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Ancient Egypt: From Old Kingdom to New
Transcript of Ancient Egypt: From Old Kingdom to New
Factors of Decline from the Old Kingdom
Huge cost of Pyramids
Low floods (few crops)
Religious, Political, Economical Factors
The New Age facing Problems
Eventually a dynasty of Thebes rose and reunited Upper and Lower Egypt in 2052 BCE.
The Pharaohs had 3 main problems from the First Intermediate Period while restoring order:
Before the Beginning
Independant city states, NOMES, used to settle near irrigation projects, water.
Fighting for land and power, nomes slowly absorbed each other until there were only 2 kingdoms left
The Old Kingdom
The First Intermediate
The Middle Kingdom
The Second Intermediate
The New Kingdom
Upper Egypt (South)
Lower Egypt (North)
Finally a king from Upper Egypt (Menes/ Narmer) conquered Lower Egypt to unite the lands creating.....
The Old Kingdom
NOTE: During times of prosperity (such as the Old Kingdom) the lands were united, but in times of turmoil they seperated into Upper and Lower Egypt until a charismatic ruler united the lands again
Peaceful and prosperous
Age of building
Large tombs (preserve and protect the dead for the afterlife)
Pyramids were built by peasants (not slaves) searching to be closer to the pharaoh, the only one entitled to an afterlife and for the extra income
Ancient Egypt: From Old Kingdom to New
80 Pyramids were built including the Great Pyramid of Gizeh
Gizeh was built with 2.3 million limestones, each weighing several tons
Making such large structures would burden any economy, but would destroy a declining economy, like Egypt's economy when the floods were low
The times with low floods would not only affect the economy, but the food supply as well- this fact would also affect the decline
In 2250 BCE, in the time of the low floods, the Old Kingdom went into decline
Dried Nile River
The Pharaoh mainly worshiped the sun god Re , making Re Priests gain power andi pairing the pharaoh's divinity by the people referring to him as merely "the son of Re",
The Pharaoh's position of a godlike creation was diminishing because they often married women of non-royal blood
Nobles and Priests
Due to giving out lots of land to the nobles and the high priests, the treasury was tight and this also allowed the nobles to become independent of the Pharaoh.
Becoming more independent they slowly started separating into their own nomes creating many separate city states, like in the beginning of the Old Kingdom
Biggest of all the governers started claiming their own afterlives, creating tombs in their provences
....And More Decline
Pharaoh, being responsible for the crops, hurt their prestige
Worse agriculture and economy
Nubians from the south and Libyans from the West attacked
NOTE: for almost 2 centuries no king could rule completely over all of Egypt
Powerful Local Governers
Powerful Priests of Sun God Re
Powerful Local Governers
The Pharaoh REPLACED the old too strong governers with thier own, occationally rotating them so that none of them gain too much power over a region. They were from the Middle Clas and therefore would be loyal and obedient to the Pharaoh in order to stay in power
Powerful Priests from Sungod Re
They REPLACED Re with Amon (Thebes' patron god) as the main state diety, taking away power from a threatening preisthood and giving it to a less threatening one.
NOTE: Amon priests however would later gain lots of land and power, at one point in the New Kingdom would own 1/3 of Egypt's land property
The Pharaohs REVIVED the irrigation system which revived the agriculture.
Changes and Expansion
Unlike the Old Kingdom, where the Egypt had no major enemies and kept no armies, staying within their borders, Middle Kingdom, learning from anarchy of the First Intermediate Period, expanded built an army and extended their power south into Nubia
Nubia, in the Old Kingdom, was controlled lightly by Egypt and was important to Egypt as the main supply for gold. Now they grabbed a stronger hold of it by building a string of massive fortresses along the Nile in Nubia.
They did the same to the Palestine for the copper mines in Senai except with a looser hold as Nubia was more important to them
TRADE: Trade became more important. They traded with Cyprus (bronze and copper), the Minoan civilization on Crete (pottery), and Punt (inscence)
Middle Kingdom was Egypt's Golden Age of Culture
Art, literature reached a new level
Architecture: pyramids were built but not at the level of the Old Kingdom
THE LYBRANTH: A burial complex with 35000 chambers was built with complexity to handicap thieves like the sheer mass of Pyramids, but in the end only one tomb in all of 2500 years of Egyptian history was left unrobbed, King Tutankhamen's tomb
IN 1800 BCE THE MIDDLE KINGDOM STARTED TO DECLINE DUE TO....
Irregular floods too high underminded the Pharaoh's authority
The rule ended with various Pharaohs and a unlikely woman ruler, Netocris,which marked the end of the Middle Kingdom and another period of anarchy
The Anarchy and Decline
The patterns of the Second Intermediate Period were similar to the first one such as...
