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Transcript of Ancient Egypt
The Old Kingdom lasted from around 2600 B.C.E to 2300 B.C.E, during which time Egypt prospered.
Kings set up a strong government
Egyptians kings or Pharaohs lived with their families in large palaces.
Pharaoh literally means "great house"
All powerful ruler who guided Egypt´s every activity.
His word was law and he had to be obeyed without question.
Egyptians willingly served the pharaoh because they believed that the unity of the kingdom depended on a strong leader.
They also thought that the Pharaoh was the son of Re the Egyptian sun god.
Thought he was a god on Earth who controlled Egypt´s welfare.
The Great Pyramid
Around 2540 B.C.E the Egyptians built the largest and grandest of the pyramids known as the Great Pyramid.
It is around 10 miles away from the modern city of Cairo.
The pyramid was built for King Khufu and is one of three that is still standing on the West bank of the Nile.
It rises 153m into the air and covers an area of nine football fields, and contains more than 2 million stone blocks.
Each block weighs 2.5 tons.
It was the tallest structure for more than 4000 years.
Equal to a 48 story building
Largest of about 80 pyramids
Built without using beasts, special tools or even the wheel.
Big part of Egyptian culture
They were polytheistic
Believed the gods controlled the forces of nature and human activities.
The main god was the sun god called Re.
Egypt´s hot, sunny climate and the importance of the sun for good harvests.
Other important gods and goddesses:
Hapi was the god of the Nile river.
Isis was the goddess of being a wife and mother
Osiris (Isis´husband) and Isis ruled over the dead.
Life after Death
Whilst the Mesopotamians thought the afterlife would be gloomy.
The Egyptians were hopeful.
They believed that life in the next world would be even better than life on Earth.
Following a long journey, the dead would reach a place of peace and plenty.
The Book of the Dead was a collection of spells and prayers that Egyptians studied to achieve life after death.
They believed that Osiris would meet newcomers at the entrance to the next world.
If they had led good lives and new the magic spells, Osiris would grant them life after death.
Life after Death
For centuries Egyptians believed that only pharaohs and the elite few could enjoy the afterlife.
They also believed that the pharaoh´s spirit needed a body to make the journey to the afterlife.
If the pharaoh´s body decayed after death, his spirit would be forced to wander forever.
It was vital that a pharaoh´s spirit reach the next world where he could continue to care for Egypt.
To protect the pharaoh´s body, the Egyptians developed a process called embalming.
First priests removed the body´s organs.
Natron was put on the body and it was stored for days to dry.
The body was then filled with spices and perfumes and stitched closed.
Then it was cleaned with oils and tightly wrapped in linen.
This was known as a mummy and was put in a several wooden coffins.
Through embalming the dead, the Egyptians learned much about the human body.
Egyptian doctors used herbs and drugs to treat many different illnesses.
They grew skilled at sewing up cuts and setting broken bones.
Some doctors focused on treating particular parts of the body, becoming the first specialists in medicine.
Egyptians also wrote the world´s first medical books on scrolls of papyrus.
No ordinary tomb would do for a pharaoh.
Instead the Egyptians built mountain like structures called pyramids, made of stone.
These massive structures protected the bodies of the dead pharaohs from floods, wild animals and grave robbers.
The pyramids also held supplies that the pharaoh might need in the spirit world.
How were they built?
It took thousands of people and years of backbreaking labor to build a pyramid.
Most of the work was done by farmers during the Nile floods when they couldn´t work in the fields.
Each pyramid had a square base and the door faced North.
Finding true North meant a development of the principles of astronomy.
With this they invented the 365 day year, 12 months and 3 seasons.
Advances in mathematics were necessary to determine the amount of stone needed or the angles for the walls. They even invented fractions!
After the site was chosen, workers went wherever they could find stone, sometimes hundreds of miles away.
Skilled artisans used tools to cut the stone into huge blocks.
Other workers tied the blocks to wooden sleds and pulled them to the Nile over a path of logs.
They then loaded the stones onto bargs that were floated to the building site.
There, workers unloaded the blocks and dragged or pushed them up ramps to be set in place.
Inside the pyramids