Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is the general name for the land of Egypt in ancient times . The Egyptian name was Kemet and in translation means “Black Land”. Kemet refers to the delta of the Nile , dating back to the black mud, after the annual flood of the Nile remained and guaranteed a fruitful harvest. Another name for the land of antiquity was “Ta meri” (mrj T3), which is translated as beloved country.

: → Main article History of Ancient Egypt

The Egyptian history, insofar as it is comprehensible by material evidence for the history includes the periods of the early days to the conquest by the Roman Empire . It is used in many eras divided (see right navigation bar)

The emergence of Egyptian civilization lies in distant ages, as the high culture known culture began in the Early Dynastic period , as in Upper Egypt a first empire arose. Military expansion towards the Nile Delta enlarged this realm. Today there was Lower Egypt conquered – so that took the first step towards unification .

Politics and Administration
King with double crown and false beard .

The land was central to the Egyptian king , ruled the son of the sun god Re was. The people revered him as a representative of the divine on earth, and thus holds a Divine Office. As a ruler, he had unlimited powers. He was the sole owner of the land, with all products thereon, had mineral resources and the spoils of war campaigns. [2]

As a rule, the king exercised his power of the throne off until the end of life. He was succeeded by the eldest of the principal wife of begotten Son. King and royal family were in a separate palace housed, which was used both publicly and privately and are mostly found in the country’s capital.

The Egyptian king had the absolute good of the country and for the maintenance of world order ( Maat to care). He issued all laws and decrees , monitored Economy and Trade, held the top command of the army and given the building program, in particular the construction of temples. He also made ​​the necessary reforms perform, appointed chief minister, who supported him in the exercise of his government office and gave the gold honor to his subordinates for special achievements. In addition, he provided throughout the country for maintaining the temple cults , the deputy of priests were conducted. Great attention was paid to the preparation for eternal life. With the installation of the royal tomb was usually begun during his accession.

In the 30th Regnal year and then subsequently every third year, which was more sed festival celebrated, which was used for ritual renewal of kingship. Other rituals and festivals were hunting for big game , and lions, and the union party , in which the king is the successor to the supposedly first king and kingdom unifier Menes could celebrate.

Among the typical trappings of the ruler were the double crown , the uraeus and the ceremonial beard .
→ Main article: Administration in Ancient Egypt

The main tasks of the Egyptian administration consisted of counting and collecting taxes in the form of natural products ( beef , grain ), the remeasurement of the fields according to the declining Nile flood , the organization of royal construction projects and expeditions, as well as to purchase and pay for labor. Main branches were the Treasury, the double barn (office for the management of grain storage), the military administration, the temple administration, the palace of the king and the administrative supervision.

The administrative nature was well organized and highly hierarchical. Supreme leader was the vizier , who reported directly to the king. There were other important offices such as treasurer , supervisor, Siegler of the King ( Chetemti-biti ), hereditary prince and mayor. Overall, there were up to 2000 [3] different titles officials who were ordered differently according to rank. The height of the rank depended strongly on the proximity from the king, in his personal environment, many officials such as palace administrator , secretaries and file clerks were employed. Officials of high rank were considered and had views of his own grave system. High offices were first occupied only by members of the royal family. Only in the Middle Kingdom, a separation. Many offices have been handed down from father to son, it also climbs were independent of social origin possible.

The country was administratively into 42 districts divided, of which 22 in the upper and 20 in Lower Egypt were. Each district was under a district princes , who ruled from the capital of each province. All the northern counties were centrally from Memphis , and all of southern Thebes out of. The boundary between the two halves of the country was situated just north of Assiut . [4]

The conquered part of Nubia was from the 17th to 21st Dynasty one viceroy of Kush assumed. This was directly under the king, and was authorized to represent this in the conquered southerners. The Egyptian administration in the Middle East went from local princes city in Syria and Palestine from.
The goddess Maat as the embodiment of justice and truth.

