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Ancient Egypt

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Overview

For the British history magazine, see Ancient Egypt (magazine).
The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt. - Ancient Egypt
The Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of 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 globally to arise independently. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology)[1] with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh.[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 during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period where it rivalled the Hittite Empire, Assyrian 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/Hyksos, Libyans, Nubians, Assyria, Babylonia, Achaemenids and Macedon/Greece) in the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt and Late Period. 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 Dynasty 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. 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 pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known ships,[6] Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with Hittites.[7] Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were 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) - Ancient Egypt
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 thousand 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) - Ancient 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 Abydos, Naqada 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 East to 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 vases, cosmetic 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] - Ancient Egypt
The Narmer Palette depicts the unification of the Two Lands.[27]

Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)

Main article: Old Kingdom
The Giza Pyramids - Ancient 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 - Ancient Egypt
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]

Middle Kingdom (2134–1690 BC)

Amenemhat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom - Ancient 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 Semitic Canaanite 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 Semitic 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) - Ancient Egypt
The maximum territorial extent of ancient Egypt (15th century BC)

New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC)

Main article: New Kingdom

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 Niya in 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 temple complex at Deir el-Bahri, the building is an example of perfect symmetry that predates the Parthenon by a thousand years - Ancient Egypt
Djeser-Djeseru is the main building of Hatshepsut's mortuary temple complex at Deir el-Bahri, the building is an example of perfect symmetry that 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 pharaoh Hatshepsut used such hyperbole and grandeur during her reign of almost twenty-two years.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] 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 Hittites, Mitanni, and Assyrians were 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 Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period.[49]

Four colossal statues of Ramesses II flank the entrance of his temple Abu Simbel - Ancient Egypt
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.[50] 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.[51] 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 Empire, Egypt withdraw 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 powerful confederation of largely Greek, Luwian and Phoenician/Caananite pirates from the Aegean. 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.[52]

Third Intermediate Period (1069–653 BC)

Following the death of Ramesses XI in 1078 BC, Smendes assumed authority over the northern part of Egypt, ruling from the city of Tanis. The south was effectively controlled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes, who recognized Smendes in name only.[53] During this time, Berber tribes from what was later to be called Libya had been settling in the western delta, and the chieftains of these settlers began increasing their autonomy. Libyan princes took control of the delta under Shoshenq I in 945 BC, founding the Libyan Berber, or Bubastite, dynasty that ruled for some 200 years. Shoshenq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions.

In the mid-ninth century BC, Egypt made a failed attempt to once more gain a foothold in Western Asia. Osorkon II of Egypt, along with a large alliance of nations and peoples, including; Israel, Hamath, Phoenicia/Caanan, the Arabs, Arameans, and neo Hittites among others, engaged in the Battle of Karkar against the powerful Assyrian king Shalmaneser III in 853 BC. However, this coalition of powers failed and the Assyrian Empire continued to dominate Western Asia.

Libyan Berber control began to erode as a rival native dynasty in the delta arose under Leontopolis. Also, the Nubians of the Kushites threatened Egypt from the lands to the south.[54]

Around 730 BC Libyans from the west fractured the political unity of the country - Ancient Egypt
Around 730 BC Libyans from the west fractured the political unity of the country

Drawing on millennia of interaction (trade, acculturation, occupation, assimilation, and war[55]) with Egypt,[56] the Kushite king Piye left his Nubian capital of Napata and invaded Egypt around 727 BC. Piye easily seized control of Thebes and eventually the Nile Delta.[57] He recorded the episode on his stela of victory. Piye set the stage for subsequent Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs,[58] such as Taharqa, to reunite the "Two lands" of Northern and Southern Egypt. The Nile valley empire was as large as it had been since the New Kingdom.

The Twenty-fifth dynasty ushered in a renaissance period for ancient Egypt.[59] Religion, the arts, and architecture were restored to their glorious Old, Middle, and New Kingdom forms. Pharaohs, such as Taharqa, built or restored temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley, including at Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, Jebel Barkal, etc.[60] It was during the Twenty-fifth dynasty that there was the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) in the Nile Valley since the Middle Kingdom.[61][62][63]

Piye made various unsuccessful attempts to extend Egyptian influence in the Near East, then controlled by Assyria. In 720 BC, he sent an army in support a rebellion against Assyria, which was taking place in Philistia and Gaza. However, Piye was defeated by Sargon II and the rebellion failed. In 711 BC, Piye again supported a revolt against the Assyrians by the Israelites of Ashdod and was once again defeated by the Assyrian king Sargon II. Subsequently, Piye was forced from the Near East.[64]

From the 10th century BC onwards, Assyria fought for control of the southern Levant. Frequently, cities and kingdoms of the southern Levant appealed to Egypt for aide in their struggles against the powerful Assyrian army. Taharqa enjoyed some initial success in his attempts to regain a foothold in the Near East. Taharqa aided the Judean King Hezekiah when Hezekiah and Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9). Scholars disagree on the primary reason for Assyria's abandonment of their siege on Jerusalem. Reasons for the Assyrian withdrawal range from conflict with the Egyptian/Kushite army to divine intervention to surrender to disease.[65] Henry Aubin argues that the Kushite/Egyptian army saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians and prevented the Assyrians from returning to capture Jerusalem for the remainder of Sennacherib's life (20 years).[66] Some argue that disease was the primary reason for failing to actually take the city and Senacherib's annals claim Judah was forced into tribute regardless.[67]

The Assyrians began their invasion of Egypt under king Esarhaddon, successor of Sennacherib. Sennacherib had been murdered by his own sons for destroying the rebellious city of Babylon. In 674 BC, Taharqa defeated Esarhaddon and the Assyrian army outright on Egyptian soil.[68] In 671 BC, Esarhaddon drove the Kushites from Northern Egypt and back to their Nubian homeland. However, the native Egyptian rulers installed by Esarhaddon were unable to retain full control of the whole country for long. Two years later, Taharqa returned from Nubia and seized control of a section of southern Egypt as far north as Memphis. Esarhaddon prepared to return to Egypt and once more eject Taharqa, however he fell ill and died in his capital, Nineveh, before he left Assyria. His successor, Ashurbanipal, sent a general with a small, but well trained army, which defeated Taharqa at Memphis and once more drove him from Egypt. Taharqa died in Nubia two years later.

His successor, Tanutamun, also made a failed attempt to regain Egypt for Nubia. He successfully defeated Necho, the puppet ruler installed by Ashurbanipal, taking Thebes in the process. The Assyrians then sent a large army southwards. Tantamani (Tanutamun) was heavily routed and fled back to Nubia. The Assyrian army sacked Thebes to such an extent it never truly recovered. A native ruler, Psammetichus I was placed on the throne, as a vassal of Ashurbanipal, and the Nubians were never again to pose a threat.[69]

Twenty-fifth Dynasty - Ancient Egypt
Twenty-fifth Dynasty

Late Period (672–332 BC)

With no permanent plans for conquest, the Assyrians left control of Egypt to a series of vassals who became known as the Saite kings of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. By 653 BC, the Saite king Psamtik I (taking advantage of the fact that Assyria was involved in a fierce war conquering Elam and that few Assyrian troops were stationed in Egypt) was able to free Egypt relatively peacefully from Assyrian vassalage with the help of Lydian and Greek mercenaries, the latter of whom were recruited to form Egypt's first navy. Psamtik and his successors however were careful to maintain peaceful relations with Assyria. Greek influence expanded greatly as the city of Naukratis became the home of Greeks in the delta.

In 609 BC Necho II went to war with Babylonia, the Chaldeans, the Medians and the Scythians in an attempt to save Assyria, which after a brutal civil war was being ovverrun by this coalition of powers. However, the attempt to save Egypts former masters failed. The Egyptians delayed intervening too long, and Nineveh had already fallen and King Sin-shar-ishkun was dead by the time Necho II sent his armies northwards. However Necho easily brushed aside the Israelite army under King Josiah but he and the Assyrians then lost a battle at Harran to the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians. Necho II and Ashur-uballit II of Assyria were finally defeated at Carchemish in Aramea (modern Syria) in 605 BC. The Egyptians remained in the area for some decades, struggling with the Babylonian kings Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II for control of portions of the former Assyrian Empire in The Levant. However, they were eventually driven back into Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar II even briefly invaded Egypt itself in 567 BC.[67] The Saite kings based in the new capital of Sais witnessed a brief but spirited resurgence in the economy and culture, but in 525 BC, the powerful Persians, led by Cambyses II, began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from his home of Susa in Persia (modern Iran), leaving Egypt under the control of a satrapy. A few temporarily successful revolts against the Persians marked the fifth century BC, but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians.[70]

Following its annexation by Persia, Egypt was joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) in the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. This first period of Persian rule over Egypt, also known as the Twenty-seventh dynasty, ended in 402 BC, and from 380–343 BC the Thirtieth Dynasty ruled as the last native royal house of dynastic Egypt, which ended with the kingship of Nectanebo II. A brief restoration of Persian rule, sometimes known as the Thirty-first Dynasty, began in 343 BC, but shortly after, in 332 BC, the Persian ruler Mazaces handed Egypt over to the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great without a fight.[71]

Ptolemaic dynasty

Alexander the Great, 100 B.C.E. – 100 C.E., 54.162, Brooklyn Museum - Ancient Egypt
Alexander the Great, 100 B.C.E. – 100 C.E., 54.162, Brooklyn Museum

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander's successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty, was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria.[72] The Lighthouse of Alexandria lit the way for the many ships that kept trade flowing through the city—as the Ptolemies made commerce and revenue-generating enterprises, such as papyrus manufacturing, their top priority.[73]

Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style, supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs. Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized into composite deities, such as Serapis, and classical Greek forms of sculpture influenced traditional Egyptian motifs. Despite their efforts to appease the Egyptians, the Ptolemies were challenged by native rebellion, bitter family rivalries, and the powerful mob of Alexandria that formed after the death of Ptolemy IV.[74] In addition, as Rome relied more heavily on imports of grain from Egypt, the Romans took great interest in the political situation in the country. Continued Egyptian revolts, ambitious politicians, and powerful Syriac opponents from the Near East made this situation unstable, leading Rome to send forces to secure the country as a province of its empire.[75]

Roman Period

The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures. - Ancient Egypt
The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures.

Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC, following the defeat of Marc Antony and Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) in the Battle of Actium. The Romans relied heavily on grain shipments from Egypt, and the Roman army, under the control of a prefect appointed by the Emperor, quelled rebellions, strictly enforced the collection of heavy taxes, and prevented attacks by bandits, which had become a notorious problem during the period.[76] Alexandria became an increasingly important center on the trade route with the orient, as exotic luxuries were in high demand in Rome.[77]

Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and worship of the traditional gods continued.[78] The art of mummy portraiture flourished, and some of the Roman emperors had themselves depicted as pharaohs, though not to the extent that the Ptolemies had. The former lived outside Egypt and did not perform the ceremonial functions of Egyptian kingship. Local administration became Roman in style and closed to native Egyptians.[78]

From the mid-first century AD, Christianity took root in Egypt as it was seen as another cult that could be accepted. However, it was an uncompromising religion that sought to win converts from Egyptian Religion and Greco-Roman religion and threatened the popular religious traditions. This led to persecution of converts to Christianity, culminating in the great purges of Diocletian starting in 303, but eventually Christianity won out.[79] In 391 the Christian Emperor Theodosius introduced legislation that banned pagan rites and closed temples.[80] Alexandria became the scene of great anti-pagan riots with public and private religious imagery destroyed.[81] As a consequence, Egypt's native religious culture was continually in decline. While the native population certainly continued to speak their language, the ability to read hieroglyphic writing slowly disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses diminished. The temples themselves were sometimes converted to churches or abandoned to the desert.[82]

In the fourth century AD, the Roman Empire split into two, and Egypt became part of the Eastern Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire. The Eastern Empire became increasingly "oriental" and "Eastern" in style, as its links with the old Greco-Roman world faded. The Greek system of local government by citizens had now entirely disappeared.

The Sassanid Persians who were involved in a long running and draining war with Byzantium for control of the Near East, Asia Minor, North Africa and the east Mediterranean, briefly recaptured Egypt under King Khosrow II in 618 AD, but were ejected by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628 AD.

Arab Muslim Period

An army of 4,000 Arabs led by Amr Ibn Al-Aas was sent by the Caliph Umar, successor to Muhammad, to spread Islamic rule to the west. The Arabs crossed into Egypt from Palestine in December 639 AD, and advanced rapidly into the Nile Delta. The Imperial garrisons, exhausted by constant war with the Persians, retreated into the walled towns, where they successfully held out for a year or more. But the Arabs sent for reinforcements, and in April 641 they captured Alexandria. The Byzantines did assemble a fleet with the aim of recapturing Egypt, and won back Alexandria in 645, but the Muslims retook the city in 646, completing the Arab Muslim conquest of Egypt. Thus ended 975 years of Græco-Roman rule over Egypt.

Local resistance by the native Egyptian Copts however, began to materialize shortly thereafter and would last until at least the ninth century. The Arabs imposed a special tax, known as Jizya, on the Egyptians, who were by this time Coptic Christians. They acquired the status of dhimmis, and all native Egyptians were prohibited from joining the army. The Arabs in the seventh century used the term quft to describe the indigenous people of Egypt. Thus, Egyptians became known as Copts, and the non-Chalcedonian Egyptian Church became known as the Coptic Church. The indigenous population of Egypt was gradually and largely Arabized and Islamicized over the following centuries, However, native Egyptian identity and language survived among the Copts, who spoke the Coptic language, a direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian (which itself was an evolution of Ancient Egyptian) spoken in the Roman era. Since the eighteenth century, Coptic has mostly been limited to liturgical use and today Coptic is extinct as a primary language. Copts still to this day espouse an Egyptian rather than Arab ethnic identity.

Government and economy

Administration and commerce

The pharaoh was usually depicted wearing symbols of royalty and power. - Ancient Egypt
The pharaoh was usually depicted wearing symbols of royalty and power.

The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs. In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier, who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives.[83] At a regional level, the country was divided into as many as 42 administrative regions called nomes each governed by a nomarch, who was accountable to the vizier for his jurisdiction. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they houses of worship, but were also responsible for collecting and storing the nation's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers, who redistributed grain and goods.[84]

Much of the economy was centrally organized and strictly controlled. Although the ancient Egyptians did not use coinage until the Late period, they did use a type of money-barter system,[85] with standard sacks of grain and the deben, a weight of roughly 91 grams (3 oz) of copper or silver, forming a common denominator.[86] Workers were paid in grain; a simple laborer might earn 5½ sacks (200 kg or 400 lb) of grain per month, while a foreman might earn 7½ sacks (250 kg or 550 lb). Prices were fixed across the country and recorded in lists to facilitate trading; for example a shirt cost five copper deben, while a cow cost 140 deben.[86] Grain could be traded for other goods, according to the fixed price list.[86] During the fifth century BC coined money was introduced into Egypt from abroad. At first the coins were used as standardized pieces of precious metal rather than true money, but in the following centuries international traders came to rely on coinage.[87]

Social status

Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble family that owned the land.[88] Farmers were also subject to a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a corvée system.[89] Artists and craftsmen were of higher status than farmers, but they were also under state control, working in the shops attached to the temples and paid directly from the state treasury. Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments that served as a mark of their rank.[90] The upper class prominently displayed their social status in art and literature. Below the nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized training in their field. Slavery was known in ancient Egypt, but the extent and prevalence of its practice are unclear.[91]

Punishment in ancient Egypt. - Ancient Egypt
Punishment in ancient Egypt.
Young Egyptian laborers treated by doctors after circumcision, as a part of a rite of passage to citizenship. - Ancient Egypt
Young Egyptian laborers treated by doctors after circumcision, as a part of a rite of passage to citizenship.

The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes except slaves, as essentially equal under the law, and even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his court for redress.[92] Although, slaves were mostly used as indentured servants. They were able to buy and sell, or work their way to freedom or nobility, and usually were treated by doctors in the workplace.[93] Both men and women had the right to own and sell property, make contracts, marry and divorce, receive inheritance, and pursue legal disputes in court. Married couples could own property jointly and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts, which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife and children should the marriage end. Compared with their counterparts in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world, ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices and opportunities for achievement. Women such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra VI even became pharaohs, while others wielded power as Divine Wives of Amun. Despite these freedoms, ancient Egyptian women did not often take part in official roles in the administration, served only secondary roles in the temples, and were not as likely to be as educated as men.[92]

Scribes were elite and well educated. They assessed taxes, kept records, and were responsible for administration. - Ancient Egypt
Scribes were elite and well educated. They assessed taxes, kept records, and were responsible for administration.

Agriculture

A tomb relief depicts workers plowing the fields, harvesting the crops, and threshing the grain under the direction of an overseer, painting in the tomb of Nakht. - Ancient Egypt
A tomb relief depicts workers plowing the fields, harvesting the crops, and threshing the grain under the direction of an overseer, painting in the tomb of Nakht.
Measuring and recording the harvest is shown in a wall painting in the tomb of Menna, at Thebes, Egypt (Eighteenth dynasty). - Ancient Egypt
Measuring and recording the harvest is shown in a wall painting in the tomb of Menna, at Thebes, Egypt (Eighteenth dynasty).

