • c. 2300 BCE

Akkadian Empire (2350-2160 BCE)
  • Akkadians
  • From Mesopotamia but north of Sumer
  • They had been influenced by the Sumerians
  • Shared similar cultures but each retained their
    own language
  • Sumerians considered the Akkadians to be
    outsiders and barbarians
  • Sargon (c. 2334-2279 BCE)
  • The leader of the Akkadians
  • According to legend, as a baby a gardener found
    him floating down a river in a basket

  • Bust believed to be of Sargon of Akkad

Akkadian Empire (2350-2160 BCE)
  • Sargon was best known for being the first person
    to unify the Sumerian city-states
  • He did this by conquering them and adding them to
    his own empire
  • He established a new dynastic empire
  • Included Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean
  • Placed fellow Akkadians in power as governors of
    the cities
  • Exploited the already developed trade routes to
    strengthen the base of his empire
  • His economic influence stretched as far away as
    Ethiopia and India

Akkadian Empire (2350-2160 BCE)
  • Naram-Sin (2255 2219 BCE)
  • He continued the expansion of the empire
  • He was a promoter of culture and a patron of the
  • He also claimed to be the god of Agade (Akkad)
  • He was followed by a group of three weak
    successors who were unable to preserve the empire
  • The reasons why the Akkadians were successful
  • Shared almost everything with the Sumerians
    except language
  • Respected the Sumerian religion and gods
  • Were able to create a unified government where
    the Sumerians were unable to

  • Naram-Sins victory stele (Louvre)

Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100-1900 BCE)
  • Ur-Nammu of Ur (2047-2030 BCE)
  • Modeled his kingship on Sargon and Naram-Sin
  • Pursued military conquests and centralizing the
  • Code of Ur-Nammu
  • Earliest legal code
  • Required the payment of fines for most crimes
  • Shulgi (2029-1982 BCE)
  • He continued the successful empire
  • Built the Great Ziggurat of Ur
  • Ibbi-Sin (1963-1940 BCE)
  • He was too weak to rule
  • This marked the decline of the Ur dynasty

  • Reconstructed façade for the Great Ziggurat of Ur

Third Dynasty of Ur (2100-2000 BCE)
  • Sumerian Renaissance
  • The Ur dynasty brought about a renaissance in
  • However, this did not have a lasting effect on
    the region
  • Other groups would have more of an influence in
    the region over the next 1,500 years
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000 BCE)
  • Earliest known piece of literature
  • It was based on a series of poems written
  • Gilgamesh was the legendary king of Uruk (c. 2700
  • Tales about military conquest and heroism
  • Gilgamesh v. Enkidu city v. wilderness
  • Pessimistic toward natural environment

  • Old Babylonian Empire

Old Babylonian Empire (c. 1900-1595 BCE)
  • Babylon was a small city-state in central
  • It was controlled by the Amorites
  • Location between rivers gave it great economic
    and military significance
  • Also between two powerful Amorite cities
  • Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE)
  • He was the sixth king of Babylon
  • One of the first rulers to conquer through
    diplomacy rather than sheer force
  • Part of his strategy was through diplomacy and

  • Hammurabi
  • (1792-1750 BCE)

Old Babylonian Empire (c. 1900-1595 BCE)
  • Hammurabi organized all of Babylonia under Marduk
  • Marduk was the god of Babylon
  • Still respected the other gods but Marduk was the
    dominant god of the empire
  • Used Marduks supremacy over the other gods as
    his justification to rule
  • Code of Hammurabi
  • A collection of laws used throughout his empire
  • Contained 282 laws which regulated peoples
    relationships throughout Mesopotamia
  • Based on actual rulings handed down by Hammurabi

  • The Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi
  • The Code was probably never intended to be a code
    of laws in the modern sense
  • Was used as propaganda to publicize the kings
    devotion to justice
  • It reveals a society with strict justice
  • Lists three classes the elite, the masses, and
  • Penalties were severe but they were adjusted
    based on the social class of the parties involved
  • Reflected issues and responsibilities the
    government had to deal with
  • This included slavery, land tenure, commerce,
    consumer protection, and marriage

