Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ancient Egypt (pt. 2)

            Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions: Upper and Lower Egypt.
Notice something unusual about the names of the regions?  …Yeah, that's not because the Ancient Egyptian cartographers were having an opposites day.  The Nile River—which, as you know, was the center of pretty much all provisions for the Ancient Egyptian culture—flows northward, making the southernmost end of the Nile upriver; hence, the Upper Egyptian region is south on a map.
For 3,000 years a pharaoh ruled over Egypt.  During that time, the nation saw three kingdoms: the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.  These were divided into dynasties, or a period during which a single family provided a succession of rulers.  And these dynasties were so mindful of keeping the family bloodline "pure" that royalty could not marry outside of the immediate family.  (That's right: incest).
The first pharaoh of a long line of 31 dynasties that ruled both Upper and Lower Egypt was Menes.  The Palette of Narmer (Menes) depicts the pharaoh defeating his enemies.  Yet again we see hierarchic scaling being used to show the pharaoh's absolute authority and importance.
The Old Kingdom crumbled after 500 years when the country was split up into states.  The Middle Kingdom takes place around 2,050 to 1,800B.C.—a 250-year period of law, order, and prosperity.  During this time the nobility in Thebes gained control and unified both Upper and Lower regions of the country.

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