At the head of the legal system were the king and the vizier. The king was seen as realizers of divine order (Maat) and even adopted laws and decrees. Acting on his behalf, the vizier, the chief judge was in charge of all courts and in cases of dispute was the last possible instance. A jurisdiction existed in the strict sense, law is applied in practice and decided individual cases individually. Even the king could at any time make decisions independent of the existing laws, as long as he kept the balance of Maat. Main concerns were the Old Kingdom before the so-called “six tribunals” presented in which senior officials were used as judges. In the New Kingdom negotiated one important cases in the major Kenbet who were under the direction of the vizier. For minor offenses and disputes in the cities, temples and villages existed local dishes that were recruited from the local officials. [5]

The principle of the legal profession did not know it. Plaintiff and defendant had in the process and represent themselves before their testimony one oath swearing. judgments were based on circumstantial evidence and witness statements . In cases of crimes at the center we first interviewed the defendant and forced confessions, some with torture . Frequent means of punishment were beatings, mutilations , deprivation of property, as well as deportation and forced labor . As one of the harshest punishments was the cutting off of noses and ears. The death penalty was imposed only in exceptional circumstances and usually by burning or decapitation occurred at the stake. [6] From the New Kingdom had accused the opportunity for religious festivals in oracle to turn. To put one of a statue of the king, which was worn by priests, a verbal or written question that could be negated by a corresponding movement or the affirmative. [7]
Military affairs
→ Main article: Military affairs in Ancient Egypt

Since the country was protected due to its favorable geographical location from attack by external enemies relatively well, were limited military duties in the Old Kingdom, especially on the implementation of construction projects and quarrying and trading expeditions. For military operations ordinary workers were recruited, who returned after back to her old job. Professional soldiers and a solid organizational structure of the army were only in the Middle and New Kingdoms important to lead to major military campaigns in the Middle East and frontier fortresses in Nubia to secure. [8]
Egyptian chariots

Main forces were the infantry , the Nilflotte and 18 since the Dynasty chariot troops . The infantry sat mostly of spearmen and Nubian archers together. Smallest military unit was the “Department”, which consisted of 50 men. 4-5 departments formed a regiment and up to 20 regiments of one division , which was under a particular deity. The highest military rank of the highest forces chief in the New Kingdom was mostly worn by the crown prince. Despite the high reward, the precious metals, land or slaves foresaw the reputation of fighting soldiers or officers were among the Egyptians low. [8] For combat missions usually were Libyans and Nubians used, while in the senior officer ranks rather Egyptians found them. The military training included troops marches and battles. [9]

Most Egyptians were farmers and lived a pretty simple life. They had small fields that were along the Nile. Built on the Nile in ancient Egypt 8-9 months to a year of wheat, fruits and vegetables. Because they had to take care of herself, they raised goats, sheep and cattle, and put on stocks for the time of the annual flooding.

The role of women is controversial and has often been compared with the classical antiquity ( ancient Greece ) is considered outstanding. In fact, the woman seems to have been legally treated the man, but there is little evidence of women in administrative positions. If they are denied access was difficult or they were tied because of the richness of desired children, the house is not to be found in the sources. It is clear that women in government offices were a minority, but there are also some prominent examples of high positions. In the trades of miller and Bierbrauerin women are, however, often testifies. Egyptian texts repeatedly emphasize the benefits towards widows. This could be seen as an indication that widowed women had few options for their own livelihood.

The spouses lived generally monogamous . The polygamy has been testified with certainty only in the royal house and in a few high-ranking officials. It is assumed that a high infant mortality rate. For this reason, plenty of children were welcome. The overall life expectancy was not very high.

