Many of the Egyptian crafts that are still popular today originated in Asia and were later refined by the Egyptians. Their most notable technical achievement is massive stone building, which used a centralized state to mobilize an enormous labour force. Among their other feats, Egyptians perfected agricultural practices and developed remarkable technical skills. While the pyramids themselves are still a mystery, the Egyptians’ most impressive architectural achievements have yet to be fully understood.
Ancient Egypt’s origins
While Egypt’s classical civilization was dominated by the Thebans, its roots are in Africa. This region was dominated by Africans during the Dynastic Age and era of splendor. The kingdoms of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt eventually merged around the fourth millennium B.C.E., and the Egyptians of both regions had a great influence on each other. Today, researchers are still learning more about the early Egyptian civilization.
In the early years of Egyptian civilization, people followed a polytheistic religion. There were a number of gods revered, including Osiris, the god of the underworld. Many temples were built at Abydos in his honor. During the New Kingdom, Amun-Ra was associated with Luxor. This god helped to re-unify Egypt and the surrounding region. During this period, he reigned as King of Egypt.
Religion dominated Egyptian life
Egypt’s religious practices are very different from those of other civilizations, but the core principles of their faith are similar. The Egyptians believed that their life on earth was a part of a continuous journey, and that our actions affect those around us. The gods of Egypt were both human and natural, and the sun god Re was the most important of all. Egyptians tended to think of God as a benevolent power, and their actions in life were viewed as an attempt to preserve the balance and harmony of the universe.
Ancient Egyptians believed that their gods were familiar friends and lords of creation. They regarded their gods as familiar friends, and believed that they existed in eternity. One of their most important gods, Atum, was worshipped on the primordial hill known as ben-ben, and his presence was felt among the gods. A goddess called Heka, who embodied the lion and crocodile, sat next to Atum.
The Nile was a magnet for life
The Nile was a critical lifeline for the Egyptians. The river was home to numerous water birds and animals, including crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Egyptians learned to fish and had elaborate irrigation and farming systems. They also used the river as a source of drinking water and to wash their clothes. For these reasons, the Nile was an important recreational resource.
The Nile’s modern name is derived from the Greek word ‘nelios’, meaning valley. But the ancient Egyptians called it Ar or Aur, referring to the black sediment it carried from the Horn of Africa. This sediment deposited in Egypt in the late summer months provided a rich soil for farming. The Nile’s annual flooding allowed the Egyptian civilization to develop in this fertile area.
The king had a monopoly on power
Historically, Egypt was a centralized civilization with a monarchy at its center. Egypt’s borders were safe and its monarchy was resplendent, but its political systems were weak, as it had suffered two major invasions. In order to consolidate its dominance, Egypt mobilized its economic and territorial resources and became a true imperial power. Here are four of the reasons why this was the case.
Egypt’s kings possessed vast power. In addition to controlling the lands, the king had a monopoly on trade. The Middle Kingdom paid particular attention to Nubia and what was known as “Asia” east of the Sinai Peninsula. One Egyptian king referred to himself as “throat-slitter of Asia” (meaning, ‘throat-slitter’). As a result, the Egyptians tended to consider themselves to be the most important civilization in the world.
The Middle Kingdom period
The Middle Kingdom period of Egyptian civilization marks a time of reunification of Egypt, after a period of civil war and weak pharaonic power. The era began with the rise of Mentuhotep II, who toppled the last ruler of the Tenth Dynasty and brought peace to the nation. Mentuhotep II was known as the second menes, a term which means ‘God’ in ancient Egyptian.
The 12th Dynasty was the strongest and most prosperous of the Middle Kingdom, with its rulers building pyramids and mortuary complexes in the surrounding area. The kingship also did not sequentially pass from father to son, but instead circulated among leading families. There is some speculation that the kingship was becoming primarily ceremonial, but the surviving records do not support this theory. In any case, the rulers were still the most powerful in Egypt during the Middle Kingdom.