Essay About Egypt Civilization Information
Egyptian Civilization Essay
Ancient Egypt -- a land of mysteries. No other civilization has so captured the imagination of scholars and laypeople alike. Mystery surrounds its origins, its religion and its monumental architecture: colossal temples, pyramids and the enormous Sphinx. The Egyptian pyramids are the most famous of all the ancient monuments, the only remaining wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Just as life arose from the waters, the seeds of civilization were first sown along the banks of the Nile. This mighty river, which flows north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, nourished the growth of the pharaonic kingdom. The long, narrow flood plain was a magnet for life, attracting people, animals and plants to its banks. In pre-dynastic times, nomadic hunters settled in the valley and began to grow crops to supplement their food supply. Seen as a gift from the gods, the annual flooding of the river deposited nutrient rich silt over the land, creating ideal conditions for growing wheat, flax and other crops. The first communal project of this fledgling society was the building of irrigation canals for agricultural purposes.
The sun was a principal deity whose passage across the sky represented the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The pharaohs were seen as gods, divine representatives on earth who, through rituals, ensured the continuation of life. After death, they became immortal, joining the gods in the afterworld.
The Egyptians also believed that the body and soul were important to human existence, in life and in death. Their funerary practices, such as mummification and burial in tombs, were designed to assist the deceased find their way in the afterworld. The tombs were filled with food, tools, domestic wares, treasures -- all the necessities of life -- to ensure the soul's return to the body so that the deceased would live happily ever after.
The most imposing tombs are the famous pyramids, shaped like the sacred mound where the gods first appeared in the creation story. These were incredibly ambitious projects,...
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In the world, there are certain civilizations that have taken place over time. One of these civilizations happened in Egypt and it is called the Egyptian civilization. This civilization took place in the eastern part of North Africa along the lower parts of the Nile river. Also, the civilization happened at around 3150 BC, during the reign of the first pharaoh when the upper and the lower Nile were united. Moreover, the ancient Egypt civilization took place as a succession of stable kingdoms that were separated by the intermediate periods. These kingdoms include the Old Kingdom, Early Bronze Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, Middle Bronze Kingdom and the New Kingdom.
The Factors That Led to the Civilization in Egypt
There are certain factors that led to the civilization in Egypt these include: the availability of River Nile, the fertile banks of the river and powerful kings. River Nile was very instrumental in the development of Egypt because it enabled agricultural activities to take place. During the rainy seasons, the river would flood hence carrying and depositing silt at its banks (David 56). Secondly, the fertile banks of the river were instrumental in encouraging many agricultural activities in the region. Therefore, the Egyptian wealth mostly emanated from the agricultural activities that were facilitated by the availability of the fertile plains of river Nile.
Furthermore, the availability of very powerful kings in Egypt played a key role in contributing to civilization. One of these kings is the first pharaoh who was the ultimate source of control in Egypt. The pharaoh was also in charge of the country’s wealth, the military commander and the head of state (David 85). With the help of the religious leaders, elite scribes and the administrators, pharaoh was able to unite the Egyptians basing on the religious beliefs. This in turn facilitated a tremendous success in the country’s development activities. Additionally, pharaoh’s representative; Vizier also played a big role in supervising the country’s projects, surveys, treasury, legal system and archives.
In addition, the country’s development was accelerated by the availability of the temples that were used religiously. The fact that the temples were used as a place for collecting and storing the country’s wealth aided civilization in the country (Hobbs 57). Egyptian civilization was also facilitated by the peaceful social status in the country. The Egyptian society was highly divided with the farmers forming most of the population though the farm produce was owned by the state, temple and noble families that had farms (David 87). The craftsmen, artists and the farmers contributed to economy by paying taxes to the government.
The Egyptian civilization was also affected by the country’s geographical features. First, the country has the world’s longest river running across it. The availability of river Nile facilitated many agricultural activities that boosted civilization in the country (Shaw 85). The Egyptian farmers used river Nile’s water for irrigation since most parts of the country are dry. Moreover, the banks of river Nile were fertile due to the deposits caused by floods. The deposits were made of silt, a rich mineral that is instrumental in improving the countries agricultural activities.