The Code of Hammurabi
  • Punishments for crimes varied according to ones
    social class
  • Crimes against the upper class were punished more
  • Crimes against the lower class were punished more
  • Old Babylonian Society
  • Upper class nobles controlled large estates and
  • Below the nobles, an enormous class of legally
    free individuals
  • Dependents of the palace or temple
  • Laborers, artisans, small merchants, farmers and
  • At the bottom were the slaves
  • In general, the slaves were treated harshly
  • Slaves acquired through trade or captured in war

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Development of Civilization in Egypt
  • The Nile River was of central importance to
    Egyptian civilization
  • Annual flooding of the Nile created miles of
    fertile land for growing crops
  • Egyptian civilization developed along very
    different lines than Mesopotamia
  • Annual flooding of the Nile was predictable
  • Land around the Nile did not require extensive
  • State intervention was not necessary for food
    production so the villages remained small and

Development of Civilization in Egypt
  • Nile River valley was protected by natural
  • Desert to the east and west
  • Rapids (cataracts) to the south
  • Gave a sense of isolation and security
  • Still had access to the Mediterranean to the
    north so they were not any trade barriers for
  • The Nile became the unifying factor for Egypt
  • The fastest way to travel throughout the land
  • Made transportation and communication much easier
  • Because of the stability and reliability of the
    Nile, the Egyptians had a sense of security and

  • Figurine of a woman from predynastic Egypt
  • c.3500-3400BCE

Predynastic Egypt (10,000 3100 BCE)
  • The period prior to the emergence of the pharaohs
  • Agriculture did not emerge until 5,000 BCE
  • The Nile valley region was able to supply an
    abundance of food for long periods of time
  • Increased population
  • The first cities appeared in Upper Egypt around
    3,200 BCE, all near the Nile
  • Sophisticated fortifications
  • Elaborate temples
  • Attracted industry and travelers
  • High degrees of social specialization
  • Rivalry developed between Upper and Lower Egypt

  • Narmer Palette
  • c. 3100 BCE

Organization of Egyptian History
  • Manetho (c. 3rd century BCE)
  • Set the basic framework for Egyptian history
  • In his Aegyptiaca, he divided the rulers by
  • Today, Egyptian history is divided into three
    major periods
  • Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms
  • These were periods were each marked with
  • Long-term stability with strong monarchical
    authority and competent administrations
  • Construction of temples and pyramids
  • Freedom from invasion
  • Intellectual and cultural activities
  • Between the periods are Intermediate Periods
  • Characterized by political chaos, rivalries, and

Archaic Period (3100c. 2686 BCE)
  • By c. 3100 BCE, Upper and Lower Egypt were
    unified by King Narmer
  • Started the first dynasty
  • Archaic Period is characterized by
  • Administrative capital at Memphis (Lower Egypt)
  • First dynastic rulers came into being
  • Pharaohs were considered divine, not just
    received divine favor
  • Earliest rulers were seen as the earthly
    manifestation of Horus, the falcon god
  • Development of hieroglyphics
  • These were priest-carvings or sacred writings
    developed during the first two dynasties
  • They were pictographs that had a sacred value

Archaic Period (3100c. 2686 BCE)
  • Hieroglyphics were only used by the royal family
    and the priest class
  • A more simple, faster, cursive script (Hieratic
    Script ) was used for everyday business of
    government and commerce
  • First writings were carved in stone
  • Later the Egyptians made paper out of papyrus
  • The first uses of papyrus came during the First
  • The ability to translate hieroglyphics came about
    with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799
  • It contained three different forms of writing
    hieroglyphs, demotic, and classical Greek

  • The Rosetta Stone

  • Close up of the hieroglyphics

Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BCE)
  • Includes the 3rd through 6th Dynasties
  • Unable to reconstruct an accurate history of this
  • So few documents exist to piece together a
    complete history
  • Pharaohs were viewed as gods and were absolute
  • However, the pharaoh was required to follow the
  • This was a general concept of morality, law, and
  • Pharaohs were divine instruments that were to
    maintain order and harmony
  • Subjects were to obey the king to help keep the
    cosmic order

Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BCE)
  • Pharaohs had a well-developed bureaucracy to help
    them run the empire
  • During this period, pharaohs were involved more
    in religious matters than political ones
  • A vizier was in charge of administration
  • This included justice, public works, police, etc.
  • The pharaohs also appointed provincial governors
  • They were known as nomarchs
  • Tended to be family members of the pharaoh
  • Pharaoh had to keep tight reins on them to keep
    them from establishing a power base in their
    provinces (nomes)

Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BCE)
  • An age of prosperity and splendor
  • This is illustrated by the building of the great
  • The pyramids were built as part of a city of the
  • It included a large pyramid for the pharaoh
  • Smaller pyramids for his family
  • Contained all the articles a person would need
    for the after-life
  • Included furniture, weapons, and food
  • The original pyramids began as mastabas
  • These were rectangular structures with flat roofs
    that served as tombs

  • An Egyptian Mastaba

Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BCE)
  • Why did the Egyptians build such elaborate tombs?
  • The Egyptians believed that people had two
    bodies a physical one and a spiritual one (ka)
  • By preserving the body through mummification, the
    ka could return to it
  • The tomb was furnished with goods from everyday
    life to help the ka resume its life after death
  • Mummification was a process of slowly drying out
    and preserving a body to prevent it from rotting
  • The Egyptians first used mummification c. 3000
  • It was not perfected until the New Kingdom

Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2160 BCE)
  • Process of mummification
  • First the intestines, stomach, lungs, and liver
    would be removed and placed in a special jar
    (canopic jars)
  • The heart would remain inside the body because
    that was needed for the weighing of the heart
  • The brain was then removed through the nose with
    a special tool
  • Salt would be placed on the body to absorb
  • The body would then be filled with spices and
    wrapped in layers of resin-soaked linen
  • The whole process from start to finish would take
    approximately 70 days
  • Mummification of pharaohs and their queens
    usually took the longest

  • The Step Pyramid

Step Pyramid
  • The Step Pyramid was built during the 3rd Dynasty
    during the reign of King Djoser (c. 2630 BCE)
  • It was designed by Imhotep, a priest of
  • He probably designed it by building one mastaba
    on top of another
  • The first real pyramid was built during the 4th
    Dynasty (c. 2600 BCE)
  • Each side was filled in to make a flat sloped
  • Built during the reign of King Snefru
  • He went on to build a total of three pyramids

  • Great Pyramid at Giza

Great Pyramid at Giza
  • This was built c. 2540 BC by King Snefrus son,
    King Khufu
  • Contains three pyramids
  • Covers a total of 13 acres
  • Great Pyramid is 756 feet on each side of its
    base and stands 481 feet high
  • Its four sides are almost precisely oriented to
    each of the four points of the compass
  • Recent research suggests that small groups of
    skilled workers were used in the construction
  • In the case of the Great Pyramid, between 20,000
    to 30,000 people were used and it took
    approximately 20 years to build
  • Number of workers were reduced during the growing

  • What the Great Pyramid would have looked like

Ancient Egyptian Society
  • Four social classes
  • Pharaoh or god-king
  • Upper Class
  • Nobles and priests
  • Middle Class
  • Merchants, artisans, and craftspeople
  • Peasants
  • Largest percentage of the population
  • They worked the kings lands, and building
    projects, paid taxes in the forms of crops, and
    provided military service
  • Slaves
  • Typically captives of foreign wars but they did
    have legal rights, including the right to own
    personal property

  • Osiris and Isis

Egyptian Religion
  • Egyptian religion was polytheistic
  • They had over 150 gods in their pantheon
  • Henotheistic Worshipped mainly one god but
    recognize many others
  • One of the most important deities was Osiris
  • Egyptians believed that Osiris was the one who
    brought civilization to Egypt
  • According to the myth, Osiris was killed by his
    brother Seth, who then cut his body into 14
    pieces and threw those into the Nile
  • Isis, his wife, found the pieces and restored him
    to life

Egyptian Religion
  • Because of this, Osiris became a symbol of
    resurrection and the judge of the dead in
    Egyptian religion
  • When a person was died, he was mummified and
    given the name Osiris so he could be reborn
  • Celebrations were held each year for the flooding
    of the Nile to symbolize Isis gathering Osiris
    parts and the start of new life
  • The Egyptians did not have a negative view of the
    afterlife like the Mesopotamians had
  • They saw death as a necessary step to the
  • They believed the afterlife was to be better than
    their current lives

