Egypt before 525 BCE
3100 BCE had regular cycles of floods
The region was isolated
There was no standing army
Divided into upper and lower kingdoms
Ruled alternately and foreigners by pharaohs, nobles
In 1560 BCE, Egyptians won war against occupying Assyrians leaving
Egypt with a strong pharaoh and a strong army.
Egyptian deities alternated between polytheism and monotheism
Gods were often related to Nature, such as:
- Re was a god of the sun or Ra
- Osiris was god of nature who represented the growth of vegetation
and the life giving power of the Nile. Eventually, Osiris represented
the power of good over evil and the one who judges in the afterlife.
This led to a strong belief in the afterlife with adoption of elaborate
body preserving techniques and burials.
- Aton was also a sun god. This was a monotheistic religion advanced
by Amenhotep and Nefertiti but failed to convert the populace who
converted back to the traditional gods.
- King Tut led the return to the old ways and allowed magic to
become mixed with the rituals
Achievements and Advancements
- Developed writing
- Pictographs and syllables
- Hieroglyphics with pictographs, syllables and alphabetic
- Developed papyrus from a common reed which made writing easy
and documents much simpler to carry.
- Calendar developed based on the star Sirius which was more accurate
than the lunar calendar
- Used the rate of a heartbeat as a diagnostic measure
- Marked a circle into 360 degrees
- Discovered the nature of pi
- Devised methods to compute the area of a triangle and the volume
of a pyramid.
Most notable art is the pyramids
- No one knows how or why most of the pyramids were built
- In 2400 BCE, Pyramids were built at Giza away from the flood
plan and agricultural land
After the pyramids, major construction projects turned to temples
Sculptures were sculpted without any personality
- Royal family
- Professional soldiers
- Middle class that included Scribes, Merchants, Artisans and
- Slaves that were captured from war
Women had privileges that were unknown elsewhere
- Wives were not secluded from society
- Women could own and inherit property
- Women could engage in business
- Women could ascend to the throne
Egypt developed a thriving trade with Crete
- Exported gold, wheat and linen
- Imported silver, ivory and lumber
Developed industries with division of labor such as shipbuilding,
glass making, textiles and pottery making.
Egyptians were excellent bookkeepers
- Invented deeds for property
- Invented written contracts
- Invented written wills
Used gold and copper rings divided by weight for currency
Developed many musical instruments such as harps, oboes, lutes, flutes,
clarinets and trumpets
Medical innovations included setting of fractures, prescribing moldy
bread (antibiotics) and suppositories.