The separation of Upper and Lower Egypt
There was, however, one new factor....
"Hyksos" of "foreign kings" came and attacked Egypt with horse drawn chariots and bows and arrows
Hyksos with these new weapons took over Egypt (it is possible that Jews came in the time of Hyksos and that is where the Biblical story of Joseph came from)
Hyksos, being nomadic, adopted the Egyptian culture and way of administration and rule and even worshiped Egyptian god Seth, but still it was a shock to the Egyptians
The foreign domination completely changed the Egyptian's view to foreign conquest and so would create Egypt's time of glory.
Amenhotep I (1545-1525 B.C.E.)
Spent most of his time trying to get rid of desert tribes which often caused a lot of trouble during recent years of turmoil
In order to get rid of them he seized various oasis near Egypt, depriving the tribes a place to replenish themselves after the attacks
It also allowed Egyptians advanced bases so that they could intercept any nomads trying to slip through for raids.
Thutmose I (1525-1490 B.C.E.)
Extended Egyptian power into Nubia again
Advanced into the Palestine and Syria to protect Egypt from Hykos (They treated these places with respect as land under the pharaoh was the property of god. Usually they let the native rulers in power so long as they stayed loyal. Their sons were taken as hostages and taught the Egyptian way so that when they ruled, it would be through the Egyptian point of view)
After him, his son , Thutmose II, ruled briefly after whom Hatshepsut ruled
Hatshepsut (1590-1560 B.C.E.)
The first female Pharaoh
Originally was supposed to rule as regent until her nephew, grew of age, but because she liked the feel of power, kept the throne for herself and made herself look like a "king", even putting on a fake beard
Her rule was peaceful
a famous expedition of hers was one to Punt which brought back myrrh, incense, ivory, monkeys, and a panther
Her nephew, Thetmose III, eventually took over
Thutmose III (1469-1436 B.C.E.)
Being angry at his aunt for keeping his position from him for so long, he had Hatshepsut's name erased from all public inscriptions and replaced either with his own name or those of his ancestors
Spent most of his reign tightening the reigns on the Palestine and Syria which had loosened during Hatshepsut's peaceful reign
A large professional army was needed for campaigns so far away so eventually the army was made up of Egyptians, foreign mercenaries and captives of war and was divided into divisions of 5000 men each
The infantry were armed either with bows and arrows or large shields and axes and the more elite troops were given chariots
Egypt also developed a navy whose main purpose was to transport the army by sea between Egypt and Palestine, a much easier trip than marching through the Sinai Desert
Standstill Power Position
The next 3 Pharaohs for the next 70 years did nothing to add or lessen Egypt's land and power
They lots of wealth allowing Pharaohs to build massive temples, tombs and statues, especially the needle like statue- the obelisk (had a pyramid shape at the tip made of gold which glinted in the sun for the sun god)
The empire, especially Thebes, had a lot of foreigners
The influx of foreign peoples also meant the influx of foreign ideas, and that influenced the next great pharaoh, Amenhotep IV Aka. Akhenaton.
Akhenaton (1370-1353 B.C.E.)
Changed main god from Amun to Aton possibly because the Amun priests were gaining too much power
This angered the Amun priests who then worked on the people's fear by saying that the old god they were now neglecting would become very angry
To avoid the affects of this he changed the main city from Thebes who's main god was Amun to Tell-el-Amarna, dedicated to Aton
However Akhenaton FAILED as barely outlived him.
Akhenaton's experiment show the importance of religion to a society that feels so bows before nature's force
The internal turmoil caused by Akhenaton's reforms and the reaction against them weakened Egypt's hold on its empire and brought its golden age and the eighteenth dynasty to an end.
Fight Against Hetite
Ramses I (1304-1303 B.C.E.) and Seti I (1303-1290 B.C.E.) fought against the Hetite Empire
Ramses II (1290-1223 B.C.E.) took up the fight and in fought against them in one of history's greatest chariot fights ever at Kadesh
The battle ended in a draw which led to a peace treaty and a marriage alliance and settled into a peaceful co-existance until Hetite's fall in 1200 BCE (At one point, Egypt even sent grain to the Hittites during a famine)
Ramses II was the last Pharaoh to see Egypt in it's peek, since then, Egypt went through a slow but steady decline
The first major hit against them was by the mysterious Sea Peoples under whom Hittite, Syria and the Palistine was destroyed
The Sea Peoples next attacked Egypt where the first ever naval battle occurred. Egypt won but the hit sapped their strength and their allies had already been destroyed
The Sea Peoples settled down in the Palestine and became the Biblical Philistines. This period may also be the time of the Exodus when the Israelites made good their escape from Egypt to the Promised Land.