The Egyptians were always believed to have the good gods on their side. It was wary of scams and Spukgeistern. Spukgeister were unfortunate souls whose graves had been vandalized or destroyed. It is said that once a Pharaoh ordered repair a tomb after him in a dream Spukgeist told of his suffering, so that the spirit could return to the grave.
See also: Status of Women in Ancient Egypt
Map of the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta to the Egyptian antiquities
Pre-and Early Dynastic Period

Around 6000 BC, people began in the hitherto sparsely populated Egypt, livestock operate. This, and the approximately 5000 BC incipient agriculture in the Nile valley, it was possible to feed more people. The population grew. But by the agriculture gave rise to new problems: Since the Nile flooded the country once a year and otherwise drought prevailed, it had a balance in the form of sewer systems to be created that derived the water or stored. Since the individual farmers were not able to, they joined together and formed the so-called provinces , of the district princes were managed. Therefore represents the ancient Egyptian word for nomarch “He who builds the channels.” There were grain silos built to provide people throughout the year can. They were also administered by the princes. However, the individual began nomarchs to fight each other. Around 3000 BC, sat Menes by and united Upper and Lower Egypt, who had previously formed. Menes was the first ruler of Egypt with the title Pharaoh, meaning “big house”. Because the Pharaoh much of the harvest was, he gained wealth and came to culture , by architecture, sculpture, etc. promoted. Trigger for many cultural developments was the belief in life after death and the consequent emerging cult of the dead , who had been trained by the Egyptians so strong that people are busy with their lives shape their tomb.
Old and Middle Kingdom

In the Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt was an absolute monarchy . Pharaoh issued all laws and is viewed as a higher spirit, and later as a mediator between the human and the divine. He was taken, for example, responsible for the (in-) fertility of the land. From the earlier nomarchs were the writers and administrators, that the former officials . She still managed the districts, however, were placed under the Pharaoh. In the time strictly hierarchical culture among them were the simple artisans and farmers . This clear separation of the items it was necessary, the people on reliefs and paintings embody and it not only by the hieroglyph for “man” to imply.

Farmers had only their grain to the public shall be available, other products such as meat or vegetables were allowed to keep it even. The time of the flood and drought of the largest, if no agriculture was possible, the farmers had the military or the pyramids work.

To build the pyramids, thousands of people were involved: A builder who oversaw the construction, some engineers , foremen thousands, many writers (officials), for example, governing the procurement of materials. All employees were also required to be on site with food and drinks. As construction took a long time, sometimes the architect died before the pyramid was completed, and had to be replaced. When the pharaoh died before the completion of the construction was carried on anyway.
Luxor Temple (left) side of the pylon
Scene from the Book of Gates , an underworld book from the grave of Ramses IV , Valley of the Kings
First pylon of the Isis temple of Philae
→ Main article: Ancient Egyptian Religion

In the kingdom of the Egyptians had any God ‘s own temple , in the statues of their gods were. Sometimes there are in mortuary temples ( Temple of millions years ) special areas for the worship of a god.

Because Pharaoh was considered in earlier times as high spirits and later as a mediator between the human and the spiritual world, there was even a statue of him, which has been subjected to certain rituals for the benefit of the country.

Every morning just before sunrise a crossed priest with a candle the temple and went to the shrine where the statue was, and knocked. The God awoke and took earthly form. Then the priests washed the statue and rubbed her with his right little finger, the forehead with cedar – and myrrh oil one. The statue was dressed and have their meals and drinks given. It was also her flowers presented, for it was believed that the scent was the god himself, the sacrifices were offered to the gods, so that the world remained consistent.

Among the offerings except food, drink and flowers were also wine , perfume and incense . The incense should drive away evil spirits and has been specially prepared by the priests in secret rooms in which a list of ingredients was placed on the walls.

In processions , the statue was taken out of the temple and paraded through the streets. But even then, the people could not see her because she was veiled.

The Temple was the center of the city. Often were the priests of the city council with responsibility, trained the children, rendered medical aid and performed a library . The pharaoh was the supreme representative of the temple. The people could only offer his sacrifice at the temple because he was not allowed to enter it.

Young priests in the temple were constructed. Later they lived together near the temple on a lake that was created artificially. Twice a day and twice at night they had to bathe in it, to remain pure. For this reason they had to shave every other day her body.

