Free Research Paper About Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt can be depicted as a civilization of antique Northeastern Africa, located alongside the lower stretches of Nile River and is at the present the modern republic of Egypt. It is among the six cultures worldwide to ascend independently. Egypt is commonly referred as the Nile gift by Herodotus a Greek historian from the 5th century. This enormous river, is considered to be the longest in the world and stretches towards the north from the equatorial Africa to Mediterranean Sea via Egypt.
As from 8000 BCE, the residents of the Nile valley had by then become rather sedentary, and adopted agriculture that was linked to a Neolithic culture by 5000 BCE. Nile valley had fertile soils that were as a result of the huge amounts of silt that was deposited in the delta after flowing from plateaus and lakes of Africa. Life in ancient Egypt was usually safe in spite of the disruptions witnessed between three Kingdoms that came to existence. This security was as a result of the surrounding deserts (Pemberton, 23).
Ancient Egypt had roughly 30 dynasties which are categorized into periods starting from the 3rd dynasty as distinguished by achievements and stability. The Old Kingdom was composed of 3-6 Dynasties and occurred from 2686 BCE to 2181 BCE. The Middle Kingdom had 11-14 dynasties and took place 2040-1786 BCE. New Kingdom was made up of 18-20 dynasties occurring at 1552-1069 BCE. Egypt became a unified state in 3100 BCE from Upper Egypt located at the south and Lower Egypt in the north which marked the onset of its history. The two kingdoms were consolidated by a powerful leader from the south named Narmer and is celebrated through the existing palette of Narmer sculpture. Many artistic conventions are used in the sculpture which dominate most of the Egyptian art which trail conceptual principles at the expense of worldly observation. Correct designs were also determined by devising mathematical formulas (Hart, 30).
Protohieroglyphic symbols were used by the ancient Egyptians in their art since 4000 BCE with the full system of writing having been compiled under Sumerian influence. Written from both papyrus and stone, the symbols expressed ideas and were phonetic. After a French philologist decoded the Rosetta stone in 1822, the Egyptian hieroglyphics were then understood. Egyptians were basically the most religious individuals Herdotus asserted that he had ever come across. A grand design that was both balanced and harmonious was portrayed by heavenly bodies, conducts of the gods and human activity. Those who failed to honor this harmony were the only ones who would fear death for the rest were confident that their spirit was eternal (Casson, 28).
The region in ancient Egypt is both mythical and polytheistic since their gods included cosmic forces like the earth, sky, sun, air and even river Nile. Such forces of nature were linked to animals, humans and hybrids. Certain qualities of the gods were attributed by the animals. Upon death, bodies were preserved so as their spirits would be prepared to go on with life as a way to get ready for an afterlife. Therefore, Egyptian kings were embalmed a process commonly referred to as mummification and the process would last for 70 days. A statue of the dead person was also made to ensure that their spirit would live in case something would ensue to the mummy. In most cases, the mummification process was kept as a way to reflect the nobility, thus revered as gods in the form of a human while ordinary folks were laid in holes (Silverman, 47).
The monumental architecture, conception in Egypt was as a result of the need to preserve the dead. All features of the Egyptian culture can be attributed to the preparation of afterlife. Within the coffins of those who were dead was papyrus scrolls that offered guidelines for the spirit in the afterlife. The popular Book of the Dead offered procedures for the dead before they joined the Field of Reeds which was god Osiris’ eternal realm. It was vital to provide a modest home the spirit of deceased kings, so as they would keep on ensuring that the Egyptians were secure even after their death (Pemberton, 23).
The mastaba is the most well-known tomb structure occurring during the early dynasties. The original mastabas were constructed with the use of mud, but later on in the end of the 3rd dynasty, cut stones were used. The mastaba had a sealed room where the spirit statue of the dead was housed and a chapel where mourning relatives were received. The mastabas were located at a particular place that was referred to as necropolis or the city of the dead. The necropolis was located in the direction where the sun set which is on the west bank of the river Nile (Pemberton, 23). Step pyramids were as a result of several mastabas being stacked together.
