Death and the Journey of the Egyptian Soul

No other country- not even China or India had such a long history as Ancient Egypt. For nearly, 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus, the Egyptians had already a high developed civilization. The Egyptians lived in an orderly government; they built great stone structures; most of important of all they established an acquired religion. For the Egyptians there was no break between their religious beliefs and their daily life. Even their culture would all lie at the bottom compared to their religious beliefs.

For an example, Egyptian art was never reflected as a representation; however, it was a sense of symbolic pictures that spoke of the life of the gods and the hope of eternity to come. This desire for the renewal of life, and the creative urge to ensure it by ritual and symbolism existed in Egypt from the earliest times of the Neolithic Era. Archaeologist were able to uncover clay figurines of Osiris laced with sprouting corn. As the corn grew the model would open, as an image of life-in- death. Archaeologist were also able to find that their people also liked to keep the dead close to them.

The Egyptians soon came to believe deeply that the good administration of the dead, just like the management of the Niles water could lead to an everlasting life. Many think of the Ancient Egyptians as a morbid, death-obsessed people. We think of this because all of what we have uncovered is mummies, tombs, and graves. However, we know more about the Egyptians in death than what we know about their lives. Since, the earliest times the Egyptians were very passionately concerned with the continued existence of their loved ones and their souls.

The idea that Osiris had passes through death and risen into a new life was deeply rooted in the Egyptian consciousness that Osiris had to struggle against the forces of evil. So did the human soul now following him to gain eternity. By 2,500 BCE, helpful instructions, known as the pyramid texts were carved or painted on tomb walls to help the soul act in the various trials of it journey in the Netherworld (also referred to as the Under World). A thousand years later, in the New Kingdom, these instructions had been formalized into The Coming into Day, or The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

This magical text for the underworld journey was a set of spells, incantations, and mummification techniques designed to help the dead person resurrect into a glorious afterlife in heaven, or The Hall of the Two Truths. These mystical texts are from the New Kingdom. The similar ones that were found in the pyramids from the Old Kingdom, and the coffins were from the Middle Kingdom. One can imagine these text by thinking about how church rituals are run. One goes to church, and the rituals are holy texts that come from a book known as the bible or genesis.

In Ancient Egypt, these burial rituals are not read from a book. At first, they are read directly off of the wall in inner chambers of a pyramid; later they were read directly off sides of the coffins. The Coming into Day, which was from the New Kingdom, was read off of papyrus sheets, much as religious rituals are today as they are read out of books. The Book of the Dead was to be relatively cheap to purchase. As an Egyptian that had more riches in the New Kingdom, one would be able to buy a copy that would have blanks where the names go. A scribe would be hired to insert the name in all those blank spots.

In the text, the blank spots were the name of the deceased. The letter N indicates it. If there were no name to be put in it they would refer to the Dead person as N. Wealthy Egyptians had a personalized version prepared before their death so many versions have been discovered. One of the most famous one was created for Ani, a Royal Scribe, who lived during the nineteenth dynasty, and died in 1250 BC. If one were to die or a loved one dies, one would be buried with the papyrus scroll. As a result, a few of these texts survived. In the book the body was represented as the Ka.

The Ka was the spiritual body that everyone had, which was the mirror image of the physical body. When a person died it was the Ka, which lived on in the underworld. The Ka was not trapped inside a material body but lived symbiotically with it. This was why it was so vital to preserve the bodies of those who were believed to be living in the future world. In many of the great Egyptian tombs, spare heads and hearts were buried with the mummified body in case the mummy should be damaged. Many of the spells in the book for the dead are for protecting the physical body so that the Ka body could live free and happy in the Underworld.

One of the most well renowned parts in the book of the dead is the Hall of Maat, which is first introduced in the book. The Hall of Matt is where the judgement of the dead was preformed. The goddess Matt stands for truth, justice, morality and balance. The symbol that was used to shows ones innocence was the heart. The Egyptians believed the heart was one of the most sacred parts of the body. In the Book of the Dead, it was the heart that was weighed against the feather of Maat to see if an individual was worthy of joining Osiris in the afterlife.

In the book Anubis, the Jackal god of embalming leads N to the scales of Maat to be weighed. Anubis then weighs the heart against the feather to see if it is worthy. As, Thoth, the god of wisdom is right next to the scale recording the results. If passing this test one will be brought by Horus to meet Osiris, the king of the dead. To claim the purity and the principles of a sinless life is known as The Declaration of Innocence. Here during the Declarations of Independence, N (the deceased one) must claim his innocence. Much of this declaration was based on causing human suffrage and about taking care of everything that surrounds them.

Many of these ethical laws pertain to the work social and personal goals according to Truth. It was important for N to declare innocence because nothing evil shall happen to go against N because N has proven innocence. After the declaration of innocence it was vital for N to know the name of the Gods. It was important for the deceased to know these names because the Gods lived on Truth. Hail to you, O you who are in the Hall of Justice who have no lies in your bodies, who live on truth and gulp down truth in the presence of Horus who is in his disc.

Since the Gods lived on Truth it was up to the Gods to save and protect the soul of the deceased. That was the start of the introductory hymns to the Gods, which took up the first few chapters. One in particular is the Re, the Sun God. The ancient Egyptians considered Re as the creator of people. That is conceivably why Re is the first God mentioned in the Book of the Dead. Another God in the first few chapters is Osiris. Osiris is the god of death and re-birth, underworld and earth. Primarily in the first few chapters are hymns and praises to Gods.

The beginning of the book is a transition to what I feel is the most important part, the afterlife rituals. Starting at chapters twenty-one and twenty-two, the giving to obtain an afterlife begins. One that stuck out to me was chapter two. This chapter is for out into the day and living after. O you Sole One who shine in the moon, O you Sole One who glow in the sun, may Ani go forth from among those multitudes of yours who are outside, may those who in the sunshine release him This section from the chapter means that the Sole One, you; is being freed into the daylight.

An additional chapter that was very interesting was chapter seventy-four. This chapter talked about being swift-footed when going out from the earth. Part of the chapter reads, I shine in the sky, I ascend to the sky. This means to me that your passage to afterlife should be buoyant and easy. Many of the chapters were alike to one another in the middle of the book; however, each had a very distinct difference from one another. The book it seems to refer to how to obtain an afterlife. That starts out with the process of giving a mouth, magic, heart, or etc for Ani begins. One part of the body that is given is the mouth.

The mouth would be open by Ptah, who was the human god the creator of Memphis would open the mouth. This part was fairly important in the book because N would be able to speak in the presence of the Gods. By this it also protects N. As for any magic spell of any words which may be uttered against me, the gods will rise up against it, even the entire Ennead. Another section of the book that was fascination was the chapters about transformation. These began and lasted from chapters seventy to eighty. One of the main chapters in the section was the transformation from human to a divine falcon.

In the chapter it indeed depicts the actual transformation from the entry to the passage out. In this chapter there was also a real dialogue between character, which I found to be odd considering it was only the second dialogue was used besides the beginning of the book. The falcon must be one of the most important creatures in ancient Egypt because of its mention if the Book of the Dead and its use in the Egyptian writing, hieroglyphics. Another transformation is from human to crocodile. That is very interesting because there is also a transformation into a swallow.

The connection between both is somewhat odd because a crocodile is supposed to evil and a swallow is a symbol of innocence. Those transformations are quite the opposite. The chapters were very interesting on the transformations because it was uncanny to see what the Egyptians thought of some of the animals and birds. My favorite chapter of the whole book was the Hall of the Two Truths. The Hall of Two Truths is where a persons would and actions from their life get weighed. If the balance is even between good and evil, the soul is sent to an afterlife.

If the evil side over weighs the good side, then the person is sent to a bad place. The person must actually ask, Do you know the names of the upper and lower portions of the doors? This I think means have you weighed my good and evil. Then the person says, Lord of Truth, Master of his Two Legs is the name of the upper portion; Lord of Strength, the One who commands the Cattle is the name of the Lower. These I think means did my good outweigh my evil. This chapter was the most interesting to me because it really described what happens at the hall of the Two Truths.

The lives of the ancient Egyptians were based upon religious gods and texts. The Egyptian Book of the Dead was perhaps the most important written record of the importance. It was essentially a book of praises and hymns to the Egyptian Gods. This book was one of the many ways to enter a complete afterlife. The Egyptian society heavily believed and based their lives on the Book of the Dead is on it phrases and hymns to the ancient Egyptian Gods and afterlife passage. The rest of the book just ends with what it started out with, which were eulogistic praises to the Gods.

Reading the Book of the Dead made me think more about how religious the Egyptians truly were. I think the Book of the Dead was in fact the key of their whole culture. If they hadnt believed so strongly in something their purpose of living might have ceased to exist because afterlife is what made them go on with their lives and essentially the Book of the Dead was the passage to their blissful afterlife. The Egyptians probably had one of the most influential civilizations in all of history and the Book of the Dead was one of the key elements that made Egyptians have such a strong era.

Early Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Akhenatens Reforms

During the New Kingdom of Egypt (from 1552 through 1069 B. C. ), there came a sweeping change in the religious structure of the ancient Egyptian civilization. “The Hymn to the Aten” was created by Amenhotep IV, who ruled from 1369 to 1353 B. C. , and began a move toward a monotheist culture instead of the polytheist religion which Egypt had experienced for the many hundreds of years prior to the introduction of this new idea.

There was much that was different from the old views in “The Hymn to the Aten”, and it offered a new outlook on the Egyptian ways of life by providing a complete break with the traditions which Egypt held to with great respect. Yet at the same time, there were many commonalties between these new ideas and the old views of the Egyptian world. Although through the duration of his reign, Amenhotep IV introduced a great many changes to the Egyptian religion along with “The Hymn”, none of these reforms outlived their creator, mostly due to the massive forces placed on his successor, Tutankhamen, to renounce these new reforms.

However, the significance of Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaten as he later changed his name to, is found in “The Hymn”. “The Hymn” itself can be looked at as a contradiction of ideas; it must be looked at in relation to both the Old Kingdom’s belief of steadfast and static values, as well as in regards to the changes of the Middle Kingdom, which saw unprecedented expansionistic and individualistic oriented reforms. In this paper I plan to discuss the evolvement of Egyptian Religious Beliefs throughout the Old,

Middle, and New Kingdoms and analyze why Amenhotep IV may have brought about such religious reforms. The Old Kingdom of Egypt (from 2700 to 2200 B. C. ), saw the commencement of many of the rigid, formal beliefs of the Egyptian civilization, both in regards to their religious and political beliefs, as they were very closely intertwined. “… There was a determined attempt to impose order on the multitude of gods and religious beliefs that had existed since predynastic times… and the sun-god Re became the supreme royal god, with the king taking the title of Son of Re” (David 155).

The Egyptians overall believed that nature was an incorruptible entity and that to reach a state of human perfection in the afterlife, they too would have to change from their corruptible human shells to mimic the incorruptibility of nature. Upper and Lower Egypt were united for the first time under one ruler, however, this would come to an end around 2200 B. C.. In much of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Pharaoh was often depicted as almost larger than life, with great power and much of Egyptian art is a celebration of his accomplishments.

The formation of a royal absolutism occurred during this period, with the Pharaoh and a small-centralized administration, composed mainly of royal kin and relatives, overseeing all aspects of Egyptian life. The Pharaoh was looked at as a living god among the Egyptian people, who assured the success of Egypt as well as its peace. “The Pharaoh belonged both to the world of the gods and the world of men, and he was seen as a bridge between them. Some of the local deities represented various aspects of nature, such as the earth and the sky, or the Nile and it’s gifts of fertility.

So the king, living in their midst, could bring the Egyptians into a harmonious relationship with their divinities and with the forces of nature upon which their whole existence depended” (Hawkes 43). In regard to the religious structure of the Old Kingdom, there was a polytheistic view of the world, as in Mesopotamia. However, unlike the Mesopotamian religion, the Egyptians worked for their kings as opposed to working for their gods. The complex concept of the afterlife was also developed during this period.

The Great Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom built great pyramids to forever protect their remains after death. It was believed that the king (solely) could “spend eternity traveling with the gods… However, in order to obtain eternal sustenance, it was also essential that the king could return to earth at will; here, through his preserved body, his spirit imbibes the essence of food and drink offerings, which were continually brought to his burial complex” (David 126).

These political and religious views were believed to be sacred and intended to be adhered to without change, following the Egyptian’s view of nature as an unchanging constant, and a static phenomenon. After the collapse of the Old Kingdom, there came the First Intermediate Period during which the United Egypt separated. It became a time of turmoil and disaster. The Pharoah was over thrown and society simply collapsed resulting in anarchy throughout Egypt. Famine and disease were widespread and the rich were equal to the poor.

Since the Kingship was discredited, individuals now demanded their own eternity. Tombs were equipped in provincial districts for the local rulers, but gradually, democratization of beliefs came to affect all levels of society, and even the poorest classes hoped to achieve individual immortality (David 132). Order was eventually restored and Egypt entered into a great period of prosperity. This was the Middle Kingdom. Though Egypt was separated, both Upper and Lower Egypt still had a shared religion, just different views as to whom the heroes and villains were in their mythology.

The Middle Kingdom, which occurred between 2040 and 1674 B. C. , saw the re-emergence of a united Egypt. The Pharaohs of this period were once again the center of the kingdom, and the military might of Egypt was far greater than it been in previous centuries. However, the Pharaoh was not as great a political power as he had been in the Old Kingdom, as the nobles had begun to gain a sense of greater independence from the Pharaoh, in respect to the idea that they needed him to assure themselves a place in the afterlife.

They believed that they could obtain eternity themselves by using symbols of the monarchy from the Old Kingdom as well as magical spells, which they collected from the Pyramid Texts. The nobles had their own large tombs, but they “were no longer constructed near the King’s pyramid but were scattered more independently across the necropolis, and the high quality of the wall-decoration in these tombs indicated their owner’s importance” (David 129). The political structure of the Middle Kingdom was also changing from that of the Old Kingdom.

In the past, the government was run by only the immediate family of the Pharaoh, in the Middle Kingdom however, “he began to marry into the wealthy but non-royal nobility, destroying the fictional divinity of the royal line” (David 131). Around 1674 B. C. , the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt separated once again. This Second Intermediate Period saw the Hyksos, Semitic invaders from Palestine, come and overtake the Egyptian ruling class. These peoples were expelled from Egypt around 1553 B. C. , which gave rise to the New Kingdom of Egypt.

The capital was moved to Thebes and “these rulers attributed their ascendancy over the Hyksos to the powerful support of their local god; Amun. … The kings eventually associated him with the old northern sun-god Re, creating the all new powerful deity Amen-Re” (David 147). Also at this time, there began a new imperialistic movement within the Egyptian culture, and we see several crusades into Asia and the Mid-East during this time frame. Egypt ruled in Asia for about a century or so, but lost it due to the lack of interest on the part of the royal court in the contents of its Asian subjects.

Though for the most part, the Egyptian religion remained as it had in the previous kingdoms during the first part of the New Kingdom. Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaten as he later changed his name to, brought about many religious reforms. Amenhotep IV began a series of reforms to ensure the Pharaoh’s status as a living god among the people, as opposed to a simple agent of the sun-god Amen-Re, as the priests of the royal court were beginning to assert a more powerful and independent role.

Assisted by the royal family, Amenhotep IV commenced on a series of religious reforms, which would help him regain the power lost to the priests. He worshiped Aten, the radiant god of the sun disk. Why this particular god Aten was chosen may never be known, But Amenhotep IV apparently so inspired by his faith that he wrote The Hymn to the Aten in his praise. At first he tolerated worship of other gods along with Aten, but eventually he chiseled out the name of Amen-Re from anything which beared the name, and closed the temples of the other gods.

The Pharaoh and his family were to worship Aten, while the remainder of the populace was to worship the Pharaoh. Amenhotep then moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes, which was primarily centered on Amen-Re, to a new location called Akhenaten, now modern day Armana, to further separate from previous beliefs. Amenhotep IV also changed his name to Akhenaten, which translates to “It pleases Aten”. Akhenaten also replaced his advisors with new men, instead of the Amen serving priests. These changes showed a move toward a more monotheist view of the Egyptian world, a view that had never been observed before.

Although each period and line of kings favored a supreme state-god, there had always been toleration of the multitude of deities in Egypt’s pantheon” (David 155). This new religion saw the worship of Aten as the principal hero in Egyptian religion, with gods like Amon as enemies. These reforms however, would be short-lived, and the only enduring sign of this Pharaoh’s significance is in the Hymns, which were written to the “new” god Aten. In The Hymn, Aten is proclaimed to be the sole god, and responsible for all of creation. O unique god, who has no second to him!

You have created the earth according to your desire, while you were alone, With men, cattle, and wild beasts, all that is upon earth and goes upon feet, and all that soars above and flies with its wings (Akhenaten lines 60-65). The Hymn also proclaims the pharaoh as the gods sole representative on earth, and virtually interchangeable with one another. When you rise you make all to flourish for the King, you who made up the foundations of the earth. You who rise them up for your son, he who came forth from your body, … (Akhenaten lines 122-125). The writing is very beautiful and was inscribed on walls in various tombs.

Though much of what Akhenaten was proposing was a drastic change from the traditional beliefs of Egyptian religion, there were some aspects of these reforms shown in “The Hymn to the Aten” that were not that far a cry from much of what was taught and believed in the past. As with the gods of the past, Aten was visible, as in that he could be presented in a painting to the people who worshipped him. This new god, Aten, was allowed to be pictured in the elaborate murals on tomb walls and so on, much the same as the old gods of the prior religion were.

Aten was also the embodiment of the sun, as Amon-Re was in the old religion, and was worshipped much the same as Amon-Re was prior to Akhenaten’s condemnation of him. Aten was also seen as The Creator of all that was Existing, which also held to the traditional belief that the sun god was the chief creator of the universe. It was also believed in this new religion as in the old one, that the Pharaoh was the next of kin to the sun god, even though the sun god had changed from Re to Aten. It was also believed that the sun god was raised above the other gods, while being able to have his presence encompass everything.

None of these ideas were new to the Egyptian people, as they were exhibited in the old religion; however there was much in this new theology that was extremely different from the traditions of the old. “The Hymn to the Aten” introduced a great many new concepts to the religion of the Egyptian people. The nature of Aten as the creator is different from previous religious beliefs. Aten was said to have created the world out of his own will to do so, not out of necessity. Also, we see Aten being distinguished from nature, as well as seeing that nature is not a separate being in the theological order of things.

Nature is now believed to be ordered under Aten, with no separate, sovereign being of its own. The Nile is no longer believed to be the embodiment of a god, but a creation of the god, Aten. These two views are the result of the shift toward the monotheist belief that Aten is the sole god in the cosmos, worshipped by the Pharaoh and his family, who are in turn worshipped by the Egyptian people. Aten is now seen as a universal god, who is worshipped by everyone on earth, just in forms and fashions differing from those of the Egyptians; not as a god who was specific to the Egyptian people.

Though this hymn offers much that is vastly different from the old beliefs in Egyptian culture, it is also an effort to revitalize the old beliefs. “The Hymn” is intending to bring the Pharaoh back into the center of Egyptian religion, politics and culture. It is an attempt to revive and reestablish the unquestionable divinity of the Pharaoh. However, it is going about it by completely severing ties with the old traditions of Egyptian religion. “The Aten had no moral philosophy or attractive mythology which could inspire the general worshipper” (David 157).

The Hymn” also creates a paradoxical relationship between the two theological views as expressed in Egyptian culture. On one hand, there is the new tendency toward a monotheistic religion, with Aten as the sole god, and no other gods governing nature, etc. On the other hand, there are the old views on religion being expressed; the Pharaoh was worshipped by the people of Egypt as a god, and he in turn is worshipping the god Aten; thus, there is more than one god. These new religious views also appeared to help influence a major break in the traditional art of the time.

Rather than producing idealized portraits as had been done for hundreds of years prior, Akhenaten encouraged artists to represent him in informal situations – basking in Atens benevolent rays. With his blessing, the artists portrayed Akhenaten not as a conqueror, riding in a war chariot and trampling his enemies, but as a family man, relaxing with Nefertiti, his queen, and his daughters. “The Hymn to the Aten”, though it offered new ideas on Egyptian religion, was an attempt by a ruler who enjoyed the idea of a divine title to regain what his predecessors had.

The religious reforms brought about by Akhenaten were intended to restore the position of the Pharaoh to the level of absolute rule which had once been held due to belief that the Pharaoh was the personification of the gods. This however was not to be, as the priests which Akhenaten had fought against in his attempt to redefine the Pharaoh’s divinity would take advantage of the weakness of Akhenaten’s successor, Tutankhamen. “Tutankhamen’s immaturity enabled the courtiers and officials to direct political and religious events…

The court moved back to Thebes, and the royal couple changed their names to Tutankhamen, demonstrating their renewed allegiance to Amen-Re. The king restored the old temples of the many gods, and reinstated the priesthoods” (David 158). The reforms, which Akhenaten brought to return the power once held by the Pharaoh in the Old Kingdom, were unable to be understood. The people who Akhenaten had to ensure comprehension of his reasoning did not, for they no longer were connected to the old order which he was trying to reestablish.

The giant pyramids, temples, and tombs of ancient Egypt

The giant pyramids, temples, and tombs of ancient Egypt tell an exciting story about a nation that rose to power more than 5,000 years ago. This mighty civilization crumbled before conquering armies after 2,500 years of triumph and glory. The dry air and drifting desert sands have preserved many records of ancient Egypt until modern times. The ancient Egyptians lived colorful, active, and eventful lives. Many were creative artists, skilled craftsmen, and adventurous explorers. Bold Egyptian warriors won many battles, and their rulers governed wide areas of the nown world.

The ancient Egyptians loved nature and had a lively sense of humor. They were among the first people to try to find answers to questions concerning man, nature, and God. They also considered the relationship of man to society, but regarded other people as savages. They captured and enslaved thousands of men and women from other lands. The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the gift of the Nile, because floodwaters of this great river deposited rich, black soil on the land year after year. Egyptian farmers planted their crops in this fertile soil. Sandy lateaus and towering cliffs bordered the river valley.

Beyond these waters stretched the barren wastes of the Sahara desert. On the edge of the desert, the Egyptians built giant pyramids as burial places for their pharaohs. They carved the Great Sphinx out of solid rock as a guardian of King Cheops Great Pyramid at Giza. The ancient Egyptians called their country Kemet, which means black (after the land). The Greeks called the country Aigyptos, from the name Ha-ka-ptah, the main temple of the Egyptian capital at Memphis. Many modern beliefs and ideals, as well as much of mans knowledge, had heir origin in Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians developed the worlds first national government. Their religion was one of the first to emphasize a life after death. They produced an expressive art and literature. The Egyptians introduced stone architecture and made the first convenient writing material, papyrus. They developed a 365-day year and set up the basic methods of geometry and surgery. The boundaries of ancient Egypt changed many times during its history. When the Kingdom of Egypt was formed in about 3100 B. C. , it occupied only the fertile valley of the Nile River in northeastern Africa.

The kingdom extended south about 680 miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the First Cataract (rapids) of the river. It averaged only 12 miles in width from the Nile delta to the First Cataract. Egypt covered about 8,000 square miles and was a little smaller than the state of Massachusetts. In later years, ancient Egypt usually controlled neighboring areas around the Nile Valley, including oases (fertile green patches), in the desert to the west. It usually governed part of the Nile Valley south of the First Cataract, the Red Sea coast, and the western part of the Sinai Peninsula in Asia.

At the height of its power, around 1450 B. C. Egypt claimed an empire that reached as far south as the Fourth Cataract in Nubia, a part of ancient Ethiopia, and as far northeast as the Euphrates River in western Asia. Ancient Egypt was a lot less crowded than Modern Egypt. Historians believe that from one to eight million people lived in ancient Egypt. In Roman times, estimates set the figure at about six million. Most Egyptians lived near the Nile, with an average of 750 people per square mile. Today, the valley averages almost 2,400 people per square mile, although Egypt as a whole averages nly 85. The black-haired, dark-skinned ancient Egyptians were short and slender.

The belong to the Mediterranean race of the Caucasoid (white) stock. As time went on, the Egyptians mixed with people from Asia, Negroes from other parts of Africa, and people from lands around the Mediterranean Sea. The Egyptians were divided into four social classes. They were from most important: the royalty and nobles; artisans, craftsmen, and merchants; workers; and slaves. The professional army gradually became almost a separate class. Egypt had no fixed caste system. A person of the poorest class could ise to the highest offices in the land. The ancient Egyptians spoke a mixed language.

It included words from the Semitic language group of southwestern Asia and the Hamitic group of languages of northeastern Africa. The language died out of everyday use about a thousand years ago but the Coptic (Christian) Church still uses it. No one knows just how the spoken language of ancient Egypt sounded. Written Egyptian developed from picture writing into an elaborate system of symbols called hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics consisted of 24 alphabetic characters for consonants and semi-consonants. These characters were used in ombination with many phonograms (sound-signs) and idiograms (sense-signs).

Vowels were not written out. Hieroglyphic writing was carved or painted. Its ornamental character was particularly suitable for inscriptions on monuments. For everyday purposes, a simplified cursive form of hieroglyphics called hieratic was used. Hieratic could be rapidly written on light, easy-to-carry materials, such as papyrus and leather. The Egyptians called their writing the words of the gods. They claimed that on of their gods, Thoth, had invented it. Modern scholars first learned to read when they translated the writings on the Rosetta Stone.

In Egyptian, the word pharaoh originally meant great house, but in the late 1300’s B. C. it came to mean ruler of Egypt. Education was seen as a different level of importance between classes. Most young boys learned their work from their fathers, or as apprentices in various trades. Boys of royal and wealthy families were trained to become priests or government officials. At an early age, they were placed in the schools for scribes at the capital. Priests controlled the schools. They required the students to memorize classic texts, take dictation, and learn to se the 700 characters of the Egyptian language.

They also taught literature. Schoolboys practiced their writing by copying stories and proverbs. Archaeologists have found copybooks that these boys used for practicing their handwriting, although the number of people who could read and write was apparently quite small. Religion appeared in every part of life in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians believed that gods and goddesses took part in every human activity from birth to death. For the Egyptian, the good life depended on obeying the commands of the gods. After someone died, the gods would judge how well the person had obeyed heir directions.

The Egyptians believed that their king was a god who could keep the country prosperous by his divine powers. In the earliest period, the Egyptians worshipped the forces of nature, such as wind and fire. As towns grew up, each adopted its own special god. In one part of the delta, the people worshipped Horus, the god of heaven. In another district, the people worshipped Osiris, the god of vegetation, who later became the god of the dead. Heliopolis, near Cairo, was the center for the worship of the sun god Re, or Ra. Heliopolis means city of the sun in Greek.

About 2500 B. C. riests at Heliopolis developed the worship of Re as the nation s first state religion. Other members of Res divine family included Osiris, and his wife, Isis; Set, the evil brother of Osiris, and his wife Nephthys; Shu, god of the air; Tefnut, goddess of moisture; Geb, god of earth; and Nut, goddess of the sky. The people of Thebes worshipped Amon, or Ammon, the god of the air and fertility. When Thebes became the political center of the empire, the people worshipped Amon and Re together as Amon-Re. The Egyptians believed that certain animals might serve individual gods in a special way.

For example, they regarded the ram as acceptable to Amon, and chose on ram to be the temple animal of that god. Other sacred animals included the baboon, bull, cat, crocodile, and jackal. The people of ancient Egypt took great care in preparing for life after death. They denied that death ended the existence of a person who had led a good life. They believed that the next world would be like Egypt in its richest and most enjoyable form. They built stone tombs and filled them with clothing, food, furnishings, and jewelry for use in the next world. They embalmed their dead and wrapped the bodies in layers of cloth.

Preserved bodies were called mummies. The Egyptians caved inscriptions on the walls of their tombs. They also wrote on the insides of the coffins. They placed papyrus copies of the Book of the Dead in the tombs to protect the spirits of the dead. The Book of the Dead contained spells and prayers. The priests conducted the rituals and guarded the temples. They acquired much political power. For example, the king did not make them pay the corve, a tax in labor that furnished the government with workers. The priests used thousands of people to work in the temples and divine lands.

Egyptian discoveries in mathematics and other sciences were rudimentary. The Egyptians used a system of counting by tens, but their system had no zeros. They could multiply and divide whole numbers, and reduce simple fractions. They used a series of simple fractions, such as 1/2, 1/5, and 1/10 to build up complex ones, such as 4/5. The Egyptians could determine areas and calculate the volumes of objects. They were among the first people to survey land. The floodwaters of the Nile washed away the boundaries of farms every year, and new ones had to be fixed by surveying.

