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Title: Ancient%20Egypt%20Unit

Ancient Egypt Unit
  • Grade 10 Social Studies
  • Mr. McLaughlin

Unit Outline
  • Egypt Land of the Pharaohs
  • Historical Overview
  • Government
  • Society and Culture
  • Religion
  • Social Organization
  • Everyday Life
  • Urban and Rural Living
  • The Economy
  • The Arts
  • The Sciences

Definitions Please search the text book for the
answers to these definitions (74-121)
  • Wadis
  • Dynasty
  • Hieroglyphics
  • Monarchy
  • Pharaoh
  • Nomes
  • Nomarch
  • Polytheistic
  • Ankh
  • Mummification
  • Corvee Duty
  • Polygamy
  • Hieratic
  • Demotic
  • Secular
  • Religious Cults

  • The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being
    divided into two types of land, the 'black land'
    and the 'red land'.
  • The 'black land' was the fertile land on the
    banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used
    this land for growing their crops.
  • This was the only land in ancient Egypt that
    could be farmed because a layer of rich, black
    silt was deposited there every year after the
    Nile flooded.

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Geography Cont.
  • The 'red land' was the barren desert that
    protected Egypt on two sides.
  • These deserts separated ancient Egypt from
    neighbouring countries and invading armies.
  • They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a
    source for precious metals and semi-precious

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  • Define the following words (6)
  • Wadis
  • Nomarch
  • Polytheistic
  • Polygamy
  • Hieratic
  • Ankh
  • Would this picture be considered black land or
    red land? Why? (4)

Ancient Egypt The British Museum
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Egyptian Oasis
  • Oasis definitions and pictures from Egypt.

Historical Egypt
  • Egypt is one of the most fertile areas of Africa,
    and one of the most fertile of the countries
    around the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Because it is so fertile, people came to live in
    Egypt earlier than in most places, probably
    around 40,000 years ago.
  • At first there were not very many people, but
    gradually Egypt became more crowded, so there was
    more need for a unified government.
  • Around 3000 BC (5000 years ago), Egypt was first
    unified under one ruler, who was called the

  • From that time until around 525 BC, when Egypt
    was conquered by the Persians, Egypt's history is
    divided into six different time periods.
  • These are called the Old Kingdom, the First
    Intermediate Period, the Middle Kingdom, the
    Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom, and
    the Third Intermediate Period.
  • Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt has almost no existing
    record of independent city-states.

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The Kingdoms of Egypt
Old Kingdom
  • Pharaohs organized the first systematic
    irrigation from the Nile river
  • The Pyramids were built in this period as great
    tombs for the Pharaohs. Probably they were built
    by people who were usually farmers, like most
    people at that time.
  • Recent archaeology suggests that the earliest
    Pharaohs also engaged in human sacrifice. About
    the same time, another great civilization was
    arising in Sumeria.

Old Kingdom recap
  • Pharaohs organized the first systematic
    irrigation from the Nile river.
  • The Pyramids were built in this period as great
    tombs for the Pharaohs.
  • Earliest Pharaohs also engaged in human

Upper and Lower Egypt
  • The two regions of Egypt began as separate
    kingdoms. The rulers of upper Egypt wore a tall
    white crown, and the lower rulers wore a red
    crown. Future rulers would wear a crown with a
    red and a white band, signifying the union of the
  • About 3100bc, the king of Upper Egypt Menes
    founded a new capital city Memphis after winning
    a war uniting the two regions.
  • Menes was the first in a long line of kings to
    rule ancient Egypt, beginning the Egyptian

True of False
  • The land around the Nile provided the necessities
    of life for the Egyptian people
  • The pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom.
  • The Nile would flood twice per year, once in
    Spring and the other in Fall.
  • Egypt had been divided up into many city-states
    before the time of the pharaoh.
  • Egypt is one of the most fertile areas of the
    middle east.
  • Egypt has existed for around 60,000 years.
  • The pharaoh unified the people of Egypt about
  • Upper- White crown Lower- Red crown.