A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits. Land management was crucial in ancient Egypt because taxes were assessed based on the amount of land a person owned.[96]

Farming in Egypt was dependent on the cycle of the Nile River. The Egyptians recognized three seasons: Akhet (flooding), Peret (planting), and Shemu (harvesting). The flooding season lasted from June to September, depositing on the river's banks a layer of mineral-rich silt ideal for growing crops. After the floodwaters had receded, the growing season lasted from October to February. Farmers plowed and planted seeds in the fields, which were irrigated with ditches and canals. Egypt received little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile to water their crops.[97] From March to May, farmers used sickles to harvest their crops, which were then threshed with a flail to separate the straw from the grain. Winnowing removed the chaff from the grain, and the grain was then ground into flour, brewed to make beer, or stored for later use.[98]

The ancient Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley, and several other cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food staples of bread and beer.[99] Flax plants, uprooted before they started flowering, were grown for the fibers of their stems. These fibers were split along their length and spun into thread, which was used to weave sheets of linen and to make clothing. Papyrus growing on the banks of the Nile River was used to make paper. Vegetables and fruits were grown in garden plots, close to habitations and on higher ground, and had to be watered by hand. Vegetables included leeks, garlic, melons, squashes, pulses, lettuce, and other crops, in addition to grapes that were made into wine.[100]

Sennedjem plows his fields with a pair of oxen, used as beasts of burden and a source of food. - Ancient Egypt
Sennedjem plows his fields with a pair of oxen, used as beasts of burden and a source of food.

Animals

The Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order; thus humans, animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole.[101] Animals, both domesticated and wild, were therefore a critical source of spirituality, companionship, and sustenance to the ancient Egyptians. Cattle were the most important livestock; the administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses, and the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs. Poultry such as ducks, geese, and pigeons were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them.[102] The Nile provided a plentiful source of fish. Bees were also domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, and they provided both honey and wax.[103]

The ancient Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden, and they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an offering ritual.[102] Horses were introduced by the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period, and the camel, although known from the New Kingdom, was not used as a beast of burden until the Late Period. There is also evidence to suggest that elephants were briefly utilized in the Late Period, but largely abandoned due to lack of grazing land.[102] Dogs, cats and monkeys were common family pets, while more exotic pets imported from the heart of Africa, such as lions, were reserved for royalty. Herodotus observed that the Egyptians were the only people to keep their animals with them in their houses.[101] During the Predynastic and Late periods, the worship of the gods in their animal form was extremely popular, such as the cat goddess Bastet and the ibis god Thoth, and these animals were bred in large numbers on farms for the purpose of ritual sacrifice.[104]

Natural resources

Further information: Mining industry of Egypt

Egypt is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones. These natural resources allowed the ancient Egyptians to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry.[105] Embalmers used salts from the Wadi Natrun for mummification, which also provided the gypsum needed to make plaster.[106] Ore-bearing rock formations were found in distant, inhospitable wadis in the eastern desert and the Sinai, requiring large, state-controlled expeditions to obtain natural resources found there. There were extensive gold mines in Nubia, and one of the first maps known is of a gold mine in this region. The Wadi Hammamat was a notable source of granite, greywacke, and gold. Flint was the first mineral collected and used to make tools, and flint handaxes are the earliest pieces of evidence of habitation in the Nile valley. Nodules of the mineral were carefully flaked to make blades and arrowheads of moderate hardness and durability even after copper was adopted for this purpose.[107] Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use minerals such as sulfur as cosmetic substances.[108]

The Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the most important metal for toolmaking in ancient Egypt and was smelted in furnaces from malachite ore mined in the Sinai.[109] Workers collected gold by washing the nuggets out of sediment in alluvial deposits, or by the more labor-intensive process of grinding and washing gold-bearing quartzite. Iron deposits found in upper Egypt were utilized in the Late Period.[110] High-quality building stones were abundant in Egypt; the ancient Egyptians quarried limestone all along the Nile valley, granite from Aswan, and basalt and sandstone from the wadis of the eastern desert. Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry, greywacke, alabaster, and carnelian dotted the eastern desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, miners worked deposits of emeralds in Wadi Sikait and amethyst in Wadi el-Hudi.[111]

Trade

Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the Land of Punt. - Ancient Egypt
Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the Land of Punt.

The ancient Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt. In the Predynastic Period, they established trade with Nubia to obtain gold and incense. They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty pharaohs.[112] An Egyptian colony stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty.[113] Narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt.[114]

By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons.[115] Egypt relied on trade with Anatolia for essential quantities of tin as well as supplementary supplies of copper, both metals being necessary for the manufacture of bronze. The ancient Egyptians prized the blue stone lapis lazuli, which had to be imported from far-away Afghanistan. Egypt's Mediterranean trade partners also included Greece and Crete, which provided, among other goods, supplies of olive oil.[116] In exchange for its luxury imports and raw materials, Egypt mainly exported grain, gold, linen, and papyrus, in addition to other finished goods including glass and stone objects.[117]

Language

Main article: Egyptian language

Historical development

r
Z1
n km m t
O49
r n kmt
'Egyptian language'
in hieroglyphs

The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages.[118] It has the second longest history of any language (after Sumerian), having been written from c. 3200 BC to the Middle Ages and remaining as a spoken language for longer. The phases of ancient Egyptian are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian (Classical Egyptian), Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic.[119] Egyptian writings do not show dialect differences before Coptic, but it was probably spoken in regional dialects around Memphis and later Thebes.[120]

Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language, but it became more analytic later on. Late Egyptian develops prefixal definite and indefinite articles, which replace the older inflectional suffixes. There is a change from the older verb–subject–object word order to subject–verb–object.[121] The Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts were eventually replaced by the more phonetic Coptic alphabet. Coptic is still used in the liturgy of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, and traces of it are found in modern Egyptian Arabic.[122]

Sounds and grammar

Ancient Egyptian has 25 consonants similar to those of other Afro-Asiatic languages. These include pharyngeal and emphatic consonants, voiced and voiceless stops, voiceless fricatives and voiced and voiceless affricates. It has three long and three short vowels, which expanded in Later Egyptian to about nine.[123] The basic word in Egyptian, similar to Semitic and Berber, is a triliteral or biliteral root of consonants and semiconsonants. Suffixes are added to form words. The verb conjugation corresponds to the person. For example, the triconsonantal skeleton S-Ḏ-M is the semantic core of the word 'hear'; its basic conjugation is sḏm, 'he hears'. If the subject is a noun, suffixes are not added to the verb:[124] sḏm ḥmt, 'the woman hears'.

Adjectives are derived from nouns through a process that Egyptologists call nisbation because of its similarity with Arabic.[125] The word order is predicate–subject in verbal and adjectival sentences, and subject–predicate in nominal and adverbial sentences.[126] The subject can be moved to the beginning of sentences if it is long and is followed by a resumptive pronoun.[127] Verbs and nouns are negated by the particle n, but nn is used for adverbial and adjectival sentences. Stress falls on the ultimate or penultimate syllable, which can be open (CV) or closed (CVC).[128]

Writing

Main articles: Egyptian hieroglyphs and Hieratic
The Rosetta stone (ca 196 BC) enabled linguists to begin the process of hieroglyph decipherment.[129] - Ancient Egypt
The Rosetta stone (ca 196 BC) enabled linguists to begin the process of hieroglyph decipherment.[129]

Hieroglyphic writing dates from c. 3000 BC, and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic, which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic, became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone.[130]

Around the first century AD, the Coptic alphabet started to be used alongside the Demotic script. Coptic is a modified Greek alphabet with the addition of some Demotic signs.[131] Although formal hieroglyphs were used in a ceremonial role until the fourth century, towards the end only a small handful of priests could still read them. As the traditional religious establishments were disbanded, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was mostly lost. Attempts to decipher them date to the Byzantine[132] and Islamic periods in Egypt,[133] but only in 1822, after the discovery of the Rosetta stone and years of research by Thomas Young and Jean-François Champollion, were hieroglyphs almost fully deciphered.[134]

Literature

The Edwin Smith surgical papyrus (c. 16th century BC) describes anatomy and medical treatments and is written in hieratic. - Ancient Egypt
The Edwin Smith surgical papyrus (c. 16th century BC) describes anatomy and medical treatments and is written in hieratic.

Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries (called House of Books), laboratories and observatories.[135] Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and Coffin Texts, were written in Classical Egyptian, which continued to be the language of writing until about 1300 BC. Later Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni. The genre known as Sebayt ("instructions") was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; the Ipuwer papyrus, a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example.

The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian literature.[136] Also written at this time was the Westcar Papyrus, a set of stories told to Khufu by his sons relating the marvels performed by priests.[137] The Instruction of Amenemope is considered a masterpiece of near-eastern literature.[138] Towards the end of the New Kingdom, the vernacular language was more often employed to write popular pieces like the Story of Wenamun and the Instruction of Any. The former tells the story of a noble who is robbed on his way to buy cedar from Lebanon and of his struggle to return to Egypt. From about 700 BC, narrative stories and instructions, such as the popular Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, as well as personal and business documents were written in the demotic script and phase of Egyptian. Many stories written in demotic during the Graeco-Roman period were set in previous historical eras, when Egypt was an independent nation ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramesses II.[139]

Culture

Daily life

Ostraca of hunting a lion with a spear, aided by a dog. - Ancient Egypt
Ostraca of hunting a lion with a spear, aided by a dog.
Statues depicting lower-class ancient Egyptian occupations. - Ancient Egypt
Statues depicting lower-class ancient Egyptian occupations.

Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mud-brick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread.[140] Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture.[141]

The ancient Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance. Most bathed in the Nile and used a pasty soap made from animal fat and chalk. Men shaved their entire bodies for cleanliness; perfumes and aromatic ointments covered bad odors and soothed skin.[142] Clothing was made from simple linen sheets that were bleached white, and both men and women of the upper classes wore wigs, jewelry, and cosmetics. Children went without clothing until maturity, at about age 12, and at this age males were circumcised and had their heads shaved. Mothers were responsible for taking care of the children, while the father provided the family's income.[143]

The ancient Egyptians maintained a rich cultural heritage complete with feasts and festivals accompanied by music and dance. - Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians maintained a rich cultural heritage complete with feasts and festivals accompanied by music and dance.

Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular. In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia.[144] The sistrum was a rattle-like musical instrument that was especially important in religious ceremonies.

The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet, a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times; another similar game was mehen, which had a circular gaming board. Juggling and ball games were popular with children, and wrestling is also documented in a tomb at Beni Hasan.[145] The wealthy members of ancient Egyptian society enjoyed hunting and boating as well.

The excavation of the workers' village of Deir el-Madinah has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world that spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organisation, social interactions, working and living conditions of a community were studied in such detail.[146]

Cuisine

Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time; indeed, the cuisine of modern Egypt retains some striking similarities to the cuisine of the ancients. The staple diet consisted of bread and beer, supplemented with vegetables such as onions and garlic, and fruit such as dates and figs. Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Fish, meat, and fowl could be salted or dried, and could be cooked in stews or roasted on a grill.[147]

Karnak temple's hypostyle halls are constructed with rows of thick columns supporting the roof beams. - Ancient Egypt
Karnak temple's hypostyle halls are constructed with rows of thick columns supporting the roof beams.

Architecture

The well preserved Temple of Horus at Edfu is an exemplar of Egyptian architecture. - Ancient Egypt
The well preserved Temple of Horus at Edfu is an exemplar of Egyptian architecture.

The architecture of ancient Egypt includes some of the most famous structures in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the temples at Thebes. Building projects were organized and funded by the state for religious and commemorative purposes, but also to reinforce the power of the pharaoh. The ancient Egyptians were skilled builders; using simple but effective tools and sighting instruments, architects could build large stone structures with accuracy and precision.[148]

The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary Egyptians alike were constructed from perishable materials such as mud bricks and wood, and have not survived. Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces of the elite were more elaborate structures. A few surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in Malkata and Amarna, show richly decorated walls and floors with scenes of people, birds, water pools, deities and geometric designs.[149] Important structures such as temples and tombs that were intended to last forever were constructed of stone instead of bricks. The architectural elements used in the world's first large-scale stone building, Djoser's mortuary complex, include post and lintel supports in the papyrus and lotus motif.

The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples, such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns. In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon, the open courtyard, and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Graeco-Roman period.[150] The earliest and most popular tomb architecture in the Old Kingdom was the mastaba, a flat-roofed rectangular structure of mudbrick or stone built over an underground burial chamber. The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other. Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs.[151] The Twenty-fifth dynasty was a notable exception, as all Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs constructed pyramids.[61][62][63]

Art

The Bust of Nefertiti, by the sculptor Thutmose, is one of the most famous masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art. - Ancient Egypt
The Bust of Nefertiti, by the sculptor Thutmose, is one of the most famous masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art.
Main article: Art of ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over 3500 years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change.[152] These artistic standards—simple lines, shapes, and flat areas of color combined with the characteristic flat projection of figures with no indication of spatial depth—created a sense of order and balance within a composition. Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette, for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs.[153] Because of the rigid rules that governed its highly stylized and symbolic appearance, ancient Egyptian art served its political and religious purposes with precision and clarity.[154]

Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone to carve statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute. Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores (red and yellow ochres), copper ores (blue and green), soot or charcoal (black), and limestone (white). Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed.[155]

Hathor-Menkaure-Bat triad of the Fourth Dynasty – the deities flank the pharaoh and provide the authority to rule – Cairo Museum - Ancient Egypt
Hathor-Menkaure-Bat triad of the Fourth Dynasty – the deities flank the pharaoh and provide the authority to rule – Cairo Museum

Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art, such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife.[156] During the Middle Kingdom, wooden or clay models depicting scenes from everyday life became popular additions to the tomb. In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife.[157]

Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or political attitudes. After the invasion of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period, Minoan-style frescoes were found in Avaris.[158] The most striking example of a politically driven change in artistic forms comes from the Amarna period, where figures were radically altered to conform to Akhenaten's revolutionary religious ideas.[159] This style, known as Amarna art, was quickly and thoroughly erased after Akhenaten's death and replaced by the traditional forms.[160]

Religious beliefs

The Book of the Dead was a guide to the deceased's journey in the afterlife. - Ancient Egypt
The Book of the Dead was a guide to the deceased's journey in the afterlife.

Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception; pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system.[161] These various conceptions of divinity were not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality.[162]

The Ka statue provided a physical place for the Ka to manifest. - Ancient Egypt
The Ka statue provided a physical place for the Ka to manifest.

Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials. Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos.[163] After the New Kingdom, the pharaoh's role as a spiritual intermediary was de-emphasized as religious customs shifted to direct worship of the gods. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people.[164]

The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. In addition to the body, each person had a šwt (shadow), a ba (personality or soul), a ka (life-force), and a name.[165] The heart, rather than the brain, was considered the seat of thoughts and emotions. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh, or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a "feather of truth". If deemed worthy, the deceased could continue their existence on earth in spiritual form.[166]

Pharaohs' tombs were provided with vast quantities of wealth, such as this golden mask from the mummy of Tutankhamun. - Ancient Egypt
Pharaohs' tombs were provided with vast quantities of wealth, such as this golden mask from the mummy of Tutankhamun.

Burial customs

The ancient Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death. These customs involved preserving the body by mummification, performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the deceased would use in the afterlife.[156] Before the Old Kingdom, bodies buried in desert pits were naturally preserved by desiccation. The arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the elaborate burial preparations available to the elite. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs and use artificial mummification, which involved removing the internal organs, wrapping the body in linen, and burying it in a rectangular stone sarcophagus or wooden coffin. Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, some parts were preserved separately in canopic jars.[167]

Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god associated with mummification and burial rituals; here, he attends to a mummy. - Ancient Egypt
Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god associated with mummification and burial rituals; here, he attends to a mummy.

By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification; the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron. The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated.[168]

Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Beginning in the New Kingdom, books of the dead were included in the grave, along with shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife.[169] Rituals in which the deceased was magically re-animated accompanied burials. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased.[170]

Military

An Egyptian chariot. - Ancient Egypt
An Egyptian chariot.

The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in the ancient Near East. The military protected mining expeditions to the Sinai during the Old Kingdom and fought civil wars during the First and Second Intermediate Periods. The military was responsible for maintaining fortifications along important trade routes, such as those found at the city of Buhen on the way to Nubia. Forts also were constructed to serve as military bases, such as the fortress at Sile, which was a base of operations for expeditions to the Levant. In the New Kingdom, a series of pharaohs used the standing Egyptian army to attack and conquer Kush and parts of the Levant.[171]

Typical military equipment included bows and arrows, spears, and round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had earlier been introduced by the Hyksos invaders. Weapons and armor continued to improve after the adoption of bronze: shields were now made from solid wood with a bronze buckle, spears were tipped with a bronze point, and the Khopesh was adopted from Asiatic soldiers.[172] The pharaoh was usually depicted in art and literature riding at the head of the army, it has been suggested that at least a few pharaohs, such as Seqenenre Tao II and his sons, did do so.[173] although it has also been argued that "kings of this period did not personally act as frontline war leaders, fighting alongside their troops."[174] Soldiers were recruited from the general population, but during, and especially after, the New Kingdom, mercenaries from Nubia, Kush, and Libya were hired to fight for Egypt.[175]

Technology, medicine, and mathematics

Technology

In technology, medicine and mathematics, ancient Egypt achieved a relatively high standard of productivity and sophistication. Traditional empiricism, as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri (c. 1600 BC), is first credited to Egypt. The Egyptians created their own alphabet and decimal system.

Glassmaking was a highly developed art. - Ancient Egypt
Glassmaking was a highly developed art.

Faience and glass

Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience, which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone. Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica, small amounts of lime and soda, and a colorant, typically copper.[176] The material was used to make beads, tiles, figurines, and small wares. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian Blue, also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing (or sintering) silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment.[177]

The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently.[178] It is also unclear whether they made their own raw glass or merely imported pre-made ingots, which they melted and finished. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque.[179]

Medicine

Ancient Egyptian medical instruments depicted in a Ptolemaic period inscription on the temple at Kom Ombo. - Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian medical instruments depicted in a Ptolemaic period inscription on the temple at Kom Ombo.