The Egyptians measured distances accurately with equally spaced knots tied in long ropes. They used a cubit, the length of a mans forearm, as a standard of measurement. They worked out the foundations of geometry and arithmetic. The Egyptians also pioneered in the field of astronomy. They distinguished between planets and stars, and devised a 365-day calendar. In medicine and surgery, the Egyptians recognized the importance of the heart and its relation to other parts of the body. They related the speed of a persons heartbeat to his general physical condition. They also know how to sew and dress wounds.

King Tut’s Tomb

What does the tomb of tutankhamen and its contents show about the Egyptian concern for the afterlife? Tutakhamen’s tomb, and the artifacts inside are an indication of the concern the Ancient Egyptians held for the after-life of their king. In 26th Nov. 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter opened the virtually intact tomb of a largely unknown pharaoh: Tutankhamen. This was the first, and to date the finest royal tomb found virtually intact in the history of Egyptology. It took almost a decade of meticulous and painstaking work to empty the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Around 3500 individual items were recovered. When the Burial Chamber of Tutankhamen was officially opened, on 17 February 1923, the Antechamber had been emptied. It had taken near fifty days to empty the Antechamber; the time required to dismantle and restore the contents of the Burial Chamber including the gilded wooden and the sarcophagus was to be greater, and the work was not completed until November 1930, eight years after the original discovery. One must examine both the tomb itself, and its contents, to see the connection between the tombs and burial rituals and the doctrine of eternal life.

The royal tombs were not merely homes in the hereafter for the kings, as are the private tombs of commoners and nobility. Instead the tombs are cosmological vehicles of rebirth and deification as much as houses of eternity. As the king is supposed to become Osiris in a far more intimate way than commoners, he is equipped with his very own Underworld. And as the king is supposed to become R in a way entirely unavailable to commoners, he is equipped with his very own passage of the sun, whether this is thought of as the way through the underworld or through the heavens.

Tutankhamon’s tomb, hurriedly prepared for the premature death of the king at the age of only about 18, is, as Romer says, a hole in the ground, compared to a proper royal tomb. The theme of fours is conspicuous in Egyptian religious practice. Tutankhamon’s tomb contains four chambers. The burial chamber, with a ritual if not an actual orientation towards the West, is the chamber of departure towards the funeral destinies. The internment of the body certainly is the beginning of the sojourn of the dead, and the Egyptians saw the dead as departing into the West.

The room called the Treasury is then interpreted to have a ritual orientation towards the North as the chamber of reconstitution of the body. Since the most conspicuous object in the Treasury was a great gilt sledge holding the shrine containing the canopic chest, which holds the king’s viscera, this could well suggest the problem of reassembling the king’s living body. That task, indeed, has a very important place in Egyptian mythology. After the goddess Isis had retrieved her husband Osiris’s murdered body from Byblos, their common brother, Seth, the original murderer, stole the body, cut it into pieces, and tossed them in the Nile.

Isis then had to retrieve the parts of the body before Osiris could be restored to life. Her search through the Delta, which is in the North of Egypt, seems to parallel the sacred pilgrimage to cities of the Delta that Desroches-Noblecourt relates as one of ritual acts of the funeral, as many of the other objects in the Treasury seem to be accessories for that pilgrimage. For the sovereign to be reborn it was necessary that a symbolic pilgrimage be made to the holy cities of the delta. The principal halts of the journey corresponded almost exactly to the four cardinal points of the delta where these cities were situated.

Sais, to the west, represented the necropolis where the body was buried; Buto to the north, with its famous canal, was an essential stage of the transformations within the aquatic world of the primordial abyss, evoking the water surrounding the unborn child; and Mendes to the east whose name could be written with the two pillars of Osiris, the djed pillars, evoking the concept of air. There, said the old texts, the gods Shu and Tefenet were reunited, or again, according to the 17th chapter of The Book of the Dead, that was where the souls of Osiris and Re had joined.

Finally, the southern-most city which completed the cycle of Heliopolis, the city of the sun, symbolizing the fourth [sic] element, fire, where the heavenly body arose in youth glory between the two hills on the horizon. [Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, 1963, p. 238-9] As these four cities parallel the four rooms of the tomb itself, we seem to have a nice series of parallel symbols. If Sais, in the West, was significant for its necropolis, then Sais, like the burial chamber, can represent the departure into the West.

Buto itself, the northernmost city, then represents the site of the actual reconstitution of the body. What followed Isis’s reassembly of Osiris’s body was its revivification. Mendes, in the East, where the sun rises, would then seem to be the locus for that, with the associations, especially with Osiris. In the tomb, the small Annex is then associated with this ritual stage, the chamber of rebirth. The ritual pilgrimage then ends at Heliopolis in the South, where the king, having been reborn, reassumes his throne, as Desroches-Noblecourt views the Antechamber of the tomb as the chamber of eternal royalty.

Overall, the tomb may be divided into three parts: The Inner Tomb, which means the burial chamber and its side rooms, however elaborate; the Middle Tomb; and the Outer Tomb. In the Outer Tomb, six parts may be distinguished: four passages, the Well, and the optional well room. The four passages originally consisted of two deep stairs and two sloping corridors. The outer stair might not now be considered part of the tomb proper, since it merely led up to the sealed entrance of the tomb; but the Egyptians saw it as already part of the tomb and named it the god’s first passage, or the god’s first passage of the sun’s path.

All the corridors, indeed, were thought to represent the passage of the sun god R through the twelve caverns of the underworld in the hours of the night, prior to his rebirth at dawn–the precedent for the rebirth of the king. Consequently, when decorated, they at first held excerpts from the Amduat, the book of That Which is in the Underworld, or the later Book of Gates. As the emphasis slowly shifted with time from the association with the underworld to an association with R himself, another work, the Litany of R made its appearance.

The stair of the god’s third passage was thus originally a room with the stair in its floor. As the stairs later became ramps, and as the descent of the passages leveled out by the XX Dynasty, the god’s third passage was revealed as having a ritual as well as a practical meaning; for the flat spaces of the original room were preserved, even when they had been reduced to no more than long niches in part of the walls of the third passage. These were called the sanctuaries in which the gods of East and West repose.

East and West refer to the ritual orientation of the passage, East on the Left when facing out of the tomb (as the Egyptians saw it), West on the Right. The fourth passage eventually acquired two niches at the end, called the doorkeepers’ niches. The Well itself is a feature that has excited considerable interest. The Egyptians called the Well the hall of waiting or hindering. The function of such a room, as symbolic of the whole tomb, provides a ritual locus for rebirth. The Ba soul in earlier representations flies up the shaft of the tomb and out into the world.

All that is added in the royal tomb is the king’s trip through the underworld, the four entering or, as the Egyptians also saw them, exiting passages. The Hall of Waiting, with or without the well itself or the lower well room, typically shows scenes of the king meeting the gods–one of the motifs of the burial chamber in Tutankhamon’s tomb–and this is often shown when decoration has not been completed elsewhere in the tomb, as in that of Thutmose IV. This would indicate some importance to the function of such a part of the tomb.

This brings us, through the sealed door, to the Middle Tomb. As the Chariot Hall or Hall of Repelling Rebels, it contains the equipment needed for the king to live an ordinary life and perform his kingly duties once reborn, i. e. actual chariots, beds, clothing, etc. Some have labeled it the chamber of eternal royalty. One might call it the living room of the tomb, the opposite of the burial chamber with its uniquely funereal equipment. It then may be significant that the rest of the tomb is accessed through the stair or ramp dropped from the floor.

If the spirit of the king comes up from the crypt, entering the Chariot Hall is like rising into the upper world. It is at that point that we might divide the whole tomb into the Upper Tomb and the Lower Tomb. The Lower Tomb is about death and rebirth; the Upper Tomb is about the new life and access to the world (the Chariot Hall and the Outer Tomb, both the shaft of the Well and the outer passages). Significantly, the wall of the Chariot Hall above the passage down (the another god’s first passage), often displays an Osiris shrine, which signal an emphasis on Osiris.

Once freed of its contents, it became possible to examine the wall paintings in the only decorated room in the entire tomb, the burial chamber. The walls had a yellow background, almost the colour of gold, as if underline the name that ancient Egyptians gave to the burial chamber – the ‘Golden Room’. The surface of the paintings was in an excellent state of preservation though it was speckled with innumerable tiny circular stains due to the development of colonies of micro-organisms.

The decoration quite simple and ordinary in style: the northern wall, seen on entering the room, features Tutankhamen in the centre, wearing the dress of living, holding the sceptre and the ritual mace, before the goddess Nut, depicted in the act of performing the nyny ritual. This central scene is flanked by two others: on the Tutankhamen’s is shown dressed Osiris in the presence of Pharaoh Ay, his successor. Ay, wearing the costume of the sem-priest and the distinctive skin of a panther, officiates at the rite of the ‘Opening of the Mouth’, through which the deceased is revived.

Tutankhamen is shown with his head draped in the nemes, and, followed by his ka, standing before Osiris. On the adjacent western wall, are illustrations of passages taken from the Book of Amduat, showing the voyage of the sun barque through the 12 hours of the night, represented by 12 deities with the faces of baboons. The eastern wall illustrates the transport of the royal sarcophagus, set inside a shrine mounted on a sledge, drawn by 12 characters, of whom two are dressed differently from the others, indicating a superior social standing.

The south wall was painted last, and is a scene of Tutankhamen, accompanied by Anubis, in the presence of the goddess Hathor. The centre of the room is now occupied by the quartzite sarcophagus containing the outermost coffin. The last part of the tomb, the Annex, appears not to serve any ritual function. The contents of tomb are also an indication of the importance the Egyptians placed on the afterlife. It is not necessary to examine all the contents of the tomb, as this would be a painstakingly long and arduous task. To see the significance the Egyptian’s placed on the after-life, one need only examine a few of the articles found.

One of the two life-sized statues which stood guard at the sealed door of the Burial Chamber, on the north side of the Antechamber. The two statues, almost identical except for their headgear, are made of wood, painted with black resin and overlaid with gold in parts. They depict the pharaoh, or rather the pharaoh’s ka, in a striding pose and holding a mace in one hand and a long staff in the other. On the gilded triangular skirt, is written that this is the ‘royal ka of Harakhty’, the Osiris Nebkheprure, the Lord of the Two Lands, made just.

Two life-sized wooden statues intended to protect the eternal rest of the Pharaoh. Tutankhamen’s mask, made of solid gold, was placed directly upon the pharaoh’s mummy, and had the function of magically protecting him. This beautiful object weighs 10 kg and is decorated with semiprecious stones (turquoise, cornelian and lapis lazuli) and coloured glass paste. The pharaoh is portrayed in a classical manner, with a ceremonial beard, a broad collar formed of twelve concentric row consisting of inlays of turquoise, lapis lazuli, cornelian and amazonite.

The traditional nemes headdress has yellow sripes of solid gold broken by bands of glass paste, coloured dark blue. On the forehead of the mask are a royal uraeus and a vulture’s head, symbols of the two tutelary deities of Lower and Upper Egypt: Wadjet and Nekhbet. A very fine shabti of Tutankhamen, portrayed holding the heqa-sceptre and the nekhakha-flail, and inscribed with a text from Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead. This passage specifies the functions of these mummiform statuettes, made of wood, terracotta, faience or metal, and in some cases left in the tomb in their hundreds.

The shabtis (a name that means ‘answerers’) were intended to work in the Afterlife in place of the deceased, who could command them by reciting a special spell. In the New Kingdom especially the shabtis were considered as chattels, not unlike slaves. In Tutankhamen’s tomb, a staggering total of 413 shabtis was found, arranged in 26 coffers placed in the Annex and in the Treasury, but only 29 of them were inscribed with the text of the formula from the Book of the Dead. With the canopic chest, as seen in fig 1, the theme of fours in Egyptian thought and ritual is the most conspicuously manifest.

While the embalmed heart was returned to the chest of the deceased, the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines were separately packaged, coffined, and stored. Each of these was then under the protection of one of the Sons of Horus, Imset (or Amset) for the liver, Hapi for the lungs, Duamutef for the stomach, and Kebekhsenuf for the intestines. Stone canopic chests typically have four chambers for the four coffins, closed with four stoppers, which themselves are either in the form of four human or of one human and three animal heads.

With Tutankhamon we are fortunate to have the further equipment of the gilt shrine and sledge for the canopic chest, and the four guardian goddesses who watch over the whole, each identified by a symbolic device on her head: Isis watching over the liver from the southwest, her sister Nephthys watching over the lungs from the northwest, Neith, the ancient goddess of Sais, watching over the stomach from the southeast, and finally Serket, a scorpion goddess, watching over the intestines from the northeast.

The figures of these goddesses are masterpieces of art, now available in endless reproductions. Tutankhamen’s royal Golden Throne was found in the Antechamber. The throne was made of wood covered with sheet gold, and adorned with semiprecious stones and coloured glass paste. His wife, Queen Ankhesenamun, whose head is adorned with two tall plumes and a sun disk, stands before the pharaoh, languidly seated on a throne; the queen places one hand on his shoulder while in her other she proffers a vase of scented unguents.

The rays of the sun god Aten shine upon the royal couple and endow them with vital energy. The influence of Amarna art and religious conceptions can be clearly seen in the sensitivity and naturalism of this scene. There was also a wooden shrine covered with thick gold foil, set on a wooden sledge encased with silver leaf, found in the Antechamber of the tomb. Originally it must have contained a gold statuette of the pharaoh, stolen during one of the two episodes of tomb-robbery which took place in antiquity.

The walls of the shrine are covered with scenes executed with exquisite craftsmanship depicting scenes of hunting and everyday life, featuring the pharaoh and his wife, Ankhesenamun. A ivory headrest, depicting the god Shu, the god of air and breath, was found in the annex. It was there to ensure a supply of air for the sleeper (dead or alive). It was a symbol of resurrection, because it enabled the head to breath, by lifting it up from the prostrate position of death. There was also a pair of wooden sandals, overlaid with marquetry veneer of bark, green leather and gold foil stucco.

The sole was decorated with figures of Asiatics and Negroes where the king could trample on them. These shoes, however are very uncomfortable to wear and it seems they were constructed for the king to wear in his next life. A number of lamps were found in the burial chamber, placed there for the King to use as he made his journey to the underworld. They were amazing works of art, decorated with detailed paintings of the king and queen. This was also the resting place of the three coffins, and of course, the mummy.

The mummy itself is an excellent example of the Egyptians belief in the after-life. The concept of mummification was practiced because of the belief that after death the soul would return to the body and give it life and breath. Household equipment and food were placed in the tomb to provide for a person’s needs in the afterworld. The ceremony opening of the mouth was carried out by priests on both the mummy and the mummy case in order to prepare the deceased for the journey to the afterworld.

This was an elaborate ritual which involved purification, censing (burning incense), anointing and incantations, as well as touching the mummy with ritual objects to restore the senses. Inside the bandages that wrapped the mummy, lay a number of different objects the King was supplied with for use in his after-life. He was supplied with a gold dagger and sheath to protect him during his journey to the after-life, and 143 amulets and pieces of jewelry were scattered through the several layers of bandages that wrapped his corpse.

In conclusion it is possible to say that Tutankhamen’s tomb gave the modern world an excellent insight into the Egyptian’s belief in the after-life. Both the tomb itself, and its contents, show how much importance the Egyptians placed on the doctrine of Eternal life, and how strong their belief was that their King would be resurrected as a god. Thus, the tomb of Tutankhamen and its contents show that the Egyptian concern for the after-life, was very strong, and that they went to great lengths to ensure that the eternal life of their kings.

Mythology Burial Practices of the Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman Cultures

Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman practices of preparing the dead for the next cradle of humanity are very intriguing. These two cultures differ in a multitude of ways yet similarities can be noted in the domain of funerary services. In the realm of Egyptian afterlife, The Book of the Dead can provide one with vital information concerning ritual entombment practices and myths of the afterlife. The additional handouts I received from Timothy Stoker also proved to be useful in trying uncover vital information regarding the transition into another life.

Regarding the burial practices of Greece and Rome, parts of Homer’s Odyssey are useful in the analysis of proper interment methods. One particular method used by the Egyptians was an intricate process known as mummification. It was undoubtedly a very involved process spanning seventy days in some cases. First, all the internal organs were removed with one exception, the heart. If the body was not already West of the Nile it was transported across it, but not before the drying process was initiated.

Natron (a special salt) was extracted from the banks of the Nile and was placed under the corpse, on the sides, on top, and bags of the substance were placed inside the body cavity to facilitate the process of dehydration. After thirty-five days the ancient embalmers would anoint the body with oil and wrap it in fine linen. If the deceased was wealthy enough a priest donning a mask of Anubis would preside over the ceremonies to ensure proper passage into the next realm. One of the practices overseen by the priest was the placing of a special funerary amulet over the heart.

This was done in behest to secure a successful union with Osiris and their kas. The amulet made sure the heart did not speak out against the individual at the scale of the goddess of justice and divine order, Maat. The priest also made use of a “peculiar ritual instrument, a sort of chisel, with which he literally opened the mouth of the deceased. ” This was done to ensure that the deceased was able to speak during their journeys in Duat. Another practice used by the Egyptians to aid the departed soul involved mass human sacrifice.

Many times if a prominent person passed away the family and servants would willfully ingest poison to continue their servitude in the next world. The family members and religious figureheads of the community did just about everything in their power to aid the deceased in the transition to a new life. The community made sure the chamber was furnished with “everything necessary for the comfort and well-being of the occupants. ” It was believed that the individual would be able of accessing these items in the next world.

Some of the most important things that the deceased would need to have at his side were certain spells and incantations. A conglomeration of reading material ensured a successful passage; The Pyramid Texts, The Book of the Dead, and the Coffin Texts all aided the lost soul in their journey through Duat into the Fields of the Blessed. “Besides all these spells, charms, and magical tomb texts, the ancient practice of depositing in the tomb small wooden figures of servants was employed. ” These “Ushabi statuettes” as they are called, were essentially slaves of the deceased.

If the deceased was called to work in the Elysian fields he would call upon one of the statues to take his place and perform the task for him. It was not unheard of for an individual to have a figure for every day of the year to ensure an afterlife devoid of physical exertion. Just about every thing the embalmers and burial practitioners did during the process was done for particular reasons. Many of the funerary practices of the ancient Greco-Romans were also done with a specific purpose in mind.

Unlike the Egyptian’s the Greco-Roman cultures did not employ elaborate tombs but focused on the use of a simple pit in the ground. Right after death, not too dissimilar from the practices of the Egyptians, it was necessary for the persons to carefully wash and prepare the corpse for his journey. It was vital for all persons to receive a proper burial and if they did not they were dammed to hover in a quasi-world, somewhat of a “limbo” between life and death. One Greco-Roman myth that illustrates this point is The Odyssey by Homer.

There is a part in Book eleven of the work in which Homer specifically addresses proper burial rites. When Odysseus wishes to contact Tiresias, he comes across Elpenor, one of his soldiers. This particular man fell (in a haphazard fashion) to his death on the island of the Kimmerians, but did not receive a proper burial and was stuck in limbo. Elpenor begged Odysseus and his men to return to the island and care for his body. Consequently, they did return and Elpenor passed into the next world.

Most likely he was buried in the same fashion other members of his society were; a pyre was probably constructed and the body placed upon it. Also placed on the pyre were items that the deceased held dear in life with the hope that they would follow him into the next world. In order to survive in the afterlife, the deceased “is also presented with a small coin which came to be known as the ferrying fee for Charon. ” This can be likened to the Egyptian practice of introducing coinage into the tomb in some cases.

Homer also speaks of the psyche, which slips out of man “at the moment of death and enters the house of Ais, also known as Aides, Aidoneus, and in Attic as Hades. ” This idea can be compared to the concept of an individual’s ba in ancient Egypt. When someone died, an eternal part of them (their ba) would also slip out and seek out the individuals spiritual twin (their ka) in order to unite with it and facilitate a successful passage. Many times in myth, the living desired to speak with the departed.

When Odysseus wishes to speak with the Nekyia in Book eleven, goats must be sacrificed and their blood was recognized as inspiring the deceased to speak. The Egyptians also were concerned with the ability of the deceased to speak in the next realm; this is exemplified in one of the most important spells in The Book of the Dead, the opening of the mouth. When all the funerary rites had been done, the next step was to mark the spot of the deceased. “The grave is marked with a stone, the sign, sema. ” This grave stone would have the name of the soul, and often some type of epigram in verse form.

Invariably near the grave, some type of guardian of the soul would be located. Lion and sphinx were found as grave markers and this idea is paralleled in the practices of the natives of Egypt. A certain “cult image” was buried with the deceased in Egypt in order to look after and more importantly protect one’s ba from being disturbed. It also acted as a type of “purge valve” for any ba which may have been unjustly disturbed in the tomb. Burial practices aside one can note an interesting difference between these two ancient civilizations.

Differences can be observed concerning how amicable the afterlife was. The Egyptians had a positive outlook. They believed that after one became Osirus, They would move into a new world, which was nice, no one had to work, and everything was very clean. One could compare their lives in the next world with the children’s classic board game, Candyland. In this game all was fine and dandy, the “don’t worry be happy” attitude flourished, not distant from the life in the Fields of the Blessed. On the other hand, Greco-Roman afterlife was a rather dismal place.

The dead Achilles summed everything up by saying to Odysseus, “Do not try to make light of death to me, I would sooner be bound to the soil in the hire of another man, a man without lot and without much to live on, than rule over all the perished dead. ” Needless to say, the Homeric afterlife was no Candyland. Candyland or not, both cultures went to extremes in order to guarantee a successful voyage into the next world. The two ancient civilizations hoped that through their intricate actions the individual would be protected and prepared for their many experiences on “the other side. “

The Other Side Essay

It is difficult to fully understand the role of women in ancient Egyptian society because the understandings of the society and government are still incomplete. There are also two other major problems, those being that there is very little source material on women, and the material that has been found was biased by the ideas and minds of previous Egyptologists. The only source material that has survived from great kingdoms of Egypt is material that has been either found in tombs on the walls and sarcophaguses, or carved on major government and religious document. None of the writings on papyrus and other delicate materials survived.

This material, which has survived, is the writings of the Egyptian literate male elite. In their writings the also did not show any emotions or feelings, this was not the style of the Egyptian people, writings were purely a record keeping device. Because of these limitations, “It is essential to avoid the temptation to extrapolate from the particular to the general, a process which can only too easily introduce error. ” Upper class men, who had been schooled in their craft, did all the writings. As a result, there is very little material that deal with the lower peasant class.

They were all illiterate and unable to record their tales. When studying women in Ancient Egypt, the great majority of the available texts discuss the lives of the upper class, which composed only a small percentage of the Egyptian population. In Pharonic Egypt, women were the legal equals of men. They were not denied any rights in accordance of the law because of their gender. Women, like men, could own property, coming into it either through inheritance, as a payment for goods or services, or through purchase. Women could buy houses and goods, and with them, they were allowed to do as they chose.

Being landholders and people of property afforded ancient Egyptian women a reasonable amount of social freedom. They could travel about freely in towns without veiled faces. In their own homes, women could move about as they pleased, they were not forced to remain in one section of the house or forbidden from other common areas as they were in other societies of the time. Women could initiate legal proceedings, and they were responsible for their own actions. They could be the executors of wills and even sign their own marriage contracts. A woman could even be the witness for a signed business transaction.

While women did have the same legal standing as men in their society, there is hardly any mention of a woman serving as a member of the court. Ancient Egyptian courts were composed of members of the society who were trusted and revered. Marriage did not affect a woman’s legal standing; a married woman had the same rights as a single one. This is because property did not automatically transfer over to the husband after he married a woman. Rather she remained in control of all of her assets until the day that she would die. Her land and her affairs remained hers, unaffected by her mate.

In fact, a woman in ancient Egypt had the legal right to loan money to her husband. Many scenes, drawn in tombs, depict the social freedom of women. They are shown partaking in business transactions with their husbands, and at times, some women were even executing their own business ventures. At hunts, they are shown in crowds cheering for the success of the hunters, and women are shown sitting along side of men at great gatherings and feasts. While women in ancient Egypt were not free in terms of most of today’s societies, neither were men. Neither man nor woman knew anything of the modern concept of liberty and equality.

Their society was hierarchical, and not based on free will. During the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian history, Greek women enjoyed a much higher status living in Egypt, than they would have back in Greece, “It has been suggested that perhaps Greek women observed Egyptian women and were encouraged to assert themselves. ” The women broke from the Greek traditions of segregation in the home, and continuous chaperoning. The picture that emerges from all of the found ancient Egyptian writings is one that shows women not playing a very active or prominent role in the public sphere the way that the men did.

Instead, a woman’s ultimate role in society was that of mother and nurturer. She was to be the foundation of the family, upon which all rested. This was not a matriarchal society, but rather the home and the family were the responsibility of the wife. Family played such an important role in the spiritual lives of the Egyptians that it transferred over into daily life. A father’s heir were his most valuable possessions, not only would they continue his legacy, but they would also be in charge of caring for his tomb as he moved along in the afterlife.

The role of the caretaker and nurturer was very important; a mother’s family depended upon it. The reliefs that have been found show Egyptian women in the midst of housework. They are shown cleaning, washing clothes, and preparing food. Women could be hired to perform these jobs in the houses of the wealthy; cooking, cleaning, baking bread and brewing beer. They were not alone in these jobs though, men worked alongside in the same capacity as women. The wife was also responsible for caring for the ancestors. She would keep their tombs clean and leave offering at the appropriate times.

The wife had the charge of praying for the dead, praying for the safe passage into the next world, and strength and wisdom along their journey. The woman’s role in the Egyptian family is explained by the popularity of the god Iris, the god of support and resource. Iris was the wife of the slain Osiris and the mother of Horus, who would later avenge his father’s death. Iris as a wife and mother devoted her time to raise a child who would understand the importance of the family, and he would fight back against those who took his away. The primary purpose of marriage in ancient Egyptian society was to build a family.

The family was the center of the Egyptian society, and it was the woman’s, wife and mother, role to keep it a keel, so that new generations could be born. The father was the head of the family, but the wife had a good deal of power too, the home was her domain. The success of a home was the wife’s responsibility. Husbands and wives yearned for children. Children both brought them the simple joys of parenting, but in the ancient Egyptian culture, children also provided security for their elderly parents. The eldest son was born into the position of being his parents’ caretaker, and he would inherit his fathers business.

Also children increased a woman’s status in society, she was seen as succeeding at her job. The Egyptian children were the link to future generations, but they were also expected to reciprocate the care their parents gave them, especially to their mothers. Children were to carry out the primary roles in the funeral. Children were charged with the responsibility of caring for their dead ancestors. They brought offerings to the tombs of their ancestors at special times of the year; it was their duty to make sure that they were taken care of in the afterlife. There was no limit to how many children a family could or would have.

The society saw that a family should have as many children as possible, a large family was looked upon as a blessing both of good fortune, but it also meant that there would more people to care for the tombs of the dead relatives. If a family was unable to have children, the Egyptians had adoption, adopted children were taken in with no hesitation, and they were a vital part of the family. Although women knew children were important and a sign of success, there were means of birth control. Women had devices that they could insert into the womb and birth canal, making it a hostile environment in which fertilization could not take place.

Egyptian women also knew that continued lactation had some sort of tie with not getting pregnant. Childbirth was a very important moment in a woman’s life. It was both the consummation of great physical burden, and of the societal urges. It was also a very dangerous moment in a woman’s life. Many women died in the process of childbirth from complications. Women gave birth while in a squatting position. Their delivery was attended to by midwives and friends. There were remedies that had been found to speed up the process.

At the same time, the gods Isis and Horus were called upon to make the delivery fast and safe. So many women died in the throws of birthing, that the life expectancy rate of women was four years shorter than for men. The first weeks after birth were very risky for the newborn, and the mother was constantly with her child, nursing it and caring for it. Even so, many children died from intestinal infections and the like. If a mother and child died from complications, they were interned and buried together. A mother continued to breast feed her children until they grew to be three years old.

The Egyptians knew that the breast milk was far less likely to be contaminated than their everyday food. Because breast-feeding was so important, women used many different remedies to increase lactation. There were balms that could be rubbed on the back and breast, and other concoctions that were consumed Nurses were hired to care for the children during their everyday lives, washing them, looking after them. These nurses could be men or women; there was no gender limitation or requirement. The only gender specific job was that of the wet nurse, who obviously needed to be a woman.