Assignment Todays class!
  • 1. Explain how each of the following physical
    features affected the development of civilization
    in ancient Egypt
  • The Nile River
  • The Libyan and Arabian deserts
  • The Mediterranean Sea
  • 2.
  • How the landscapes of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt
  • What effect do you think these differences might
    have on the development of civilization in each
  • 3.
  • Using a map or a diagram, compare the natural
    environments of ancient Egypt and ancient
    Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia map page 28, and Egypt
    page 75.
  • If you happen to finish this, please read through
  • pages 77-83

Middle Kingdom
  • The Middle Kingdom was formed after a series of
    wars between the rulers of Upper Egypt (the
    South) and Lower Egypt (the North).
  • The rulers of Upper Egypt won, and they reunified
    the country about 2000 BC, with the capital first
    at Thebes in the south, and then at a new city
    just south of Memphis.
  • The Pharaohs of this period are not as powerful
    as before. They show themselves as taking care of
    their people, instead of as god-kings as in the
    Old Kingdom. They are the shepherds of the people
  • In this period, Jerusalem, Jericho and Syria
    first came under Egyptian influence.

Middle Kingdom cont
  • At this time there was a great deal of trade with
    Western Asia, and Egyptian armies even conquered
    much of Israel and Syria, though they were
    constantly fighting the Hittites and Assyrians to
    keep control of it.
  • Great temples were built all over Egypt. The
    Egyptian queens were very powerful at this time,
    and in 1490 BC one of them, Hatshepsut, became
    Pharaoh herself.
  • In 1363 BC there was a famous Pharaoh named
    Akhenaten, who built a new capital at Amarna and
    seems to have worshipped a new sun god, and
    developed new art styles.

New Kingdom
  • He had no sons, and his successor was his
    son-in-law Tutankhamon. However, by 1333 BC the
    Pharaohs went back to the old religion.
  • In 1303 BC a new northern dynasty or family of
    Pharaohs took over, the 19th Egyptian dynasty.
    Their first king, Rameses, moved the capital back
    to Memphis in the north. Priests became very
    powerful. Fighting with the Hittites in Western
    Asia continued, but also a lot of trade.
  • The 20th dynasty Pharaohs, around 1200 BC,
    continued the same policies, and were all called
    Rameses. There were many attacks on Egypt, first
    from Libya to the west and then from West Asia,
    by a group that the Egyptians called the Sea
  • The Hittites were destroyed, though around 1100
    BC the Egyptians fought off the Sea Peoples in a
    great naval battle.

Greek Control
  • In 332 BC Alexander the Great conquered Egypt
    with a Greek army. At first the Egyptians thought
    he would make them independent again, but he did
  • Alexander made Egypt part of his own empire.
    When Alexander died in 323 BC, his general
    Ptolemy (TA-low-mee) took over Egypt as his own
  • He and his successors (all called Ptolemy) ruled
    Egypt until the Roman Augustus conquered it from
    the last Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra in 30 BC.
    The Ptolemies succeeded in reconquering much of
    Israel and Syria.
  • They brought Greek culture and the Greek language
    to Egypt, though ordinary people continued to
    speak Egyptian and worship Egyptian gods.

Roman Control
  • By the time of the Roman Julius Caesar, around 50
    BC, the Ptolemies, the Greek kings of Egypt, were
    much weaker than the Romans.
  • When Julius Caesar visited Egypt, the Ptolemaic
    (Greek) queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, begged him to
    help her fight a civil war against her teenaged
    brother and husband, Ptolemy.
  • Julius Caesar did help her, but he left Roman
    troops all over Egypt, and also took Cleopatra
    (klee-oh-PAT-rah) back to Rome with him as his
    girlfriend. When Julius Caesar was assassinated
    in Rome in 44 BC, Cleopatra returned to Egypt
    with another Roman leader, Mark Anthony (who was
    also her boyfriend).
  • In a civil war between Julius Caesar's nephew
    Augustus and Marc Anthony, Antony and Cleopatra
    were defeated. They killed themselves (or perhaps
    were killed) in 30 BC, and the Romans took over

Islamic Egypt (700-present)
  • As part of the rise of the new religion of Islam
    in Western Asia, the Arabs established a new
    empire centered on Syria.
  • They soon conquered Egypt as well, so that just
    as under the Assyrians and then the Persians,
    Egypt came under the rule of West Asia.
  • Gradually most Egyptians converted from
    Christianity to Islam, and learned to speak
    Arabic (the remaining Christians in Egypt are
    called Copts). A new capital was established in
    the north at Cairo (KYE-row).
  • For a while around 1000-1300 AD, the Egyptians
    became independent of Asia under the Shiite
    Fatimid dynasty. This was a time of great
    achievements in Egypt.
  • But then they were conquered by the Sunni
    Ayyubids, and then the Mamluks. Around 1500,
    Egypt became part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire,
    which held Egypt until modern times.

