السبت، 5 نوفمبر، 2016

www.weareegyptian.blogspot.com

Egyptian story



The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt.


Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. It is one of six civilizations to arise independently. Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology)[1] with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh Narmer (commonly referred to as Menes).[2] The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, during the Ramesside period, where it rivalled the Hittite EmpireAssyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was invaded or conquered by a succession of foreign powers, such as the Canaanites/HyksosLibyans, the Nubians, the AssyriansBabylonians, the Achaemenid Persians, and the Macedonians in the Third Intermediate Periodand the Late Period of Egypt. In the aftermath of Alexander the Great's death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new ruler of Egypt. This Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.[3]
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.[4][5]
The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramidstemples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats,[6] Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites.[7] Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecturewere widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy.[8]

History


Map of ancient Egypt, showing major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC)
The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history.[9] The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization.[10] Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.

Predynastic period

Main article: Predynastic Egypt

A typical Naqada II jar decorated with gazelles. (Predynastic Period)
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is also the period when many animals were first domesticated.[11]
By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, and identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs, bracelets, and beads. The largest of these early cultures in upper (Southern) Egypt was the Badari, which probably originated in the Western Desert; it was known for its high quality ceramics, stone tools, and its use of copper.[12]
The Badari was followed by the Amratian (Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada II) cultures,[13] which brought a number of technological improvements. As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes.[14] In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast.[15] Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley.[16] Establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and later at AbydosNaqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile.[17] They also traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastto the east.[17] Royal Nubian burials at Qustul produced artifacts bearing the oldest-known examples of Egyptian dynastic symbols, such as the white crown of Egypt and falcon.[18][19]
The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vasescosmetic palettes, and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines.[20] During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language.[21]

Early Dynastic Period (c. 3050 – 2686 BC)

The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian-Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia and of ancient Elam. The third-century BC Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of pharaohs from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today.[22] He chose to begin his official history with the king named "Meni" (or Menes in Greek) who was believed to have united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt(around 3100 BC).[23]
The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have been the pharaoh Narmer, who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette, in a symbolic act of unification.[24] In the Early Dynastic Period about 3150 BC, the first of the Dynastic pharaohs solidified control over lower Egypt by establishing a capital at Memphis, from which he could control the labour force and agriculture of the fertile delta region, as well as the lucrative and critical trade routes to the Levant. The increasing power and wealth of the pharaohs during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified pharaoh after his death.[25] The strong institution of kingship developed by the pharaohs served to legitimize state control over the land, labour, and resources that were essential to the survival and growth of ancient Egyptian civilization.[26]

The Narmer Palette depicts the unification of the Two Lands.[27]

Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)

Main article: Old Kingdom of Egypt

The Giza Pyramids
Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom, fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration.[28] Some of ancient Egypt's crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx, were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier, state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order.[29]

Khafre Enthroned
Along with the rising importance of a central administration arose a new class of educated scribes and officials who were granted estates by the pharaoh in payment for their services. Pharaohs also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples, to ensure that these institutions had the resources to worship the pharaoh after his death. Scholars believe that five centuries of these practices slowly eroded the economic power of the pharaoh, and that the economy could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration.[30] As the power of the pharaoh diminished, regional governors called nomarchs began to challenge the supremacy of the pharaoh. This, coupled with severe droughts between 2200 and 2150 BC,[31] is assumed to have caused the country to enter the 140-year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period.[32]

First Intermediate Period (2181–1991 BC)

After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes.[33] In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period.[34]
Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 BC, rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 BC the northern Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands. They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom.[35]

First Intermediate Period (2181–1991 BC)

After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes.[33] In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period.[34]
Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 BC, rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 BC the northern Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands. They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom.[35]

Middle Kingdom (2134–1690 BC)

Main article: Middle Kingdom of Egypt

Amenemhat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom
The pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's prosperity and stability, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects.[36] Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I, upon assuming kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 BC, shifted the nation's capital to the city of Itjtawy, located in Faiyum.[37] From Itjtawy, the pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a far-sighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the "Walls-of-the-Ruler", to defend against foreign attack.[38]
With the pharaohs' having secured military and political security and vast agricultural and mineral wealth, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom experienced an increase in expressions of personal piety and what could be called a democratization of the afterlife, in which all people possessed a soul and could be welcomed into the company of the gods after death.[39] Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style.[34] The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical perfection.[40]
The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III, allowed Semitic-speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties. During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to seize control of the delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos.[41]

Second Intermediate Period (1674–1549 BC) and the Hyksos

Around 1785 BC, as the power of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs weakened, a Western Asian people called the Hyksos had already settled in the Eastern Delta town of Avaris, seized control of Egypt, and forced the central government to retreat to Thebes. The pharaoh was treated as a vassal and expected to pay tribute.[42] The Hyksos ("foreign rulers") retained Egyptian models of government and identified as pharaohs, thus integrating Egyptian elements into their culture. They and other invaders introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot.[43]
After their retreat, the native Theban kings found themselves trapped between the Canaanite Hyksos ruling the north and the Hyksos' Nubian allies, the Kushites, to the south of Egypt. After years of vassalage, Thebes gathered enough strength to challenge the Hyksos in a conflict that lasted more than 30 years, until 1555 BC.[42] The pharaohs Seqenenre Tao II and Kamose were ultimately able to defeat the Nubians to the south of Egypt, but failed to defeat the Hyksos. That task fell to Kamose's successor, Ahmose I, who successfully waged a series of campaigns that permanently eradicated the Hyksos' presence in Egypt. He established a new dynasty. In the New Kingdom that followed, the military became a central priority for the pharaohs seeking to expand Egypt's borders and attempting to gain mastery of the Near East.[44]