She was a woman whose child had died, or who had an excess supply of milk. These nurses stayed with the children until they were weaned, but their relationships were often life long, they have been depicted in the scenes found on the walls of tombs. These nurse were not hired because mothers did not want to be with their children, but rather because the mothers had so many other obligations to the family, her husband. During their first year, mothers would carry their children at all times; the children were carried in slings, either across their mother’s back or shoulder.

Once the children had grown up, the boys were sent off for training, and the girls followed their mother around. It then became a mother’s duty to teach their daughters how to weave, to bake, to brew, along with all of the other important skills. The mother tried to prepare her daughter for marriage and childbearing. When they boys left home for schooling, or were sent into the fields to work with their fathers, their mothers were put in charge providing them with their daily rations of food. The daily responsibilities of a wife were to look after the children.

She needed to clean both her home and her family’s linen. A wife needed to prepare food and drink for her family. She also was charged with going to the market and procuring needed goods. Because of the dry climate, the wife spent a good portion of her days sweeping and cleaning her home, and washing the dust out of clothes. She would not clean the clothes with soap, but instead she would wash them in the river or a canal, and then pound them clean and dry on a large stone. The largest portion of a woman’s day though was spent preparing and cooking food.

The basic diet was made up of bread, onions, cheese, and chickpeas. A wealthy family could afford to supplement their meals with beef, mutton, goat, and at times gazelle and antelope, and with fruits like dates, and figs. Domestic honey was a craved delicacy. Each day the wife would bake the supply of bread and brew the day’s beer. At meals, the husband was served first. He was followed by his children, and finally the last servings went to the mother. This was always the smallest, and possibly just the scraps.

Aside from cooking and cleaning, women had other chores like fetching water from the river or the well, or procuring fuel for her fire. In her spare time, a woman would weave and spin. In the lower class, peasant women lived a very hard life physically, with only short “pauses” to bear children. In the upper classes, life was easier; the menial chores of housework were performed by servants. As a result, the wealthy classes had much more leisure time, and the women spent their time playing with their children, or accompanying their husbands on hunts.

Pictures have been found depicting women playing board games and with pet animals. Even though the mother had so much responsibility, she still developed a very special bond with her children. It was much a much deeper bond than a child would have with his or her father. Sons held their mothers on an emotional level, which was even higher than his wife was. Owning property and accumulating great wealth may have given Egyptian women social mobility, but it did not open up a large pool of available jobs.

Men were the only members of the society who were schooled in arts of reading and writing, and it was a very small percentage that was afforded the privilege. Being a largely illiterate society, most Egyptian men and women spent their lives as uneducated peasants. The Egyptian society did not force women to remain at home, but neither did it encourage them to become educated. So, since it was only men who were literate, women were automatically excluded from the government, the army and other jobs in civil service, and the high positions in religion.

Women did not play a large role in the public life. Women did not hold public office, but there are moments during the middle kingdom when there were women in positions of authority like treasurer, or in the position of an overseer. Women were able to find jobs in the fields of the priesthood, mid-wifery, as professional mourners, dancers and musicians and in goods manufacturing. Prostitution was not an occupation for working class women, it was not a practice common in ancient Egyptian society, and there has been no evidence of prostitutes found. In the priesthood, women achieved the highest status.

Religion was a large part of life, and great religiosity was looked at as the sign of high standing. For the first two kingdoms, the priesthood was closed to any women not in the upper class, but by the new kingdom, married and unmarried women were free to work too. The job of priestess was prestigious; it was an indication of both social status, and respectability. As a priestess, a woman’s duties were diverse. The most important was that they were charged with the duty of impersonating a goddess during special ceremonies. They also took part in the cult of the dead, and were musicians and chantresses.

Women in the priesthood were divided into four groups, each group for a month in a rotating four-month cycle. The leader of each group was a celebrated musician and the wife of an important man. As a priestess, women were not forced to follow strict routines of celibacy, as the men were, a link to the societal importance of child bearing. By the new kingdom, when jobs in the priesthood were open to all women, the position did not carry the ultra high status that it did earlier, due to the larger amounts of priestesses, but they still were revered.

Many Egyptian women found employment as midwives. There were no schools to train the women; instead, they were trained on the job. Egyptian doctors were not concerned with obstetrics; they spent their times worrying about ailments and diseases. Since many women died during the process of childbirth, wet nurses were needed through out the society. Women with extra milk were hired to feed children, and the other wet nurses were mothers whose children died during childbirth, or as infants. Mourning was another option for Egyptian women.

Those that could afford it would hire a person to grieve openly in the house while the dead were being prepared for and during the mummification process. They would stand by tombs and keep watch. At times, they would tear their clothes and redden their skins by slapping themselves while wailing and mourning. A woman with enough talent could make a career as a dancer or as a singer. Dancing was originally only a religious ritual, but it became secular. Subsequently dancing was an enjoyed and accepted part of life. Men and women could be dancers. Even at special moments, the pharaoh would take part in the enjoyment, and he would dance.

Secular dancing appears on the walls of the tombs, showing that at some moment people began to hire dancers for events and festivities to provide entertainment. As a musician, a woman would work along side of men. Music had always been a proper accompaniment for religious ceremonies, but it was also a form of enjoyed entertainment. Every large household had its own musicians. The musicians played a wide array of instruments, from rudimentary flutes and harps, to reed instruments. Percussion was a large part of the ancient Egyptian music, and many played instruments like castanettes.

By the middle kingdom, the lyre had been introduced, as was the lute by the new kingdom. There was no differentiation between male and female instruments, women could play and sing according to their talents. In the later Dynasties, the market for male musicians was dwindling; people mostly wanted female performers. What is so unique about the ancient Egyptians is that the female dancers and singers were not viewed as prostitutes and women of ill repute as they were in other cultures of the time. Dancers and singers, especially including the women, were revered as talented and vital to Egyptian society.

The manufacture of mats, and baskets was also woman’s job. These tasks were performed at the home by the mother and wife. She made enough to supply her family’s needs, and extra could be used for bartering at the market; an opportunity for a woman to asset her independence. Weaving was not just a domestic concern. Excavations have shown workshops attached to large households. Inside women took part in the process of weaving, from the first to the final stages of production. Lists of indentured servants have been found, the names on them of a non-Egyptian origin. These servants were employed at these workhouses.

They were coveted assets, their foreign styles and skills added a bit of glamour to the work. Women were also largely involved in the process of bread baking and beer brewing. Just like textiles, the wealthy passed these tasks onto hired workers. Bread baking and beer brewing were even larger industries than textiles though. Bread and Beer were needed by both the temples for their daily offerings and by the government to supply the great feasts put on by the pharaoh and the other powerful leaders. In reliefs, huge workshops are shown attached to temples and government buildings.

These picture showed only women engaged in the more mundane and simple stages of production like grinding and sifting. They were not limited to these jobs; some women worked alongside of men as they mashed bread and mixed it with water to make the beer. The Pharonic government was involved in many major productions. For these jobs, citizens were drafted into work; women were eligible for these positions. The majority of them were called upon to be weavers of the baskets, ropes, and mats important to the project, but there were other jobs too.

Local rulers were called upon to draft these women for the work, in return for their services; the women would receive room, board, and clothing. These lodges needed to be staffed and it was women who were summoned to do so. Barbara Waterson wrote in her book Women in Ancient Egypt, “No matter how successful a woman was in the female priesthood or as a midwife, mourner, dancer, or musician, it is a depressing thought that these female professions were not as important or influential as those in the civil and public service, none of which was open to women.

As far as a woman’s professional ambitions were concerned, it is a uncomfortable fact that no woman could aspire to be a king’s scribe, and army general, a governor of a city or a province, or an ambassador to foreign lands…The scope of her ambitions was strictly limited to those professions deemed suitable for women. ” She is right in stating that women were subjugated. It is true that they were not afforded the same rights and jobs as the men. However, her statement is too revisionist. There was no other way of life for them to look at and dream of. They lived in relative harmony with their society.

Even if they were beneath men, women were seen as vital. They were just as necessary to the survival of the Egyptian people and their culture as men. However, it is as Waterson wrote, “uncomfortable”. Relativism only can go so far, and women were denied the ability to exist as deserved equals to men. The question of women in ancient Egypt is a confusing one. They were not abused or oppressed, nor were they looked at as unimportant. Egyptian women were looked at differently than men; their role was that of the nurturer and the caregiver, the bearer of a family’s future.

They were just as important to the society as the men. Ancient Egypt was a very complex world, and just as complex was the role that women played in its society. They were not free, but they also were not enslaved. They were vital, but only in terms of their husbands and their children. Egypt offered women a far more free life than the rest of the ancient world. In the end, women played a secondary role to men putting their desires for achievement aside so their husband could be king.

Akhenaten, one of the greatest mystical revolutionaries of all time

Akhenaten is know as one of the greatest mystical revolutionaries of all time, but was his new religion a product of his creative genius, or merely a reaction to threats within his own empire. As Pharaoh, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, changed the traditional polytheistic religion to a monotheistic one centered on the Aten (the sun disk). He moved the Egyptian capitol from Thebes to a site now know as el-Amarna. After Akhenaten’s death, his successors re established the old order of things and set about systematically destroying any trace of him and his reforms.

In this essay, hrough the analysis of evidence, I will come to a conclusion as to what really inspired Akhenaten, need or enlightenment. Very little is known about Akhenaten’s early years. As had an older brother, Thutmose, it is not likely that he was expected to rule. Amenhotep, as he was then called, was probably trained as a priest of Re at Heliopolis, as where all young princes. The manner Akhenaten’s accession to the throne is still a much debated event in his life. Scholars are still unsure as to weather he came to power directly after his fathers death or if he ruled with his father in a co regency.

Scholars are still debating the length of the co regency, some say a short period of around 2 years while others argue it was probably around 12 years. At the start of his reign, Akhenaten did not do anything unorthodox. He completed his fathers building projects, and had himself depicted worshiping the traditional gods of Egypt, although special attention was paid to the falcon-headed Re-Horakhty, who wears the Aten sun-disk on his head. By year 3 of his reign, Akhenaten was beginning do make changes.

He celebrated his first Sed festival, which was a celebration that showed that he Aten was in partnership with Akhenaten. At the same time, Akhenaten ordered the building of four new temples at East Karnak which where to be dedicated to the Aten. This would have been quite a surprise to many people of the time because East Karnak was the traditional precinct of the god Amun. The cult of Amun was the strongest of all the cults and its power had grown almost so as to rival the pharaoh himself. Many modern day historians believe that this was the firs blow in a plan to take all power away from the cult.

Others argue he was only showing his devotion to the Aten, with no ill intent. Nefertiti lived a good life as Akhenatens queen in Thebes. She held a prominent place in society, higher than any other queen before. At the temples in East Karnak she is depicted in a traditional head smiting pose, like the king, and is shown worshiping the Aten with her daughter, Meritaten. A topic which has been greatly discussed by historians is the unusual appearance of Akhenaten in the paintings he had made of himself.

Many believe it was a product of his creative nature; he wanted to look different to uphold the theory of his religion which says that he is the on of the Aten. The most likely theory is that Akhenaten suffered from Frhlich syndrome, which caused physical abnormalities such as a woman shaped body, incredibly long neck and facial distortions. Akhenaten might have preferred to be depicted in his actual image than shame himself by having the painting made to look ‘perfect’. There are many theories but as of yet, historians are still unsure, some even claim Akhenaten was a woman posing as a man.

In year 5 of his reign, Akhenaten made drastic changes to the Egyptian empire. It was at this time that he changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten. Shortly after this he began the establishment of a new city, which was to be built in a barren plane which is now called El-Amana. The city was to be named Akhetaten He ordered the construction of 14 border stelae on the hills surrounding the site. The main reason for Akhenatens selection of this sit was the fact that it had never been dedicated to any god.

This action took even more power away from the priests as it moved the court and capital away from Karnak The city was built quickly, partly due to Akhenatens new building techniques, which included the use of talitat locks (smaller building blocks that could be carried by one man), and through the use of sunken relief, which was quicker and more effective and stood out stronger in the Aten’s rays. Another contributing factor was the sheer scale of the building project. Thousands and thousands of workers built the palaces, temples, promenades and dwellings of the new city.

Once the city was complete, the court and royal family moved in. Nefertiti Enjoyed a great lifestyle. She was seen as almost an equal with the king. She appeared with the king in the window of appearances to reward their good subjects and was much loved. Nefertiti was a central part of Akhenatens atenist religion. In relives Nefertiti is often depicted wearing crown traditionally only worn by the king and smiting enemies in battle. At the peak of her power she shared a co-regency with Akhenaten.

The ordinary people of Akhetaten lived in quickly constructed plastered, mud brick houses. The city was essentially a living parade ground for Akhenaten, Nefertiti and his new religion, atenism. The central belief of atenism was that Akhenaten was the son of the Aten, who he claimed was the only and true god, who believed in Maat. Akhenatens religion was merely a onotheistic version of the traditional religion, with several gods being given names and new forms, but unlike before it made the King divine and so forth the highest individual in Egyptian religion on earth.

In effect he took all power from the Amun cult, and all other cults, which received no further funding. The changes in the methods of worship created incredible focus on the king and the royal family, because the only way to worship the Aten was through worshiping his son on earth, Akhenaten and through him was the only way ones prayers could reach the dead traveling into the afterlife. Many people didn’t like the changes because they preferred the personal relationships they had enjoyed with the gods of their old faith.

It is known that in some houses of Akhetaten, shrines to the old gods could be found. It is at this time clear that Akhenaten has completely turned his back on the old order. The changes in temple architecture where in key with Akhenatens revolutionary approach; traditional roofed temples where the statue of the god was kept in the darkest place where replaced with light open temples with no roofs. No cult statues occupied these new temples of sunlight, as raditional representations of gods where avoided.

The alters where open to the air and the sun shone brightly on them. Akhenaten also reintroduced the benben, a ritual stone that dates back to the first old kingdom worship of the sun. A priest of Aten had little to do, as now all worship was directed to the pharaoh. The priest came to hold a position similar to a modern day alter boy, greatly reducing their status. By this time the Amun priesthood was all but destroyed, leaving no rivals to Akhenatens power. Akhenaten created an original artistic style, which later became known as Amarna art, named after the amarna period.

Apart from his controversial depiction of himself, he created a new style of art. It was a beautiful natural looking style, almost classical. This was a very different approach to former artworks, in which people and objects were depicted in unnatural poses, and almost always in perfect health. Prior to the amarna period, the personal life of the royal family was not for the public’s attention, but Akhenaten beloved every part of their life was sacred as he was the son of the Aten. Paintings began to portray the royal family in intimate moments, ormerly never carved.

The changes to a more realistic style of art are probably as a result of his belief in maat, which is both a word with the meaning truth and also a concept of truth. It came from the old god of truth, Ma at. Akhenaten continued his father’s foreign policy, and was a peaceful king apart from some small campaign early in his reign, although, while his father had been a genius at such diplomacy Akhenaten was to preoccupied to worry about foreign affairs, and relations with other countries grew distant although trade continued to flourish.

Akhenaten needed a great deal f funds for his colossal building projects. In the later years of his reign, Akhenaten became an oppressor of anyone who showed any belief in the old gods. He became obsessive about destroying all trace of the cult of Amun and had its name carved out of every monument in Egypt. Some say this obsession came from his original motive to take power away from the cult of Amun. Others believe he was filled with such religious zeal that he did it for his faith. At the end of his reign, the capital was moves swiftly back to Thebes and all trace of Akhenaten and his religion was destroyed.

For this reason, the armana period is a highly researched period in Egyptian history. Before deciding weather Akhenaten was a revolutionary or a reactionary character, one last point must be mentioned. Akhenaten was not the first pharaoh to show interest in the Aten. Akhenatens forefathers also showed interest in the Aten, devoting several sights to different versions of the sun disk. Was Akhenaten a reactionary, creating the new religion to consolidate his power, raise his status and make him more famous than any pharaoh before.

Or was he a Revolutionary, bravely developing and mpementing his beliefs, which would have been influenced buy his fathers obvious ‘soft spot’ for the Aten. It is true that Akhenaten probably used the new religion as a way to draw more power and prestige to himself, but the new ideology, art forms, architecture, way of life and capitol where all truly the result if a great revolutionary vision. If he began his quest only with the intention to increase his power, then by the time he was at its end, he truly believed in it. What might of began as a reaction no doubt became a great revolution.

The Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII

Many countries have had important rulers who were well-known throughout the world. One country whose leaders particularly stand out is Egypt. The leaders of ancient Egypt were extremely essential in history. Cleopatra was a key example of these significant rulers of Egypt. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII was an extraordinary woman who used her knowledge and ambition to fulfill Egypts political goals. Cleopatra VII, more commonly known as Cleopatra, was born to Ptolemy XII and his sister Cleopatra Tryphaina in 69 B. C. (Nardo 9).

Although she lacked beauty, Cleopatra was regarded as a fascinating woman who was known for her intelligence and charm. Egyptian coins picture her with a countenance alive rather than beautiful, with a sensitive mouth, firm chin liquid eyes, broad forehead, and prominent nose (Cleopatra VII 377). After her fathers death in 51 B. C. , Cleopatra became queen. She ruled Egypt with her eldest brother and husband Ptolemy XIII. Marriage between siblings was a common practice in ancient Egyptian royal families (Sinnigen 662). She was the last ruler of the dynasty established by Ptolemy I.

Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent but took it upon herself to learn the Egyptian language and referred to herself as the daughter of the sun god (Cleopatra VII 377). Her capital was Alexandria, discovered by Alexander the Great, and was an excellent center of Hellenistic Greek culture and commercial activity (Krapp 615). Three years after Cleopatra gained rule over Egypt she was driven into exile by the supporters of her brother Ptolemy XIII (Cleopatra 489). Caesar arrived in Egypt in search of his rival Pompey. A civil war occurred between the two Roman men.

Cleopatra soon realized the need to cooperate with Rome to gain beneficial aid in regaining her throne (Nardo 24). After a long power conflict, Caesar defeated his opponent Pompey in a major battle. When Cleopatra discovered that Caesar was in her capital, she had one of her attendants take her to him rolled up in a rug and offered as a gift (Krapp 615). Caesar was overcome by Cleopatras charm, and the two quickly became lovers. She was twenty-one, and he was fifty-two at the time. Cleopatra and Caesar both intended to use one another.

Caesar needed money to pay for his campaigns and claimed that Cleopatra owed it to him for the expenses of her fathers restoration (Cleopatra VII 377). Cleopatra sought power and wanted to restore the glories of the first Ptolemies dominions. Caesar later demanded that Cleopatra marry her younger brother Ptolemy XIV and rule Egypt with him (Nardo 29). Cleopatra gave birth to Caesars son, Caesarion in 47 B. C. Throughout Cleopatras marriage with Ptolemy IV, she lived with Caesar in Egypt as his Mistress (Krapp 616).

When Caesar returned to Egypt, he requested Helivus Cinna to propose a law to the Senate allowing Cleopatra and Caesar to marry and for Caesarion to later become ruler of Egypt. Caesar was married to another woman named Calpurnia at that time, and the presence of Cleopatra and her son was an insult to the sacred vow of marriage (Nardo 32-33). Caesar was assassinated in Rome in 44 B. C. by a group of Roman aristocrats. Cleopatra returned to Egypt and ruled with her son Caesarion after having her brother Ptolemy killed (Sinnigen 663).

After Caesars assassination Mark Antony assumed most of the power in the eastern Roman Empire (Cleopatra 489). Antony invited Cleopatra to Tarsus, located in Asia Minor to discuss charges that she assisted his enemies. After a short delay to heighten Antonys expectation, she traveled to Tarsus on a grand river barge (Cleopatra VII 377). Within a few weeks Antony and Cleopatra became lovers. Antony was forty-one, and Cleopatra was twenty-eight (Nardo 40). Antony followed Cleopatra back to Alexandria forgetting his wife Fulvia in Italy. Fulvia had formed an army against Octavius requiring Antony to leave Alexandria in 40 B. C. Cleopatra had recently given birth to twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene (Sinnigen 663).

One year later Fulvia died, and Antony married Octavia, the sister of his co-ruler Octavian. Antony and Cleopatras relationship resumed in 37 B. C. when Antony summoned Cleopatra to Laodicea to supply his army with weaponry. He promised to marry her in return for her loyalty (Krapp 616). Antony was focusing all of his attention on Cleopatra and neglecting his affairs in Rome. Octavian took this opportunity to become the sole ruler of Rome by declaring war on Antony in 32 B. C. Cleopatra spread a false report that she had committed suicide which drove Antony to his death (Sinnigen 663).

Cleopatra attempted to make peace with Octavian but failed. In despair, she killed herself by placing and asp, a symbol of divine royalty on herself (Cleopatra VII 378). Cleopatras character was legendary throughout her life and after her death. The fascination of her life has remained constant through the ages. Her involvement with two powerful Roman men helped further her position as a ruler. Cleopatra was a liberated woman who assisted in strengthening the society of ancient Egypt.

Burial Practices Of The Ancient Egyptian And Greco-Roman Cultures

Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman practices of preparing the dead for the next cradle of humanity are very intriguing. These two cultures differ in a multitude of ways yet similarities can be noted in the domain of funerary services. In the realm of Egyptian afterlife, The Book of the Dead can provide one with vital information concerning ritual entombment practices and myths of the afterlife. The additional handouts I received from Timothy Stoker also proved to be useful in trying uncover vital information regarding the transition into another life.

Regarding the burial practices f Greece and Rome, parts of Homer’s Odyssey are useful in the analysis of proper interment methods. One particular method used by the Egyptians was an intricate process known as mummification. It was undoubtedly a very involved process spanning seventy days in some cases. First, all the internal organs were removed with one exception, the heart. If the body was not already West of the Nile it was transported across it, but not before the drying process was initiated.

Natron (a special salt) was extracted from the banks of the Nile and was placed under the corpse, on the sides, on top, and bags of the ubstance were placed inside the body cavity to facilitate the process of dehydration. After thirty-five days the ancient embalmers would anoint the body with oil and wrap it in fine linen. If the deceased was wealthy enough a priest donning a mask of Anubis would preside over the ceremonies to ensure proper passage into the next realm. One of the practices overseen by the priest was the placing of a special funerary amulet over the heart.

This was done in behest to secure a successful union with Osiris and their kas. The amulet made sure the heart did not speak out against the individual at the scale of the goddess of ustice and divine order, Maat. The priest also made use of a “peculiar ritual instrument, a sort of chisel, with which he literally opened the mouth of the deceased. ” This was done to ensure that the deceased was able to speak during their journeys in Duat. Another practice used by the Egyptians to aid the departed soul involved mass human sacrifice.

Many times if a prominent person passed away the family and servants would willfully ingest poison to continue their servitude in the next world. The family members and religious figureheads of the community did just about everything in their power to id the deceased in the transition to a new life. The community made sure the chamber was furnished with “everything necessary for the comfort and well-being of the occupants. ” It was believed that the individual would be able of accessing these items in the next world.

Some of the most important things that the deceased would need to have at his side were certain spells and incantations. A conglomeration of reading material ensured a successful passage; The Pyramid Texts, The Book of the Dead, and the Coffin Texts all aided the lost soul in their journey through Duat into the Fields of the Blessed. Besides all these spells, charms, and magical tomb texts, the ancient practice of depositing in the tomb small wooden figures of servants was employed. ” These “Ushabi statuettes” as they are called, were essentially slaves of the deceased.

If the deceased was called to work in the Elysian fields he would call upon one of the statues to take his place and perform the task for him. It was not unheard of for an individual to have a figure for every day of the year to ensure an afterlife devoid of physical exertion. Just about every thing the embalmers and burial practitioners did during the process was done for articular reasons. Many of the funerary practices of the ancient Greco-Romans were also done with a specific purpose in mind. Unlike the Egyptian’s the Greco-Roman cultures did not employ elaborate tombs but focused on the use of a simple pit in the ground.

Right after death, not too dissimilar from the practices of the Egyptians, it was necessary for the persons to carefully wash and prepare the corpse for his journey. It was vital for all persons to receive a proper burial and if they did not they were dammed to hover in a quasi-world, somewhat of a “limbo” between life and death. One Greco-Roman myth that illustrates this point is The Odyssey by Homer. There is a part in Book eleven of the work in which Homer specifically addresses proper burial rites. When Odysseus wishes to contact Tiresias, he comes across Elpenor, one of his soldiers.

This particular man fell (in a haphazard fashion) to his death on the island of the Kimmerians, but did not receive a proper burial and was stuck in limbo. Elpenor begged Odysseus and his men to return to the island and care for his body. Consequently, they did return and Elpenor passed into the next world. Most likely he was buried in the same fashion other members of his society were; a pyre was probably constructed and the body placed upon it. Also placed on the pyre were items that the deceased held dear in life with the hope that they would follow him into the next world.

In order to survive in the afterlife, the deceased “is also presented with a small coin which came to be known as the ferrying fee for Charon. ” This can be likened to the Egyptian practice of introducing coinage into the tomb in some cases. Homer also speaks of the psyche, which slips out of man “at the oment of death and enters the house of Ais, also known as Aides, Aidoneus, and in Attic as Hades. ” This idea can be compared to the concept of an individual’s ba in ancient Egypt.

When someone died, an eternal part of them (their ba) would also slip out and seek out the individuals spiritual twin (their ka) in order to unite with it and facilitate a successful passage. Many times in myth, the living desired to speak with the departed. When Odysseus wishes to speak with the Nekyia in Book eleven, goats must be sacrificed and their blood was recognized as inspiring the deceased to speak. The Egyptians also were concerned with the ability of the deceased to speak in the next realm; this is exemplified in one of the most important spells in The Book of the Dead, the opening of the mouth.

When all the funerary rites had been done, the next step was to mark the spot of the deceased. “The grave is marked with a stone, the sign, sema. ” This grave stone would have the name of the soul, and often some type of epigram in verse form. Invariably near the grave, some type of guardian of the soul would be located. Lion and sphinx were found as grave markers and this idea is paralleled in the practices of the natives of Egypt. A certain “cult image” was buried with the deceased in Egypt in order to look after and more importantly protect one’s ba from being disturbed.

It also acted as a type of “purge valve” for any ba which may have been unjustly disturbed in the tomb. Burial practices aside one can note an interesting difference between these two ancient civilizations. Differences can be observed concerning how amicable the afterlife was. The Egyptians had a positive outlook. They believed that after one became Osirus, They would move into a new world, which was nice, no one had to work, and everything was very lean. One could compare their lives in the next world with the children’s classic board game, Candyland.

In this game all was fine and dandy, the “don’t worry be happy” attitude flourished, not distant from the life in the Fields of the Blessed. On the other hand, Greco-Roman afterlife was a rather dismal place. The dead Achilles summed everything up by saying to Odysseus, “Do not try to make light of death to me, I would sooner be bound to the soil in the hire of another man, a man without lot and without much to live on, than rule over all the perished dead. Needless to say, the Homeric afterlife was no Candyland.

Candyland or not, both cultures went to extremes in order to guarantee a successful voyage into the next world. The two ancient civilizations hoped that through their intricate actions the individual would be protected and prepared for their many experiences on “the other side. ” By looking at selections of Homer’s Odyssey and The Book of the Dead, one can draw many similarities between the two cultures; however, differences are also apparent due to cultural differences concerning what would happen to the departed soul.

Cleopatra – intelligent, political, and ambitious woman

History is full of reputable individuals. The stories of their lives will forever live in our history books. Whether being remembered for their strength, courage, or honor, or even for their treachery, we remember those who came before us. If one character could stand out in Egyptian history, none other would be so worthy as Cleopatra would. Cleopatra was an intelligent, political, and ambitious woman who changed the history of Egypt. She was only seventeen years old when, by the will of her father, Ptolemy XI, she was forced to inherit and share the throne of Egypt with her twelve year old brother, Ptolemy XII.

In accordance to Egyptian law, the two were also married. Disagreement between the two began early in their reign. Julius Caesar, seizing the opportunity to take over Ptolemy’s forces during this moment of weakness, soon defeated the young king and befriended Cleopatra. She had wanted the throne to herself, believing that she was “the successor of the pharaohs and like them descended from the sun god Ra. (CAV 166)” Egypt and Cleopatra are terms so closely related they are almost synonymous. However, Cleopatra did not have any Egyptian blood in her; she was purely Greek.