Egyptian Government
  • The Pharaoh (FARE-oh) owned all of Egypt, and
    everything in it.
  • All the land, all the tools, all the animals, and
    all the people. He (or sometimes she) could tell
    anybody what to do, and they would have to do it.
    This is called a monarchy. Of course the Pharaoh
    could not always be telling everybody what to do.
    So the Pharaoh chose men to represent him, and
    assigned them to big estates all over Egypt.
  • These rich men and women ran the estates, and on
    them they could tell everybody what to do. But
    even the rich people were supposed to do whatever
    the Pharaoh said to do, and they had to send him
    some of the food that was grown on that land.
  • Some, at least, of these estate-holders were
    priests, holding the estate for the gods, but
    these religious estates were run in the same way,
    and they also had to pay some food to the

  • When the Pharaoh was weaker, especially in the
    First and Second Intermediate Periods, sometimes
    he (or she) could not make the rich people do
    what he (or she) wanted them to.
  • Often the Pharaoh had to compromise with them.
    But at least in theory, the rich people had to do
    whatever the Pharaoh said, and ordinary people
    had to do whatever the rich people said.

Egyptian Justice and Law
  • Egyptians had harsh punishments for breaking the
    law. The laws were based on a common sense view
    of right and wrong. It depended on which crime
    the criminal did to figure out which punishment
    they would receive. Not only would it disgrace
    them, but it would disgrace their whole family.
  • Next, there were many laws in Egypt, as there
    were many punishments for breaking a law. On of
    the punishments were one hundred strokes of a
    cane, and if the crime was worse, five bleeding
    cuts were added. Other punishments included
    branding, exile, mutilation, drowning, beheading,
    and burning alive. The worst crime was tomb
    raiding because the treasures in the tomb were
    sacred. A lot of punishments were fatal, such as
    drowning, beheading, and burning alive. After
    that, the Egyptians had law officials that served
    the pharaoh by catching criminals. The officials
    were like the police today. They would wear a
    golden Maat pendant as their official badge.
    Maat was the goddess of truth, order, justice,
    and balance in the universe. When the officials
    caught a criminal, they took them to the pharaoh,
    who would decide the punishment in court.

Egypt Society and Culture
  • As in Mesopotamia at the same time, the people of
    ancient Egypt were polytheistic throughout the
    Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New
    Kingdom. That means that they believed in many
  • Some of these gods were Anubis, Set, Osiris,
    Isis, and Horus. Egyptians worshipped these gods
    with animal sacrifices and with incense and many
    processions where people carried the image of the
    god from one place to another.
  • People believed that all of Egypt belonged to the
    gods, and that the Pharaoh was the representative
    on earth of the gods, or maybe a kind of god
    himself, and so everything in Egypt sort of
    belonged to the Pharaoh.
  • They thought that when you died, Anubis would
    weigh your soul against a feather, and if your
    soul was heavier than the feather (with bad
    deeds), you would be punished.
  • They thought that after you died you went to a
    new world, just like this one, and so they put
    into your grave everything you would need in the
    next world.

  • Now, some punishments were fatal. A few of them
    were drowning, beheading, and burning alive.
    Only if the crime was really bad did the criminal
    die. For example, the punishment for tomb
    raiding was death because it was the worst crime.
  • Finally, there were about eight books that had
    the Egyptian legal code. The pharaoh made all
    the laws. Everyone had to obey the pharaohs
    laws. There was no limit to his power.
  • As you can see, the pharaoh made the laws to
    enforce a powerful and under control country.

  • But, as in Mesopotamia, there was also a little
    monotheism in Egypt.
  • During the New Kingdom, the Pharaoh Akhenaten
    started a new worship of the god Aten, and he
    seems to have wanted people to believe that Aten
    was the only real god, or maybe the only god
    worth worshipping.
  • After Akhenaten died, people went back to
    worshipping Anubis, Isis, and Osiris again, as
    they had before.

  • The Persian invasion of Egypt in 539 BC doesn't
    seem to have made any difference to Egyptian
    religion. The Egyptians just kept right on
    worshipping their own gods. But the Persians are
    known for their religious tolerance.
  • When Ptolemy took over Egypt in 323 BC, that did
    make a difference. Under Greek rule, the
    Egyptians did begin to worship some Greek gods,
    although they kept on worshipping the old
    Egyptian gods as well.
  • Greek people in Athens began to worship the
    Egyptian goddess Isis. They learned about Isis
    from traders sailing over from Egypt.