The maximum territorial extent of ancient Egypt (15th century BC)

New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC)

Main article: New Kingdom of Egypt
The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria, and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Between their reigns, Hatshepsut generally promoted peace and restored trade routes lost during the Hyksos occupation, as well as expanding to new regions. When Tuthmosis III died in 1425 BC, Egypt had an empire extending from Niyain north west Syria to the fourth waterfall of the Nile in Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood.[45]

Djeser-Djeseru is the main building of Hatshepsut's mortuary templecomplex at Deir el-Bahri; the building is an example of perfect symmetrythat predates the Parthenon by a thousand years
The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built.[46] The pharaoh Hatshepsut used such hyperbole and grandeur during her reign of almost twenty-two years.[47] Her reign was very successful, marked by an extended period of peace and wealth-building, trading expeditions to Punt, restoration of foreign trade networks, and great building projects, including an elegant mortuary temple that rivaled the Greek architecture of a thousand years later, a colossal pair of obelisks, and a chapel at Karnak. Despite her achievements, Amenhotep II, the heir to Hatshepsut's nephew-stepson Tuthmosis III, sought to erase her legacy near the end of his father's reign and throughout his, touting many of her accomplishments as his.[48] He also tried to change many established traditions that had developed over the centuries, which some suggest was a futile attempt to prevent other women from becoming pharaoh and to curb their influence in the kingdom.
Around 1350 BC, the stability of the New Kingdom seemed threatened further when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of most other deities, and attacked the power of the temple that had become dominated by the priests of Amun in Thebes, whom he saw as corrupt.[49] Moving the capital to the new city of Akhetaten (modern-day Amarna), Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to events in the Near East (where the HittitesMitanni, and Assyrianswere vying for control). He was devoted to his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned, the priests of Amun soon regained power and returned the capital to Thebes. Under their influence the subsequent pharaohs TutankhamunAy, and Horemheb worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period.[50]

Four colossal statues of Ramesses II flank the entrance of his temple Abu Simbel
Around 1279 BC, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history.[51] A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in modern Syria) and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty, around 1258 BC.[52] With both the Egyptians and Hittite Empire proving unable to gain the upper hand over one another, and both powers also fearful of the expanding Middle Assyrian EmpireEgypt withdrew from much of the Near East. The Hittites were thus left to compete unsuccessfully with the powerful Assyrians and the newly arrived Phrygians.
Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples, a conjectured[53][54]confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea. Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of its remaining territories in southern Caanan, much of it falling to the Assyrians. The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period.[55]



New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC)

Main article: New Kingdom of Egypt
The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria, and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Between their reigns, Hatshepsut generally promoted peace and restored trade routes lost during the Hyksos occupation, as well as expanding to new regions. When Tuthmosis III died in 1425 BC, Egypt had an empire extending from Niyain north west Syria to the fourth waterfall of the Nile in Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood.[45]

Djeser-Djeseru is the main building of Hatshepsut's mortuary templecomplex at Deir el-Bahri; the building is an example of perfect symmetrythat predates the Parthenon by a thousand years
The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built.[46] The pharaoh Hatshepsut used such hyperbole and grandeur during her reign of almost twenty-two years.[47] Her reign was very successful, marked by an extended period of peace and wealth-building, trading expeditions to Punt, restoration of foreign trade networks, and great building projects, including an elegant mortuary temple that rivaled the Greek architecture of a thousand years later, a colossal pair of obelisks, and a chapel at Karnak. Despite her achievements, Amenhotep II, the heir to Hatshepsut's nephew-stepson Tuthmosis III, sought to erase her legacy near the end of his father's reign and throughout his, touting many of her accomplishments as his.[48] He also tried to change many established traditions that had developed over the centuries, which some suggest was a futile attempt to prevent other women from becoming pharaoh and to curb their influence in the kingdom.
Around 1350 BC, the stability of the New Kingdom seemed threatened further when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of most other deities, and attacked the power of the temple that had become dominated by the priests of Amun in Thebes, whom he saw as corrupt.[49] Moving the capital to the new city of Akhetaten (modern-day Amarna), Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to events in the Near East (where the HittitesMitanni, and Assyrianswere vying for control). He was devoted to his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned, the priests of Amun soon regained power and returned the capital to Thebes. Under their influence the subsequent pharaohs TutankhamunAy, and Horemheb worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period.[50]

Four colossal statues of Ramesses II flank the entrance of his temple Abu Simbel
Around 1279 BC, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history.[51] A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in modern Syria) and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty, around 1258 BC.[52] With both the Egyptians and Hittite Empire proving unable to gain the upper hand over one another, and both powers also fearful of the expanding Middle Assyrian EmpireEgypt withdrew from much of the Near East. The Hittites were thus left to compete unsuccessfully with the powerful Assyrians and the newly arrived Phrygians.
Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples, a conjectured[53][54]confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea. Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of its remaining territories in southern Caanan, much of it falling to the Assyrians. The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period.[55]

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