Cleopatra would become the last ruler of the Ptolemy dynasty, which was founded by Alexander the Great, a Macedonian general who strived to unite the East and West under one great empire. Cleopatra wished to continue his mission, but to do so, she would have to win over the Romans. It was at this time that she started to use her stunning beauty and charm to her advantage. Caesar himself would become her first lover. She distracted him from his Roman duties for many weeks and when he finally left her, she was pregnant.

At this point, Cleopatra might have thought she had all she needed: a son and possible heir to Caesar, her key to the Roman throne. However, with Caesar’s assassination in 44 B. C. , she abandoned her plan and awaited another political struggle to arise in Rome. It is amazing that Cleopatra, but a woman, believed that she could overthrow Rome, a huge world power. Her determination to renew the power of the Ptolemy line in Egypt enabled her to carry on with her plan. It was at this time that Cleopatra turned to Marc Antony, lieutenant to the late Caesar.

Marc Antony was a very notable man with many military achievements. He was a respected authority in Rome and lived by Roman virtues. However, he also had a weakness for self-indulgence, and it was this that Cleopatra preyed upon. She immediately tried to seved that she could overthrow Rome, a huge world power. Her determination to renew the power of the Ptolemy line in Egypt enabled her to carry on with her plan. It was at this time that Cleopatra turned to Marc Antony, lieutenant to the late Caesar. Marc Antony was a very notable man with many military achievements.

He was a respected authority in Rome and lived by Roman virtues. However, he also had a weakness for self-indulgence, and it was this that Cleopatra preyed upon. She immediately tried to seved that she could overthrow Rome, a huge world power. Her determination to renew the power of the Ptolemy line in Egypt enabled her to carry on with her plan. It was at this time that Cleopatra turned to Marc Antony, lieutenant to the late Caesar. Marc Antony was a very notable man with many military achievements. He was a respected authority in Rome and lived by Roman virtues.

However, he also had a weakness for self-indulgence, and it was this that Clpt and chased Antony and Cleopatra into hiding. Within a few months, he caught up with them, forcing Antony to commit suicide. Upon hearing that her beloved was dead, Cleopatra, too, killed herself by pressing an asp to her neck. She and Antony were buried together in 31 B. C. What had caused her attempts to go very wrong? Perhaps it was her ambition and determination. Had she forfeited her plan at Caesar’s death, she may have lived out her life peacefully just as Egypt’s queen.

However, she was so intent on ruling an empire that she gambled and lost her kingdom and her life. Despite how her life ended, history does not remember Cleopatra as a failure. When I hear the name Cleopatra, the first thing that comes to mind is feminine power. She can very well be one of the first notable women in history. She was very powerful. She could even command the will of Julius Caesar himself. Some will remember her as a weak woman who let her emotions get the best of her. I disagree. She was very strong and knew what she wanted very early in life.

Even when it seemed hopeless after Caesar’s death, she carried on with her plan. Aside from her plan to rule a universal empire, she was a very capable ruler of her own country. Cleopatra was the only ruler of the dynasty left by Alexander the Great that even bothered to learn the Egyptian language, the native language of her people. True, she was born a Greek of Macedonian descent, but she was Egyptian in every respect. She ruled her country as an Egyptian; as Pharoah, just like all the Ptolemy’s before her. Cleopatra was the last Pharoah of Egypt.

Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Building

The Egyptian pyramids have been the subject of many outlandish claims and construction theories for centuries. The Great Pyramid for example has been associated with pyramid power, curses, Atlantis, Mexican pyramids, Stonehenge, Nazca, the Bermuda Triangle, Biblical prophecy, Martian faces, advanced civilizations, space aliens, cavity resonators, and even levitation. It is not surprising that some who have proposed such theories have been dubbed “pyramidiots”.

This paper will attempt to give a more logical solution to the methods ancient Egyptians may have had used, and the problems they may have had, using factual information, scientific evidence and a bit of common sense. It is time for a rational explanation of how the pyramids were constructed–an explanation that relies on nothing extraordinary, technologically advanced, paranormal, supernatural, mystical, psychic, or extraterrestrial powers. The Egyptian pyramid’s aesthetic beauty, its geometrical shape, its complex system of internal features, and the precision of its construction beckon us to search for a design scheme.

It seems unlikely that the builders would have undertaken such a “monumental” construction project without a comprehensive plan. Unfortunately, no records, plans, blueprints, or direct accounts of the pyramid’s construction have survived. There is no inscriptions or texts, and the names of the architects remain unknown. There is no way of knowing exactly how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, in a time of only primitive tools, and at best only simple machinery. There are many theories of how the Egyptians harnessed their knowledge of math and science to build these amazing structures.

The blocks used to build the pyramids are composed of granite and or limestone; each single block has an estimated weight of approximately two and a half tons. Each block would to have been quarried or cut, and then hauled to the work site, and eventually placed in the correct position. The Egyptians had an amazing understanding of math, which helped them plan the erection of the pyramid, but the only driving force behind them was manpower. The actual people who built the pyramids were all voluntary workers; they were not slaves contrary to popular belief.

New archaeological evidence shows that those who dragged and laid these two and a half ton granite slabs were condemned to an early grave, and they died with deformed bones and broken limbs. An Egyptian excavation recently uncovered the burial ground of hundreds of workers who helped to build the great pyramid for king Cheops 4500 years ago. Originally over one hundred and forty six meters high, it is the tallest of the three famous pyramids at Giza near the Nile delta.

The workers burial ground is one kilometer west of the pyramid, close to their living quarters. Zahi Hawass, the Egyptian archaeologist leading the excavation says that most of the workers skeletons have abnormal outgrowths known as osteophytes, which are caused by chronic heavy labor. The joints of numerous bones show wear and tear and many bodies have damaged spines. Six skeletons have severed limbs or splintered feet. Workers died on average between the ages of thirty and thirty-five, compared to between fifty and sixty for members of nobility.

They literally worked themselves to death, says Hawass. This evidence shows they did in fact use human power in the construction of pyramids but it does not explain how a group of men were able to lift a two and a half ton piece of rock. It also does not explain how these rocks were carried from the quarry, or how it was lifted up the pyramid as it became taller. If one were to build a pyramid today assuming the slabs were already cut and ready to put together the fastest and easiest way to move them would be a crane.

In order to get an exact placement of the slab it would take the crane nearly one day to position itself and drop the block in place. The pyramid Khufu has about two million three hundred thousand stone blocks; its dimensions are four hundred eighty one feet in height, seven hundred fifty six feet in length and its base covering a little over thirteen acres. The pyramid is a geometrical wonder it is absolutely level, and perfectly square, the mathematical skills of the people are not at all contested, but there are many theories on how they were able to carry out this magnificent feat without a crane.

It is not known how the Egyptians got the stones from the quarry to the work site. They must have been dragged, for there was not enough surface area for even a team of reasonably strong men to pick up the two and a half-ton slab. The most likely method of getting the blocks to the top of the structure was through massive construction ramps. Exactly how the ramps were laid out is unknown, but they may have been straight or in a spiral pattern around the pyramid. The ramps may have been topped with a surface of clay called tafla.

Tafla, when wet, becomes very slippery and may have allowed the Egyptian builders to use shorter, steeper ramps than might have otherwise been possible. By wetting the ground in front of the block a slick path would be created allowing the stone to be dragged by rope as it sat on sledges. It is also possible the stones could have been moved on rollers. By placing rounded logs under the stone, crude wheels would have made the load easy to pull. Pictures inscribed on ancient monument walls, though, suggest the blocks were dragged without the aid of rollers.

Rollers would have made it much more possible for the Egyptians to get the stones from the quarry to the work sit and much easier to get them up the ramps. Once a stone was at the top of the pyramid, it was probably moved into its final position and dropped into place with the use of primitive levers. The quarrying, shaping, dragging, positioning and dropping of the stones would have been carried out by tens of thousands of workers, simultaneously working to complete the pyramids on time. A man by the name of Joseph Davidvovits began to contest this classical theory of pyramid construction in 1979.

His ideas and research may force even Egyptologists to revise their thinking about how the pyramids were built. Davidovits suggests that the Egyptians actually used man-made stone that was cast at the pyramid site, where it was needed. The process, he says involved pouring slurry of crushed limestone and special mineral binder into wooden molds. Within a few hours the mixture would harden into material almost indistinguishable from rock. Such a construction method would have taken less time, and required far fewer workers.

In 1984 Davidovits presented his conclusions from a analysis of rock samples from three of the pyramids and two limestone quarries at Turah and Mokhatam, traditionally associated with pyramid building. He found that the pyramids samples contained traces of minerals that were not found in the quarry. Instead, they contained as much as 13 percent of what Davidovits calls a geopolymeric binder. In addition, microscope examination of the samples showed that the quarried limestone consisted almost entirely of lightly packed calcite crystals that gave it a uniform density.

In contrast, the casting stone was les dense and contained numerous air bubbles. Consequently if the casting stones were natural limestone, and did not match that of the quarries than where did the Egyptians get there stone? There are other clues that suggest that the Egyptians poured the pyramids. The ingredients deeded for the mineral binder- sodium carbonate, various phosphates, quartz, and Nile silt, were all readily available to the Egyptians. In addition the casting stones had a millimeter thick surface coating that appears to consist entirely of this binder.

Davidovits suggests that during setting some of the binder came to the surface to form a skin, it was the presence of this obviously man made coating that originally prompted him to look for traces of this material within the rock itself. This idea of manufactured stone helps to explain how the sides of the casting stone were so smooth and straight, maybe to straight for a man to quarry, cut, and shape the stone. This could also explain how the Egyptians were able to get the blocks to fit so well together that a postcard cannot even be inserted in between them.

The sides of the previously molded blocks could be used as the walls for making the stone in between them. With this system, and a primitive form of concrete, the Egyptians may have completed pyramid construction within a relatively fast, and effortless period of time. A virtual assembly line could have been created with workers each carrying small amounts of water, silt and rock to the work area with another team preparing molds and binders. This theory presented by Davidovits was developed nearly twenty years ago; it still remains only a theory.

Egyptologists are torn between the two conflicting ideas of how the pyramids were constructed. Either way the building of these marvel tombs is an amazing feat to be done over four thousand years ago. In a time not known for its sophisticated tools or machinery the ancient Egyptians were able to harness their knowledge to complete the undertaking of this enormous task. Despite this research and archeological findings many people still believe the Great pyramids were built for some kind of a higher purpose, many claims say they are built in the exact geometric center of the earth; and they also directly correlate to the constellations.

These people believe the pyramids contain an astronomical power, some think they are some kind of a star gate. These people believe the Egyptians possessed a lost technology that may have sunk with city of Atlantis; some believe aliens were the inspiration, and force behind theses erections, others think the pyramids were the divine influence of god himself in his preparation for the second coming of Christ. It would probably be absurd to think the Egyptians built the pyramids with only an understanding of mathematical concept, hard work, and a lot of time.

The Development of Ancient Systems of Writing in Iraq and Egypt

Ancient systems of writing in the Middle East arose when people needed a method for remembering important information. In both Ancient Iraq and Ancient Egypt each of the stages of writing, from pictograms to ideograms to phonetograms, evolved as a response to the need to express more complex ideas. Satisfaction of this need gave us the two most famous forms of ancient writing, cuneiform from ancient Iraq, and hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt. Both of these forms of writing evolved and their use spread to other peoples even after the originators of the scripts had passed on.

Some of the oldest writing found in the Middle East dates from 8000 to 3000 B. C. This corresponds to the approximate time period that the people of the region went from living a nomadic life to settlement in villages and trading among themselves. When trading large or varying types of commodities you need a method for recording. To meet this need developed a token system for the recording of financial data. These tokens were of varying shapes for various things, two to three centimetres in size, and used for enumeration and keeping track of goods and labour.

These tokens eventually had to be stored so they wouldn’t be misplaced or ost. To secure them, they were placed in opaque clay envelopes. To indicate what was inside the envelope markings were made on it, eventually someone realized that all you had to do was mark on the clay what was in the envelope and you discard the tokens altogether. With this major development we get the first writing on clay tablets. In Ancient Mesopotamia the most readily available material for writing on was clay.

When writing on clay first arose, the scribe would try to make an artistic representation of what he was referring to. This is a logical first step in writing as if you wanted to record that you had three sheep, you would raw a picture of a sheep and then add to the picture some marking to indicate that you had three of them. Thus the earliest stage in writing arose, pictograms. Pictograms, although not really writing in the modern sense of the term, do represent a method of communicating an event or message.

They also “led to true writing through a process of selection and organization. ” As people wanted to write more down and in a faster method, the pictograms lost their artistic look and took on a more “stylised representation of an object by making a few marks in the clay . . . .” The writing was eventually written in “horizontal lines ather than in squares or in vertical bands . . . became smaller, more compact, more rigid, more ‘abstract’, finally bearing no resemblance to the objects they represented . . . ” The next stage in the development of ancient writing was when the scribes wished to write more complex ideas down.

In time a sign that had represented a tangible object, came to represent some word or thing. For example, the symbol representing the sun eventually represented over seventy different words. This caused some confusion as the reader could not be certain what the writer was using the symbol for. A solution to this problem was the introduction of a method to indicate what the symbol represented. These new symbols were called determinative.

For example, the Sumerians placed a symbol in front of, or sometimes behind, the word sign to give the reader an indication of how to interpret it. The sign for plow could have the sign for wood in front of it, this meant that the symbol for plow meant the tool, if there was a symbol of a man in front, the symbol for plow would be interpreted as plowman. The most advanced stage of development was the phonetogram. A phonetogram is a symbol that represented the pronunciation of part of a word. Phonetograms developed from symbols for words that sounded like the syllables of other words.

For example you could have the symbol “4” and “C” in modern writing go together to make the symbol 4C, which would represent four seas, but if you added the determinative ‘ to make it 4’C’ it could be read as the word “foresee”. Thus a transition from pictographic to phonetographic. With this, you could adapt a script to write the sounds of any word from any language. In Ancient Mesopotamia these three stages in writing can be found in cuneiform. Cuneiform (Latin for ‘wedge’) writing is made on clay with the end of a wooden or reed stylus.

The impression made by the stylus left a mark in the clay that resembled a wedge, hence the name cuneiform applied to the script. Originally the script was written on small clay tablets and read from top to bottom. When the scribes began to use larger blocks of clay, it became necessary for them to shift the position of the tablet in their left hand, thus rotating the script 90 degrees. (See Fig. 1 attached). The use of cuneiform is seen in documents as far back as 3000 BC up to about the first century AD when astronomers still used the script.

Of the documents found, more that 75% of the 150,000 are of an economic nature. This includes legal documents, text relating to sale and purchase, census and tax returns, and several other types of documents relating to matters of trade and commerce. The very number of documents found relating to economic activity shows that the script developed to satisfy the need to record these economic activities. Cuneiform evolved from a pictographic form to idiographic and finally to a phonetographic form. It is in the final form that the script was adopted by other people in the region.

When the Akkadians conquered Sumer they adopted the cuneiform writing system for their own language. First attempts at using the cuneiform script for writing Akkadian started sometime during the third millennium but wasn’t used extensively till the reign of Sargon I, then Akkadian was written till about 100AD. With the adaption of cuneiform to write Akkadian, the number of different types of symbols shifted from pictograms in Sumerian to phonetograms. The main reason for this is that the Akkadian language is structured differently than Sumerian.

The current number of Sumerian phonetograms was not enough to write the Akkadian language, therefore they had to make more symbols to write in cuneiform. Other symbols were adapted as they were, the picotograms that represent an object in Sumerian would represent the same object in Akkadian, the only difference would be the words would be pronounced differently. For example the Sumerian symbol for god, dingir, would be used to write the Akkadian word for god, ilu. In time other people of the region adopted the cuneiform script as well.

The Elamites, of south-west Iran, adopted it and reduced the number of symbols to about 100. The Hittites and Old Persians also adopted the script, with Old Persian the number of symbol reduced even further to 41 signs. The Ugaritic eople of northern Syria also adopted the script, using 30 signs, which basicly corresponds to the West Semitic linear alphabet. With each of these languages the original Sumerian script was adopted in such a way as to write the new language in the easiest phonetic form possible, hence the reduction in the number of signs almost down to the number of signs in an alphabet.

The use of cuneiform eventually died out around 100AD, with its death ended the ability for people to read the script. In the 18th century some progress was made with travellers to Persepolis, they copied short works in cuneiform that ere thought to be from the Persian kings Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes. The first breakthrough in deciphering Old Persian was made by the German G. F. Grotefend. Using an assumption that Old Persian consisted of only a limited number of signs with single slanting wedges as word dividers, as well as observational evidence indicating that the script read from left to right, he recognized a series of repeating symbols.

The text seemed to be referring to one King as the son of another and Gotefend theorized that it was Darius and his son Xerxes. Working from these names he derived from looking at Greek, Hebrew, and Avestan, he came p with a translation. The most extensive cuneiform deciphering work done in the 19th century was by Henry Rawlinson. Rawlinson, in 1835 an English Military advisor in Persia with knowledge of Avestan and Sanskirt, copied a trilingual text of King Darius from a mountainside in Behistun in what is now western Iran.

The trilingual text, written in Old Persian, Babylonian and Elamite, described King Darius’s victories in the 6th century B. C. , gave Rawlinson a large corpus of material to work with. In 1847 he translated the Old Persian and was working on the Elamite, and in 1851 he had finished deciphering the meanings of about 200 Babylonian igns. He also used a list of all the people of Darius’s empire, from the text, compared it with information from Greek histories and used his knowledge of ancient languages to decipher a number of the signs.

With the decipherment of cuneiform, the various economic and literary texts of Ancient Mesopotamia once again were able to be read by scholars, giving us a clearer picture of a once great civilization. During the same time period that cuneiform developed, another great writing system of the Ancient Middle East appeared, the Egyptian Hieroglyphs. From the Greek ta hieroglyphica, meaning ‘the sacred carved (letters)’ comes our word ieroglyphics.

Hieroglyphics are probably the most artistic scripts in the world, consisting of actual drawings or carvings of things from the real world and written continuously in either columns or in a horizontal line. This script was read from right to left, or sometimes from left to right, with upper signs being read before lower ones. (See Fig. 2 attached). Like cuneiform, originally the hieroglyphs were pictograms. For example represented the sun, or a picture of a human face represented a face. As with cuneiform this made the writing system limited because it needed hundreds of ymbols for all the words, making expression of complex ideas difficult.

The hierogylphs went to a phonogram stage where the symbols were uniconsonantal (one consonant), biconsonantal (two consonants) and triconsonantal (3 consonants), greatly reducing the number of signs required to write. In its most advanced form hieroglyphics were composed of three types of signs, pictograms, phonetograms, and determinatives to help the reading understand a symbols meaning. As the Greek name suggests, these hieroglyphics were mainly used for religious purposes rather than for economic as in ancient Iraq.

Media Sensationalism and the Development of the Modern Cult of Tutankhamun

Media sensationalism and media hypes are things that are painfully obvious in all of our lives. Every person of this generation can remember the hype of Y2K, the insanity of the 2000 Presidential Election, the exaggerated numbers associated with Hurricane Katrina, the panic of SARS and the currently claimed explosion of the avian flu across the world. Our parents remember that the only real way to protect oneself from an atomic blast is to duck and cover.

The insanity even travels to foreign countries, with Britains media hype regarding flesh-eating bugs and South Korea with its infamous fan death stories. With advancements in communication, all we have been able to do is spread lies faster. Everyone jumps to be the first to report something so that they can claim to have the exclusive news that no one else has; they want to be first instead of right. When Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, he knew that he had found something that was going to make him famous.

The public loves stories of intrigue and royalty, whether that royalty is the Queen of England or the latest Hollywood starlet, so a mysterious foreign monarch from centuries earlier was the perfect object for the media limelight. There was a general lack of information about the pharaoh, who had obviously died very young, so the media was able to fill in the blanks. What happened to Tutankhamun? He was somehow related to the famous Heretic King, who had been in all of the London papers previously, and it was generally known that the change to the new religion was resisted and mostly despised by the kings subjects.

Of course then, Tutankhamun must have been murdered by angry people in his court who looked to remove all proof that the Atenist era had ever taken place! It is the romantic view of the young pharaoh: a teenager devoted to his wife and the greatness of the Egyptian kingdom was knocked off by angry elders who wanted to take his place. Given a hasty burial in a simple noblemans tomb, he was left to the ages and never expected to be found. Mix into this the influence of movies like Freunds The Mummy and sensational findings by x-ray of the real cause of Tutankhamuns death and we have a great story.

Howard Carter discovered the famous tomb in 1922 after seasons of work under the financing of the British Lord Carnarvon, whom he had met socially in Sheikh. Nearly two decades earlier, Theodore Davies, an American lawyer-turned-archaeologist, had discovered a blue cup in the Valley of the Kings that hinted at the existence of King Tutankhamun, but not much else was discovered until January 1907 when a cache tomb, known as KV 54, was unearthed.

Davies thought that he had discovered the actual tomb of Tutankhamun and by the time the discovery of KV 55 was made, most people believed that there was nothing else to be found in the Valley of the Kings until Carters monumental discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamunonce it was discovered, the press was awesome, and Carter went so far as to discuss a plan of campaign for the presentation of the tomb to the public.

Initial reports in the New York Times carefully noted the beauty and grandeur of Tutankhamuns tomb before the inner seals were breached, but little time was given to the pharaoh himselfall focus was on the gold, alabaster and ebony contained within the tomb. The final section of the article claimed that the discovery was going to clear up many points in history and that the final chamber of the tomb was expected to contain the remains of Tutankhamun and [a] number of heretics buried with him.

By the end of the month, the media reported prematurely on the findings of one researcher who claimed that the Hittites came into power following the death of Tutankhamun, having married the kings widow Ankhesenamun in response to her desperate plea for a husband: “Had I a son, would I have written about my own and my countrys shame to a foreign land? You did not believe me, and you even spoke thus to me! He who was my husband is dead. I have no son! Never shall I take a servant of mine and make him my husband! I have written to no other country. Only to you I have written. They say you have many sons; so give me one son of yours.

To me he will be husband. In Egypt he will be king! ” To protect the treasures of the kingdom from these outsiders, the Egyptians piled as many treasures as possible into the tomb, creating a hiding place: all of the royal treasures were piled into Tutankhamens tomb, so that they might not fall in their entirety into the hands of the stranger. As Carter began to bring objects out of the tomb and categorise them, the media reported on every possibly unusual finding. One such finding was that of a box of human hair that the media claimed belonged to the queen of Tutankhamun despite the fact that the hair was grey.

By March, Tutankhamuns name had become a household word all over the civilised world. He was somehow related to the pharaoh Akhenaten, according to the London Times, and Akhenaten was a gentle and kind ruler who tried to steer Egypt the right way towards monotheism, an action that Tutankhamun tried to undo once he came to power. It was only nearly a month later that the New York Times reported that Tutankhamun was, in fact, a teenager at the time of his death according to likenesses and clothing found in the antechamber by that point in time, the final chamber of the tomb had not been open.

Articles swirled around for two years before Carter was able to access Tutankhamuns body and due to extensive coverage in the media, half-baked stories and theories were thrown at readers to extend the life of the cult of Tutankhamun. One of the biggest media hypes was the creation of the mummys curse, said to have been the cause of death for Lord Carnarvon and his dog Susie, who mysteriously cried out at the exact moment of her masters death thousands of miles away. This curse, it is said, was the creation of a Scottish author named Marie Corelli wrote that anyone involved in the excavation of Tutankhamuns tomb would die horribly.

This fabrication was supported by both the mass media and the popular Sir Conan Doyle, author of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories. Most of their evidence for the existence of the curse came from the death of the already ill Lord Carnarvon, but today we know for a fact that that he died from blood poisoning because he nicked a mosquito bite that was infected with the bacterial streptococcus Erisypelas. In 1931, Carter gave a speech at the University College that was reported on in the Times.

It was in this speech that the possibility of political intrigue was first published, not in the terms of Tutankhamun, but rather in reference to his two deceased childrenCarter mentioned that the two girls might have been the victims of murder. The intial examination of Tutankhamuns body was very shoddily done because there was little technology that could be employed to make it more thorough, and because of this, there was little inquiry into the cause of the young pharaohs death. Although there was always the thought that the youth was murdered, there was no good way to check for the possibility until almost forty years later.

In the 1960s, the x-ray was developed and used to scan the skull of Tutankhamun, beginning the theory that he was murdered and reinvigorating the cult of Tutankhamun. By that time, there were many different explanations for Tutankhamun: he was the brother of Akhenaten, the son of Akhenaten, the brother of Smenkhkare or even a commoner brought into the family to marry the rightful heir, Ankhsenamun. He had been popularised as the boy pharaoh and King Tut, becoming more famous than any other Egyptian monarch. In 1968, Professor R. G.

Harrison from Liverpool University was sent to examine the remains of the king. From his examination, it was found that a piece of bone was floating around in the resin in the kings skull (fig. 1). This, combined with other evidence in the examination, culminated into the theory that the king had been murdered by a blow to the back of the head. It was also discovered in the examination that Tutankhamuns breastbone and ribs are missing, but it is unknown to this day whether that was damage inflicted by the embalmers or by the desecration of the body by Carter and his team.

Books, articles and journals were written about the possibility of murder, and in 1975, an exhibit of Tutankhamun artefacts came to Americait was the first time that Americans were able to view the fabulous treasures. As his popularity grew in the United States, more and more people began to believe in the media-threaded story of his murder by angry or envious courtiers. Interest in ancient Egypt skyrocketed and people, crazed by this new and foreign topic, made outlandish claims about being the reincarnations of Amarna-era figures including Tutankhamuns young widow, some even coinciding with the stories of his death.

These claims of reincarnation tie in very heavily with those seen in both versions of the movie The Mummy, where the main female characters turn out to be reincarnations of Nefertiti and Ankhesenamun. It was not until 1978 that another x-ray was performed on the pharaoh. At that time, it was determined, but not widely reported, that the idea of Tutankhamun dying by a blow to the head was almost impossible. According to pathological evidence, the area where a haematoma had formed had also had time to heal, meaning that if he had, in fact, been targeted for murder, the murderer would have failed marvellously.

Additionally, the position of the wound was at the bottom of his skull, meaning that if someone had managed to murder him, the murderer would have had to somehow hit him up from the bottom, which is a very difficult shot to make with a lot of force; if he had been murdered by a blow to the head, the wound would have most likely been on the crest of his skull. Despite the facts, many people continued to believe that King Tut was murdered, most likely by his successor (and possible step-grandfather) Ay. The rumours and myths sprung up during this time are the most tenacious ones.

Many people, when asked about Tutankhamuns death, believe that he was murdered. The deaths that are associated with the curse of the mummy are believed to actually have something to do with a curse laid upon Tutankhamun by the priests of Amun rather than infections from nasty mosquito bites or deaths of old age years and years after the opening of the tomb. By this point in time, nearly all Egyptologists believe that Tutankhamun died from natural causes or a terrific accident like falling from a chariot. As the story progresses, however, less and less attention is paid to the story by the media.

Very rarely does a story about developments in the case of Tutankhamun make it to mainstream media such as national newspapersmore often than not, developments are relegated to periodicals such as National Geographic and academic journals. One possibility for natural death ties into the thinning bone in Tutankhamuns head. If the king developed a haematoma, the increased pressure in his arteries that pressed against the skull would have thinned the bone. This pressure could have led to pressure against his brain, which would have led to a loss of consciousness.

This would also explain the shaving of the kings head, which does not match other royal mummies found in the Valley of the Kings unless, of course, you count Joann Fletchers supposed Nefertiti mummy, but her story is one of the most terrifically sensationalised stories in Egyptian history. Tutankhamuns doctors would have shaved his head to examine the area, and once determining that there was no open wound, they would have been at a loss as to what to do because of the lack of neurological examination, so Tutankhamun would have never regained consciousness and would have died of natural causes.

Along with this theory also goes a series of events to possibly explain the small size and relative quickness apparent in his tomb. In an attempt to avoid passing the throne to Horemheb after Tutankhamuns death, Ay decided to keep the pharaohs death a secret for as long as possible. Because of this, everything had to be rushed and many of the artefacts found in the tomb were actually things that would not have been missed by possible spies within the household.