The medical problems of the ancient Egyptians stemmed directly from their environment. Living and working close to the Nile brought hazards from malaria and debilitating schistosomiasis parasites, which caused liver and intestinal damage. Dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos were also a common threat. The lifelong labors of farming and building put stress on the spine and joints, and traumatic injuries from construction and warfare all took a significant toll on the body. The grit and sand from stone-ground flour abraded teeth, leaving them susceptible to abscesses (though caries were rare).[180]

The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease.[181] Despite the flattering physiques portrayed on tomb walls, the overweight mummies of many of the upper class show the effects of a life of overindulgence.[182] Adult life expectancy was about 35 for men and 30 for women, but reaching adulthood was difficult as about one-third of the population died in infancy.[183]

Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East for their healing skills, and some, such as Imhotep, remained famous long after their deaths.[184] Herodotus remarked that there was a high degree of specialization among Egyptian physicians, with some treating only the head or the stomach, while others were eye-doctors and dentists.[185] Training of physicians took place at the Per Ankh or "House of Life" institution, most notably those headquartered in Per-Bastet during the New Kingdom and at Abydos and Saïs in the Late period. Medical papyri show empirical knowledge of anatomy, injuries, and practical treatments.[186]

Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures, nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection,[187] while opium thyme and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess Isis. Moldy bread, honey and copper salts were also used to prevent infection from dirt in burns.[188] Garlic and onions were used regularly to promote good health and were thought to relieve asthma symptoms. Ancient Egyptian surgeons stitched wounds, set broken bones, and amputated diseased limbs, but they recognized that some injuries were so serious that they could only make the patient comfortable until death occurred.[189]

Shipbuilding

Seagoing ship from Hateshepsut's Deir el-Bahari temple relief of a Punt Expedition - Ancient Egypt
Seagoing ship from Hateshepsut's Deir el-Bahari temple relief of a Punt Expedition
Documented extent of Ancient Egyptian geographic knowledge - Ancient Egypt
Documented extent of Ancient Egyptian geographic knowledge

Early Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull and had mastered advanced forms of shipbuilding as early as 3000 BC. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that some of the oldest ships yet unearthed are known as the Abydos boats.[6] These are a group of 14 discovered ships in Abydos that were constructed of wooden planks "sewn" together. Discovered by Egyptologist David O'Connor of New York University,[190] woven straps were found to have been used to lash the planks together,[6] and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams.[6] Because the ships are all buried together and near a mortuary belonging to Pharaoh Khasekhemwy, originally they were all thought to have belonged to him, but one of the 14 ships dates to 3000 BC, and the associated pottery jars buried with the vessels also suggest earlier dating. The ship dating to 3000 BC was 75 feet (23 m) long and is now thought to perhaps have belonged to an earlier pharaoh. According to professor O'Connor, the 5,000-year-old ship may have even belonged to Pharaoh Aha.[190]

Early Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams. The "Khufu ship", a 43.6-meter vessel sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500 BC, is a full-size surviving example that may have filled the symbolic function of a solar barque. Early Egyptians also knew how to fasten the planks of this ship together with mortise and tenon joints.[6]

Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern Mediterranean, especially Byblos (on the coast of modern day Lebanon), and in several expeditions down the Red Sea to the Land of Punt.[191] In fact one of the earliest Egyptian words for a seagoing ship is a "Byblos Ship" which originally defined a class of Egyptian seagoing ships used on the Byblos run;however, by the end of the Old Kingdom, the term had come to include large seagoing ships, whatever their destination.[192]

In 2011 archaeologists from Italy, the United States, and Egypt excavating a dried-up lagoon known as Mersa Gawasis have unearthed traces of an ancient harbor that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut’s Punt expedition onto the open ocean.[193] Some of the site’s most evocative evidence for the ancient Egyptians’ seafaring prowess include large ship timbers and hundreds of feet of ropes, made from papyrus, coiled in huge bundles.[193] And in 2013 a team of Franco-Egyptian archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world's oldest port, dating back about 4500 years, from the time of King Cheops on the Red Sea coast near Wadi el-Jarf (about 110 miles south of Suez) [194]

Mathematics

Main article: Egyptian mathematics

The earliest attested examples of mathematical calculations date to the predynastic Naqada period, and show a fully developed numeral system.[196] The importance of mathematics to an educated Egyptian is suggested by a New Kingdom fictional letter in which the writer proposes a scholarly competition between himself and another scribe regarding everyday calculation tasks such as accounting of land, labor, and grain.[197] Texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus show that the ancient Egyptians could perform the four basic mathematical operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—use fractions, compute the volumes of boxes and pyramids, and calculate the surface areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles. They understood basic concepts of algebra and geometry, and could solve simple sets of simultaneous equations.[198]

D22
23
in hieroglyphs

Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million. Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number; so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively.[199] Because their methods of calculation could not handle most fractions with a numerator greater than one, they had to write fractions as the sum of several fractions. For example, they resolved the fraction two-fifths into the sum of one-third + one-fifteenth. Standard tables of values facilitated this.[200] Some common fractions, however, were written with a special glyph—the equivalent of the modern two-thirds is shown on the right.[201]

Ancient Egyptian mathematicians had a grasp of the principles underlying the Pythagorean theorem, knowing, for example, that a triangle had a right angle opposite the hypotenuse when its sides were in a 3–4–5 ratio.[202] They were able to estimate the area of a circle by subtracting one-ninth from its diameter and squaring the result:

Area ≈ [(89)D]2 = (25681)r 2 ≈ 3.16r 2,

a reasonable approximation of the formula πr 2.[202][203]

The golden ratio seems to be reflected in many Egyptian constructions, including the pyramids, but its use may have been an unintended consequence of the ancient Egyptian practice of combining the use of knotted ropes with an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony.[204]

Legacy

Tourists riding a camel in front of Giza pyramids - Ancient Egypt
Tourists riding a camel in front of Giza pyramids
Frontispiece of Description de l'Égypte, published in 38 volumes between 1809 and 1829. - Ancient Egypt
Frontispiece of Description de l'Égypte, published in 38 volumes between 1809 and 1829.

The culture and monuments of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world. The cult of the goddess Isis, for example, became popular in the Roman Empire, as obelisks and other relics were transported back to Rome.[205] The Romans also imported building materials from Egypt to erect Egyptian style structures. Early historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus studied and wrote about the land, which Romans came to view as a place of mystery.[206]

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Egyptian pagan culture was in decline after the rise of Christianity and later Islam, but interest in Egyptian antiquity continued in the writings of medieval scholars such as Dhul-Nun al-Misri and al-Maqrizi.[207] In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European travelers and tourists brought back antiquities and wrote stories of their journeys, leading to a wave of Egyptomania across Europe. This renewed interest sent collectors to Egypt, who took, purchased, or were given many important antiquities.[208]

Although the European colonial occupation of Egypt destroyed a significant portion of the country's historical legacy, some foreigners had more positive results. Napoleon, for example, arranged the first studies in Egyptology when he brought some 150 scientists and artists to study and document Egypt's natural history, which was published in the Description de l'Ėgypte.[209]

In the 20th century, the Egyptian Government and archaeologists alike recognized the importance of cultural respect and integrity in excavations. The Supreme Council of Antiquities now approves and oversees all excavations, which are aimed at finding information rather than treasure. The council also supervises museums and monument reconstruction programs designed to preserve the historical legacy of Egypt.

See also

Notes

The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality
Cheikh Anta Diop (1989)
Now in its 30th printing, this classic presents historical, archaeological, and anthropological evidence to support the theory that ancient Egypt was a black civilization.
UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. II, Abridged Edition: Ancient Africa (v. 2)
(1990)
Volume II of this acclaimed series is now available in an abridged paperback edition. The result of years of work by scholars from all over the world, The UNESCO General History of Africa reflects how the different peoples of Africa view their civilizations and shows the historical relationships between the various parts of the continent. Historical connections with other continents demonstrate Africa's contribution to the development of human civilization. Each volume is lavishly illustrated and contains a comprehensive bibliography.
The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great (Oxford History of the Christian Church)
Henry Chadwick (2002)
This book provides a full and enjoyable narrative history of the first six centuries of the Christian Church, examining how Christianity changed Ancient Greek and Roman society. Following a chronological approach, Henry Chadwick's clear exposition of important texts and theological debates in their historical context is unrivalled in detail.
The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 2, Part 1: The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c.1800-1380 BC
(1973)
Volumes I and II of The Cambridge Ancient History have had to be entirely rewritten as a result of the very considerable additions to knowledge which have accrued in the past forty-five years. For the same reason it has also been necessary to increase the size of the volumes and to divide each of them into two separately published parts. The individual chapters have already appeared as fascicles, but without maps, indexes and chronological tables which, for practical reasons, have been reserved for these volumes. Some additions and corrections have also been made in order to bring the text, as far as possible, up to date. Together the new volumes provide a history of Egypt and the Ancient Orient (including Greece and the Aegean region) down to 1000 BC in a form suitable for both specialist and student. Volume II, Part I, deals with the history of the region from about 1800 to 1380 BC. This was the era of Hammurabi in Western Asia, the Hyksos and warrior-kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty in Egypt, and the Minoan and early Mycenaean civilizations in Crete and mainland Greece.
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  203. ^ Imhausen et al. (2007) p. 31
  204. ^ Kemp (1989) p. 138
  205. ^ Siliotti (1998) p. 8
  206. ^ Siliotti (1998) p. 10
  207. ^ El-Daly (2005) p. 112
  208. ^ Siliotti (1998) p. 13
  209. ^ Siliotti (1998) p. 100