On the roof of the temple was often an observatory from which the stars were observed. The star immediately around the Pole Star were called immortal because the whole year could be seen through. The planet presented paintings allude to the gods, the – with – so the visual imagery boats sailed across the sky.
See also: Egyptian Mythology
Section of the Papyrus Ebers
: → Main article Mathematics in Ancient Egypt

It only proper fractions with integer numerator and denominator were known. Since there except for 2/3 only hieroglyphic for unit fractions were, therefore, all fractures are represented as sums of root fractures see also:. Rhind papyrus
: → Main article Astronomy in Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians were concerned with astronomy and calculated on the basis of the level of Sothis (Sirius), the flooding of the Nile.
: → Main article Medicine in Ancient Egypt

Medicine, Magic and Religion in Ancient Egypt were inseparable. Cure disease were indeed drugs or surgery, but also important were always amulets and incantations to protect the mages should keep away evil spirits. The medical knowledge of the ancient Egyptians are known only in fragments through the palaeopathological studies of mummies. There was thus obtained indicated that there breaks directed amputations carried out properly, artificial teeth or dentures were used. In some cases, could even be proven treatments on the skull. Despite their skills in the mummification of bodies they had, however, no specific anatomical and physiological knowledge of construction and function of the human organs. For example, the heart was considered the seat of the mind, and they could, for example, swelling, internal injuries or severe traumatic head injuries do nothing.
See also: Papyrus Ebers
→ Main article: Ancient Egyptian Art

The Egyptian art consists mainly of the three areas of architecture , painting and sculpture . Most works of art were created for the dead. The Egyptians were well with stone , metal , wood and glass handle.

In 19th Century the Egyptian art of scientists was Napoléon “rediscovered” and got into the attention of researchers, collectors and museums. Until this century, there was a more or less systematic excavations, which were often successful and various treasures and sculptures brought to light and brought new insights into the people of ancient Egypt.
The Riesenmastaba of Shepseskaf , 4 Dynasty
The Great Pyramid

In the early days, the first buildings were made ​​of brick , and later (in the 3rd Dynasty ) stone. These buildings were built to cultic-religious purposes, such as the 60 m high step pyramid of King Djoser .

The pyramids date from the time of the fourth Dynasty . The most famous example is the Great Pyramid of nearly 147 meters. It symbolized the connection between the eternal (top) and the earthly (base). The famous pyramid builders were Cheops , Menkaure and Khafre .

In the fifth Dynasty emerged mortuary temple , also known as pyramid or temple worship. She always belonged to a king’s grave and formed a complex. In the Middle Kingdom, the mortuary temple was built as a temple alone. In the New Kingdom, these were mostly in the plane before the Rocky Mountains in the valley of the kings built. These include the mortuary temple of Ramses the Great, and Amenhotep III. , or the Temple of Hatshepsut . In a mortuary temple to the pharaohs buried in the plant sacrifices were offered.

Of significance is the processional or cult temple . umgebenem with porticos of the courtyard and “Allerheiligstem” (Sanctuary) The Pharaoh took part in the founding ceremony part. Besides the plant is sometimes a holy lake and a “House of Life”, in which artists and doctors were trained.

Furthermore, the Valley Temple to mention that on the banks of the Nile and were through the causeway were associated with the mortuary temple. Behind the mortuary temple followed the pyramid .

Other Structures:

Mastaba : a building that until the Middle Kingdom was a “private grave” clad with stone, prismatic , with sanctuary, on the west side of one false door .
Grave plants that from the valley temple , the causeway existed, the mortuary temple and the pyramid. Within the plant were the tombs of high officials. The arrangement of the tombs of the pyramid towards the center depended on the significance of the person.

Egyptian painting, about 1400 BC

Already in prehistoric Egypt emerged rock art and ceramic painting . But the characteristics of Egyptian painting are mainly from finds in grave chapels of the Pharaohs families and senior officials announced. The murals in the tombs should remind the soul of the dead to their lives on earth and represent the reality, without referring to the individual, and the dead “surrounded” with what they had enjoyed in his lifetime. The second major topic of Egyptian painting showing representations of the gods and the dead court . Some recent works are still on papyrus preserved.