The cache of KV 54 was believed to have been the place where Tutankhamuns funeral took place because funerary floral necklaces and meals were discovered there. After the funeral, Tutankhamun was covertly moved to the tomb created for Ay himself as his own tomb continued to be finished. Perhaps the most telling symbol of this fast death and equally hasty burial is the painting found in the burial chamber: it shows the dead king having his mouth opened by Ay, who wears the headdress of the pharaoh (fig. . According to tradition, however, the new pharaoh was not crowned until after the previous pharaoh was burieddid this mean that the mural was originally going to depict Tutankhamun opening the mouth of Ay? Most Egyptians were painted to look very similar, so it would not be surprising if the identities of the figures were changed in their painted-on cartouches. Other theories against murder have been proposed: plague, a hunting accident and falling out of a chariot, to name a few.

The first of these, the plague, highly appeals to the general public. The bubonic plague is something that everyone knows about and is one of the top topics in history with Tutankhamun, Cleopatra, World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb. Everyone believes that they know everything about it, so by creating the sensational story that Tutankhamun was killed by the earliest version of the plague that decimated Europe nearly three thousand years later, one can create massive interest.

Although it is true that scientists now believe Egypt, specifically the workers villages in the Valley of the Kings, to be the source of the horrible disease rather than the tundra of Siberia, it is highly unlikely that Tutankhamun succumbed to the disease because of the evidence we have from his bodyhad he died of the plague, there would have been evidence of buboes on his mummified skin like the one that was found on the mummy of Ramesses V.

The hunting accident and chariot fall relate to two injuries found on the young pharaohs body: a broken leg and the missing rib cage. A study of the leg of Tutankhamun found evidence of infection in the soft tissue in the area; the injury could have been caused by falling from a chariot or, if caused by a deep cut, a hunting accident. There is question, however, as to whether Howard Carters autopsy of the body is the result of this breakthe pharaohs body, as mentioned before, was very badly mangled during its removal from the sarcophagus.

This dismissal also ties back into evidence from the haemorrhaging around the skullif the infection had been so terrible, the related haematoma would have shown up on the CT scans of the body, as the tissue around the broken leg displayed signs of such. Another possibility relates to the missing breastbone of the mummy. Although the embalmers typically kept the body intact during mummification, if his breastbone was destroyed enough by an accident, they might have removed it during the process.

Again, there is dispute over this because of the damage by Carter. Despite all of the new evidence against murder, the popularity of the murder theory still abounds because it is simply the best story. There is no intrigue in falling out of a chariot or suffering from an intracranial haematoma, but there is certainly interest in a bloody murder or a terrifying plague death.

Most of the intrigue around Tutankhamun was spun up by Howard Carter and the media to create public interest in the mummy. Despite claims of murder and desecration of rituals, it appears at this time that the Boy Pharaoh lived a normal life and died of an unfortunate accident or natural causes at a young age. Although his wife was desperate and devastated after his death, it does not point to any foul play by the court, a claim that has sensationalised the entire Tutankhamun story.

As we in America prepare for a new exhibition of Tutankhamun items, the question standswill the media make mention of the new developments in the Tutankhamun case? Will the cities that have paid for the honour of having the exhibition encourage a campaign of advertisements supporting the murder theory to increase interest in the tour? Will this tour bring about another leap in interest in Egypt or another group of crazies who believe in their previous lives they were Amarna figures?

Do people even care to know about the new developments by Zahi Hawass and his medical team, or would they rather prefer to believe that there is a dark side to the Tutankhamun tale? Considering the current state of the media, the new discoveries will probably be resigned to a colourless back page of the newspaper or announced on the news with the newscaster introducing the story at the begin of the telecast with some faux lead-in that makes the viewer believe that something truly fabulous happened to the young pharaoh.

Rights of Egyptian Women

Throughout written history, women have experienced status subservient to the men they lived with. Generally, most cultures known to modern historians followed a standard pattern of males assigned the role of protector and provider while women were assigned roles of domestic servitude. Scholars speculate endlessly at the cause: biology, religion, social custom. Nevertheless, the women were always subordinated to the men in their culture. Through their artwork, tomb inscriptions, and papyrus and leather scrolls, preserved in the dry, desert air, Ancient Egyptians left evidence for scholars suggesting that

Egypt was once a peculiar exception to this pattern. Anthropological evidence suggests that unusual circumstances in Ancient Egyptian culture provided for women to be given equal status to their male counterparts: notably, matrilineal inheritance and emphasis on the joy of family life over maintaining ethnic purity. Legally, women in Ancient Egypt held the same legal rights as men. A woman could own property and manage it as she saw fit. One example of this, the Inscription of Mes, provided scholars with proof that women could manage property, institute litigation, and could act as a witness before a court of law.

Surviving court documents not only showed that women were free to take action with the court, but the documents also show that they frequently won their cases. They could also enter contracts and travel freely, unescorted, throughout the state. This is a great contrast to women in Greece, who were required to act through a male representative. Interestingly, property and its administration was passed from mother to daughter, matrilineally. The Egyptians relied on matrilineal heritage, based on the assumption that maternal ancestors are less disputable than paternal ones.

The effect of legal equality in writing and ractice coupled with the ownership and administration of property led to an ensured equality. The rights and egalitarian conditions enjoyed by Egyptian women shocked the conquering Greeks. In 450 BC, Greek historian Herodotus noted: They Egyptians, in their manners and customs, seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind. For instance, women attend market and are employed in trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving. Athenian Democracy mandated that the female’s role in the domestic economy was the production of heirs and service of the family.

The Egyptian state took no direct part in ither marriage nor divorce and made no efforts to regulate the family. The purpose of the Egyptian family was apparently not the production of heirs for the patriarchal head of household, but the shared life and the pleasures and comfort it had to offer. The legal subjugation of women in other societies seems to have been designed to ensure that women were denied sexual freedom to prevent them from indiscriminate breeding. Often, this was a direct result of the need to provide a pure ruling elite and to restrict the dispersal of family assets within a caste.

The unique position of the god-king and the absence of a strictly efined “citizen” class made similar considerations irrelevant in Egypt. Modern Scholars are thoroughly aware that Egypt was greatly mixed, racially, and that no written evidence exists of racial tensions or bias. This was most likely the cause of lax sexual restrictions. The Egyptians simply did not care about maintaining racial purity. With the exception of the Pharaoh, all marriages were monogamous and women had the right to arrange the terms of the marriage contract. Realistically, marriages were not polygamous.

Many records survive of men raising children born to them of the household servants. Social stigma against married men having affairs was mild, yet married women were socially obligated to be faithful to their husbands. Unlike most societies, however, men having sex with married women were persecuted more severely than their partners. Egyptian Art tells us the primarily of the women in the upper castes. Grave murals and reliefs depict wives standing next to their husbands. Archaeologist have yet to discover any evidence of domestic constriction.

Daughters and Wives were free to live independently of male dominance of influence. It is believed from various murals, however, that women were also put on a pedestal” by their culture. Egyptian art was reflective of their conservative culture where art was Artistic convention of Egyptian and Aegean art depicts women as fairer skinned than their male companions. Generally, art historians have concluded that this was a both and artistic convention expressing the social ideals of the vigorous male with a more refined female and representation of the fact that women were often relieved of working out in the hot, Egyptian sun.

Unfortunately, the privilege of Ancient Egyptian women does not constitute the modern connotation of true freedom. Women were officially denied ositions of public office although surviving records indicated that many women help low-profile positions during time of need in Middle Kingdom. Also, positions in business and government were patrilineally passed from father to son because of the domestic role expected of the woman. The population of Ancient Egypt was frequently in decline due to disease and periodic famines. The life expectancy for the average Egyptian was a little higher than 40 years.

Such a low life-expectancy coupled with a high infant mortality rate ingrained a notion of the transience of life in the mind of the Egyptian. Childbirth was uch a national priority that Pharaohs, such as Akhenaton, began representing scenes of their domestic life as acts of royal propaganda to increase the birth rate (Tansey, 91) Fertility was a prime obsession in the Ancient Egyptian mind. A fertile woman was a successful woman. The low life-expectancy and mortality rate for pregnancies made childbearing the most attractive trait a women could offer.

However, unlike their Greek and Roman successors, the Egyptians conceived children for the joys of parenthood, not the continuity of male lineage. The expectant mother was greeted with desire from men and envy from other women. Upon proving her fertility, the Egyptian also enjoyed an elevation in status to the highly esteemed level of “mother. ” Mothers had an important and respected role within the family, and were frequently represented in positions of honor in the tombs of both their husband and sons. Parenthood is so stressed in Egyptian culture that parents would take the name of their eldest son.

Fertility obsession was equally stressed on the males. Ancient Egyptian men were sometimes known to commit suicide, rather than admit to being unable to conceive a child. Joyce Tyldesley expresses it best in her book , Daughters of Isis: Both husband and wife appear to have loved their offspring dearly, and Egyptian men had no misplaced macho feelings that made them embarrassed or ashamed of showing affection towards their progeny. (Tyldesley, 47) Understandably, not every Egyptologist shares Tydeslesy’s idealistic view of ancient Egyptian culture.

The reliability of surviving records from Ancient Egypt is frequently questioned by most Egyptologists. With such a complex writing system, the majority of the population was illiterate. All presently discovered surviving scrolls were written by professional male scribes. While the legal documents ccurately reflect the legal status of women, the more personal writing and historical documents are more likely to carry a male-bias. Much of the poetry and musical lyrics describe women as lustful, loyal, yet beautiful.

They often reflect male fantasies of helplessly love-stricken beauties and are only marginally used to build an understanding of the Egyptian culture. Egyptian secular literature typically views women in a less positive light. Written for an all-male audience, women play secondary or antagonistic parts to a male hero in every surviving tale but one. The one exception involves a helpless man ontinuously saved by his wife’s swift thinking. Mythological literature, considering the greater expanse of its audience, portrays women in a more egalitarian light.

Collected Egyptian mythology, with a greater variety of characters than Greek and Roman combined, portrays many goddesses in every role imaginable. The most popular goddess, Isis, personified the ideal wife and mother in her never-ending love for her family and resourcefulness in protecting her son from her husband’s murderer. Contemporary Christian iconography is believed to be derived from images of Isis, holding her son, Horus, in her lap. In conclusion, the woman of Ancient Egypt held rights and maintained liberties enviable to many women today.

Legal equality and land ownership gave women political power and financial independence while the devastation of disease and high mortality rates made motherhood a respected and appreciated institution. Domestic subjugation was avoided by the absence of a notion of racial purity, freeing the woman’s sexuality and preventing external interference of the family. Although few of the records left are accurate enough to give us an undisputable perception of Ancient Egyptian culture, istorians generally agree that the Egyptian woman had much more freedom than her contemporaries.

The necessity for children locked many women in full-time motherhood, yet records indicated that they were appreciated for the happiness they brought to the home and the children they brought into the family. The study of Ancient Egypt takes relevance today in modern life because it provides suggestions towards the origins of modern patriarchy by providing scholars with an examples of conditions that brought about a particularly benign development of male-dominance in Ancient Egypt.

Significant Woman: Cleopatra

I chose to write my Significant Woman paper on Egypts last pharaoh, Cleopatra. When I began my report, I knew very little about Cleopatra, except that she was the mistress of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony of Rome. I wondered what impacts on history Cleopatra made on her own.

I feel that Cleopatra was a very significant woman in history because she was very aggressive and assertive, characteristics that have always been considered unfeminine. At the same time, however, Cleopatra has been remembered by some as somewhat of a sex object, which is and always has been a common judgement of attractive females.

Cleopatra did use her sex appeal to her advantage. It was one of the few manipulations that nobody could take away from her, and it was a very convincing form of persuasion. Cleopatras family had been ruling Egypt since 305 BC, when Ptolemy I declared himself King of Egypt sometime after Alexander the Greats death. The Ptolemy family was of Macedonian decent, not Egyptian. Cleopatra, more precisely, Cleopatra VII, was the third daughter of Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos Auletes, who began his rule of Egypt in 80 BC.

Cleopatra VIIs mother could possibly have been Cleopatra V Tryphaena, who either died or disappeared in 68 BC, right after Cleopatra VIIs birth in 69 BC. Cleopatra VII had two older sisters, Cleopatra VI and Berenice IV, and one younger sister, Arsinoe IV. She also had two younger brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Ptolemy XII ruled until his death in 51 BC, with only a brief interruption in 58 BC when his second eldest daughter, Berenice IV, took over the kingdom. His will named Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII as heirs to the throne.

Leaders in Rome were named as guardians and were to uphold the choice of Ptolemy XII for the two to marry and jointly rule Egypt. Ptolemy II had established these brother-sister marriages as custom when he married his sister Arsinoe II. As children, Cleopatra and her siblings witnessed the defeat of their guardian, Pompey, by Julius Caesar in a duel. Meanwhile, Cleopatra and her brother/husband Ptolemy XIII were dueling, albeit silently, over the throne. In the middle of all this turmoil, Julius Caesar left Rome for Alexandria in 48 BC. During his stay in the Palace, he received the most famous gift in history: an oriental carpet . with a 22-year-old Cleopatra wrapped in.

She counted on Caesars support to alienate Ptolemy XIII. With the arrival of Roman reinforcements, and after a few battles in Alexandria, Ptolemy XIII was defeated and killed. In the summer of 47 BC, having married her younger brother Ptolemy XIV, Cleopatra and Caesar embarked for a two-month trip along the Nile, aboard a legendary boat. Together, they visited Dendara, where Cleopatra was being worshipped as Pharaoh, an honor beyond Caesars reach. They became lovers, and indeed, she bore him a son, Ptolemy XV Caesar Caesarion.

In 45 BC, Cleopatra, Ptolemy XIV, and Caesarion left Alexandria for Rome, where they stayed in a palace built by Caesar in their honor. Caesars acts were anything but overlooked by the Romans. In 44 BC, he was killed in a conspiracy by his Senators. With his death, Rome split between supporters of Mark Antony and Octavian. Soon after Caesars death, Cleopatra returned to Egypt. It is believed that Ptolemy XIV survived the trip home, but died shortly thereafter. Many believe that Cleopatra had him killed. This is possible because he was 15 years old and would probably start to assert his right to the throne.

Cleopatra was watching Rome in silence, and when Antony seemed to prevail, she supported him and, shortly after, they too became lovers. Mark Antonys alliance with Cleopatra angered Rome even more. The senators called her a sorceress and accused her of all sorts of evil. The Romans became even more furious as Antony was giving away parts of their Empire Tarsus, Cyrene, Crete, Cyprus, and Palestine one after the other to Cleopatra and her children, which, in addition to Caesars son, included Antonys twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios and his son Ptolemy Philadelphus.

It was the boiling point when Octavian declared war on Cleopatra, and off the coast of Greece in the Adriatic Sea, they met in one of the most famous battles in history: Actium. The Egyptian defeat was often attributed to the early withdraw of a coward Cleopatra from the battle scene, although this claim is now discredited by most historians. Octavian waited for a year before he claimed Egypt as a Roman province. He arrived in Alexandria and easily defeated Mark Antony outside the city.

Antony asked to be taken to Cleopatra. He died in her arms and was buried as a King. Octavian entered Alexandria in 30 BC. Cleopatra was captured and taken to him, and the Roman Emperor had no interest in any relation, reconciliation, or even negotiation with the Egyptian Queen. Realizing that her end is close, she decided to put an end to her life. It is not known for sure how she killed herself, but two small puncture wounds left on her arm have led many to believe that she used an asp as her death instrument.

However, there were no signs of a snake or any poison present at the scene of her death. With the death of Cleopatra, a whole era in Egyptian history was closed. Alexandria remained the capital of Egypt, but Egypt is now a Roman province. The age of Egyptian Monarchs gave way to the age of Roman Emperors, and Cleopatras death gave way to the rise of Rome. The Ptolemies were of Macedonian decent, yet they ruled Egypt as Egyptians as Pharaohs. And, indeed, Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh.

Tomb Of Tutankhamun

The most famous Egyptian pharaoh today is, King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun is also known as King Tut. The name Tutankhamun is derived from hieroglyphics which means Living Image of Amun. He was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, he also was the son in law of Akhenaton. Tutankhamun was not a important King, he is well known because of his tomb, containing beautiful treasures. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns tomb was discovered by an British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun lived over 3,300 years ago.

The period he ived in was called the New Kingdom. During this period the Egyptians were worshipping multiple gods. Amenhotep had abolished this belief and had established a new order to worship the sun god Aten, which then he changed his name to Akhenaten, meaning servant of the Aten. A new religion and capital was established in Thebes. His new city was called Akhetaten, meaning Horizon of the Aten. Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti had six daughters, and no one to be the next pharaoh. Ankhesenpaaten was one of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Ankhesenpaaten married Tutankhamun.

After the death of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun became the next pharaoh at age 9. Since he became a pharaoh at such a young age, he was not able to make decisions. Ay who was the father of Nefertiti and Horemheb who was the commander in chief of the army was in charge. Tutankhamun was taught many skills when he was young. He spent most of his years in the palaces of Akhenaten, he was tutored in reading and writing. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun unfortunately died at the age of 18. There is partial evidence that King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun might have died of an accident alling off his horse or perhaps he was murdered.

King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun burial arrangements lasted 70 days. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun Tomb was located in the Valley of the Kings in Luxar Egypt. Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns Tomb, his tomb contained the most beautiful treasures. It is said that it was a magnificent collection of Egyptian art. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun treasures are displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun Tomb contained more than 5000 items.

Although it was robbed at least twice right after King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun was buried, but most of the kings treasure was still there. The most beautiful piece found in King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns Tomb is his coffin made of solid gold. It is 74 long, 20wide and 20 high. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun was shown as Osiris holding the crook and flail. This was the traditional symbol that meant kingship. Another famous item of King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun is the funerary mask. This also was made of solid gold and was inlaid with lapis, lazuli, cornelian, quartz, obsidian, turquoise and olored glass.

King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns Tomb contained a set of Canopic containers. The calcite Canopic chest that had stoppers in the form of the king. There was four canopic coffins for King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun. In addition to everything else found in King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns Tomb was the inlaid circlet that was found on the kings head. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns outer golden shrine had standing figures dressed in Amarna style that represented the four goddesses Isis, Nepthhys, Neit and Selket. And just inside the entrance of the king was a figure of Anubis in the form of a jackal.

Egyptians were probably one of the most important ancient civilizations of all time. They were definitely best known for their mummies and pyramids. The discovery of King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamun was one of the worlds best discoveries. This discovery was actually a miracle, the British archaeologists were so close to not finding King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns tomb, but its a good thing they did. King Nebkheperuru Tutankhamuns tomb is absolutely a remarkable sight and the Kings treasures are so detailed and beautiful. Its incredible how the ancient Egyptian did all these things.

The Nile River

Without the Nile, the great Egyptian back in the Ancient Times would have been nothing, except for an empire filled with sand. But the gods were with Egypt that time, and gave Egypt the only hope of surviving The Nile River. The Nile is the longest river on Earth. But now Egypt has started developing and changing, let alone mention that it is worldwide known. In Egypt, people have both adapted to their environment and changed their environment.

One thing the Egyptians haven’t changed much is the Nile River. After they found out that farming could not be done in deserts, they soon found a use for the Nile River. They started farming there, realizing that there was fertile land by the river. Unfortunately, there was not enough land for more than 53,153,000 people, so they adapted to it, and started to use diesel pumps, to lift irrigation water from the Nile.

Since they were too tired to cultivate land all day long, they took camels, buffaloes, goats, and cattle for granted, and used them for cultivating land. Every year, they lay more pipes & dig more ditches to reach water. A very important change the Egyptians have done is that they discovered that the Nile could also be a power source for hydroelectricity. Soon after, the Aswan High Dam was built up. The Egyptians also built the Suez Canal, the most important canal in the world; it helps ships sail to Asia from Europe in a fast way.

Akhenaten, one of the greatest mystical revolutionaries of all time

Akhenaten is know as one of the greatest mystical revolutionaries of all time, but was his new religion a product of his creative genius, or merely a reaction to threats within his own empire. As Pharaoh, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, changed the traditional polytheistic religion to a monotheistic one centered on the Aten (the sun disk). He moved the Egyptian capitol from Thebes to a site now know as el-Amarna. After Akhenatens death, his successors re established the old order of things and set about systematically destroying any trace of him and his reforms.

In this essay, through the analysis of evidence, I will come to a conclusion as to what really inspired Akhenaten, need or enlightenment. Very little is known about Akhenatens early years. As had an older brother, Thutmose, it is not likely that he was expected to rule. Amenhotep, as he was then called, was probably trained as a priest of Re at Heliopolis, as where all young princes. The manner Akhenatens accession to the throne is still a much debated event in his life. Scholars are still unsure as to weather he came to power directly after his fathers death or if he ruled with his father in a co regency.

Scholars are still debating the length of the co regency, some say a short period of around 2 years while others argue it was probably around 12 years. At the start of his reign, Akhenaten did not do anything unorthodox. He completed his fathers building projects, and had himself depicted worshiping the traditional gods of Egypt, although special attention was paid to the falcon-headed Re-Horakhty, who wears the Aten sun-disk on his head. By year 3 of his reign, Akhenaten was beginning do make changes.

He celebrated his first Sed festival, which was a celebration that showed that the Aten was in partnership with Akhenaten. At the same time, Akhenaten ordered the building of four new temples at East Karnak which where to be dedicated to the Aten. This would have been quite a surprise to many people of the time because East Karnak was the traditional precinct of the god Amun. The cult of Amun was the strongest of all the cults and its power had grown almost so as to rival the pharaoh himself. Many modern day historians believe that this was the firs blow in a plan to take all power away from the cult.

Others argue he was only showing his devotion to the Aten, with no ill intent. Nefertiti lived a good life as Akhenatens queen in Thebes. She held a prominent place in society, higher than any other queen before. At the temples in East Karnak she is depicted in a traditional head smiting pose, like the king, and is shown worshiping the Aten with her daughter, Meritaten. A topic which has been greatly discussed by historians is the unusual appearance of Akhenaten in the paintings he had made of himself.

Many believe it was a product of his creative nature; he wanted to look different to uphold the theory of his religion which says that he is the son of the Aten. The most likely theory is that Akhenaten suffered from Frhlich syndrome, which caused physical abnormalities such as a woman shaped body, incredibly long neck and facial distortions. Akhenaten might have preferred to be depicted in his actual image than shame himself by having the painting made to look perfect. There are many theories but as of yet, historians are still unsure, some even claim Akhenaten was a woman posing as a man.

In year 5 of his reign, Akhenaten made drastic changes to the Egyptian empire. It was at this time that he changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten. Shortly after this he began the establishment of a new city, which was to be built in a barren plane which is now called El-Amana. The city was to be named Akhetaten He ordered the construction of 14 border stelae on the hills surrounding the site. The main reason for Akhenatens selection of this sit was the fact that it had never been dedicated to any god.

This action took even more power away from the priests as it moved the court and capital away from Karnak The city was built quickly, partly due to Akhenatens new building techniques, which included the use of talitat blocks (smaller building blocks that could be carried by one man), and through the use of sunken relief, which was quicker and more effective and stood out stronger in the Atens rays. Another contributing factor was the sheer scale of the building project. Thousands and thousands of workers built the palaces, temples, promenades and dwellings of the new city.

Once the city was complete, the court and royal family moved in. Nefertiti Enjoyed a great lifestyle. She was seen as almost an equal with the king. She appeared with the king in the window of appearances to reward their good subjects and was much loved. Nefertiti was a central part of Akhenatens atenist religion. In relives Nefertiti is often depicted wearing crown traditionally only worn by the king and smiting enemies in battle. At the peak of her power she shared a co-regency with Akhenaten.

The ordinary people of Akhetaten lived in quickly constructed plastered, mud brick houses. The city was essentially a living parade ground for Akhenaten, Nefertiti and his new religion, atenism. The central belief of atenism was that Akhenaten was the son of the Aten, who he claimed was the only and true god, who believed in Maat. Akhenatens religion was merely a monotheistic version of the traditional religion, with several gods being given names and new forms, but unlike before it made the King divine and so forth the highest individual in Egyptian religion on earth.

In effect he took all power from the Amun cult, and all other cults, which received no further funding. The changes in the methods of worship created incredible focus on the king and the royal family, because the only way to worship the Aten was through worshiping his son on earth, Akhenaten and through him was the only way ones prayers could reach the dead traveling into the afterlife. Many people didnt like the changes because they preferred the personal relationships they had enjoyed with the gods of their old faith.

It is known that in some houses of Akhetaten, shrines to the old gods could be found. It is at this time clear that Akhenaten has completely turned his back on the old order. The changes in temple architecture where in key with Akhenatens revolutionary approach; traditional roofed temples where the statue of the god was kept in the darkest place where replaced with light open temples with no roofs. No cult statues occupied these new temples of sunlight, as traditional representations of gods where avoided. The alters where open to the air and the sun shone brightly on them.

Akhenaten also reintroduced the benben, a ritual stone that dates back to the first old kingdom worship of the sun. A priest of Aten had little to do, as now all worship was directed to the pharaoh. The priest came to hold a position similar to a modern day alter boy, greatly reducing their status. By this time the Amun priesthood was all but destroyed, leaving no rivals to Akhenatens power. Akhenaten created an original artistic style, which later became known as Amarna art, named after the amarna period.

Apart from his controversial depiction of himself, he created a new style of art. It was a beautiful natural looking style, almost classical. This was a very different approach to former artworks, in which people and objects were depicted in unnatural poses, and almost always in perfect health. Prior to the amarna period, the personal life of the royal family was not for the publics attention, but Akhenaten beloved every part of their life was sacred as he was the son of the Aten. Paintings began to portray the royal family in intimate moments, formerly never carved.

The changes to a more realistic style of art are probably as a result of his belief in maat, which is both a word with the meaning truth and also a concept of truth. It came from the old god of truth, Ma at. Akhenaten continued his fathers foreign policy, and was a peaceful king apart from some small campaign early in his reign, although, while his father had been a genius at such diplomacy Akhenaten was to preoccupied to worry about foreign affairs, and relations with other countries grew distant although trade continued to flourish. Akhenaten needed a great deal of funds for his colossal building projects.

In the later years of his reign, Akhenaten became an oppressor of anyone who showed any belief in the old gods. He became obsessive about destroying all trace of the cult of Amun and had its name carved out of every monument in Egypt. Some say this obsession came from his original motive to take power away from the cult of Amun. Others believe he was filled with such religious zeal that he did it for his faith. At the end of his reign, the capital was moves swiftly back to Thebes and all trace of Akhenaten and his religion was destroyed.

For this reason, the armana period is a highly researched period in Egyptian history. Before deciding weather Akhenaten was a revolutionary or a reactionary character, one last point must be mentioned. Akhenaten was not the first pharaoh to show interest in the Aten. Akhenatens forefathers also showed interest in the Aten, devoting several sights to different versions of the sun disk. Was Akhenaten a reactionary, creating the new religion to consolidate his power, raise his status and make him more famous than any pharaoh before.

Or was he a Revolutionary, bravely developing and impementing his beliefs, which would have been influenced buy his fathers obvious soft spot for the Aten. It is true that Akhenaten probably used the new religion as a way to draw more power and prestige to himself, but the new ideology, art forms, architecture, way of life and capitol where all truly the result if a great revolutionary vision. If he began his quest only with the intention to increase his power, then by the time he was at its end, he truly believed in it. What might of began as a reaction no doubt became a great revolution.

Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile

When you think of Cleopatra you tend to think of Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile. Which isnt far from the truth. Cleopatra was queen of Egypt, which is located on the Nile River. In her lifetime she had every luxury imaginable, which she used to gain the popularity of the roman authority. She was very important in terms of Egyptian history. However she was also very well known in terms of Roman history. She seduced some of most well known Roman men of her time. Cleopatra was a seductress. Who used her fame and fortune to seduce these men. Some of these men included such men as Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

Cleopatra was born in 69 BC She was the last Ptolemaic ruler. Her father was the Ptolemy XII. She was very, which added to her popularity of the Egyptian and Roman world. Cleopatra tried to preserve the countrys independence from Rome. Roman senators threatened Egypts independence and prosperity. In 55 b. c. Berenic IV was executed leaving Cleopatra the oldest child. In 51 b. c. her father died. Caesar chased Pompey to Egypt where Pompey was beheaded in Alexandria. This is where Cleopatra met Julius Caesar. She smuggled herself into a rug and snuck in to his room.

Cleopatra married another brother, Ptolemy XV, due to tradition. However she also became Caesar’s mistress and followed him to Rome. In 47 b. c. Ptolemy Caesarion was born. However the Romans refused to believe that Ptolemy Caesarion was Caesars child. She stayed in Rome until his assassination 44 BC. He was killed by Brutus and Cassius. It was rumored later that Cleopatra helped the Caesarian party to assassin Caesar. But her world was shattered after his death. When she was just fourteen years old she met Marc Antony for the first time. When she met him later in life she saw him as an opportunity for power and fame.