References

Akhenaten King of Egypt
Cyril Aldred (1989)
Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs
James P. Allen (1999)
This is an introduction to the writing system of ancient Egypt and the language of hieroglyphic texts. It contains twenty-six lessons, exercises (with answers), a list of hieroglyphic signs, and a dictionary, as well as twenty-five essays on the most important aspects of ancient Egyptian history, society, religion and literature. It also offers scholars of linguistics a complete grammatical description of the classical language of ancient Egypt.
A History of Egyptian Architecture, Vol. 2: The Empire (the New Kingdom)
Alexander Badawy (1969)
The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 2, Part 2: The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c.1380-1000 BC
(1975)
Volume II, Part II deals with the history of the region from about 1380 to 1000 B.C., and includes accounts of Akhenaten and the Amarna 'revolution' in Egypt, the expansion and final decline of the Mycenaean civilization in Greece, the exodus and wanderings of the Israelites, and the Asstrian and Hittite empires.
Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture (Dover Books on Architecture)
Somers Clarke:::R. Engelbach (1990)
Profusely illustrated description and analysis of actual building practices: quarrying methods, dressing and laying blocks of stone, brickwork, pyramid construction, Egyptian mathematics, tools, much else. Nearly 270 photographs and illustrations of sites and excavations, quarries, building plans, architects' diagrams and elevations, and a myriad of construction details. 125 photographs. 144 line illustrations.
Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt (Chronicles)
Peter A. Clayton (1994)
Who was the first king of ancient Egypt, and who was the last? Which Egyptian queens ruled in their own right? What in fact do we know about the 170 or more pharoahs whose names have down to us? This book sets down in narrative form, using timelines, and other visual aids throughout, all the rulers and dynasties of Egypt in their chronological order, from Narmer, who first united the lands along the Nile, to Cleopatra 3000 years later. The biographical portraits of each pharoah build into a history of ancient Egypt. This is at once a work of popular history, a reference tool, and a visual introduction to the extraordinary diversity and richness of an ancient civilization. Other work by the author includes "Rediscovery of Ancient Egypt".
Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign
David O'Connor (2001)
Numerous volumes have been written on the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, from Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty. No less important a figure was Akhenaten's father, the pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned roughly 1391-1353 b.c.e. Among Amenhotep III's undertakings were his roles as leader of numerous campaigns in Syro-Palestine; builder of numerous temples, shrines, and buildings in Thebes and Memphis; and husband to Queen Tiyi and a bevy of lesser wives, including daughters of the kings of Babylon, Hatti and Mitanni. Amenhotep III above all encouraged foreign exploration and trade to regions far beyond the borders of Egypt. This study of Amenhotep III reveals a fascinating and complex individual, responsible in more than one way for the religious and political upheavals that occurred during the reign of his son, Akhenaten.Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign, edited by David O'Connor and Eric H. Cline consists of a series of essays on this complex individual and his reign. In addition to offering several provocative and ground-breaking essays, this volume serves as a compendium and sourcebook for hard-to-obtain details about the reign of Amenhotep III.The volume begins with an overview of the pharaoh by Larry Berman: his life, his family, and the history of his reign. Betsy Bryan describes the historical antecedents of Amenhotep's reign. Ray Johnson deals first with the building activities of Amen-hotep III and then presents a study of his carved relief decoration, with particular emphasis on the tendencies towards "Atenism." Arielle Kozloff discusses a variety of small objects including cosmetic spoons, glass vessels, jewelry, and funerary equipment. David O'Connor discusses city planning, building functions, and aspects of religion in light of the contemporary Egyptian worldview. Bill Murnane's chapter on government is a fascinating glimpse of the system of government in place at the time. Extensive documentation is provided on the activities of Amenhotep in the Aegean and Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Nubia, and Syro-Palestine. The volume concludes with John Baines's chapter on the Amarna Age.Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign is a valuable contribution to pharaonic studies. It will be of interest to a wide range of scholars interested in Mediterranean literatures and cultures. It draws on literary, archaeological, and historical material to form an interdisciplinary study of a complex figure in pharaonic Egypt.David O'Connor is Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Eric H. Cline is Assistant Professor of History, Xavier University.
Egyptian Rock-cut Tombs (Shire Egyptology)
Aidan Dodson (2008)
The rock-cut tomb was the most ubiquitous of Egyptian funerary monuments. This book surveys many of these varieties and traces their development. The New Kingdom royal tombs at Thebes and Amarna are described and capters are devoted to the groups of private tombs that date from the Old Kingdom onwards; the distinction is drawn between the tomb-chapels, decorated with the so-called 'scenes of daily life', and the associated burial chamters, in some casese cut a considerable distance away. The changes in decorative themes are explored, as are those in architecture and location. The book concludes with a brief look at the contruction of rock tombs, particularly in the context of workmen's village of Deir el-Medina, and their uncertain future.
The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt: A Genealogical Sourcebook of the Pharaohs
Aidan Dodson:::Dyan Hilton (2004)
"Excellent biographical history of ancient Egypt’s royal families from the Early Dynastic period to Egypt’s absorption into the Roman Empire. . . . Highly recommended."—ChoiceThis groundbreaking book illuminates the lives of some 1,300 kings, queens, princes, and princesses of ancient Egypt, unraveling family relationships and exploring the parts they played in politics, cultural life, and religion. The authors begin with a basic summary of the structure of the pharaonic state, including the nature of ancient Egyptian kingship itself, and then introduce key members of the royal family. This is followed by a chronological survey of the royal family from c. 3100 BC to the last Cleopatra. For each dynasty, or significant part of a dynasty, the authors provide an historical overview of the period, a summary listing of the kings, and a discussion of their families’ relationships. This superb biographical history of ancient Egypt is handsomely illustrated with hundreds of photographs, line drawings, and genealogical trees. 90 color and 210+ black-and-white illustrations
Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings (UCL)
Okasha El Daly (2005)
Egyptology: The Missing Millennium brings together for the first time the disciplines of Egyptology and Arabic Studies, seeking to overturn the conventional opinion of Western scholars that Moslems/ Arabs had no interest in pre-Islamic cultures. This book examines a neglected period of a thousand years in the history of Egyptology, from the Moslem annexation of Egypt in the seventh century CE until the Ottoman conquest in the 16th century. Concentrating on Moslem writers, as it is usually Islam which incurs blame for cutting Egyptians off from their ancient heritage, the author shows not only the existence of a large body of Arabic sources on Ancient Egypt, but also their usefulness to Egyptology today. Using sources as diverse a sthe accounts of travellers and treasure hunters to books on alchemy, the author shows that the interest in ancient Egyptian scripts continued beyond classical writers, and describes attempts by medieval Arab scholars, mainly alchemists, to decipher the hieroglyph script. He further explores medieval Arab interest in Ancient Egypt, discussing the interpretations of the intact temples, as well as the Arab concept of Egyptian kingship and state administration - including a case study of Queen Cleopatra that shows how the Arabic romance of this queen differs significantly from Western views. This book will be of great interest to academics and students of archaeology, Arabic studies and Egyptology, as well as anyone with a general interest in Egyptian history. 'This is an impressive piece of work. It deals with a grossly neglected and misunderstood subject -the interest and knowledge of Ancient Egypt on the part of Arabic/ Moslem writers in the Medieval period - and it covers this subject from many aspects.' Professor Charles Burnett, The Warburg Institute
Disease (Egyptian Bookshelf)
Joyce Filer (1995)
Disease and sickness were among the more unpleasant fact of life in ancient Egypt and Nubia, where many of the illnesses we encounter today, such as tuberculosis, leprosy, and malaria, were already flourishing. Drawing extensively on the evidence provided by human remains, texts, statuary, and other works of art, Joyce Filer describes some of the health problems suffered by king and commoner alike. She examines the case of individuals such as Seneb, an achondroplastic dwarf who achieved high status as a court official during the Old Kingdom, or the young child whose crippling bone disease was revealed by its mummified remains. Dental disease, chest complaints, and parasitic infection from the waters of the Nile were a common part of Egyptian daily life. Set against the background of the ancient Egyptian environment, the author produces a detailed picture of diet and domestic arrangements and of both good and bad health. From the predynastic to the early Christian period, the effects of ill health and the constant threat of infectious disease on the life of the individual is assessed in the wider context of Egyptian society.
Egyptian Grammar (Egyptology: Griffith Institute)
Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner (1957)
Although the first edition of the study appeared over seventy years ago, Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar remains the most comprehensive presentation of Middle Egyptian available, and is still an essential reference tool for all advanced work in the language. The latest, third, edition, appeared in 1957 and is now in its tenth reprinting. After each new element of grammar the learner is given a set of exercises, and the book also contains useful resources such as a list of hieroglyphic signs and information about the development of the language.
The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook
(2007)
