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The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the 'black land' and the 'red land'. The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was deposited there every year after the Nile flooded. The 'red land' was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighbouring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.

Th e Riv er N ile
The River Nile is about 6,670 km (4,160 miles) in length and is the longest river in Africa and in the world. Although it is generally associated with Egypt, only 22% of the Niles course runs through Egypt. In Egypt, the River Nile creates a fertile green valley across the desert. It was by the banks of the river that one of the oldest civilizations in the world began. The ancient Egyptians lived and farmed along the Nile, using the soil to produce food for themselves and their animals.
Time The civilization of ancient Egypt lasted for over three thousand years. During this time there were many changes in terms of what the ancient Egyptians believed in, and how they lived their lives. However, many aspects of the basic culture, religion, and artistic style of ancient Egypt remained the same.

The Three Kingdoms

Egypt's ancient history covers a huge block of time. Archaeologists noticed something very interesting. They realized that much Egypt's ancient history could be divided into three big blocks of time. In each block, all of the pharaohs behaved in a certain way. Scientists have named these blocks "The Old Kingdom", "The Middle Kingdom", and "The

New Kingdom".

The Old Kingdom (2700 BCE-2200 BCE): Pharaohs had absolute

power and were considered gods on earth. But that's not why this kingdom is nicknamed "The Pyramid Age". Pharaohs were buried in pyramids only during this time period in history. After building a few pyramids, at great expense to the state, it occurred to pharaohs that pyramids were rather easy to spot, and thus, much easier to rob than a hidden tomb. Things changed during the middle kingdom.

The Middle Kingdom (2100 BCE-1800 BCE):

The middle kingdom was Egypt's Golden Age. Trade flourished, arts and literature flourished. Egypt built strong armies to defend herself against her neighbors. During the time period of the middle kingdom, pharaohs were expected to be good kings and wise rulers. Instead of building huge expensive pyramids, when pharaohs died, they were buried in hidden tombs. These tombs were all over ancient Egypt. Most probably, there are tombs yet to be discovered by modern archaeologists because they were hidden so well.
The New Kingdom (1500 BCE-1000 BCE):

The new kingdom was Egypt's expansion period. Egypt expanded her borders through military conquest and became a world power. During the time period of the new kingdom, pharaohs were all powerful, and pharaohs were all buried in the same geographic area called the Valley of the Kings.
Egyptian Life
Daily life in ancient Egypt revolved around the Nile and the fertile land along its banks. The yearly flooding of the Nile enriched the soil and brought good harvests and wealth to the land.

The people of ancient Egypt built mudbrick homes in villages and in the country. They grew some of their own food and traded in the villages for the food and goods they could not produce.

Most ancient Egyptians worked as field hands, farmers, craftsmen and scribes. A small group of people were nobles. Together, these different groups of people made up the population of ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians were fascinating people, and thanks to the movies, are often misunderstood. The ancient Egyptians were not in love with death, but with life! They enjoyed their life to the fullest. They worked very hard, but saved time to enjoy family, friends, music, parties, swimming, fishing, hunting, sailing, and especially their children, all of which were very important to the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, children were the heart of the family. If a couple could not have a child, they adopted a child. Children were taught to be kind and honest, to respect their parents, to help with the family business, and to care for the elder members of their family. It was important that children learn to be caring. The ancient Egyptians believed in "ma'at" - order and justice. They spent a lifetime trying to be fair and just at all times. The ancient Egyptians believed that you could only reach your afterlife if your heart was light. The only way your heart would be light is if you had spent a lifetime being kind and honest.

In ancient Egypt, women were not equal with men, but they had many rights, considerably more rights than did women in other ancient civilizations. Marriage: One of their rights was the right to decide if they wished to marry or not. If a man asked a woman to
marry him, she could say no. A woman in ancient Egypt could not be forced into marriage. Those who did marry usually married quite young, around age 12-14. Once married, a woman's first duty was to be a good wife and mother. Children were very important to the ancient Egyptians.

Finances: Along with raising the children and running the household, women were free to get a paid job outside
the home if they wanted one. They could run a business. They could own, buy, and sell property. They could make a will and leave their personal goods to whomever they chose, including their daughters.

Court: If any woman broke the law, she had go to court and defend herself from
the charge, just like everyone else.