She used her wit, charm, and wealth to gain the interest of Marc Antony. They were later married in 37 b. c. In the winter of 41-40 b. c. Cleopatra gave Mark Antony her undivided attention; she was his mistress, companion and confidante. They had planned to set up an expansive kingdom to be inherited by her sons of Caesar and Marc Antony. However Marc Antony and Cleopatra were involved in the Battle of Actium, in 31 b. c. , which they lost. Marc Antony then committed suicide. Their relationship inspired Shakespeares play, “Antony and Cleopatra,” which dealt with their lives together.

Arab Republic of Egypt

Arab Republic of Egypt, or unofficially Egypt, is one of the most interesting countries in the world. Its historical background is incredible considering its terrain hardly varies at all. There seems to have always been an interest in Egypt because of its huge temples, called pyramids. Also it was known to be one of the most advanced cultures since 3200 BC and even today we can still not imagine what great force it took to make such pyramids. They ancient Egyptians were known to be very intelligent and their rule was much like a monarchy where the royal family passed down rule to other members of the family.

Hieroglyphics have always been an interesting topic because much they show us much of what these people did during their lives. Everything about Egypt seems to carry a mystery or be intriguing. The geography of Egypt is not the most interesting part about it and probably is the only thing that stays almost constant. On the West side of Egypt it borders Libya, the East borders Israel and the Red Sea, the North by the Mediterranean Sea and the South by Sudan. Egypt is roughly 1500 miles of coastline and about two thirds of that is along the Red Sea.

The total area of Egypt is 386,662 square feet. Less than ten percent of that is not even been cultivated which makes for a vast dry country. About ninety percent of Egypt is made up of desert areas including the Libyan Desert to the West and the Arabian Desert to the East. Within the Libyan Desert, which is part of the Sahara, is a large dry area which has many large depressions in it. One of which is the Qattara Depression, which is 7,000 square miles and goes down to a depth of 436 feet below sea level. Also within the Qattara Depression are several large oases.

The Arabian Desert on the other hand is mainly located on a plateau, which rises East from the Nile Valley to about 2,000 feet above sea level. The highest elevation in Egypt is not this plateau but instead Mt. Catherine which lies on the sandy Sinai Peninsula. Another important part to the geography of Egypt is the ever famous Nile River. The Nile River comes into Egypt through Sudan and flows north for 900 miles through Egypt to where it empties out in the Mediterranean Sea. The whole trip made by the river goes through a very narrow valley with cliffs on the sides.

This Nile Valley is rarely even 2 miles wide and the only good land is mainly on the West side of it. But strangely from Idfu to Cairo this valley extends to about fourteen miles wide and the land is much more useable for it has a greater amount of natural resources. There are a variety of peninsulas in this area, which are eroding because of the salts brought down by the Nile River. Because there are many indentations along the shoreline near the eroding peninsulas there are many suitable places for harbors, which is something that gives Egypt an advantage as a country.

The most interesting thing about Egypt is the history from which it comes from. No other nation in the world is so famous for what happened to it in the early stages of government and rule then Egypt. About 3200 BC the first united kingdom of Egypt was established. This was also about the same time in which the very first hieroglyphics were found to be from. During the time period called the 0 Dynasty there were about thirteen rulers and then during the 1st and 2nd Dynasty there were about seventeen more rulers.

During these three Dynastys there were also structures similar to the pyramids constructed but of far less magnitude. The 3rd through the 6th Dynastys are referred to as the time of the Old Kingdom. During this time period the rulers where the same as modern day monarchs holding absolute power over everyone else. These rulers or pharaohs were not only considered all powerful but in many cases considered gods. Religion played a very important role in this time period. During this time period the great pyramids of Egypt were created as large monumental tombs for the pharaohs.

Soon after the 6th dynasty was over the pharaohs divided the land into districts, which were controlled by nomarchs. Soon these nomarchs battled for control and each of them wanted more from what the others had. Then Mentuhotep became ruler and ceased all of the nomarchs and took control of the whole kingdom. He made his capital at Thebes and for his tomb there was only a small mortuary and no temple or pyramid. The time period in which he ruled is often referred to as the reunification. With the unification of land the new ruler, Ahmose I, took control and the New Kingdom began.

He reestablished their borders and goals and he balanced the power between him and the nomarchs with the military support, which no other ruler had been able to do. During this time period the respect for women jumped considerably and they were almost all turned into royalty and had high positions in the government. During the following Dynastys many famous pharaohs lead Egypt through war and famine. One of which was Ramses I who only reigned for two years but then passed the power on to his son. Who helped lead successful campaigns against Libya, Palestine, Syria and Hittites.

After 67 years of reigning his son took the power from him. Many of Ramses III victories were depicted on walls and mortuary complexes including his own at Medinet Habu. After the Ramses cam a man by the name of Ptolemy and when he became ruler he renamed Egypt to Ptolemaic Egypt. During his ruling Egypt was a very powerful country. At some parts of this time period Ptolemaic Egypt ruled over Syria, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Libya and Phoenicia. Over time the long line of ancestors to Ptolemy I lost land to the Romans. Cleopatra VII was the last to try and save Egypt from the Romans.

She became close to Julius Caesar at first and then when he was assassinated she joined with Mark Antony. After a short amount of time the Romans overtook Cleopatras forces and Egypt fell to Rome. Also shortly after that Cleopatra committed suicide. After the Romans had taken Egypt, it was soon learned that Egypt was not only good for grain harvest but also for glass, metal and some other industries. Sassanids of Persia invaded Egypt hoping to overthrow the Romans control but the were kicked out slightly afterwards.

Soon after that Egypt fell the Arabs and was introduced to the Muslim religion. Not many changes were made by the Arabs but the did move the capitol from Alexandria to Al Fustat which is only a few miles away from Cairo, today. Many rebellions and foreign leaders tried to take over Egypt but the Arabs stayed in control. The first man to come in and rule after the Romans was Turk by the name of Tulan. He expanded Egypts borders so that at the end of his rule Egypt controlled Palestine and Syria. After his rule ended Egypt went into a state of anarchy for some time.

By the early 1500s Egypt was threatened by the Ottoman Empire and was taken over by it in 1517. Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1915. With the start of World War I Turkey went on the side of Germany while the British said they would protect Egypt if they didnt support Germany so Egypt agreed. This is the basic old history of Egypt. An interesting trait of Egypt is the people who live there and how they have adapted to such a climate. Most of the Egyptian people came from the ancient indigenous people or from the Arabs who conquered Egypt in the 7th century AD.

Some ethics and values of other people that have conquered Africa can be seen here such as the Turkish, Roman and Greek influence after they also had conquered Egypt at different times. Although many of the people from the Mediterranean look similar the people of the Nile Valley look distinctly different. These Nubians, which are indigenous to Africa, once used to live in small villages along the Nile in southern Egypt for thousands of years until the formation of Lake Nasser overtook many of the villages and they were forced to move.

Many people who once lived in villages or by themselves are beginning to move towards the more urban areas of Egypt so that they may have a higher standard of living. But still only 45 percent of Egypt are living in urban areas. The remainder of the African people still live in the desert area. The most common of those being the Bedouins who are people that roam the desert living off their livestock. The population of Egypt is said to be at about 66 and a half million people with it still rising at a little over two percent each year.

About 99 percent of those people live somewhere within the Nile Valley, which is only four percent of Egypts total area. The overall population density of Egypt is about 164 people per square mile but in the Nile Valley and delta it jumps to a surprising 4307 people per square mile which happens to be one of the most densely populated areas in the entire world. Religion is very important to the Egyptian people because it has affected them since the beginning of the existence of the country. The official religion is Muslim which is supported by about 90 percent of the population.

About one million people belong to the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian, and some Protestant groups. Also according to Coptic Orthodox, their church has about seven million followers but official Egyptian say they have no more than three million which still makes them the largest religious minority in Egypt. In Egypt Arabic is the main language but also spoken is some Berber and English and French are common as second languages. The culture of Egypt is directed by Ministry of Culture and is becoming more popular to be involved in cultural activities in Egypt.

Such as folk dancing has become more popular over the last forty years. There are two main national folk dancing groups. Although not noted for filmmaking Egypt is the leading filmmaker in the Arab world today. They have several state owned businesses and many privately owned. Another thing that Egypt now has, in Cairo, is a vast museum of relics and artifacts recovered from every time period from ancient Egypt. Now more than ever Egypt is beginning to become more involved in cultural activities and they seem to be enjoying it and its increasing in popularity.

Egypt in the last twenty years has gone through violent times trying to sort out which leaders are good and which ones have been unjust in their activities or choices. There has been a decline in tourism there because of the militant action that has taken place within the last five years. Many people that have wanted to run for president have been arrested under false charges because of the overwhelming power of their president. There is still a interest in Egypt because of all of the unexplored tombs and the unexplainable pyramids.

Egypt has been controlled by so many different people and countries that it is hard to stay on track. They have not been able to have a stable government in the last one hundred years and they are still fighting to become a purely democratic society where one man can not change the people running for an election or have the ones he wants arrested. The years ahead will be tough for Egypt but one day they will most likely have a stable country that will be safe to visit. One day the tourism will grow and it should be a wealthy country because of its unique attributes.

The Great Pyramid Of Giza Was Not Constructed As A Burial Chamber

The pyramids of Ancient Egypt are as fascinating and intriguing, as they are breathtaking. Egyptologists and historians have long debated the question of who built the pyramids, and for what reason. There are many different and often conflicting theories in regard to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. When turning back the pages of history, it is discovered that a number of theories have been developed to explain the presence of such a significant historical landmark.

Theories vary from a tomb for a king, to a special chemical factory, a beacon for extraterrestrial aircraft’s, a stone form of the Bible, a possible way to contact a Higher Being and a stone announcement of the second coming of Christ… ” (Schillings, M. : 1999 : Sheet 1). Such examples of varying controversial theories have sparked a number of speculations to the mystery of the Great Pyramid of Giza. According to traditional Egyptology, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built by Egyptian pharaoh Khufu during the Fourth Dynasty around “… e year 2560 BCE… ” (Schillings, M. : 1999 : Sheet 1).

It has been suggested that the Egyptian civilisation succeeded in establishing a complex and organised work force of people to create and build an astonishing burial tomb for the pharaoh in aid of his journey to the afterlife. However, contrary to this suggestion, one must ask why the modern Egyptians continue to rely on traditional beliefs and attitudes to explain the presence of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Could this be the prefect example of nationalistic views?

It could be argued that as a result of the continual spread of Egyptian hearsay, the Egyptians obtained the understanding that the entire civilisation – past and present – is somehow superior in status to that of the average mortal man. Undoubtedly, in modern times, the world has gained an increased awareness of the uncertainties that surround investigations into such a distant past. Despite several emerging historical puzzles and conclusions, modern Egyptians continue to adhere to the theory presented by traditional Egyptology.

The sheer size, the huge proportions and the amazing geographical positioning of the pyramid have greatly contributed to the rise of uncertainty as to it’s origin and purpose. The construction of the pyramid was no mean feat, regardless of the creator. Considering the fact that the pyramid is “… thirty times larger than the Empire State Building… ” (Zajac, J. : 1996 : Sheet 2), it is hard to comprehend that such a pyramid could have been built without the current level of modern technological knowledge.

Perhaps the most far-fetched theory is that which introduces the idea that extraterrestrial beings created the Great Pyramid of Giza to guide UFO’s through the darkness of space. Nevertheless, such suggestions have been disregarded by many due to the lack of evidence and unsubstantiated speculations. There is one prominent speculation however, founded by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert, that continues to challenge and threaten the very existence of the theory presented by traditional Egyptology – The Orion Theory.

The central thesis is that the three smaller pyramids are aligned exactly like the three stars in the Orion Nebula, and that the shafts inside the pyramid pointed to Orion, at the time the pyramid was built,” (Schillings, M. : 1999 : Sheet 2). It is also believed that the many small structures alongside the Great Pyramid, symbolise the stars that form the constellation of the Milky Way. Scientific astronomy research has confirmed the notion that the Great Pyramid of Giza dates back far further than that which was originally thought.

A major piece of evidence that supposedly supports the Egyptology theory, is a statement made by Greek historian Herodotus upon a visit to Egypt during the 5th Century BCE. , “… it took ten years to build the track along which the blocks were hauled… To build the pyramid itself took twenty years… ” (Estensen, M. : 1997 : 82). One fact that is so easily overlooked, however, is that Herodotus did not visit Egypt until long after the construction of the pyramids.

Herodotus gained his knowledge by querying local Egyptians in relation to how the pyramids were built. If the pre-mentioned idea of Egyptian nationalism is correct, the statement made by Herodotus must be dismissed as a primary source of evidence, as it fails to present a an unbiased view with solid facts. In attempts to unlock the mysteries and secrets that lie within the pyramids, the astounding archaeological revelations presented by the Orion Theory have made people re-think past conceptions that were up till now unquestioned.

Remarkably, when looking at the Great Pyramid of Giza from an aerial view perspective, the pyramid somewhat resembles that of a star. This finding may not furnish concrete evidence to support the Orion Theory, but it does nevertheless, present an interesting similarity between the stars and the pyramids which Egyptology and other theories do not cater for. “The average height of land above sea level, as can be measured only by modern-day satellites and computers, happens to be 5, 449 inches. That is the exact height of the Pyramid,” (Zajac, J. : 1996 : Sheet 2).

At first glance, Egyptologists may be able to dismiss such phenomena as pure coincidence, however when in addition to other such examples of remarkable findings, it is necessary to seriously question the creditability of the Egyptology theory that is based entirely upon manpower and fairly primitive Egyptian technology. Clearly, there is still an enormous amount of speculation and uncertainty surrounding the construction and purpose of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Whoever did build the Pyramid had access to intelligence and information beyond that which modern humans possess.

Perhaps the most intriguing puzzle of all, remains very much the fact that “… the Great Pyramid itself contains no pharaoh’s body, no treasure chamber, and no treasures… ” (Zajac, J. : 1996 : Sheet 2). Also, it must be remembered that the great fascination and preoccupation with the afterlife did not flourish until the New Kingdom, long after the construction of the pyramids. New scientific evidence quite clearly suggests that the Pyramid of Giza was not contracted as a burial chamber, but perhaps as a means of studying the world that lies in outer space.

Cleopatra, queen of Egypt

Cleopatra was queen of Egypt, last ruler of the dynasty founded by Ptolemy, a Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, who took Egypt as his share in dividing Alexanders empire. Her capital, Alexander, founded by Alexander the Great, was the center of Hellenistic Greek culture of the world at that time, as well as a great commercial center. Although she imagined as a “beautiful and glamorous woman today, she was not very attractively depicted on ancient coins, having a long hook nose, and masculine features” (Flamarion 181). She deemed to be a strong-willed Macedonian queen who was brilliant and dreamed of a greater world empire.

Highly ntelligent, this shrewd politician almost achieved this goal. Her contributions as the last of the Ptolemaic Greek rulers of independent Egypt, were the endless expansion of the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean, and at her death left behind “a rich, imperial province which continued to flourish as the center of commerce, science, and learning under Roman rule” (Newman 554). This natural born leader was the oldest living daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes and of his sister and wife Cleopatra Tryphaena. Such brother-sister marriages were common among members of the Egyptian ruling house.

Her father, who died in 51 BC, requested the Cleopatra and his oldest son, Ptolemy XIII, become joint rulers, and made Rome the guardian of the Egyptian state. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the life of a prominent Egyptian figure, who through her determination and strong will, established herself as a pharaoh and queen of Egypt. Problems arose when the young Ptolemy began to serve as a puppet for power-hungry advisers, who much have found him far more easy to command and dictate than Cleopatra who was older and more intelligent.

Cleopatra and her brother started a civil war between themselves, which resulted in her being forced into exile to Syria. In Syria, she raised an army and started back to Egypt to regain her throne. In 48 BC, this ambitious monarch was in Pelusium, on the eastern frontier of Egypt, with her newly acquired army preparing to attack her brother and his associates. This battle was never fought, however, because Julius Caesar, who had arrived at Alexandria in pursuit of Pompey, “claimed the right to arbitrate the quarrel” as the representative of Rome (Hoobler 28).

Both Ptolemy and Cleopatra were to dismiss their armies and meet with Caesar, who would settle their dispute. Meanwhile, there was also a civil war going on between Caesar and Pompey. Pothinus, knowing that Caesar would win, convinced Ptolemy XIII that it would be best to have Pompey beheaded and have his head presented to Caesar, as a way to convince him to join their side in the their civil dispute. Caesar had not been”enchanted, and being friends with Pompey, did not desire to have him treated so disrespectfully” (Foreman 61).

Determined to present her case, Cleopatra sailed to Alexandria in a small boat with only a few assistants. There she had herself rolled up in to a carpet and carried to Caesars palace by one of her attendants who told the guards it was a present for Caesar. She did this because it would have been impossible to gain access to the palace without Ptolemy XIII discovering and killing her. Cleopatra realized that in order to gain power she would have to remain on good terms with Rome and its leaders so she successfully set out to captivate him.

Both Caesar and Cleopatra used each other to gain something, because he wanted to obtain money, and her main concern was gaining power. What had begun as a war between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII evolved into a war between Ptolemy XIII allied with Arsine, his sister, against Caesar, and became known as the Alexandrian War. Caesar read Auletes will to Ptolemy and forced him to restore her to the throne. When Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile, Caesar declared that “Cleopatra should marry her younger brother, then eleven years old, and rule as queen” (Newman 556) in order to please the Alexanderians and the Egyptian priests.

He remained in Egypt, ignoring his affairs in Rome and in the East, “out of arrogance and his desire to get his hands on Egypts vast resources” (Foreman 99). On his return to Rome, Caesar asks the tribune of the people, Helvius Cinna, to introduce into the Roman Senate a law permitting Caesar to marry Cleopatra and make their son, Caesarion, his heir. Many were upset that he was planning to marry Cleopatra regardless of the laws against bigamy and marriage to foreigners.

It took Caesar two years to defeat Pompeian opposition, and as soon as he returned to Rome, they celebrated a four-day triumph, or a ceremonial parade held to honor victorious generals. This quick-witted woman arrived in Rome with Ptolemy XIII and Caesarion, and they lived in Caesars villa, where he visited her constantly. Cleopatra had started calling herself the New Isis and was the subject of much gossip. A golden statue of her had been put in the Temple of Venus Genetrix, the anchantress of the Julian family to which Caesar belonged.

On the Ides of March in 44B. C. Caesar was assassinated outside the Senate building in Rome, “due to the threat that he posed to the well-being of the republic, because they believed that he was going to declare himself king” (Foreman 83). Shortly after Caesar was stabbed, Cleopatra left Rome, and one year later Ptolemy XIII died, just before he would have reached the legal age at which he could be expected to participate in the government, nd some say she may have poisoned him. On Ptolemys death, Cleopatra had her son, Caesarion, or “Little Caesar,” made co-ruler at the age of four. Caesars assassination caused anarchy and civil war in Rome.

Eventually the empire was divided among three men: Caesars great-nephew, Octavian, Marcus Lepidus, and Marc Antony. Antony, as one of the new rulers of the Eastern empire, summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus to answer charges that she had helped republican forces. Antony was in need of money to launch a campaign against the Parthians, and hoped Cleopatra would give him the funds he desperately needed. She set out for Tarsus in Asia Minor with lots of gifts, and entered the city on a magnificently decorated boat. She sailed with silver oars, purple sails, and dressed as Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.

She already new enough about his “limited strategic and tactical abilities, his blue blood, the drinking, his womanizing, his vulgarity and his ambition,” (MacUrdy 79) to know how to get to him. After much feasting and entertaining for days, Egypt remained an independent country instead of becoming a Roman province, as Antony intended. This very seductive woman agreed to provide im with money on the condition that her sister, Arsinoe IV, be executed. Forgetting his responsibilities and duty to the Roman empire, he accompanied this charismatic individual to Alexandria and spent the winter with her there.

In the spring of 40 BC, Mark Antony left Cleopatra and returned home, after giving her much land, including Cyprus, the Cilcian coast, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, Judea, and Arabia, which was very essential to Egypt. After the formation of the Second Triumvirate between Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus, Antony married Octavia, Octavians sister, in 40 BC to seal a deal with Octavian. It stated that “after the Triumvirate ended the two would both rule the Roman world, though they allowed Lepidus to remain in northern Africa and govern the area” (Foreman 95). Octavian held all of western Europe and Antony held the eastern end of the Roman world.

Upon forming this pact, he then went east to meet with Cleopatra again, because he needed money for his campaign, and later made a huge mistake by marring her, “which was not morally wrong, but by Roman law was invalid” (Hoobler 32). In 37 BC, however, Antonys march eastward led to renewed riendship and an understanding between both Antony and Cleopatra. From then on, Cleopatras influence over Marc Antony grew, and she wore Egyptian clothing that represented the goddess Isis and is reported to have adopted the following oath: “As surely as I shall one day dispense judgment in the Roman Capital” (Newman 556).

When Antony arranged for Caesarion, and his own three children by Cleopatra, to share ruling both Egypt and Roman provinces in Asia Minor and formally divorced Octavia, the Romans were furious. Octavian declared war not against Antony, but against Cleopatra, and announced Antony into the Senate. Romans felt it was much better to declare war on the foreign queen that they believed was influencing him, than on Antony himself. Cleopatra prevented Antony from leaving her to fight Octavian, who was winning much of his eastern territory from him.

At the battle of Actium in 31 BC, Cleopatras Egyptian forces, together with Antonys Roman forces, faced Octavians fleet, commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. During this naval battle, when Cleopatra retreated and Antony, infatuated as he was with her, quickly followed, and Octavian won a great victory. Antony joined his legions in Cyrene, and Cleopatra turned to Alexandria to recruit more roops and to raise new fleet. Octavian offered Cleopatra favorable treatment if she would kill Antony, but she refused.

She believed, however, that if he thought she were dead that he would commit suicide, and she was right, his last words being, “Now, Antony, why delay longer? Fate has snatched away your only reason for living” (Flamarion 219). With that, he plunged a dagger into his stomach, however did not die instantly. She was a mysterious and intriging woman who seemed that she would do anything to keep Alexandria under Egyptian rule no matter what the consequences.

Rather than have to face the humility of attending her enemys triumph, she committed suicide by being intentional bitten by an asp, which was an Egyptian cobra, and was buried at Antonys side as she had requested. She died on August 12, 30 BC, at the age of 39. The Egyptian religion declared that “death by snakebite secured immortality, allowing her to achieve her dying wish, not to be forgotten” (MacUrdy 129). Her death was the mark of the end of Egyptian Monarchs, as well as the last Egyptian Pharaoh, because after her death, Egypt became a Roman province, however her legacy still lives on.

The Life of the Egyptian Bedouins

The Bedouin people of Egypt can easily be described as a people with no place to call a home. Studying the Bedouins show that they have a deep and unique culture. They do not get involved in politics, and they live a humble and modest life. The Bedouin Nomads of Egypt are predominantly Muslim. Therefore, their beliefs, practices and rituals will be the same as that of a common Muslim. I will discuss the doings of Muslims but more importantly, I will concentrate on the beliefs and other aspects that make the Bedouin people unique and different from other Muslims.

In Islam, there is something known as the five pillars. These five pillars detail how to carry on your religious duty. The five pillars of Islam start off with the belief in the oneness of God and Muhammad as his prophet, as well as belief in all other prophets before Muhammad. The next pillar is prayer. Prayer must be carried out five times a day. The first prayer called Fagr (streak of light) must take place between when the first light of the day is seen until 10:00 am. The second prayer called al-duhr (noon prayer) should be done between noon and the next prayer which is the asr (afternoon) prayer.

The fourth prayer of the day is the Maghrib (sundown) prayer. The last prayer is called the Isha (night) prayer. If any prayer is missed at any time of the day for any reason, it can be made up at a later time. The next pillar of Islam is al-sowm (the fast). Muslims must fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Muslims engage in this practice in order to gain endurance and compassion for the poor. The fourth pillar of Islam is zakah (charity), every Muslim is asked to give a fraction of their money to the poor. This fraction is usually a percentage of their wealth.

The final pillar is the Hajj (journey to Mecca), a mature Muslim must visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once in their life. A Muslim that visits Mecca seven times in their lifetime can visit the Dome of the Rock is Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is the second most holy place in the world for Muslims. Most reputable literature written on the Bedouins were written by anthropologists that have spent time and traveled with them. One of these anthropologists, Joseph J. Hobbs, spent two years with the Ma’Awa Egyptian Bedouins.

Through these travels he was able to document the stories and traditions of these desert people. It is most fascinating that the Bedouins of Egypt live off of the deadest land in the world. They travel from place to place looking for the highest proliferation of plants for their ibexes and gazelles to feed. They depend on these animals not only for food but also for money. Small animals such as ibexes and gazelles can be sold for a good wage after they are grown. Bedouins can invest in a camel using money that they get from selling these small animals.

The Bedouins have a symbiotic relationship with camels. The camels can be used for transportation as well as food. Bedouins take great pride in their camels often treating them as a member of the family. It is not uncommon to see a family posing with their camel in a photograph. Marriage with the Bedouins is the next most popular topic of conversation after camels. Many of the practices and rituals that take place before marriage are similar to those of other Middle Eastern societies. There is a strong preference for marriage between a man and his bint’amm, (Cole p. 71) that his paternal uncle’s daughter.

The Al Murrah tribe do not allow their women to marry down into a group that is of lower social status. Men are allowed to marry a woman from a lower social group but the children will not be considered full members of the tribe. The major requirement that must hold true is that members of the tribe marry someone of equal social status, even if the perspective spouse is from a different tribe. The practices that follow the death of an Egyptian Bedouin are simple and swift. As the news of a death spreads, people come together and raise their palms and pray the Exhortation:

Praise be to God, Lord of Creation, The compassionate, the merciful, King of Judgement Day! You alone we worship, and to you alone We pray for help. Guide us to the straight path, The path of those whom you have favored, Not of those who have incurred your wrath, Nor of those who have gone astray. (Hobbs, p. 65) The dead should be buried as quickly as possible. The body is wrapped in seven layers of white sheet. A grave is dug six feet deep and the body is placed in with the head facing Mecca. Cemeteries are usually located near a source of water, this offers the luxury of ritual washing.

This location also strengthens the bond between the dead and the living. People as people come to water they have the opportunity of visiting the cemetery. Rituals are carried out fifteen and forty days after the burial. On the fifteenth day, the family of the deceased gather to eat dates and sweets and recite the Exhortation. On the fortieth day, they slaughter a sheep or goat and leave some food and water on the grave. (Hobbs, p. 65) This is only symbolic unlike the ancient Egyptians that gave offerings to the Gods in order to insure safe passage through the underworld.

The nomadic Bedouins pride themselves with their abilities of making use of things at hand, they feel that this distinguishes them from settled people. They believe that they are better than settled people in that they do not rely on anyone else for their survival. They do not rely on technological advances but use them to make life easier. It was only recently that automobiles were introduced into Bedouin life. Hobbs tells of a story that captures the spontaneity and creativity of the Bedouins. “In upper Wadi at-Tarfa, a desolate plain of sharp limestone, we blew out one tire and then our only spare.

In this waterless district, there was no chance that we could walk to safety. The only option was to fix a tire but we had no repair kit. Saalih envisioned a most unlikely solution. Out best spent tube had a four inch gash. He bunched the rubber around this tear like the skin of an accordion and punched a steel nail through the folds as I watched in dismay. Around this he wrapped a piece of clothe torn from his headscarf. He secured this patch by tying my leather shoelace tightly around the nail. We inflated the tire and drove nervously sixty-eight miles into Ras Gharib. ” (Hobbs, p. 54)

The uniqueness of creativity of the Bedouin tribe is slowly diminishing. Elder Bedouins tell of how the younger members of the tribe seem to grow increasingly lazier and less dependent on themselves for survival. An elder Bedouin illustrates this with more detail. “In the old days people weren’t lazy. In the old days people climbed mountains to fetch ‘irn to cure their waterskins. They ground millet by hand in their millstones. They made garments from cloth they bought at the market. When these got too worn to wear, they made blankets of many colors from them. They wove great wool houses.

