Ancient Egypt history summary/Politics/Egyptian society/economy/religion

Ancient Egypt is the birthplace of one of the most important and fascinating civilizations in history. Egypt is located in northeast Africa and its civilization developed on the banks of the River Nile. Ancient Egypt history summary

The period of ancient Egypt is divided between pre-dynastic and dynastic. During the dynasty, Egypt was ruled by famous pharaohs, such as Menes, Ramses II, Amenhotep IV and Tutankhamun.

Before being ruled by the Pharaohs, Egypt was formed by groups of people called “nomos”. These nomos were independent, but they established relationships with each other. From the union of the nomos, two kingdoms were formed, the kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The kingdom of Upper Egypt was to the south of the territory and was so named for its altitude and proximity to the mountains. The kingdom of Lower Egypt was located to the north, until the territory met the Mediterranean Sea.

In 3200 BC, Menes , who was king of Upper Egypt, unified all Egyptian territory under his power. This date marks the beginning of the dynastic period and Menes becomes the first pharaoh of Egypt . Ancient Egypt history summary

The 3 stages of the dynasty period

1st – 3200 BC to 2100 BC – Old Empire

During this phase, the pharaohs gained much political, military and religious power. Among the most famous pharaohs of this period are Cheops , Chechen and Menkaure , to whom the famous pyramids of Giza are attributed .

At the end of this period, revolts began with the aim of weakening the power of the pharaohs. These uprisings led to a civil war, which brought many negative consequences and disorganization of society.

2nd – 2100 BC to 1580 BC – Middle Kingdom

The empire was again unified and there was economic and political stabilization. In this period there were conquests of new territories, as is the case of Palestine and Nubia, where precious metals were found.

But at the end of this period, the territory is invaded by the Hyksos , nomadic peoples of Asia. Due to their military superiority, the Hyksos managed to impose their power and dominated northern Egypt for about 170 years. Ancient Egypt history summary

3rd – 1580 BC to 715 BC – New empire

The Egyptians managed to unite and strengthen their military force and in 1580 they expelled the Hyksos from their territory, inaugurating the New Empire, the last phase of the Egyptian dynasty.

At the end of this period, conflicts arise between priests and monarchs, who were part of Egypt’s privileged class – which generates instability and weakens the power of the pharaohs. In addition, the peasants also began to rebel against the high taxes they paid to maintain the luxuries of the upper classes.

Thus, Egypt enters into decadence and begins to suffer several invasions in its territory. Among the peoples who invaded Egyptian territory were the Assyrians , Persians , Macedonians and Romans .

Politics in Ancient Egypt

Politics in ancient Egypt was centered in the pharaoh‘s hands. The pharaohs were considered gods and, therefore, the political regime is called theocratic monarchy . Ancient Egypt history summary

Their authority was maximum, they had religious functions, they were judges and they commanded the army. Pharaoh‘s role was hereditary , that is, passed from father to son.

To manage all the activities of the state, the pharaohs had numerous employees and they also used to recruit peasants to work in the great works.

Egyptian society

Egyptian society was estates , this means that there were rigid social classes and there was no social mobility. At the top of the pyramid of society was the pharaoh, followed by the privileged class of nobles, priests and scribes.

The underprivileged class was made up of peasants, artisans and slaves. To support the luxuries of the upper classes, the peasants paid very high taxes, which became a cause of revolt at the end of the dynasty.

ancient Egypt economy

Ancient Egypt’s economy was primarily based on agriculture . Despite being a desert region, the Nile River fertilized the soil on its banks, making it possible to grow food. Ancient Egypt history summary

There was no private ownership of land in Egyptian society. In exchange for the use of land, peasants provided the state with part of their production.

In addition to agriculture, the Egyptians raised cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs, but meat was expensive and consumed only by the upper strata of society. There was also the sale of artisan products.

ancient Egypt religion

Religion is one of the most important aspects of Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians were polytheists – they believed in multiple gods – and performed many rituals and celebrations for these deities.

These gods were anthropomorphic , had part of the human body and part of the animal body. They also considered some animals sacred, such as the cat and the beetle.

The Egyptians believed in life after death and the return to the body of good souls. It is for this reason that they mummified the dead, a technique in which they developed unparalleled expertise.

For the judgment of souls after death, the Egyptians passed through the Court of Osiris, the God of death, and their hearts were heavy. The light hearts were from people with good attitudes, the heavy ones were from people with bad attitudes during their lives. Egypt history summary

Ancient Egypt knowledge and science

Egyptian society produced numerous intellectual and scientific advances, especially in arithmetic , astronomy , chemistry , medicine , and engineering . The pyramids are an example of construction that respected strict mathematical rules.

Mummification was another custom of this civilization that contributed to the advancement of science. With the removal of the viscera of the dead for the mummification process, the Egyptians learned a lot about the functioning of the human body. Ancient Egypt history summary

Writing was another important advance of Ancient Egypt. Three forms of writing were developed: demotic, hieratic and hieroglyphic. Demotic was a simpler script, followed by hieratic, which was intermediate.

Hieroglyphics was a more complex writing that used objects and symbols for representations. The pharaohs had officials assigned to the function of writing down everything that happened in the empire, they were scribes.

It is thanks to these records that today we can know a little about the structure of that society, its habits, traditions, beliefs and all the events that we know about that period. Ancient Egypt history summary

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