Divorce: One of the biggest rights a woman had was the right of divorce. If a woman was unhappy with
her marriage, she could get a divorce, and then remarry someone else or remain single. To be granted a divorce, a woman needed to present a good reason in a court of law. If her divorce was granted, she gained custody of the children, plus all of her original dowry if one was brought to the marriage - or its equivalent worth - plus one-third of her husband's wealth. This was done so that she could raise her children comfortably. She also took with her any property she personally owned, including property that had been willed to her during her marriage. Men could also get a divorce, but, if granted, women still gained custody of her children, her original dowry, and a big chunk of his wealth.

The ancient Egyptians built homes of sun-dried bricks, made of mud and straw. To make the bricks, the ancient Egyptians invented brick molds. A mix of mud and straw was placed into the molds. Then, the molds were left out in the sun to dry. The desert heat dried the bricks for them. They could make a huge number of bricks easily. Their homes were huge. Homes had flat roofs. People often sat outside on their roofs in the evening to watch the sunset and catch the evening breeze. Nobles Homes: Nobles lived in huge villas along the Nile. Some were front with white limestone, which made the walls sparkle. A few homes were even built with stone. But stone was difficult to cut and use. Most homes were made of sun dried brick. Each villa had 25-30 rooms. Most rooms had a purpose. They had family rooms, guest rooms, storage rooms, kids rooms, and even bathrooms! Homes had front and back doors. Each door was built about 4 feet off the ground to reduce the amount of sand and dust. Each door was reached by a ramp. Rather than stairs, ramps led from one level to another inside the house.

Peasants Homes:
A peasant's home was tiny by comparison. Still, it was very nice. Each peasant family had their own home. When you opened the door, you entered a courtyard. Inside the courtyard, a ramp led up to the front door of the house. Some homes had two stories, some had three or more. Ramps were used to move from level to level. One ramp led up to the flat roof. People often slept on their roofs. It was cooler, and quite lovely sleeping under the stars.

Pharaoh: Lord of the Two Lands

The most powerful person in ancient Egypt was the pharaoh. The pharaoh was the political and religious leader of the Egyptian people, holding the titles: 'Lord of the Two Lands' and 'High Priest of Every Temple'. As 'Lord of the Two Lands' the pharaoh was the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt. He owned all of the land, made laws, collected taxes, and defended Egypt against foreigners. As 'High Priest of Every Temple', the pharaoh represented the gods on Earth. He performed rituals and built temples to honour the gods. Many pharaohs went to war when their land was threatened or when they wanted to control foreign lands. If the pharaoh won the battle, the conquered people had to recognise the Egyptian pharaoh as their ruler and offer him the finest and most valuable goods from their land.

The Two Lands & King Menes

The early people who settled along the Nile River banded together into two main groups. One group lived around the mouth of Nile River, near the Mediterranean Sea. Their king wore a Red Crown. Their land was called Lower Egypt. The other group lived near the mountains to the South. Their king wore a

White Crown. Their land was called Upper Egypt. These two groups had much in common. They spoke the same language. They worshipped the same gods. They had the same culture. But, they did not get along. They were always fighting. Around 3000 BCE, King Menes (also known as King Namer) ruled Upper Egypt. He conquered Lower Egypt. These two groups continued to fight. One day, King Menes had an idea. If the color of a crown was so important, why not invent a new crown?! King Menes created the Double Crown, a mix of white and red. His idea worked. Both Lower and Upper Egypt respected the Double Crown. They called their land "The Two Lands". Over time, The Two Lands became known as Egypt.

Famous Pharaohs King Tut's Tomb

Tut was only nine years old when he became Pharaoh. He was only 18 years old when he died. The people did not have a lot of time to build Tut's tomb. Tut's tomb was very small compared to the tombs of other pharaohs. Because his tomb was so small, it was overlooked for thousands of years. In 1922, a British archaeologist named Howard Carter entered King Tut's tomb. It was almost like entering a time machine. Robbers might have been there because a bag of gold rings was found on the floor, as if dropped in haste. But they did not take everything because Carter and his team found many treasures inside the tomb including a solid gold mask of King Tut's face.