The Old Kingdom was basically a time where social as well as political stability dominated in the ancient Egypt. The wealth of the families of power were reflected by the presence of tomb complexes that were not only elaborate but also enormous. The pyramids of Giza serve as an example of such complex tombs where a complete class of sculptors, artisans and builders were involved in their construction demonstrating high standards of political and social structure and engineering plus aesthetic aptitude. These pyramids were built on the Nile’s western bank with angled sides that represented slanting sunlight rays. The three structures found at Giza are the most popular and were erected back in the 4th dynasty by King Khufu, Khafre as well as Menkaure. The largest and oldest of the three pyramids was that constructed by King Khufu covering 13 acres of land at the base reaching about 150 meters tall (Harris, 119).
The pyramids were constructed with the use of limestone blocks that were transported by the use of muscle power and using small logs to function as rollers. Each block weighed about 2.5 tons, thus the engineers used erudite mathematical calculations. The best preserved complex is the Khafre’s temple popularly for the Great Sphinx that guards the pyramid. The huge portrait which is 20 meters tall displays a combination of the king’s head and a crouching lion demonstrating human intelligence combined with animal strength. The high size of the complex indicated the king’s power and the love the ancient Egyptians had four huge proportions (Pemberton, 23). The Old Kingdom also made statues of people who were not so prominent. For instance, there were statues that displayed a seated scribe originating from the 5th dynasty. The statue reflected irregular contours on the face that reflected a sense of humanity and personality. The statue also had a flabby body showing a life that was devoid of tough physical labor. Wealthy families ensured that the ceilings and interior walls of their tombs had decorations from paintings as well as reliefs. This provided the spirit with the best living quarters.
The New Kingdom can be attributed back in the 1674 BCE, when Egypt was invaded by a tribe from the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. The tribe had bronze weapons which facilitated Egypt to move into the Bronze Age. However, in 1552 BCE, Egypt succeeded pushing the trip to Palestine, thus conquering other tribes in the process. This marks the common Egyptian Empire title, which is at times used to denote the New Kingdom. The Egyptians controlled both the Nile Valley and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean coast from what is now referred to as Syria. This marked the most dazzling era for the ancient Egypt since it is also the time when the kings assumed the title Pharaoh meaning Great House. The name was used in the New Kingdom to denote a king as son to god Ra (Haslam, 36).
Under the triumphant influence from Libya and Assyria, the New Kingdom started declining in 1200 BCE and later on was conquered by Persia in 525 BCE, Greece in 3332 BCE and finally Rome in 30 BCE. The Old Kingdom is commonly referred as the great pyramids era, while the New Kingdom is referred to as the era of temples. Pyramids in the New Kingdom were prime targets by from thieves, thus the royals were buried deeply curved chambers in cliffs located at the Nile’s west bank (Pemberton, 23). Temples were then built far away from the tombs. Tutankhamen tomb was the only one that survived looters and was discovered virtually intact by British archeologists in the year 1922.
Nevertheless, there existed a notable challenge as far as continuity of style is concerned during Akhenaten as well as his wife Nefertiti reign. The couple had ruled from 1352-1336 BCE. Akhenaten decided to abolish the pantheon of gods replacing them with a system of worship that was monotheistic in that only god Aten was worshiped. The king also made changes to the artistic conventions in Egypt as reflected by the limestone relief displaying him, his wife as well as their kids. The relief does not display them to adapt the artistic conventions set since the Old Kingdom despite the fact that they were royal. Their poses indicated something more domestic and intimate as opposed to other portraits of the royalty. The relief was thus informal and play instead of emphasizing on dignity (Pemberton, 23).
In conclusion, Egypt's amusing material heritage is due to her exclusive funerary beliefs, which, joined with her characteristic geography, fortified the conservation of archaeological material. This affluence of objects generates a highly predisposed assortment of artifacts. The lives and assets of the meagre are under-represented, and it is not clear that the things so prudently provided for the deceased were illustrative of the things used in everyday life. However, the contents found in Egypt's tombs, accompanied by the artworks on the walls of the tombs, have permitted specialists to advance a better understanding when it comes to Egyptian physical technology more than any other antique civilization. Egypt's superb stone buildings, including her pyramids plus temples have enthused countless artists, writers, architects and poets from the Roman era to the current day.
Casson, Lionel. Ancient Egypt. New York, N.Y: Time, Inc, 2009. Print.
Harris, Geraldine. Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, 2011. Print.
Hart, George. Ancient Egypt. New York: Knopf, 2011. Print.
Haslam, Andrew, and Alexandra Parsons. Ancient Egypt. New York: Thomson Learning, 2010. Print.
Pemberton, Delia. Ancient Egypt. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2012. Print.
Silverman, David P. Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
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