People are lazy now and don’t make wool houses. Before people made waterskins from ibex or gazelle, instead of using jerrycans. Now they buy flour instead of grinding grain. They are getting more lazy. Years from now you will find them staying by the water all the time! ” (Hobbs, p. 55) Studying the Nomadic Bedouins of Egypt is most fascinating. They seem to be a people that love their life and work to make the most of it. They live off of the deadest land in the world and take great pride in doing so. Nomadic Bedouins illustrate that mankind can inhabitat most any environment and prosper with great endurance.

The Case of Paankhenamun

The most noticing aspect of Egyptian religion is its obsession with immortality and the belief of life after death. This sculpture can show you this on how mummification gave upbringing to complex arts in ancient Egypt. The sculpture is the Mummy Case of Paankhenamun. The artwork is currently viewed at The Art Institute of Chicago. The sculpture was from the third period, Dynasty 22, in ancient Egypt. However, the sculpture has many features to it that makes it so unique in ancient Egypt from any other time. Egyptians did not want to die. They saw no reason why life should not go on when they were dead.

When the Egyptians thought about what happened when they died, they decided that there would be another life in store for them. A life that lasts forever, just like their life on earth, with parties, hunting, games, and good meals. What is the definition of a mummy? Egyptians wanted to cheat death. They had to do many things to achieve the gift of rebirth into the after-life. They had to stay on the right side of the gods, and learn the correct magic spells. If the Egyptians wanted to cheat death, their bodies had to be carefully preserved, for all time.

The most important part of a person was thought to be his or her spirit, or double, known as the “ka. ” The ka was created at the same time as the physical body. The ka existed in the physical world and resided in the tomb. It had the same needs that the person had in life, which was to eat, drink, etc. The Egyptians left offerings of food, drink, and worldly possessions in the tombs for the ka to use. The second important aspect was the person’s personality or “ba. ” Like a person’s body, each ba was an individual. It entered a person’s body with the breath of life and it left at the time of death.

It moved freely between the underworld and the physical world. The ba had the ability to take on different forms. The last and final aspect was the person’s immortality or “akh. ” The akh was the aspect of a person that would join the gods in the underworld being immortal and unchangeable. It was created after death by the use of funerary text and spells, designed to bring forth the akh. Once this was achieved that individual was assured of not “dying a second time”, a death that would mean the end of one’s existence. An intact body was an integrate part of a person’s afterlife.

Without a hysical body there was no ka, ba, or akh. By mummification, the Egyptians believed they were assuring themselves a successful rebirth into the afterlife. One may think that the process of mummifying one’s body took a couple of hours. Not even close, it took a total of 70 days to complete mummification. The process included prayers, magical chants, and mostly drying out the body. First the corpse was taken to the embalmers’ workshop. The workshop had special magic names, such as the “House of Vigor” (strength). This name helped to make sure that embalming gave the dead body back its strength.

Once in the workshop, it was time to remove all the internal organs that might decay quickly. The first organ removed was the brain. The Egyptians believed that the brain was of little importance and it was thrown away when removed. The brain was extracted by poking a hole in the thin bone at the top of the nostrils, the ethmoid bone. A large bronze needle with a hooked or spiral end was used to perform this procedure. Next, a small slit was made in the side to remove the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines. The organs were dried out and put in special jars called “canonic jars.

The Egyptians thought that bad magic could be worked against you if an enemy got hold of any part of your body, even a single hair. So these internal organs would eventually be buried alongside the mummy for protection. The heart was the only organ to be left in place, believing it to be the center of a person’s being and intelligence. Next, the body had to be dried out. For 40 days it laid packed in crystals of a chemical called natron. At the end of this period the body would have looked horrifying. It was time for the embalmers to restore as life-like an appearance as possible.

They filled out the body cavities with packing and anointed the skin with a mixture of spices, milk, and wine. Artificial eyes were added, and perhaps a wig. Then the embalmers applied a coating of resin all over the body. For women, they added cosmetics and jewelry. Finally, it was time for bandaging. Each mummy needed hundreds of yards of linen. This process lasted 15 days. Magic spells guided each step. Then the embalmers added a special mask and placed the body in an elaborately decorated coffin. The mummy was now ready for burial. The Egyptians had a very peaceful and prosperous way of living.

There love for life lasted even after death. Their beliefs were strong and they carried those with them for eternity. Using the aesthetic terms, you will see how this sculpture is most definitely from ancient Egypt. This sculpture is naturalistic because it follows nature; it follows how things naturally appear. This vividly painted mummy shows how idealized the case is, meaning that it is shown as perfect or more nearly perfect than what it really is. When looking at the face, you can tell all the features it has on it and how it is shaped like a human body.

Another example would be the eagle that is right below in the chest area, it is drawn to perfection. The people underneath the eagle are idealized and are painted Ridgeley. You can see that they are standing, not moving or progressing in any way. The mummy itself is standing, stationary. This also is rational meaning that it communicates splendor. Just by looking at this mummy, the facial expression just shows the good posture of the person. It shows the dignity with the paintings on in front of it. Ancient Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife gave rise to the complex art. It has details that are thick.

The paintings on the front of the mummy are very well drawn. They show how this person as or who he/she may want to be in the afterlife. The face is drawn very thick for the fact that it becomes complex. A good example would be the gold face with the wide black eyes and the hair at the sides. In addition, the mummy has a two-dimensional effect because it is meant to be seen at from the front, not from any other angle. The eyes are facing straight so if you stand right in front of it you will completely appreciate the mummy to the fullest. A similar sculpture to this mummy would be the Death Mask of Tutankamen, Thebes, Egypt, and Dynasty 28.

Its also has a gold face and the facial expressions are the same. You can see that the eyes are looking straightforward. They are both two-dimensional. It has the head an eagle but this one has it on its forehead and the mummy has it below the chest area. Nevertheless, they both have the same animal on them. A different sculpture would be Chefren. In this one, the sculptors approach to the anatomy and material is realistic; the details are still shown with great accuracy. In this sculpture, a falcon instead of an eagle is protecting him. The falcon is right behind his head, not in front like the other two.

It is a portrait not of an individual but the concept of divine power unlike how the others were portraits of important people. This mummy from ancient Egypt shows their belief in the afterlife and it shows a complex art and science of mummification. The painted mummy case shows how the sculptor wanted the person to see the life this person portrayed. The hieroglyphics inscriptions and painted scenes identify this mummy as a Paankhenamun, a doorkeeper in the temple of the god Amun. Therefore, The central scene shows the eagle-headed god Horus presenting Paankhenamun to Osiris, ruler of the afterlife.

Cleopatra VII’s family

Cleopatra VII’s family had been ruling Egypt since 305 B. C. , when Ptolemy I declared himself King of Egypt sometime after Alexander the Great’s death. The Ptolemy family was of Macedonian decent, not of Egyptian. The capital city which they ruled from, Alexandria, had been established by Alexander and is a port city on the Mediterranean and Nile River. This made Alexandria very important commercially, and it also became an intellectually and artistically important city as well.

Cleopatra VII’s father was Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos “Auletes”, who began his rule of Egypt in 80 B. C. He was not well respected and thought weak, as is exhibited by his popular nickname “Auletes”, which means “flute-player” in Greek. Cleopatra VII’s mother could possibly be Cleopatra V Tryphaena, who either died or disappeared in 68 B. C. , right after Cleopatra VII’s birth in 69 B. C. Cleopatra VII had two older sisters, Cleopatra VI and Berenice IV, and one younger sister, Arsinoe IV. She also had two younger brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. In 58 B. C. Berenice IV (and perhaps Cleopatra VI) took over the kingdom, forcing Ptolemy XII “Auletes” to flee to Rome.

Berenice IV ruled the kingdom until Ptolemy XII “Auletes” regained the throne in 55 B. C. Berenice IV was beheaded, and Cleopatra VI disappeared in the intervening time between 58 and 55 B. C. Ptolemy XII “Auletes” then ruled until his death in 51 B. C. His will named Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XIII as heirs to the throne. Leaders in Rome were named as guardians and were to uphold the choice of Ptolemy XII for the two to marry and jointly rule Egypt. These brother-sister marriages had been established as custom by Ptolemy II when he married his sister Arsinoe II.

From now on Cleopatra VII will be referred to simply as Cleopatra unless otherwise indicated) Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII ruled jointly and did marry, though it was a marriage solely in law. Cleopatra, aged about 18 years, and Ptolemy XII, 10 years, were named Queen and King of Egypt in 51 B. C. Cleopatra did most of the ruling, and left Ptolemy XIII out of it. Ptolemy XIII, being young, served as a puppet for power-hungry advisers (in particular a minister named Pothinus) and in 48 B. C. kicked Cleopatra out of the palace.

Cleopatra retaliated by building her own army outside the city. Civil war was on the brink. Meanwhile in Rome, there was also a civil war between Pompey (the Great) and Julius Caesar. Pompey had been an ally of the Egyptians and, in an attempt to gain help, he fled to Egypt. Pothinus, knowing that Caesar would win, convinced Ptolemy XIII that it would be best to have Pompey beheaded. Pompey was stabbed in front of his wife by Lucius Septimius, who had once served under Pompey. Lucius Septimius was accompanied by Achillas, general of the Egyptian army.

Pothinus had the head of Pompey saved to display for Caesar. Caesar had been in pursuit of Pompey, and when he arrived in Egypt he was housed in the palace and presented Pompey’s head. Pothinus thought that this would convince Caesar that he should join Ptolemy XIII’s side in the civil war. Caesar had not been enchanted, however, by Pompey’s head being presented to him. Caesar had been friends with Pompey and did not desire to have him treated so disrespectfully. Cleopatra, outside the city, knew it was imperative that she get to Caesar and have him hear her side of the story.

As the legend goes, she had herself smuggled into the palace in a rug. She did this because it would have been impossible to gain access to the palace without Ptolemy XIII discovering and killing her. Caesar was enchanted by the young queen and the two spent the night together. Ptolemy was called to an audience the next day and was dismayed to find that Cleopatra was at his side. What had begun as a war between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII evolved into a war between Ptolemy XIII allied with Arsinoe IV against Caesar. This is refereed to as the Alexandrian War.

Cyprus had been given back to Egypt by Caesar, and Arsinoe IV and Ptolemy XIV had been named rulers. Arsinoe appeared to believe that she should also be Queen of Egypt, hence her alliance with Ptolemy XIII against Caesar. During the Alexandrian War it had been reported that the great Library of Alexandria had burned. The Library contained the greatest amount of books in any library at the time. It appears that not the Library but a warehouse of books, possibly for export, had burned near the harbor (where the fire began aboard ships).

The placement of the Library was too far inland for this to have happened. Caesar may have had Pothinus beheaded because of what he did to Pompey, or he may have died in the fighting. Either way, he was dead or missing. Ptolemy XIII, hearing of this, threw his crown down and stormed out of the palace. He supposedly later drowned trying to leave the city. Arsinoe IV was taken prisoner by Caesar to be displayed as a spoil of war in Rome. Cleopatra was then restored to the throne and again married to her brother, Ptolemy XIV. It was 47 B. C. , and Cleopatra was 22 years old, and Ptolemy XIV was 12.

Cleopatra again acted as sole ruler, and this time managed to keep Ptolemy XIV from influence. Since Arsinoe IV was considered a traitor, Cyprus was now under the direct rule of Cleopatra (and, officially, Ptolemy XIV). Cleopatra chose to show Caesar her country with a cruise on the Nile. Records of the cruise give us little information on their trip, but it is very likely that Cleopatra became pregnant either while she was in Alexandria with Caesar or during their trip. Either way, she claimed Caesar was the father, though whether this is true is debatable.

Caesar had only one child, a daughter named Julia, and had had many affairs with women that never produced children. Caesar’s alleged son was probably born in 47 B. C. Most sources roughly claim this as his birth year, though some sources claim he was born as late as 44 B. C. , which would place his birth after Caesar’s death. If he was born in 47 B. C. , Caesar had left for Rome shortly before his birth. Cleopatra’s son was officially named Ptolemy XV Caesar, but he was popularly called “Caesarion”, meaning “Little Caesar”. As stated before, Arsinoe IV had been taken prisoner by Caesar.

Arsinoe IV appeared in Caesar’s March of Triumph in 46 B. C. She was marched through the streets of Rome loaded down with chains. Caesar arranged for Arsinoe IV to leave Rome instead of be beheaded, as was the usual practice with prisoners of war. She went to Ephesus, in Asia Minor. Contrary to the 1963 movie, Cleopatra most likely didn’t attend the Triumph because her presence there does not seem to appear in any ancient documents. Her presence would have caused quite a stir and would have been recorded by her contemporaries.

Cleopatra, Ptolemy XIV and Caesarion went to Rome as Caesar’s guests in 46 B. C. and stayed a villa of his outside of Rome. Cleopatra remained in Rome for about 2 years. On the Ides of March in 44 B. C. , Caesar was assassinated outside the Senate Building in Rome. Most of the senators thought he posed a threat to the well-being of the republic, because they believed that he was going to have himself declared king. Soon after Caesar’s death Cleopatra left Rome and returned to Egypt. Ptolemy XIV is thought to have survived the voyage back to Egypt, but he died soon after. He may have died of natural causes, or Cleopatra may have had him killed.

This is possible because he was 15 years old and would probably start to assert his right to the throne. Mark Antony, who she had meet in Rome, became part of the Second Triumvirate composed of himself, Octavian (later Augustus) and Lepidus. A Triumvirate was a dictatorship where 3 people held power jointly for five years, meaning that these three men held total power over the Roman world. Antony was in charge of the eastern provinces, Octavian was in charge of Rome and Gaul, and Lepidus was in charge of northern Africa.

In 42 B. C. Ledipus lost some power (yet remained a triumvir) because he was suspected of giving asylum to an enemy of the republic (and reported pirate): Pompey Sextus, son of the Pompey the Great. In 41 B. C. Antony summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus. Antony was in need of money to launch a campaign against the Parthians, and he hoped Cleopatra would give him the money he needed. As legend says, she met him dressed as Aphrodite, goddess of love. Antony was enamored with her. Antony then spent the winter in Alexandria with her. Cleopatra agreed to provide him with money on the condition that Arsinoe IV be executed.

Cleopatra most likely felt threatened by her continual existence, and persuaded Antony to get rid of her on the grounds that she might have helped his enemies in the recent battles at Phillipi. Antony agreed to the terms and Arsinoe IV was executed. Antony married Octavia, Octavian’s sister, in 40 B. C. He married Octavia to seal a deal with Octavian. It stated that after the Triumvirate ended the two would both rule the Roman world, though they allowed Lepidus to remain in northern Africa and govern the area. Octavian held all of western Europe and Antony held the eastern end of the Roman world.

This same year Cleopatra gave birth to twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, the sun and the moon. Surely she was very unhappy that Antony had married Octavia, and no doubt even angrier when Octavia became pregnant. In 37 B. C. Antony sent Octavia back to Rome to her brother. He then went to Alexandria to be with Cleopatra. Antony proceeded to give her and her children quite a bit of land in the east around the Red Sea. In about 36 B. C. Cleopatra began ruling with her son, Ptolemy XV Caesar. She also gave birth to another child by Antony, Ptolemy Philadelphus.

When Antony invaded Armenia in 34 B. C. , he held the triumph march in Alexandria. As part of the festivities, there were public banquets and distributions of money. He apparently did not intend for this to be a traditional Roman Triumph, but the Roman people thought it was. Enraged Romans felt that they should be recieving the food and money and Antony’s reputation in Rome worsened. Also in 34 B. C. Cleopatra and her children received land from Antony. Cleopatra Selene, Cleopatra’s six year old daughter, was made Queen of Crete and Cyrenaica (on the northern coast of Africa).

Alexander Helios, also six years old, was made King of Armenia and overlord of Media. Media already had a king, and in fact Alexander Helios was betrothed to his daughter, but now Alexander held a higher position than the King. The youngest, Ptolemy Philadelphus (then two years old), was named King of Syria and overlord of part of Asia Minor. Cleopatra’s title became Queen of Kings and Ptolemy XV Caesar was named King of Kings. Now the Ptolemaic empire covered a large portion of the eastern Mediterranean world. These additions to the Ptolemaic empire are referred to as the Donations of Alexandria.

The Donations were no doubt unpopular in Rome and did not help Antony and Cleopatra’s reputations in Rome. In 32 B. C. Octavian declared war on Cleopatra, not Antony. Romans felt it was much better to declare war on the foreign queen that they believed was influencing Antony than on Antony himself. The final battle took place at Actium, in Greece. The battle was in 31 B. C. and was horribly planned on Antony’ and Cleopatra’s part. As legend goes, during the battle Cleopatra deserted and Antony, infatuated as he was with her, followed. This might have been pure propaganda by Octavian, or it might have actually happened.

If it did, there is the possibility that Cleopatra and Antony had planned this beforehand for whatever reasons. They fled to Egypt and Ocatvian waited until a year later to pursue them. Upon returning to Egypt Cleopatra and Antony decked their ships out so it appeared that the battle had been successful. They wished to be greeted favorably in Egypt. Antony spent time in a tower in the harbor called the Timonium, where he moped, and eventually he returned to the palace. Cleopatra planned to send Caesarion away, perhaps to India, so he might escape harm from Octavian and retain the throne of Egypt.

Cleopatra might have been planning to go east also and establish herself there. Cleopatra was arranging for ships to be moved from the Nile to the Red Sea, but this plan was unsuccessful. As it was, she stayed in Egypt. Both she and Antony sent bribes to Octavian asking him to leave them in peace, but none were successful. Cleopatra built a mausoleum where she amassed her wealth and planned to spend eternity. Octavian was nearing Egypt and on hearing this sent messages claiming she would be treated well when captured because he feared that she would set fire to her valuable, collected items.

When Octavian finally came in 30 B. C. , Cleopatra shut herself in her mausoleum with her two servants, Iras and Charmion. Antony heard this and, believing she was dead, killed himself. As he lay dying he was brought to Cleopatra in the mausoleum and died. While Cleopatra was talking to a person outside the door (sent to distract her) members of Octavian’s staff climbed up to the opened window used to bring Antony in. She was taken prisoner and moved to the palace, where she killed herself. Her servants Iras and Charmion also committed suicide, and when the three were found Cleopatra was dead.

Iras and Charmion were nearly dead at her side. A guard, seeing Charmion adjusting Cleopatra’s diadem, asked, “Charmion, was this right? ” And Charmion replied, “It is entirely right and fitting for a queen descended from so many kings. ” How did she die? Legend says she poisoned herself with an asp bite. She could have used any of the many types of poisons known at the time, though the snake story has been the most popular. There were two pricks on her arm which might have been caused by a snake, but then they might have been caused by an armband she was wearing.

No evidence of a snake or any poison was found. No one knows for sure how she died. Caesarion was strangled by his tutor, Rhodon, on their way out of Egypt. The rest of Cleopatra’s children might have been raised by Octavian’s wife. Cleopatra Selene married King Juba II of Mauretania. They had a son which they named Ptolemy who gained the throne in 23 A. D. and ruled until he was killed by Caligula 40 years later. Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus were not killed; they may have gone to live with their sister in Mauretania but it is not known what happened to them.

Egypt, A Mixture Of Well Educated And Uneducated People

The majority of people have various ways of viewing cultures. Because of close-mindedness and lack of cultural education, people have a difficult time interacting with different societies. I feel that people shouldn’t stereotype because this might lead to misjudgment. For example, I have personally experienced this type of stereotyping of my Egyptian culture. Although people view Egypt as a plain desert with camel riders, my experience from living there shows Egypt to be a developing civilized country with a great history .

People think about Egypt in this manner because of the media. The news primarily exposes the uncivilized parts of the country. For instance, the well known news broad-casting channel CNN showed the circumcising of a young girl on the television screen. This is a harsh way to introduce a culture to people. Often, CNN shows cases of the Egyptian desert with camel riders. This narrow perspective influences the society’s view of our culture. Another example is an article in the National Geographic magazine about Egypt (written by Peter Throux in April 1993).

The writer described the country as smoggy, dirty, over-populated and with traffic problems. The article introduced Egypt as a superstitious culture which was graphically proven in a picture shown in the article. This picture showed the head of a woman with the body of a snake. This picture gives the reader the impression that Egyptians believe in black magic. Whenever the media introduce a culture, they should mention all the positive and the negative aspects of that specific culture.

For instance, whenever you watch a program about the United States of America back home, you see only sky-scrapers and big luxurious cities. This doesn’t portray the entire United States. In reality, Egypt is a mixture of well educated and uneducated people. I have lived there for many years and from experience, I think it’s an interesting country. Egypt has the Nile River which supports the cities around it with water and green areas. In Egypt, the government encourages the people to move away from the cities and start agricultural communities with great facilities.

This encouragement helps provide more agricultural areas and more jobs for the Egyptian people. This enrichment has stabilized the currency for six years and has also improved the growth of the national income. In Egypt, here are the “pyramids” which are symbols of the Egyptian pride. Temples, churches and mosques show a great art of design. These buildings are not just constructions, they are decorations and a history for all generations.

This history has motivated the Egyptians to continue their modern progresses. It has also influenced the Egyptian traditions. For example, the Egyptian ancestors passed down many traditions. These traditions emphasize respect for elders and family. In conclusion, my view is that culture has it’s good and bad qualities. The negative ones in the Egyptian culture are the traffic, extensive paper work with certified signature), hard-to-find housing and beggars. This occurs because of the over population problem.

The Egyptian government is trying to fix this problem by doing everything possible. I wish every person could view the Nile River at night, the historical sites (such as the pyramids) and the beaches of the red sea, to fully understand the beauty of nature in this part of the world. Egypt is mentioned in the holy book Quran as a secure country with generous people living in it. I wish everyone could see the world with an open mind, rather than with an eye of ignorance and prejudice.

Early Egyptian Religious Beliefs and Akhenatens Reforms

During the New Kingdom of Egypt (from 1552 through 1069 B. C. ), there came a sweeping change in the religious structure of the ancient Egyptian civilization. “The Hymn to the Aten” was created by Amenhotep IV, who ruled from 1369 to 1353 B. C. , and began a move toward a monotheist culture instead of the polytheist religion which Egypt had experienced for the many hundreds of years prior to the introduction of this new idea.

There was much that was different from the old views in “The Hymn to the Aten”, and it offered a new outlook on the Egyptian ways of life by providing a complete break with the traditions which Egypt held to with great respect. Yet at the same time, there were many commonalties between these new ideas and the old views of the Egyptian world. Although through the duration of his reign, Amenhotep IV introduced a great many changes to the Egyptian religion along with “The Hymn”, none of these reforms outlived their creator, mostly due to the massive forces placed on his successor, Tutankhamen, to renounce these new reforms.

However, the significance of Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaten as he later changed his name to, is found in “The Hymn”. “The Hymn” itself can be looked at as a contradiction of ideas; it must be looked at in relation to both the Old Kingdom’s belief of steadfast and static values, as well as in regards to the changes of the Middle Kingdom, which saw unprecedented expansionistic and individualistic oriented reforms. In this paper I plan to discuss the evolvement of Egyptian Religious Beliefs throughout the Old,

Middle, and New Kingdoms and analyze why Amenhotep IV may have brought about such religious reforms. The Old Kingdom of Egypt (from 2700 to 2200 B. C. ), saw the commencement of many of the rigid, formal beliefs of the Egyptian civilization, both in regards to their religious and political beliefs, as they were very closely intertwined. “… There was a determined attempt to impose order on the multitude of gods and religious beliefs that had existed since predynastic times… and the sun-god Re became the supreme royal god, with the king taking the title of Son of Re” (David 155).

The Egyptians overall believed that nature was an incorruptible entity and that to reach a state of human perfection in the afterlife, they too would have to change from their corruptible human shells to mimic the incorruptibility of nature. Upper and Lower Egypt were united for the first time under one ruler, however, this would come to an end around 2200 B. C.. In much of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Pharaoh was often depicted as almost larger than life, with great power and much of Egyptian art is a celebration of his accomplishments.

The formation of a royal absolutism occurred during this period, with the Pharaoh and a small-centralized administration, composed mainly of royal kin and relatives, overseeing all aspects of Egyptian life. The Pharaoh was looked at as a living god among the Egyptian people, who assured the success of Egypt as well as its peace. “The Pharaoh belonged both to the world of the gods and the world of men, and he was seen as a bridge between them. Some of the local deities represented various aspects of nature, such as the earth and the sky, or the Nile and it’s gifts of fertility.

So the king, living in their midst, could bring the Egyptians into a harmonious relationship with their divinities and with the forces of nature upon which their whole existence depended” (Hawkes 43). In regard to the religious structure of the Old Kingdom, there was a polytheistic view of the world, as in Mesopotamia. However, unlike the Mesopotamian religion, the Egyptians worked for their kings as opposed to working for their gods. The complex concept of the afterlife was also developed during this period.

The Great Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom built great pyramids to forever protect their remains after death. It was believed that the king (solely) could “spend eternity traveling with the gods… However, in order to obtain eternal sustenance, it was also essential that the king could return to earth at will; here, through his preserved body, his spirit imbibes the essence of food and drink offerings, which were continually brought to his burial complex” (David 126).

These political and religious views were believed to be sacred and intended to be adhered to without change, following the Egyptian’s view of nature as an unchanging constant, and a static phenomenon. After the collapse of the Old Kingdom, there came the First Intermediate Period during which the United Egypt separated. It became a time of turmoil and disaster. The Pharoah was over thrown and society simply collapsed resulting in anarchy throughout Egypt. Famine and disease were widespread and the rich were equal to the poor.

Since the Kingship was discredited, individuals now demanded their own eternity. Tombs were equipped in provincial districts for the local rulers, but gradually, democratization of beliefs came to affect all levels of society, and even the poorest classes hoped to achieve individual immortality (David 132). Order was eventually restored and Egypt entered into a great period of prosperity. This was the Middle Kingdom. Though Egypt was separated, both Upper and Lower Egypt still had a shared religion, just different views as to whom the heroes and villains were in their mythology.

The Middle Kingdom, which occurred between 2040 and 1674 B. C. , saw the re-emergence of a united Egypt. The Pharaohs of this period were once again the center of the kingdom, and the military might of Egypt was far greater than it been in previous centuries. However, the Pharaoh was not as great a political power as he had been in the Old Kingdom, as the nobles had begun to gain a sense of greater independence from the Pharaoh, in respect to the idea that they needed him to assure themselves a place in the afterlife.

They believed that they could obtain eternity themselves by using symbols of the monarchy from the Old Kingdom as well as magical spells, which they collected from the Pyramid Texts. The nobles had their own large tombs, but they “were no longer constructed near the King’s pyramid but were scattered more independently across the necropolis, and the high quality of the wall-decoration in these tombs indicated their owner’s importance” (David 129). The political structure of the Middle Kingdom was also changing from that of the Old Kingdom.

In the past, the government was run by only the immediate family of the Pharaoh, in the Middle Kingdom however, “he began to marry into the wealthy but non-royal nobility, destroying the fictional divinity of the royal line” (David 131). Around 1674 B. C. , the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt separated once again. This Second Intermediate Period saw the Hyksos, Semitic invaders from Palestine, come and overtake the Egyptian ruling class. These peoples were expelled from Egypt around 1553 B. C. , which gave rise to the New Kingdom of Egypt.

The capital was moved to Thebes and “these rulers attributed their ascendancy over the Hyksos to the powerful support of their local god; Amun. … The kings eventually associated him with the old northern sun-god Re, creating the all new powerful deity Amen-Re” (David 147). Also at this time, there began a new imperialistic movement within the Egyptian culture, and we see several crusades into Asia and the Mid-East during this time frame. Egypt ruled in Asia for about a century or so, but lost it due to the lack of interest on the part of the royal court in the contents of its Asian subjects.

Though for the most part, the Egyptian religion remained as it had in the previous kingdoms during the first part of the New Kingdom. Amenhotep IV, or Akhenaten as he later changed his name to, brought about many religious reforms. Amenhotep IV began a series of reforms to ensure the Pharaoh’s status as a living god among the people, as opposed to a simple agent of the sun-god Amen-Re, as the priests of the royal court were beginning to assert a more powerful and independent role.

Assisted by the royal family, Amenhotep IV commenced on a series of religious reforms, which would help him regain the power lost to the priests. He worshiped Aten, the radiant god of the sun disk. Why this particular god Aten was chosen may never be known, But Amenhotep IV apparently so inspired by his faith that he wrote The Hymn to the Aten in his praise. At first he tolerated worship of other gods along with Aten, but eventually he chiseled out the name of Amen-Re from anything which beared the name, and closed the temples of the other gods.