  • But little by little some Egyptians began to
    convert to Christianity, and by the time of the
    Great Persecution in 303 AD, there were many
    Christians in Egypt.
  • After the Roman Emperors became Christian and the
    persecution ended, most of the people of Egypt
    seem to have converted to Christianity.
  • This is the time of the great conflict between
    Arius and Athanasius, a good deal of which took
    place in Alexandria, in Egypt.

This scene depicts what occurs after a person has
died, according to the ancient Egyptians.
Beginning with the upper left-hand corner, the
deceased appears before a panel of 14 judges to
make an accounting for his deeds during life. The
ankh, the key of life, appears in the hands of
some of the judges. Next, below, the jackal god
Anubis who represents the underworld and
mummification leads the deceased before the
scale. In his hand, Anubis holds the ankh
  • People tend to think that Egyptian styles stayed
    the same for the whole period of Egyptian
    history, but that's not true.
  • The Egyptians built different kinds of buildings
    at different times, just like any other group of
    people. In the beginning, they built mainly
    mastabas, a kind of tomb with a flat roof like a
    house. Then throughout most of the Old Kingdom,
    the Egyptians built the pyramid tombs which are
    now so famous.
  • In the Middle Kingdom, the mastaba tomb came back
    again, although in a more elaborate form for the
    Pharaohs. No more pyramids were built.
  • Then in the New Kingdom there was a lot of
    building that was not tombs temples for the gods
    especially, but also palaces for the Pharaohs.

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  • 3D Tomb Tour
  • Valley of the Kings

Social Organizations
  • In Ancient Egypt there were definite social
    classes which were dictated by an Egyptian's
    profession. This social stratification is like a
    pyramid. At the bottom of the "Social Pyramid"
    were soldiers, farmers, and tomb builders, who
    represented the greatest percent of the Egyptian
  • The workers supported the professionals above
    them, just as the base of the pyramid supports
    the rest of the structure.
  • Above the workers were skilled craftsmen, such as
    artists, who used primitive tools to make
    everything from carts to coffins.

  • Above the craftsmen were the scribes. The scribes
    were the only Egyptians who knew how to read and
    write, and therefore had many types of job
  • A scribe's duties ranged from writing letters for
    townspeople, to recording harvests, to keeping
    accounts for the Egyptian army. Above these
    scribes were more scholarly scribes, who had
    advanced to higher positions such as priests,
    doctors, and engineers.
  • Priests were devoted to their religious duties in
    the temples at least three months out of every
    year, during which time they never left the
    temple. At other times the worked as judges and

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  • Unlike the position of women in most other
    ancient civilizations, including that of Greece,
    the Egyptian woman seems to have enjoyed the same
    legal and economic rights as the Egyptian man -
    at least in theory.
  • This notion is reflected in Egyptian art and
    historical inscriptions.
  • It is uncertain why these rights existed for the
    woman in Egypt but no where else in the ancient
  • It may well be that such rights were ultimately
    related to the theoretical role of the king in
    Egyptian society.
  • If the pharaoh was the personification of Egypt,
    and he represented the corporate personality of
    the Egyptian state, then men and women might not
    have been seen in their familiar relationships,
    but rather, only in regard to this royal center
    of society.

  • Not very many boys and girls went to school in
    Ancient Egypt. Most of these boys and girls came
    from rich families and went to scribal school.
  • They went to school so maybe one distant day
    they could grow up and enter the royal service,
    maybe even a famous pharaoh or wealthy scribe. In
    scribal school, they still used the utensils of a
    scribe a reed brush, ink made out of soot and
    water, and the worlds first paper papyrus.
  • If you were not going to study to be a scribe,
    you would probably not go to scribal school.
    However some people who were not scribes did have
    a scribal school education.
  • Instead you would become an apprentice. For
    example, if you wanted to become a doctor, you
    would go to work with a doctor and learn from
  • If you wanted to become a baker, you would
    become a bakers apprentice and work with him to
    learn how to be a baker.