The Pharaohs Akhenaton - pharaoh of Egypt from about 1350 to 1334 BC

Tutankhamen - was the son-in-law of Akhenaton. Cleopatra VII - the last Queen of Egypt.

Pyramids The ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens. The pharaohs were buried in pyramids of many different shapes and sizes from before the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Middle Kingdom. There are about eighty pyramids known today from ancient Egypt. The three largest and best-preserved of these were built at Giza at the beginning of the Old Kingdom. The most well-known of these pyramids was built for the pharaoh Khufu. It is known as the 'Great Pyramid'.

Egyptian Pharaohs
Who were the Pharaohs? Pharaohs were the king or Queen of Egypt. Most pharaohs were men but some well-known pharaohs, such as Nefertiti and Cleopatra, were women. A Pharaoh was the most important and powerful person in the kingdom. He was the head of the government and high priest of every temple.The people of Egypt considered the pharaoh to be a half-man, half-god. The Pharaoh owned all of Egypt. Interesting fact The ancient Egyptians did not refer to their Kings as Pharaohs. The word Pharaoh comes from the Greek

language and was used by the Greeks and Hebrews to refer to the Kings of Egypt. Today, we also use the word Paraoh when referring to the kings of Egypt. Who was the first king/pharaoh of Egypt? The first true pharaoh of Egypt was Narmer (sometimes called Menes), who united Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. He was the first king of the First Dynasty, the beginning of the Old Kingdom. Egypt was once divided into two kingdoms. The kingdom in Lower Egypt was called the red crown and the one in Upper Egypt was known as the white crown. Around 3100 B.C. the pharaoh of the north conquered the south and Egypt became united. The pharaoh's name was King Narmer (Menes). He founded the first capital of Egypt where the two lands met. It was called Memphis. (Thebes became the next capital of Egypt and then Amarna was made the capital during the reign of King Akhenaten.) The story of Ancient Egypt begins from when the north and the south were united as one country under the first pharaoh Menes. Which God did the people think their Pharaoh was? The Ancient Egyptians believed that their Pharaoh was the god Horus, son of Re, the sun god. When a pharaoh died he was believed to be united with the sun and then a new Horus ruled on earth. Where were Pharaohs buried? In the Old and Middle Kingdoms (2628-1638 BC), Egyptian kings were buried in pyramids. About 50 royal pyramids have survived. They were built on the desert edge, west of the ancient capital of Memphis.

In the New Kingdom (1504-1069 BC), Egyptian kings were buried in tombs in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. These tombs were tunnels cut deep into the natural rock. Who is the most famous pharaoh of Egypt? The most famous Egyptian pharaoh today is, without doubt, Tutankhamun.

The ancient Egyptians believed in many different gods and goddesses. Each one with their own role to play in maintaining peace and harmony across the land. Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some brought the flood every year, some offered protection, and some took care of people after they died. Others were either local gods who represented towns, or minor gods who represented plants or animals. The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to recognise and worship these gods and goddesses so that life continued


The ancient Egyptians believed that temples were the homes of the gods and goddesses. Every temple was dedicated to a god or goddess and he or she was worshipped there by the temple priests and the pharaoh. The large temple buildings were made of stone so that they would last forever. Their walls were covered with scenes that were carved onto the stone then brightly painted. These scenes showed the pharaoh fighting in battles and performing rituals with the gods and goddesses.

Obelisks were made of stone, and often built in pairs. Each obelisk was at least 70 feet tall and most were taller. Each was decorated with writing telling of the great achievements of the person each obelisk honored.

The Sphinx
What is the Great Sphinx?
The Great Sphinx is a large human-headed lion that was carved from a mound of natural rock. It is located in Giza where it guards the front of Khafra's pyramid. Legends have been told for many years about the Great Sphinx. These stories tell about the powers and mysteries of this sphinx. Some people even believe that there are hidden passageways or rooms underneath the Great Sphinx, but nothing has been found yet.

The Egyptians invented a decimal system. They used 7 different symbols. 1 was represented by a single stroke. 10 was shown by drawing one hobble. 100 was shown with a drawing one coil of rope. 1,000 was represented by a drawing of one lotus plant.