The art work was followed by precise specifications. The figures have been distributed over the entire shaped surface oblique views avoided. Head and legs are shown in profile, upper body and arms, however mostly frontal. Shadow or light effects were not incorporated, a background was avoided. Main characters were shown more than minor characters ( meaning perspective ). Perspective views, it was not, so birds do not sit for example, but to the reed leaves. The arrangement of the people was most rigid and active movement was avoided. Thus, people can be seen usually just before they began to move, but rarely walk with half raised. Such portraits dating usually in the final stages of major eras, such as the end of the Old Kingdom, where it was sometimes used as a stylistic device and used excessive (acrobats scene in the grave). No relaxation but more than these rules form the murals of Akhenaten’s reign, the “revolutionary” government is usually seen only in the political and religious, but not in the artistic aspect.

In temples, palaces, tombs and buildings grave reliefs and wall paintings were used. If a wall with reliefs should be decorated only a power grid of proportions was applied, then were the first outline and then worked out the fine lines. A distinction is made ​​between low relief (background is removed) and sunk relief (lines are carved into). Finally, they were with pigment colors dyed. Black was used for soot or coal , green and blue malachite and azurite , for white plaster or chalk , for red, yellow, pink and brown iron hydroxide.
Statue of Hemiunu in the Roemer-und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim

Most of the sculptures were in grave equipment installed. They should represent the dead and save his eternal existence. Therefore tried the sculptor to represent the people, without reference to transience, so they tried to depict the essence more than appearance. Therefore, the figures are depicted with an ideal posture is largely apart from individual body shapes.

The attitude of the statues is always upright, either sitting, kneeling or standing. Spaces were avoided. Wooden statues at the arms and legs were made separately and attached. For stone statues was mostly limestone or granite used. Another feature of the Egyptian sculptures is that they were always painted, even if they were made of precious materials. Women were painted bright yellow, red brown men. Sometimes the figures were as eye crystals used or other colored stones like in the famous seated scribe in the Louvre in Paris.

An exception to the idealized representation of Egyptian statues represent the sculptures of the Amarna period represents the duration of this period, named after the town Tel-el-Amarna, where the remains of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s newly established capital Akhetaten are, can be with whose reign (from 1350 BC Amenhotep IV , from around 1346 BC Akhenaten, † 1334 BC) and, furthermore, about 20 years lasting effect, equate.

Akhenaten introduced monotheism into Egypt and structured the entire political system anew. He replaced the old gods of the family of God 18th Dynasty, Aten (the sun disk), did overthrow the powerful Amun priesthood expropriated the lands of the temple, and eventually moved together with his entourage to build his new capital in the middle of the desert between Memphis and Thebes. This all happened between his third and fifth year of the reign. As a visible sign of the new times, he passed his birth name and took the name Akhenaten Amenhotep.

Akhenaten promoted the Egyptian art beyond measure, and it was created under sculptors like Thutmose a completely new style of art, which not only broke with the Egyptian rules as hopelessness and immobility. The style is even now alien to us, and he must have had a similar effect for the Egyptians at the time of the New Kingdom have. He was characterized by exaggerated, elongated proportions and already Champollion described the sculpture as ugly and grotesque: long-necked, obese, the pharaonic statues hermaphroditic until completely sexless. Often been suggested that this type of display an innate ugliness of the god-king was based, which is why medical conditions were accepted. So identified Bob Brier this appearance with the Marfan syndrome , not least because of the tendency of contemporary affected, but not to hide their “lack” to show clearly. To date, however, we have no idea of ​​how the king and his family have looked actually.

After Akhenaten’s death in 1334 BC, the art style was still under his successors Smenkhkare and Tutankhaten , later Tutankhamun gone.

However, he did not take the time of the restoration of the old form of government under the pharaohs Ay and Horemheb and the destruction of Akhet-Aten, and almost all temples and pictorial representations of the Amarna period.

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