The Pharaoh and his family were to worship Aten, while the remainder of the populace was to worship the Pharaoh. Amenhotep then moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes, which was primarily centered on Amen-Re, to a new location called Akhenaten, now modern day Armana, to further separate from previous beliefs. Amenhotep IV also changed his name to Akhenaten, which translates to “It pleases Aten”. Akhenaten also replaced his advisors with new men, instead of the Amen serving priests. These changes showed a move toward a more monotheist view of the Egyptian world, a view that had never been observed before.

Although each period and line of kings favored a supreme state-god, there had always been toleration of the multitude of deities in Egypt’s pantheon” (David 155). This new religion saw the worship of Aten as the principal hero in Egyptian religion, with gods like Amon as enemies. These reforms however, would be short-lived, and the only enduring sign of this Pharaoh’s significance is in the Hymns, which were written to the “new” god Aten. In The Hymn, Aten is proclaimed to be the sole god, and responsible for all of creation. O unique god, who has no second to him!

You have created the earth according to your desire, while you were alone, With men, cattle, and wild beasts, all that is upon earth and goes upon feet, and all that soars above and flies with its wings (Akhenaten lines 60-65). The Hymn also proclaims the pharaoh as the gods sole representative on earth, and virtually interchangeable with one another. When you rise you make all to flourish for the King, you who made up the foundations of the earth. You who rise them up for your son, he who came forth from your body, … (Akhenaten lines 122-125). The writing is very beautiful and was inscribed on walls in various tombs.

Though much of what Akhenaten was proposing was a drastic change from the traditional beliefs of Egyptian religion, there were some aspects of these reforms shown in “The Hymn to the Aten” that were not that far a cry from much of what was taught and believed in the past. As with the gods of the past, Aten was visible, as in that he could be presented in a painting to the people who worshipped him. This new god, Aten, was allowed to be pictured in the elaborate murals on tomb walls and so on, much the same as the old gods of the prior religion were.

Aten was also the embodiment of the sun, as Amon-Re was in the old religion, and was worshipped much the same as Amon-Re was prior to Akhenaten’s condemnation of him. Aten was also seen as The Creator of all that was Existing, which also held to the traditional belief that the sun god was the chief creator of the universe. It was also believed in this new religion as in the old one, that the Pharaoh was the next of kin to the sun god, even though the sun god had changed from Re to Aten. It was also believed that the sun god was raised above the other gods, while being able to have his presence encompass everything.

None of these ideas were new to the Egyptian people, as they were exhibited in the old religion; however there was much in this new theology that was extremely different from the traditions of the old. “The Hymn to the Aten” introduced a great many new concepts to the religion of the Egyptian people. The nature of Aten as the creator is different from previous religious beliefs. Aten was said to have created the world out of his own will to do so, not out of necessity. Also, we see Aten being distinguished from nature, as well as seeing that nature is not a separate being in the theological order of things.

Nature is now believed to be ordered under Aten, with no separate, sovereign being of its own. The Nile is no longer believed to be the embodiment of a god, but a creation of the god, Aten. These two views are the result of the shift toward the monotheist belief that Aten is the sole god in the cosmos, worshipped by the Pharaoh and his family, who are in turn worshipped by the Egyptian people. Aten is now seen as a universal god, who is worshipped by everyone on earth, just in forms and fashions differing from those of the Egyptians; not as a god who was specific to the Egyptian people.

Though this hymn offers much that is vastly different from the old beliefs in Egyptian culture, it is also an effort to revitalize the old beliefs. “The Hymn” is intending to bring the Pharaoh back into the center of Egyptian religion, politics and culture. It is an attempt to revive and reestablish the unquestionable divinity of the Pharaoh. However, it is going about it by completely severing ties with the old traditions of Egyptian religion. “The Aten had no moral philosophy or attractive mythology which could inspire the general worshipper” (David 157).

The Hymn” also creates a paradoxical relationship between the two theological views as expressed in Egyptian culture. On one hand, there is the new tendency toward a monotheistic religion, with Aten as the sole god, and no other gods governing nature, etc. On the other hand, there are the old views on religion being expressed; the Pharaoh was worshipped by the people of Egypt as a god, and he in turn is worshipping the god Aten; thus, there is more than one god. These new religious views also appeared to help influence a major break in the traditional art of the time.

Rather than producing idealized portraits as had been done for hundreds of years prior, Akhenaten encouraged artists to represent him in informal situations – basking in Atens benevolent rays. With his blessing, the artists portrayed Akhenaten not as a conqueror, riding in a war chariot and trampling his enemies, but as a family man, relaxing with Nefertiti, his queen, and his daughters. “The Hymn to the Aten”, though it offered new ideas on Egyptian religion, was an attempt by a ruler who enjoyed the idea of a divine title to regain what his predecessors had.

The religious reforms brought about by Akhenaten were intended to restore the position of the Pharaoh to the level of absolute rule which had once been held due to belief that the Pharaoh was the personification of the gods. This however was not to be, as the priests which Akhenaten had fought against in his attempt to redefine the Pharaoh’s divinity would take advantage of the weakness of Akhenaten’s successor, Tutankhamen. “Tutankhamen’s immaturity enabled the courtiers and officials to direct political and religious events…

The court moved back to Thebes, and the royal couple changed their names to Tutankhamen, demonstrating their renewed allegiance to Amen-Re. The king restored the old temples of the many gods, and reinstated the priesthoods” (David 158). The reforms, which Akhenaten brought to return the power once held by the Pharaoh in the Old Kingdom, were unable to be understood. The people who Akhenaten had to ensure comprehension of his reasoning did not, for they no longer were connected to the old order which he was trying to reestablish.

Ramses The Great

In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times. Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, or just Ramses, was born in 1304 B. C. , and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful. He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B. C. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom. According to historians, the Nile river was the source of life to the Egyptians.

The Nile river provided the Egyptian people with water, fish, and fertile soil to grow crops on. The peasant folk in Egypt lived on a diet of wheat bread, fish, and corn. Also, the death rates there were said to be very high. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his heart desired. The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses had many wives, but he loved one particular wife the most of all of them. Ramses the Great was also known for his fighting.

In 1275 B. C. , he went into battle with about 2,000 men. It was about noon on a spring day, and Ramses II was encamped with his army near the city of Kadesh in Syria. He and his army were planning a surprise attack on the Hittites. While Ramses was waiting for his army to assemble, Hittite chariots showed up out of nowhere and attacked. Frightened, the Egyptian forces fled and left Ramses the Great to face the enemy alone. Luckily, he escaped with his life. Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save him.

He said, “My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots. ” After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B. C. , Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible.

The story that they think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go. Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple.

The Great Sphinx of Giza

A reaserch team has discovered evidence that the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, may date from 5000 and 7000 BCE and possibly earlier. In response , archeoligist have thrown mud at geologist, historians caught in the middle, and the Sphinx , having revealed one secret, challenges us to unravel even greater The dicovery originated half a century ago in the work of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, between 1937 and 1952. Schwaller conducted a survey on the pyrimds and surrounding monuments. Schwaller observed a physical anomaly in the pyrimid complex at Giza.

The erosoin on the Sphinx was quite different from the erosion on the other structures. Schwaller sugested that the cause of erosion on the Sphynx was water rather than wind-borne sand. Since no one understood the implacations this study went unnoticed until the 1970’s, when an indepent Egyptologist John West took up the question. Archaeologists atrribute the Sphinx to the Old Kingdom fourth dynasty ruler chepron, though others belive that the Sphinx dates as far back as 10000 BCE. This is the side that I’m defending because of ll of the convincing evidence that has been found.

On the Sphinx the edges were rounded and deep fissures were prominent. On the other structures the surfaces showed only the sharper abrasion of wind and sand. Egypt experianced periods of heavy rainfalls in the millennia the marked the post-glacial northward shift of the tempeture zone. This period lasted from about 10000 to 5000 BCE and by its end the Sahara had turned from green savanna into a desert. A shorter but more intense period of rainfall lasted from about 4000 to 3000 BCE.

Westy thought that flooding from the post-glacial transition caused the distinctive weatering on the Sphinx which meant that the Sphinx must have been carved during or before the transition. Robert Schoch, a geologist, joined West in his investigation on the dating of the Sphinx. Archeologist agreed that the lower half of the Sphinx may have been eroded by the flood waters, but Schoch observed that the upper level and the encloser walls, of the Sphinx was the most heavily eroded, not the bottom half. The degree of the subsurface weathering could be measured by bouncing sound waves off of eeper layeers of rocks. Schoch discovered that the encloser floor in front and alongside of the Sphinx had a weathered depth of six to eight feet. Also that the back of the encloser had weathered only half as far.

Behind the Sphinx had been excavated during the Old Kingdom but he concluded that the sides and front of the monument were twice as old. Schoch estimated the date of the Sphinx and most of its encloser between 5000 and 7000BCE, far earlier than the date assumed by archeologist. Schoch noted that the weathering ould have been non-linear, slowing as it got deeper because of the increasing mass of rock overhead. On this assumption, the Sphinx could have been signifigantly older than 7000 BCE. West disaproved one piece of supposed evidence. With the help of a New York City police artist , Detective Sgt. Frank Domingo. WEst compared the head of the Sphinx with a known head of chepron. Sergent Domingo generated profiles of the two heads by computer and by hand and found a very different facial structure in the profile of the Sphinx compared to the profile of chepron.

The difference is easily seen To the problem of the archeological context for an earlier Sphinx, Schoch replied that urban centers had to existed in the eastern Mediterranean at Catal Huyuk from the seventh millenium and at Jericho from the ninth millennium BCE. At Jericho there were large stone walls and a thirty foot tower. No such ssettlement had been found in Egypt itself but clearly there was civiazation in the region. More evidence could be under milennia of the Nile river silt. An advanced civilazation may not have been necessary.

A Neolithic culture was able to erect Stonehenge in Britain. Astronomist soon joined the debate over the Sphinx and brought more evidence of a possible earlier civilazation. In 1993 Graham Hancock had a hunch that the curios harking back to the epoch of 10,500 BCEBy the pyrimd builders was an invitation to them to consider the actual age of the Sphinx. If this hypothesis is true, then the Sphinx must be an “original” time-markerof that remote epoch using a celestial tag. Hancock pointed out that the First Time date of 10500 BCE also denoted the begining or First Time of the Age of the Leo.

This is the time when the lion constellation would have risen at dawn before the sun on the day of spring equinox. This event brought the celestial lion to rest due east, thus in perfect elinment with the Sphinx. The Sphinx , in other words was made to look at his own image in the horizon- – and consequently at his own “time”. Hancock pointed out that 10500 BCE was no random date. A ” luck turn of the spade” form one of the laborers unearthed part of ananceint complex of underground galleries and pathways. It looked as if part of the area had already been excavated some years go but the, for reasons unknown, it was covered up again.

This was evident by the blotches of moder mortar and iron bars that were left embedded in the ceiling of the ancient pathways, probably in an attempt to reinforce the relics. But why the vestiges were covered up again , and why and how they came to be West has suggested that an ice age date for the Sphinx raises anew the question of a lost ice age civilazation, posibaly the Atlantis of ancient legend. The evidence dating the Sphinx to an earlier time peroid doesn’t prove such legends.

But if the hypothesis of rainfall erosoin is true, it does call the known chronology of African and indeed world civilazation into question. The evidence for an earlier Sphinx raises additional questions: If the Sphinx complex is so much older who built it and why? Should we be more tenative in what we assume about the first half of the last ten thousand years? If so, how should that affect what we know about the second half ? Some answers may come in the next few years as the new findings are examined and tested. Until then, the Sphinx challenges us to rethink our history and keep an open mind.

Ramses The Great

“Ramses the Great” In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times. Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, or just Ramses, was born in 1304 B. C. , and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful. He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B. C. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom. According to historians, the Nile river was the source of life to the Egyptians.

The Nile river provided the Egyptian people with water, fish, and fertile soil to grow crops on. The peasant folk in Egypt lived on a diet of wheat bread, fish, and corn. Also, the death rates there were said to be very high. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his heart desired. The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses had many wives, but he loved one particular wife the most of all of them. Ramses the Great was also known for his fighting.

In 1275 B. C. , he went into battle with about 2,000 men. It was about noon on a spring day, and Ramses II was encamped with his army near the city of Kadesh in Syria. He and his army were planning a surprise attack on the Hittites. While Ramses was waiting for his army to assemble, Hittite chariots showed up out of nowhere and attacked. Frightened, the Egyptian forces fled and left Ramses the Great to face the enemy alone. Luckily, he escaped with his life. Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save im.

He said, “My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots. ” After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B. C. , Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible.

The story that hey think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go. Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple.

Ramses The Great Ramses the Great” In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times. Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, or just Ramses, was born in 1304 B. C. , and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful. He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B. C. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom. According to historians, the Nile river was the source of life to the Egyptians.

The Nile river provided the Egyptian people with water, fish, and fertile soil to grow crops on. The peasant folk in Egypt lived on a diet of wheat bread, fish, and corn. Also, the death rates there were said to be very high. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his heart desired. The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses had many wives, but he loved one particular wife the most of all of them. Ramses the Great was also known for his fighting.

In 1275 B. C. , he went into battle with about 2,000 men. It was about noon on a spring day, and Ramses II was encamped with his army near the city of Kadesh in Syria. He and his army were planning a surprise attack on the Hittites. While Ramses was waiting for his army to assemble, Hittite chariots showed up out of nowhere and attacked. Frightened, the Egyptian forces fled and left Ramses the Great to face the enemy alone. Luckily, he escaped with his life. Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save im.

He said, “My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots. ” After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B. C. , Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible.

The story that they think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go. Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple.

Cleopatra Vll

Cleopatra Vll was born in 69 BC, in Alexandria, Egypt. Despite what people say today, that she was glamorous and beautiful, she was far from it. She is shown on ancient coins with a long hooked nose and masculine features. Although she was not beautiful she was clearly a very seductive woman, and she used this to further Egypt politically. She had a beautiful musical voice. It is also said that she was highly intelligent. She spoke nine different languages, and she was the first Ptolemy pharaoh who could actually spoke Egyptian. She ascended the Egyptian throne after her father, Ptolemy Xll Auletes died in 51 BC.

Cleopatra which was seventeen at the time and her brother Ptolemy Xlll, which was twelve, were married because of the terms of her fathers will. They then ruled Egypt together. In the third year of their reign Ptolemys advisers told him that he should rule Egypt by himself. So, because of this he drove Cleopatra into exile. Cleopatra then escaped to Syria. She then returned with an army. Ptolemy sent an army to meet with her. At this point, Julius Caesar of Rome arrived in pursuit of an enemy, who was seeking help from Ptolemy. Cleopatra had to roll herself up in a rug so that she wouldnt get killed while entering Egypt.

If she hadnt hidden herself she would have been killed. When she unrolled herself in front of Caesar he fell in love with her right away. Caesar had to choose which of the Egyptian rulers to help keep the throne. Of course he chose Cleopatra. He then became Cleopatras lover. In 47 BC Ptolemy Xlll drowned in the Nile while trying to escape, and Caesar then restored Cleopatra to her throne. After her older brother Ptolemy Xlll was died, Cleopatra was then forced by custom to marry her youngest brother Ptolemy XlV, which was about eleven at the time.

After Cleopatra and Ptolemy XlV were settled on their joint government basis, she and Caesar went on a two-month cruise on the Nile. It is said that it was then she became pregnant, and she later gave birth to a son. His name was officially Ptolemy XV Caesar, but he was popularly called Caesarion, which means Little Caesar. People say that Caesar was not really the father of Caesarion. Although the child strongly resembled Caesar, and so Caesar acknowledged him as his son. After the cruise Caesar then went back to Rome and Cleopatra went back to Egypt.

Caesar left three men that were part of the army so that they could protect Cleopatra. In 46 BC he invited Cleopatra to go to Rome to be with him. She then went taking Caesarion with her. That same year in September he celebrated his war triumphs in which was called the March of Triumphs. In this march he paraded through the streets of Rome with his prisoners, including Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe. Caesar spared Arsinoe’s life after she betrayed Cleopatra, but later Mark Antony had her killed after Cleopatra told him to. Cleopatra lived in Caesar’s villa near Rome for almost two years.

He showered Cleopatra with gifts and everything she wanted. It was rumored that Caesar was intending to pass a law allowing him to marry Cleopatra and make their son his heir. It was also rumored that Caesar, who had accepted a lifetime dictatorship and sat on a golden throne in the Senate, intended to become the king of Rome. On March 15, 44 BC a crowd of conspirators surrounded Caesar at a Senate meeting and stabbed him to death. Cleopatra knew that she was also in danger so she quickly left Rome with her protectors. Before or immediately after their return to Egypt, Ptolemy XIV died.

It is rumored that Cleopatra had him. Cleopatra then made Caesarion,her son, co-regent. Caesar’s assassination caused lacking in a ruler and civil war in Rome. Eventually the empire was divided among three men. Those men were Caesar’s great-nephew Octavian, who later became the emperor Augustus. There was also Marcus Lepidus and Marcus Antonius, or better known as Mark Antony. In 42 B. C. Mark Antony called for Cleopatra to Tarsus, to question her about whether she had assisted his enemies. Cleopatra arrived in style on a barge with a gilded stern, purple sails, and silver oars.

The boat was sailed by her maids, who were dressed as sea nymphs. Cleopatra herself was dressed as Venus, the goddess of love. She reclined under a gold canopy, fanned by boys in Cupid costumes. Antony was impressed by this glamorous display of luxury. This was as Cleopatra had intended. That night Cleopatra entertained him on her barge, and the next night Antony invited her to supper, hoping to outdo her in magnificence. Unfortunately he failed to do so, but he ended up joking about it in his good-natured, way. Cleopatra didn’t seem to mind his tasteless sense of humor actually she joined right in.

Like Caesar before him, Antony was falling in love with her. Forgetting about his responsibilities of being a ruler, he accompanied Cleopatra to Alexandria and spent the winter with her there. Finally,Antony said goodbye to Cleopatra and returned to his duties as a ruler of the Roman empire. Six months later Cleopatra gave birth to twins,there names were Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. It was four years later before she saw Antony again. During that time Antony married Octavian’s half-sister, Octavia. They had three children. In 37 BC, while on his way to invade Parthia, Antony enjoyed another visit with Cleopatra.

He hurried through his military campaign and raced back to Cleopatra. From then on Alexandria was his home, and Cleopatra was his life. He married her in 36 BC and she gave birth to another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Meanwhile, back in Rome, Octavia remained loyal to her cheating husband. She decided to visit Antony, and when she reached Athens she received a letter from him saying that he would meet her there. However, Cleopatra was determined to keep Antony away from his other wife. She cried and fainted and starved herself so it worked. Antony ended up cancelling his trip, and Octavia returned home without seeing her husband.

The Roman people were disgusted by the way Antony had treated Octavia. They were also angry to hear that Cleopatra and Antony were calling themselves gods. Worst of all, in 34 B. C. Antony made Alexander Helios the king of Armenia, Cleopatra Selene the queen of Cyrenaica and Crete, and Ptolemy Philadelphus the king of Syria. Caesarion was proclaimed the “King of Kings,” and Cleopatra was the “Queen of Kings. ” Octavian was extremely mad and so he convinced the Roman Senate to declare war on Egypt. In 31 B. C. Antony’s forces fought the Romans in a sea battle off the coast of Actium, Greece.

Cleopatra was there with sixty ships of her own. When she saw that Antony’s cumbersome, badly-manned galleys were losing to the Romans’ lighter, swifter boats, she left the scene. Antony abandoned his men to follow her. Although it is possible that they had prearranged their retreat, the Romans saw it as proof that Antony wascrazy for Cleopatra and was unable to think or act on his own. For three days Antony sat alone in the prow of Cleopatra’s ship, refusing to see or speak to her. They returned to Egypt, where Antony lived alone for a time. In the meanwhile Cleopatra prepared for an invasion by Rome.

When Antony received word that his forces had surrendered at Actium and his allies had gone over to Octavian, he left his solitary home and returned to Cleopatra to party away their final days. Cleopatra began experimenting with poisons to learn which would cause the most painless death. She also built a mausoleum to which she moved all of her gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony, ivory, and other treasure. In 30 B. C. Octavian reached Alexandria. Mark Antony marched his army out of the city to meet the enemy. He stopped on high ground to watch what he expected would be a naval battle between his fleet and the Roman fleet.

Instead he saw his fleet salute the Romans with their oars and joined them. At this Antony’s cavalry also deserted him. His infantry was soon defeated and Antony returned to the city, shouting that Cleopatra had betrayed him. Cleopatra was afraid that he would hurt her, so she left to the monument that housed her treasures and locked herself in, ordering her servants to tell Antony she was dead. When Antony heard this he actually believed it. So he went to his room and opened his coat, exclaiming that he would soon be with Cleopatra. He ordered a servant named Eros to kill him, but Eros killed himself instead.

Antony then stabbed himself in the stomach and passed out on a couch. When he woke up he begged his servants to put him out of his misery, but they ran away. At last Cleopatra’s secretary came and told him Cleopatra wanted to see him. Overjoyed to hear Cleopatra was alive, Antony had himself carried to her mausoleum. Cleopatra was afraid to open the door because of the approach of Octavian’s army, but she and her two serving women let down ropes from a window and pulled him up. Distraught, Cleopatra laid Antony on her bed and beat her breasts, calling him her lord, husband and emperor.

Antony told her not to pity him, but to remember his past happiness. Then he died at that very moment. When Octavian and his men reached her monument Cleopatra refused to let them in. She talked with them through the door, demanding that her kingdom be given to her children. Octavian ordered one man to keep her talking while others set up ladders and climbed through the window. When Cleopatra saw the men she pulled out a dagger and tried to stab herself, but she was disarmed and taken prisoner. Her children were also taken prisoner and were treated well. Octavian allowed Cleopatra to arrange Antony’s funeral.

After the funeral she took to her bed, sick with grief. She wanted to kill herself, but Octavian kept her under close guard. One day he visited her and she flung herself at his feet, nearly naked, and told him she wanted to live. With Octavian’s permission she visited Antony’s tomb. Then she returned to her mausoleum, took a bath, and ordered a feast. While the meal was being prepared a man arrived at her monument with a basket of figs. The guards checked the basket and found nothing suspicious, so they allowed the man to give the basket of figs to Cleopatra.

After she had eaten, Cleopatra wrote a letter, sealed it, and sent it to Octavian. He opened it and found Cleopatra’s plea that he would allow her to be buried in Antony’s tomb. Alarmed, Octavian sent messengers to alert her guards that Cleopatra planned to commit suicide. But it was too late. They found the 39-year old queen dead on her golden bed, with her maid Iras dying at her feet. Two pricks were found on Cleopatra’s arm, and it was believed that she had allowed herself to be bitten by an asp that was smuggled in with the figs. As she had wished, she was buried beside Antony.

Ramses the Great

In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times. Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, was born in 1304 B. C. , and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful. He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father, Seti I, spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B. C, between the ages of 22 or 32. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom.

Ramses II reigned in the 19th dynasty. Ramses was thought of an incredible pharaoh, and was a great war leader to the Egyptians. He was one of the best known kings in Egyptian history. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his heart desired. The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses II had many main wives ( six to eight) as well as many secondary wives.

With these wives he had over one-hundred children. Thirty of the children were thought to be daughters. Ramses married his first wife Nefertari in 1267 B. C. , even before he took the throne. She was his first and greatest love. Ramses appointed Nefertari, after his father’s death, as the “Great Royal Wife” and the “Mistress of Upper and Lower Nile”. She had born his first son. Ramses went as far as to construct an enormous statue of his beloved wife next to his statue in Abu Simbel. Unfortunately, Nefertari died when Ramses was only 48 years old.

He then married one of their daughters, Meryt-Amun and then continued to marry other wives including a Babylonian princess, a Syrian princess, a Hittite princess, one of his sisters, and several daughters. When Ramses II first became pharaoh he crusaded along the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea taking back all of Egypt’s land. As his father did, he fought with the Hittite too. When he went into war with the Hittite, in 1275 B. C. , he had an army of about twenty- thousand men camped in Kadesh, Syria, planning a surprise attack.

When he was waiting for his men to get ready he found himself with few men, and surrounded by Hittite warriors, luckily he escapade with his life. After that battle he said “I was all alone, none of my men who had fled came back to help me, they left me for dead. ” Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save him. He said, “My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots.

After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B. C. , Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible. The story that they think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go.

Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple. Many buildings were made for Ramses II. He spent most of his life building projects.

His father, Set I, once started to build a building, but never completed it, Ramses II came along and tried to finish it, but could not complete building it. Ramseseum was built on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes in upper Egypt. He completed the great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. He built seven major temples in Nubia, he also constructed more than six other temples in Nubia. Ramses II completed a temple that his father started, which featured over seventy priceless treasures, each all over three thousand years old. His name is found all over Egypt on all the buildings that he had made.

He had faces on existing statues re-carved to match his own face. The tombs that he built were cut into cliffs and consisted of a long corridor with several halls ending in a burial chamber. Ramses II also had several monuments built, one was called “The Abu-Simbel” ,which is one hundred and eighty five feet in length and ninety feet high, portrays eight of his children and one of his wives the other represented his thirtieth year at the throne of Egypt. The Abu-Simbel was his best piece of work. Several statues honoring Ramses II were built to look just like him ,they were each seventy feet high.

The “Hall of Columns” of Kanark is the largest room in the world Ramses II was a good king that people worshipped. Most of the Ramses II children died before him. All of Ramses accomplishments were accomplished. The bad things that happened to Ramses cost him a lot. Ramses II wished that he did all of his accomplishments with his father. Ramses Ramses the Great In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times. Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, was born in 1304 B. C. , and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful.

He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father, Seti I, spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B. C, between the ages of 22 or 32. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom. Ramses II reigned in the 19th dynasty. Ramses was thought of an incredible pharaoh, and was a great war leader to the Egyptians. He was one of the best known kings in Egyptian history. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his heart desired.

The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses II had many main wives ( six to eight) as well as many secondary wives. With these wives he had over one-hundred children. Thirty of the children were thought to be daughters. Ramses married his first wife Nefertari in 1267 B. C. , even before he took the throne. She was his first and greatest love. Ramses appointed Nefertari, after his father’s death, as the “Great Royal Wife” and the “Mistress of Upper and Lower Nile”.

She had born his first son. Ramses went as far as to construct an enormous statue of his beloved wife next to his statue in Abu Simbel. Unfortunately, Nefertari died when Ramses was only 48 years old. He then married one of their daughters, Meryt-Amun and then continued to marry other wives including a Babylonian princess, a Syrian princess, a Hittite princess, one of his sisters, and several daughters. When Ramses II first became pharaoh he crusaded along the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea taking back all of Egypt’s land. As his father did, he fought with the Hittite too.

When he went into war with the Hittite, in 1275 B. C. , he had an army of about twenty- thousand men camped in Kadesh, Syria, planning a surprise attack. When he was waiting for his men to get ready he found himself with few men, and surrounded by Hittite warriors, luckily he escapade with his life. After that battle he said “I was all alone, none of my men who had fled came back to help me, they left me for dead. ” Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save him.

He said, “My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots. ” After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B. C. , Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible.

The story that they think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go. Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple.

Many buildings were made for Ramses II. He spent most of his life building projects. His father, Set I, once started to build a building, but never completed it, Ramses II came along and tried to finish it, but could not complete building it. Ramseseum was built on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes in upper Egypt. He completed the great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. He built seven major temples in Nubia, he also constructed more than six other temples in Nubia. Ramses II completed a temple that his father started, which featured over seventy priceless treasures, each all over three thousand years old.

His name is found all over Egypt on all the buildings that he had made. He had faces on existing statues re-carved to match his own face. The tombs that he built were cut into cliffs and consisted of a long corridor with several halls ending in a burial chamber. Ramses II also had several monuments built, one was called “The Abu-Simbel” ,which is one hundred and eighty five feet in length and ninety feet high, portrays eight of his children and one of his wives the other represented his thirtieth year at the throne of Egypt.

The Abu-Simbel was his best piece of work. Several statues honoring Ramses II were built to look just like him ,they were each seventy feet high. The “Hall of Columns” of Kanark is the largest room in the world Ramses II was a good king that people worshipped. Most of the Ramses II children died before him. All of Ramses accomplishments were accomplished. The bad things that happened to Ramses cost him a lot. Ramses II wished that he did all of his accomplishments with his father.