Egyptian civilization faced a lot of challenges based on geographical factors. Since the Egyptian farmers cultivated along the banks of river Nile, they experienced a lot of problems due to floods. During the rainy season, the river would swell hence carrying away the farmers’ crops. As a result, this could slow down development since agriculture was the country’s backbone (Shaw 91). However, when the Aswan High Dam was built, these problems greatly reduced; hence enhancing development in the country.
Another limitation to the Egyptian civilization is the dry climate since Egypt is a desert. Farming activities were at times slowed down because of the unavailability of water that is highly essential for any effective agriculture (Bongo 74). Additionally, the farmers who lived far away from the river were disadvantaged in that they could not access the adequate water from the river. However, the problem was minimized by the invention of irrigation since farmers were able to carry out their activities successfully.
The question of the origin of Egyptian civilization lies on the fact that the Egyptians civilized themselves. However, the civilization borrowed some ideas from the neighboring civilizations including the Greek and Mesopotamia (David 94). For instance, the Egyptians borrowed the iron technology from Meroe in Sudan along side their own inventions. Moreover, the Egyptian literature had some aspects borrowed from the Greek, for instance, they started using the Greek alphabet and some Demotic symbols.
Besides, Egyptian civilization had a lot of reactions with other civilization at separate times. One of the neighboring civilizations was the Mesopotamia that happened in the ancient Greek. In this civilization, the interaction that took place happened peacefully; hence the exchange of ideas. In fact, the peaceful coexistence of Egypt facilitated the consistent development in the country (Bongo 78).
The Economic Factors That Enhanced Egyptian Development
There are certain economic factors that also enhanced Egyptian development. One of these factors is that Egypt had many natural resources that included gold, copper, lead, decorative stones and semiprecious stones. These resources are significant in promoting development in the country since they were used by the Egyptians construction of the pyramids, making tools, making sculpture statues and making jewelry (Hobbs 69).
Farming is another economic factor that facilitated the Egyptian development. Egyptians relied on their agricultural activities not only for subsistence but also for commercial purposes. The fact that the agricultural produce was stored centrally in the temples indicates that agriculture was the main economic activity in the country (Bongo 80). Likewise, the society was stratified such that a certain class of people was allowed to own land, while others were artists and craftsmen. Therefore, these activities were influential in enhancing development in the country.
The spirit of trade among the Egyptians was another economic basis of the Egyptian civilization. In the past, the Egyptians traded with people from foreign countries, for example the Nubian and the Palestinians. In their trading activities with the Nubians, the Egyptians obtained incense and gold (Kemp 58). They also traded with the Palestinian in order to get oil jugs which were later found in the pharaoh’s tombs. The above economic factors are still influential in Egypt today.
The Egyptian civilization was also enhanced by the people’s culture that is so distinctive compared to other civilizations. Most of the Egyptians settled for farming hence their lives were centered round there families. They lived in mud-brick houses that were designed to regulate temperatures in all the seasons (Hobbs 76). They also valued their appearance and hygiene; hence they used pasty soap when bathing in the Nile River. Moreover, they valued entertainment in that they had popular dances and music and many instruments. What is more, the Egyptians had leisure activities that included games and music.
Additionally, there are certain philosophical and religious tenets that facilitated the Egyptian civilization. One of the religious beliefs is that the Egyptians had certain gods that were believed to be in control of their activities. They even constructed pyramids where the pharaohs were buried. They also practiced mummification of bodies. Philosophically, the civilization formed the basis of the philosophy that people are studying today. The great philosophers like Aristotle and Plato got their philosophical backgrounds from the civilization (Kemp 78).
In conclusion, the Egyptian civilization was enhanced by many factors including geographical, economic, cultural, religious and philosophical. In addition, its interaction with other neighboring civilizations like the ancient Greek played a key role in enhancing the Egyptian civilizations.
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