Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Image
02

River Nile

The fertile banks of the Nile River offered several annual crops, as many floodings the river produced. The farmers would eagerly wait for the flooding, because after the water's retreat, the fields remained covered with a thick layer of mud on which the crops grew rapidly. This condition boosted the existence of various independent agricultural settlements. But around 5,200 BC, the first pharaoh, Menes, unified by war all the populations inhabiting the lower valley of the Nile River. Menes founded the first Egyptian dynasty and, like all the succeeding pharaohs, he was considered a god.

01
River Nile
02

Pyramids

The kings of the first Egyptian empire, called the Ancient Empire, built gigantic pyramid-shaped tombs.

01
Pyramids
02

Kheops

It was calculated that for building the pyramid of Kheops, the largest ever, 110,000 workers labored for 25 years. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, 138.8 m (455.2 ft) tall.

01
Kheops
02

Houses

Accommodated Egyptian families lived in beautiful mansions built of adobe or stone, close to canals or the Nile itself. Each dwelling had one level and an inner courtyard with a pool with papyrus and lotus. Against the hot climate, the houses had small external openings, just some very small windows which, with the serene sky of Sahara, delivered enough light for the houses during the day. The entrance to the house had porches sustained by columns, reunion places for men at the sunset. But if the tombs were richly decorated with wall paintings and bas-reliefs, the houses were not.

01
Houses
02

Ancient Egyptian Civilization

The tombs were the place were Egyptian art (painting, sculpture and jewelry) reached its highest. Tombs varied along the time. The first type were pyramids and mastabas (small buildings made of mud brick, rectangular in plan with sloping sides and a flat roof, leading to a well carved in the ground leading to the funerary chamber), then speos (rock cut chapels in rocky cliffs).The tombs were richly adorned with art works: sculptures in painted wood, stone or ceramic dishes, coffins with the dead person's effigy, wall paintings in vivid colors and stone reliefs. Still, Egyptian art varied very little along the centuries.

01
Ancient Egyptian Civilization
02

Egyptian Pantheon

The main Egyptian god was Amon Re, the king of all gods. The god Ra Harakti was represented with human body and falcon head. His daughter was Maat, the goddess of truth and justice. One important Egyptian symbol was that of the solar disk surrounded by the sacred snake.

01
Egyptian Pantheon
02

Mummification-Crocodile

Crocodiles were sacred in the ancient Egypt, and they were even embalmed; large embalmed crocodiles were found in many tombs and sacred edifices.

01
Mummification-Crocodile
02

Ibis

Ibis was a sacred bird.

01
Ibis
02

Mummification-Dog

Egyptians used to embalm baboons, cats, dogs, falcons, mice (representing the hearts of the sinners, offered to Osiris, the god of death).

01
Mummification-Dog
02

Prostheses

Human mummies show that Egyptians used prostheses 3,000 years ago.

01
Prostheses
02

Fellahs

Ancient Egyptians were physically very similar to the modern Egyptian peasants, called fellahs.

01
Fellahs
02

Priests

Nobles, priests, and the pharaohs shaved their heads and wore various types of caps and wigs.

01
Priests
02

Locals

Oppositely, villagers or artisans wore long hair and shaved their beards.

01
Locals
02

Linen

Against the hot sun, Egyptians wore linen clothes. In time, linen use turned exclusive for some social classes and served as cast distinction.

01
Linen
02

Attire

The Egyptian attire consisted generally from a short fabric skirt and a tunic reaching to the ankles. The costume was completed with various adornments.

01
Attire
02

Make-up

Egyptian women were famous for their make up: they used khol, a black dye for outlining the eyes, ocher powder to give a healthy color to the cheeks, and a vegetal red liquid, called hena, for smearing their hands. Their toiletries included very refined tools: depilating pincers, palettes for mixing the beauty products and ivory sticks for applying them over the skin. They used wigs too, adhered to the head with gold and gemstone diadems and from which bead strings and fine metal plates hung. Noble women possessed luxury jewelry, like wide pearl collars, lapis lazuli, or glass beads.

01
Make-up
02

Chariots

The Egyptians were feared for their war chariots. The Egyptian war chariot was driven by two horses and provided a very rapid deadly advance. The horse and chariot were introduced into Egypt during the 17th century BC during the invasion of the Hyksos, a Semitic tribe coming from Syria and Palestine.

01
Chariots
02

Conquests

Along their history, Egyptians made long conquest or punishment expeditions into Palestine, Phoenicia, Minor Asia, and Black Africa (like Nubia), this way maintaining the border of the empire.

01
Conquests
02

Archers

Egyptian archers were very skilled also.

01
Archers
02

Hunting

Chariots were used by the pharaohs for hunting as well, like in the lion hunt. The hunt of the lion was reserved to pharaohs and nobles (today, lion is extinct in Egypt).

01
Hunting
02

Ships

The Nile was the main communication route in Egypt. Egyptian ships had a large rectangular or square sail and, despite their size, they were of low draft, which allowed them to avoid sandbanks, and were controlled through rudders of large reed astern. In that place, the highest part of the ship, an awning, was raised for storing the transported goods and make shelter during the voyage.

01
Ships
02

Fishing

Fishing boats were made like bundles of entwined woody vines and their curved stern somehow resembled a lotus flower. They were driven with poles, and fish were usually harpooned in shallow waters.

01
Fishing
02

Agriculture

Egypt was an agricultural state; all classes were involved in it. The pharaohs made norms and laws, nobles surveyed the field work, while the slaves made the seeding and harvesting. The Egyptians turned desert patches into croplands, irrigating them with the Nile's water. This was realized through a complicated network of irrigation ditches and canals.

01
Agriculture
Share facebook twitter gplus

Related Slideshows