  • Unlike most of the people of the ancient
    Mediterranean, the Egyptians did not wear just
    one or two big pieces of cloth wrapped around
    themselves in various ways. Instead, both men and
    women in Egypt wore tunics which were sewn to fit
  • These tunics were like a long T-shirt which
    reached to the knees (for men) or to the ankles
    (for women). They were usually made of linen and
    were nearly always white.
  • Most Egyptians, both men and women, do not seem
    to have covered their heads with any kind of
    cloth. They often went barefoot, but sometimes
    they wore leather sandals.
  • Men who were working outside usually wore short
    skirts instead of tunics, which may have been
    made as in Western Asia by winding a piece of
    cloth around your waist and legs.
  • Both men and women wore blue and green eyeshadow
    and black kohl eyeliner, when they were dressed
  • Men wore their hair short, and had no beards or
    mustaches, while women wore their hair down to
    their shoulders. Both men and women wore gold
    jewelry if they could afford to.

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  • The ancient Egyptian economy was based on
    farming. Farmers had to give 3/5 of their crops
    to the pharoah as a tax.
  • Farming land was called "black land for crops."
    Irrigation was VERY important for farming.
    Without irrigation, farming would have been
    impossible in the desert of ancient Egypt.
  • Irrigation is watering dry land by using streams,
    canals -- even by carrying water back and forth
    in skin bags. The Egyptians were the first to use
    irrigation methods. Flooding of the Nile was
    important for growing crops. Farmers worked by
    the rise and fall of the Nile in a yearly cycle.
  • They never needed fertilizers because the flood
    soil was so rich. The Egyptians believed that
    when Osiris, the god of death and rebirth, was
    dead, the river was low, but when Osiris was
    alive, the Nile river would overflow.
  • Farming jobs included watering, plowing and
    sowing. Egypt's most important export crop was

The Shaduf
  • Early Egyptian Boats
  • Boats were a big part of both travel and trade in
    Ancient Egypt because of the Nile River. There
    were many different kinds of boats, but the first
    boats were made of papyrus reeds. The reeds were
    bound with papyrus rope, which is made from reed
    fibers. This boat wasnt in style forever. By
    3200 BC, timber was being imported from Lebanon
    to build wooden ships instead.
  • They had ferries so people without boats could
    cross the Nile. These ferries carried people and
    goods across and along the river.
  • Royal boats allowed the pharaoh and his family to
    ride in style. A huge canopy protected the royal
    family from the sun and people staring at them.
  • The Egyptians even had cattle boats. These boats
    had wide flat decks for the cattle. The farmers
    would do almost anything to protect their cattle
    because their cattle was where most of their
    money came from.

  • Seagoing boats had to be bigger and stronger than
    riverboats, but they had almost the exact same
    basic design. Sea boats were usually made of
    cedar wood and called "Byblos-Boats."
  • Egyptians did not travel often because they were
    suspicious of other places and thought it better
    to stay right at home.
  • They were afraid that they would die in another
    place and not get the proper burial, leaving them
    unprepared for the Afterlife.
  • The Egyptians needed to travel so they could
    trade for things like gold, silver, copper, and
    other precious stones and metals. They also
    needed to travel to trade for strange animals
    like panthers, giraffes, monkeys, and lots of
    other things and animals.

  • The ancient Egyptians believed that it was
    important to record and communicate information
    about religion and government. Thus, they
    invented written scripts that could be used to
    record this information.
  • The most famous of all ancient Egyptian scripts
    is hieroglyphic. However, throughout three
    thousand years of ancient Egyptian civilization,
    at least three other scripts were used for
    different purposes.
  • Using these scripts, scribes were able to
    preserve the beliefs, history and ideas of
    ancient Egypt in temple and tomb walls and on
    papyrus scrolls.

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  • Writing in Egypt goes back to pretty much the
    earliest writing anywhere. Nobody really knows
    yet whether the Egyptians figured out how to
    write for themselves, or whether they learned it
    from the Sumerians, who also began writing about
    the same time, about 3000 BC.
  • The Egyptian form of writing, hieroglyphs, does
    not look the same or work the same as the
    Sumerian form of writing, cuneiform. So if they
    did get the idea from the Sumerians, the
    Egyptians certainly changed it a lot.
  • What we have left of Egyptian writing, like
    Egyptian art, mostly comes out of tombs. Because
    of this, most of what we have left is prayers
    (because that is the kind of thing you put in
    people's tombs).
  • Other writing like laws, letters to your mom, and
    lists of who gave their fair share to the temple
    mostly has rotted away, over the years.
  • We don't know whether the Egyptians wrote novels
    or stories, but if they did then these stories
    have also rotted away. Probably they didn't write
    much literature, or some of it would have been

Building the Pyramids
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Aerial View of Pyramids
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