Egyptian Religion
  • The Egyptians a positive viewpoint not only of
    the afterlife, but their current lives as well
  • They believed they lived in a stable,
    paradise-like universe, governed by the Maat
  • They were connected to their gods through their
  • Elaborate rituals took place when a death
  • This included embalming and mummification as well
    as burying items with the deceased
  • A Book of the Dead was also buried with the
  • It contained information that the deceased would
    need to know for the afterlife
  • This included spells, incantations, and
    preparations for the ultimate test the weighing
    of the heart

Egyptian Religion
  • Weighing of the Heart
  • When a person died, he met with Osiris and other
    deities to weigh his heart against a feather
  • The feather itself represented the Maat
  • The heart would be weighed by Anubis, the god of
    the dead and mummification
  • If it was balanced, the deceased could move on
  • If the heart was too heavy, Ammut (Devourer of
    the Dead) was there to eat the deceased

  • Weighing of the heart from the Book of the Dead

Old Kingdom Science and Technology
  • Astronomy was based on the sun
  • Their solar calendar was more accurate than the
    Mesopotamians lunar one
  • It was later adopted by Julius Caesar
  • Developed irrigation and water control systems
  • Did not develop the wheel until much later
  • This was because of the number of workers
    available so there was no need for it
  • There was no written legal code
  • Whatever the pharaoh proclaimed was law

End of the Old Kingdom
  • Several problems led to the end of the Old
  • Period of the 5th and 6th Dynasties
  • During this time, nomarchs grew in power
  • Part of this was due to their positions becoming
  • The nomes became more independent and the central
    authority of the pharaoh weakened
  • Peoples loyalty switch from the pharaohs to the
  • Egypt also was plagued with famines at this time
  • Low Nile flooding led to crop failures and
    economic decline
  • People blamed the pharaoh for disrupting the Maat

End of the Old Kingdom
  • Because of all of these problems, the priesthood
    of Ra at Nekhen demoted the pharaohs
  • They were transformed from being an incarnation
    of Horus and Ra to the lowly position of being
    the son of a god
  • This was done in order to wrest power away from
    weaker pharaohs
  • The nomarchs then used the situation to seize
  • Many saw them and priests as the only ones who
    could guarantee stability and order

First Intermediate Period (2160-2055 BC)
  • Included the 7th through 11th Dynasties
  • During this period, a unified country no longer
  • Divided into Upper and Lower Egypt
  • Rival dynasties were created with new centers of
  • Thebes in Upper Egypt
  • Henen-nesut in Lower Egypt
  • It was not until 2055 BC that Egypt was reunified
  • King Mentuhotep, King of Thebes (Upper Egypt),
    defeated the rulers of Lower Egypt and then
    declared that he was ruler of all Egypt
  • His reign marks the beginning of the Middle

  • Stele of Amenemhat I (c. 1938 BCE)

Middle Kingdom (c. 2050-c. 1650 BCE)
  • The Middle Kingdom period contained the 11th
    through 13th dynasties
  • The 12th Dynasty (1991-1802 BCE) was the dominant
    dynasty during this period
  • This was considered the golden age for Egypt
  • During this time, nomes were restructured
  • They were given permanent boundaries and the
    position of nomarch was officially made
  • On the other hand, the nomarchs were required to
    know what their duties were and perform them

Middle Kingdom (c. 2050-c. 1650 BCE)
  • This was also a period of expansionism
  • Egyptian forces conquered parts of Nubia to the
    south and built fortresses to protect its new
  • They started expeditions into Palestine and Syria
  • Pharaohs began embracing the idea of a co-regency
  • It was first set up by Amenemhet I (1991-1962
  • He made his son as a co-ruler to prepare him for
    his future position
  • This was designed to prevent any succession
    problems or inept rulers
  • He was killed by the royal bodyguards in 1962 BCE

Middle Kingdom (c. 2050-c. 1650 BCE)
  • Egypt became more cynical during this period
  • There was a change in the perception of the
  • The pharaohs were no longer seen as inaccessible
    god-kings who were higher than the people
  • Having maat was not enough
  • Pharaoh had to protect his people, he was seen as
    a shepherd to protect his flock
  • Pharaohs no longer trusted those around them
  • After the assassination of Amenemhat, even the
    pharaohs became cynical
  • They began writing letters to their successors
    warning them of the constant threats and not to
    expect any loyalty from the people
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