In recent decades it has become obvious that mathematics has always been a worldwide activity. But this is the first book to provide a substantial collection of English translations of key mathematical texts from the five most important ancient and medieval non-Western mathematical cultures, and to put them into full historical and mathematical context. The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam gives English readers a firsthand understanding and appreciation of these cultures' important contributions to world mathematics. The five section authors--Annette Imhausen (Egypt), Eleanor Robson (Mesopotamia), Joseph Dauben (China), Kim Plofker (India), and J. Lennart Berggren (Islam)--are experts in their fields. Each author has selected key texts and in many cases provided new translations. The authors have also written substantial section introductions that give an overview of each mathematical culture and explanatory notes that put each selection into context. This authoritative commentary allows readers to understand the sometimes unfamiliar mathematics of these civilizations and the purpose and significance of each text. Addressing a critical gap in the mathematics literature in English, this book is an essential resource for anyone with at least an undergraduate degree in mathematics who wants to learn about non-Western mathematical developments and how they helped shape and enrich world mathematics. The book is also an indispensable guide for mathematics teachers who want to use non-Western mathematical ideas in the classroom.
The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Egypt
T.G.H. James (2005)
The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Egypt provides a lively and accessible introduction to ancient Egyptian life for general readers and students. The nearly independent chapters provide a comprehensive survey of ancient Egypt and its rich and well-documented culture. In addition to individual chapter bibliographies there is a general bibliography, an annotated list of important museum collections, a king list with a selected set of illustrated royal cartouches, and a general index.Highlights include:Lively overviews distilled from the latest discoveries and researchMaps, plans, reconstruction drawings, chronologies, site lists and recommendations for further readingHundreds of color and black-and-white illustrationsT.G.H. James is a former Keeper of the Department of Ancient Egypt and the Sudan in the British Museum and is the author of several books on Egypt and Egyptology, including Pharoah's People: Scenes from Life in Imperial Egypt; Howard Carter; Tutankhamun; and others.
Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization
Barry J. Kemp (1992)
This comprehensive survey of Egyptian society and history transforms our understanding of this remarkable civilisation.
Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms (Near Eastern Center, UCLA)
Miriam Lichtheim (1975)
Chronologically arranged translations of ancient Egyptian writings shed light upon the development of diverse literary forms. Bibliogs.
Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction
Antonio Loprieno (1995)
The language of Ancient Egypt has been the object of careful investigation since its decipherment in the nineteenth century, but this is the first accessible account that uses the insight of modern linguistics. Antonio Loprieno discusses the hieroglyphic system and its cursive varieties, and the phonology, morphology and syntax of Ancient Egyptian, as well as looking at its genetic ties with other languages of the Near East. This book will be indispensable for both linguists and Egyptologists.
Civilizations of the Ancient Near East/4 Volumes Bound in 2 Books (v. 1 & 2)
(2000)
"Civilizations of the Ancient Near East" brings together for the first time in one accessible resource scholarship that was previously scattered in hundreds of monographs and journal articles. One hundred and eighty-nine scholars from all over the world contributed their expertise to make this set the most appealing, original, and comprehensive reference on this fascinating area of study. All students, teachers, and scholars who seek to satisfy their curiosity about the ancient Near East's peoples and cultures will find within these volumes articles that intrigue and inform them.History begins in the ancient Near East. While earlier peoples left signs" at Stonehenge, on the walls of caves in France" it is in the Near East that we first find messages, evidence of the transmission of knowledge from one generation to another, and the organization of nomadic tribes into societies with distinctive class structures, religions, and governments. Ancient Near Eastern civilizations took a great many forms, from the city-states of Mesopotamia to the centralized monarchy of Egypt, and they generated vital traditions in art, architecture, and literature. Through constant interchange with other parts of the world, these cultures influenced the emergence of three of the world's great religions" Judaism, Christianity, and Islam" and the shape of human history into the Middle Ages and beyond. The vast expanses of desert in the region have preserved many ancient remains that scholars have recovered and analyzed. Spanning more than 4,000 years, from the Early Bronze Age to 325 BCE, this set explores all aspects of the emergence and development of the diverse cultures of the ancient NearEast."Civilizations of the Ancient Near East" presents this enormously rich world from a variety of perspectives. It describes the physical world of the ancient Near East, evaluates the impact of ancient Near Eastern civilizations on succeeding cultures, and reconstructs its cultural contexts based on archaeological findings and the deciphering of documents. This two-volume edition contains the complete text of the original four-volume set, including 189 articles organized in eleven parts, enhanced by 46 maps and 612 photographs and line drawings.
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages
(2004)
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of 2006 The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages is the first comprehensive reference work treating all of the languages of antiquity. Clear and systematic in its approach, the Encyclopedia combines full linguistic coverage of all the well-documented ancient languages, representing numerous language families from around the globe. Each chapter focuses on an individual language or, in some instances, a set of closely related varieties of a language. Providing a full descriptive presentation, each of these chapters examines the writing system(s), phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon of that language, and places the language within its proper linguistic and historical context. The Encyclopedia brings together an international array of scholars, each a leading specialist in ancient language study. While designed primarily for linguistic professionals and students, this work is invaluable to all whose studies take them into the realm of ancient language. Roger D. Woodard is the Andrew V.V. Raymond Professor of Classics at the State University of New York, Buffalo. He previously served on the faculties of Classics and/or Linguistics at the University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins University and Swarthmore College. Among his other books are Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer: A Linguistic Interpretation of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet (Oxford, 1997) and co-author of Ovid's Fasti ( Penguin, 2000). He is a member of the Linguistic Society of America and the American Philological Association.
Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries
A. Lucas:::J. R. Harris (1989)
Fascinating, comprehensive text describes ancient Egypt's vast resources and the processes that incorporated them in daily life. Topics include the use of animal products, building materials, cosmetics, perfumes and incense, fibers, glazed ware, glass, materials used in the mummification process, and much more.
Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs
(2002)
Roman emperors, Arab scholars, and early travelers were already drawn to and enchanted by the fascination of the land along the Nile. The pyramids of Giza, the temple-city of Karnak, or the Valley of the Kings with the grave of Tutankhamen even today maintain their extraordinary attraction. This book is a kaleidoscope of the myriad manifestations of ancient Egypt, from architecture, sculpture and painting to everyday life, statecraft, society and religion.
Village Life in Ancient Egypt: Laundry Lists and Love Songs
A. G. McDowell (1999)
Deir el-Medina, the village of the workmen who built the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, is a uniquely rich source of information about life in Egypt between 1539 and 1075 BC. The abundant archaeological remains are complemented by tens of thousands of texts documenting the thoughts and activities of the villagers. This book combines translations of over 200 of these texts spanning the entire range of preserved genres with stunning illustrations.
Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present (Materializing Culture)
Lynn Meskell (2004)
From the Valley of the Kings to Las Vegas, Egypt looms large in the Western imagination. So why are we intrigued by pyramids and practices of mummification? Is it because the ancient Egyptians fetishized material objects? And what do Egyptian remains tell us about biography, embodiment, memory, materiality, the self, and, indeed, ourselves? This book considers how excavated objects reveal ancient Egyptians' experiences of their material world. It also explores existential questions that not only preoccupied ancient Egyptians, but continue to fascinate people today. What is the essence of persons and things? How might we understand the situated experiences of material life? How might objects successfully mediate between worlds? Meskell ultimately moves forward through time and examines the consumption of Egyptian material objects in the contemporary world, including Las Vegas. Meskell provides an elegant analysis of the aesthetics of ancient Egyptian material culture and insights into its mysteries, including our own ongoing fascination.
The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs
Beatrix Midant-Reynes (2000)
This books covers the history of the Nile Valley from Nubia to the Mediterranean, during the period from the earliest hominid settlement, around 700,000 BC to the beginnings of dynastic Egypt at the end of the fourth millennium BC.
Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology
(2000)
Aimed primarily at Egyptologists and archaeologists, this book covers all aspects of craftwork in ancient Egypt, from the construction of the pyramids and the carving of statues to techniques of mummification, boat-building, jewelery making, ancient brewing, carpentry, hairstyling, tailoring and basket weaving. Drawing on archaeological, experimental, ethnographic and laboratory work, it is the first book since the 1920s to describe current research into the actual basics of life in Pharaonic Egypt. The twenty-five chapters, by well-regarded scholars, present up-to-date and accessible information on a wide array of techniques.
Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference to the Myths, Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs
Lorna Oakes (2003)
Discover the world’s first civilization! This beautiful volume is a fascinating guide to the myths, religions, pyramids, temples, and more that make up the allure of ancient Egypt. Readers will gain a unique understanding of this captivating culture through breathtaking, full-color illustrations, in-depth text, detailed maps, and comprehensive chronologies. You’ll read about: - Famous burial sites - The mortuary temples of the many gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt - Gods and goddesses - Pharaohs - Festivals - Offerings - Superstitions - And more! An invaluable reference to one of the most intriguing periods of history.
The Art of Ancient Egypt
Gay Robins (2000)
THIS EDITION HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEWER EDITION.. From the awesome grandeur of the great pyramids to the delicacy of a face etched on an amulet, the spellbinding power of the art of ancient Egypt persists to this day. This beautifully illustrated book conducts us through the splendors of this world, great and small, and into the mysteries of its fascination in its day as well as in our own. What did art, and the architecture that housed it, mean to the ancient Egyptians? Why did they invest such vast wealth and effort in its production? These are the puzzles Gay Robins explores as she examines the objects of Egyptian art--the tombs and wall paintings, the sculpture and stelae, the coffins, funerary papyri, and amulets--from its first flowering in the Early Dynastic period to its final resurgence in the time of the Ptolemies. Spanning three thousand years, her book offers a thorough and delightfully readable introduction to the art of ancient Egypt even as it provides insight into questions that have long perplexed experts and amateurs alike. With remarkable sensitivity to the complex ways in which historical, religious, and social changes are related to changes in Egyptian art, she brings out the power and significance of the image in Egyptian belief and life. Her attention to the later period, including Ptolemaic art, shows for the first time how Egyptian art is a continuous phenomenon, changing to meet the needs of different times, right down to the eclipse of ancient Egyptian culture. In its scope, its detail, and its eloquent reproduction of over 250 objects from the British Museum and other collections in Europe, the United States, and Egypt, this volume is without parallel as a guide to the art of ancient Egypt.
Political Situation Egypt (CNI Publications)
Kim Ryholt (1997)
Egyptian Metalworking and Tools (Shire Egyptology)
Bernd Scheel (1999)
68 pp. with 62 illus., 12mo.
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt
(2004)
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt uniquely covers 700,000 years of ancient Egypt, from c. 700,000 BC to AD 311. Following the story from the Egyptians' prehistoric origins to their conquest by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, this book resurrects a fascinating society replete with remarkable historical information. It investigates such subjects as the changing nature of life and death in the Nile valley to some of the earliest masterpieces of art, architecture, and literature in the ancient world. The authors--an international team of experts working at the cutting edge of their particular fields--outline the principal sequence of political events, including detailed examinations of the three so-called 'intermediate periods' which were previously regarded as 'dark ages' and are only now beginning to be better understood. They also examine cultural and social patterns, including stylistic developments in art and literature. Addressing the issues surrounding this distinctive culture, vividly relating the rise and fall of ruling dynasties, exploring colorful personalities, and uncovering surprising facts, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt is certain to enrich our understanding of this endlessly intriguing civilization. "Brimming with...intriguing facts...also provides a first-rate overview of le progrès Egyptien--from the period when Homo erectus first stalked the land right up to Octavian's triumphant entry into Egypt in 30 BC."--The Times (London) (on the previous edition)
The Discovery of Ancient Egypt
Alberto Siliotti (2001)
Devoted to the remarkable story of the rediscovery of ancient Egypt, from the Greco-roman period to the nineteenth century, this book contains a large number of original illustrations in which adventure and exploration are interwoven with erudition and art.
Ramesses: Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh
Joyce A. Tyldesley (2001)
Ramesses II was the archetypal Egyptian pharaoh: a mighty warrior, an extravagant builder, husband of the beautiful Nefertiti, and father of scores of children. Even today, epic tales of Ramesses endure. Using a combination of historical and archaeological evidence, Joyce Tyldesley thoroughly explores the life and times of Egypt's greatest king.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day
Raymond Faulkner:::Ogden Goelet:::Carol Andrews:::James Wasserman (2000)
For millennia, the culture and philosophy of the ancient Egyptians have fascinated artists, historians, and spiritual seekers throughout the world. Now, with this deluxe edition, the legendary 3,500-year-old Papyrus of Anithe most beautiful of the ornately illustrated Egyptian funerary scrolls ever discoveredhas been restored in its original sequences of text and artwork, using the latest advances in computer-imaging technology. Four exquisitely illustrated gatefold spreads and an acclaimed translation by two noted Egyptologists showcase the Papyrus's elaborately bordered images and convey its intended sense of motion and meaning in a way that other books on the subject cannot begin to match. For both lay readers and scholars interested in a wide range of topicsfrom mysticism and philosophy to anthropology and astronomythis sumptuous and accessible new volume will be an essential acquisition.
The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt
Richard H. Wilkinson (2000)
Tracing the temples of ancient Egypt from their origins through their decline and to their modern-day study, this book is both an authoritative reference and an entertaining collection of "factfiles, " photographs, plans, and specially commissioned perspective views. 500 illustrations, 150 in color.
  • Aldred, Cyril (1988). Akhenaten, King of Egypt. London, England: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05048-1. 
  • Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-77483-7. 
  • Badawy, Alexander (1968). A History of Egyptian Architecture. Vol III. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-00057-9. 
  • Billard, Jules B. (1978). Ancient Egypt: Discovering its Splendors. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society. 
  • Cerny, J (1975). Egypt from the Death of Ramesses III to the End of the Twenty-First Dynasty' in The Middle East and the Aegean Region c.1380–1000 BC. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-08691-4. 
  • Clarke, Somers; R. Engelbach (1990). Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture. New York, New York: Dover Publications, Unabridged Dover reprint of Ancient Egyptian Masonry: The Building Craft originally published by Oxford University Press/Humphrey Milford, London, (1930). ISBN 0-486-26485-8. 
  • Clayton, Peter A. (1994). Chronicle of the Pharaohs. London, England: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05074-0. 
  • Cline, Eric H.; O'Connor, David Kevin (2001). Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. p. 273. ISBN 0-472-08833-5. 
  • Dodson, Aidan (1991). Egyptian Rock Cut Tombs. Buckinghamshire, UK: Shire Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7478-0128-2. 
  • Dodson, Aidan; Hilton, Dyan (2004). The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. London, England: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05128-3. 
  • El-Daly, Okasha (2005). Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. London, England: UCL Press. ISBN 1-84472-062-4. 
  • Filer, Joyce (1996). Disease. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-72498-5. 
  • Gardiner, Sir Alan (1957). Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. Oxford, England: Griffith Institute. ISBN 0-900416-35-1. 
  • Hayes, W. C. (October 1964). "Most Ancient Egypt: Chapter III. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic Communities of Northern Egypt". JNES (No. 4 ed.) 23: 217–272. 
  • Imhausen, Annette; Eleanor Robson, Joseph W. Dauben, Kim Plofker, J. Lennart Berggren, Victor J. Katz (2007). The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11485-4. 
  • James, T.G.H. (2005). The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Egypt. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-03137-6. 
  • Kemp, Barry (1991). Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. London, England: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06346-9. 
  • Lichtheim, Miriam (1975). Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol 1. London, England: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02899-6. 
  • Lichtheim, Miriam (1980). Ancient Egyptian Literature, A Book of Readings. Vol III: The Late Period. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. 
  • Loprieno, Antonio (1995a). Ancient Egyptian: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-44849-2. 
  • Loprieno, Antonio (1995b). "Ancient Egyptian and other Afroasiatic Languages". In Sasson, J. M. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East 4. New York, New York: Charles Scribner. pp. 2137–2150. ISBN 1-56563-607-4. 
  • Loprieno, Antonio (2004). "Ancient Egyptian and Coptic". In Woodward, Roger D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 160–192. ISBN 0-521-56256-2. 
  • Lucas, Alfred (1962). Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 4th Ed. London, England: Edward Arnold Publishers. ISBN 1-85417-046-5. 
  • Mallory-Greenough, Leanne M. (2002). "The Geographical, Spatial, and Temporal Distribution of Predynastic and First Dynasty Basalt Vessels". The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (London, England: Egypt Exploration Society) 88: 67–93. doi:10.2307/3822337. JSTOR 3822337. 
  • Manuelian, Peter Der (1998). Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs. Bonner Straße, Cologne Germany: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. ISBN 3-89508-913-3. 
  • McDowell, A. G. (1999). Village life in ancient Egypt: laundry lists and love songs. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814998-0. 
  • Meskell, Lynn (2004). Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present (Materializing Culture). Oxford, England: Berg Publishers. ISBN 1-85973-867-2. 
  • Midant-Reynes, Béatrix (2000). The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-21787-8. 
  • Nicholson, Paul T. (2000). Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45257-0. 
  • Oakes, Lorna (2003). Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference to the Myths, Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-7607-4943-4. 
  • Robins, Gay (2000). The Art of Ancient Egypt. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-00376-4. 
  • Ryholt, Kim (January 1997). The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period. Copenhagen, Denmark: Museum Tusculanum. ISBN 87-7289-421-0. 
  • Scheel, Bernd (1989). Egyptian Metalworking and Tools. Haverfordwest, Great Britain: Shire Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7478-0001-4. 
  • Shaw, Ian (2003). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280458-8. 
  • Siliotti, Alberto (1998). The Discovery of Ancient Egypt. Edison, New Jersey: Book Sales, Inc. ISBN 0-7858-1360-8. 
  • Strouhal, Eugen (1989). Life in Ancient Egypt. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2475-X. 
  • Tyldesley, Joyce A. (2001). Ramesses: Egypt's greatest pharaoh. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-14-028097-9. 
  • Vittman, G. (1991). "Zum koptischen Sprachgut im Ägyptisch-Arabisch". Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes (Vienna, Austria: Institut für Orientalistik, Vienna University) 81: 197–227. 
  • Walbank, Frank William (1984). The Cambridge ancient history. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23445-X. 
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Further reading

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