10,000 was shown as one finger. 100,000 was represented by a drawing of one frog. (A hieroglyphic of six frogs in a row would mean 600,000) 1,000,000 was represented by the figure of a god with raised arms Over 5000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians wrote things down


using a picture writing called hieroglyphics. The people who did the actual writing were called scribes.
What is the Rosetta Stone? The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek). Why is it in three different scripts? The Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts because when it was written, there were three scripts being used in Egypt. The first was hieroglyphic which was the script used for important or religious documents. The second was demotic which was the common script of Egypt. The third was Greek which was the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time. The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said. When was the Rosetta Stone made? The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C..
Nation of Irrigation The Nile River cuts its way through the deserts of Egypt. During the yearly floods the rich black soil, or kemet, was left behind. The Egyptians used the fertile soil to grow their fields of wheat and barley. Once the floods receded and the fields dried, the plants would wither and die. The Egyptians solved this problem by digging canals. Water that poured into these canals flowed out the fields irrigating the land. A shaduf is an ancient water-raising device used by early Egyptians. It consists of a container made of animal skins or clay attached to a lever counterbalanced by stones. The container is dipped into the river, when full it is lifted out and dumped into a canal.

A cartouche was an oval circle with a name written in it, rather like a nameplate. In the early days of ancient Egypt, a cartouche was attached to the coffins of kings and queens. As time went on, many people hired an artist to create a cartouche for their own coffins.

Pyramids & Tombs It was only during the time of the Old Kingdom that the ancient
Egyptians built pyramids to hold the royal tombs of their kings. Pyramids were huge structures. Pyramids had storage rooms, courtyards, secret passageways, and all kinds of fancy traps designed to catch robbers who tried to break into the pyramid to rob it. Pyramids were full of treasures. The average person created grave goods to take with them to their afterlife. Imagine the treasures a pharaoh might feel were necessary to bring along! The first pyramid, the Step Pyramid, was built around 2700 BCE, nearly 5000 years ago! Pyramid construction was abandoned after the time of the Old Kingdom. It was simply too easy to find a pyramid. Grave robbers knew exactly where the pharaohs were buried, and thus knew exactly where to find riches and wealth. If you were caught, the penalty for grave robbing was death.

The Scarab Beetle

The scarab beetle is a real beetle, a common beetle. To the ancient Egyptians, this common beetle symbolized hope and the restoration of life. They used the design of a scarab beetle in many ways. Seals were created in the shape of a scarab and used to stamp documents. Artisans made scarab jewelry using precious gems and painted clay. The same design was used to make good luck charms and amulets to ward off evil.

The Many Uses of Papyrus One of the many "Gifts of the Nile" was
a weed called papyrus. This weed grew wildly along the shores of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians used papyrus to make many things, such as baskets, sandals, mats, rope, and paper!

Ancient Egyptian Religion

Ancient Egyptian Religion
The religion of the Ancient Egyptians was extremely important to them and touched every

aspect of their life. The religion of Ancient Egypt was a polytheistic religion (with many gods). There was just one short period of monotheism (the worship of one god), during the reign of Akhenaten - who became known as the Heretic Pharaoh.

Ancient Egyptian Religion - The Gods and Goddesses

The Egyptian Gods numbered nearly 2000. The main Egyptian Gods and Goddesses were fundamental to the Ancient Egyptian religion and fundamental to their beliefs. The main gods were worshipped throughout the whole of Egypt but many minor gods had just a local following. There were massive temples built to the gods but small shrines were also found in the homes of the Ancient Egyptians. In difficult times Egyptian Gods were offered various gifts, which were accepted by the priests and priestesses who offered prayers on behalf of the donor.

Egyptian Gods & Goddesses - Main Beliefs of the Egyptians

The religion of the Ancient Egyptians encompassed the following fundamental beliefs:

The Priests evolved a Family tree of the main Egyptian Gods and Goddesses to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses were related. Life and Death were seen as stages of progress to a better life in the next world The Ancient Egyptian Priests evolved a creation myth, or cosmogny, to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses came into being and the the nature and genesis of the universe In the Ancient Egyptian religion certain animals were seen as sacred as they believed that the Spirit of a God resided in these animals which were revered and worshipped as reincarnated Gods during their lifetimes Mummification - The Egyptians believed that preserving the body in death was important to keep their soul alive. In the process of mummification the brain and the internal organs, except the heart, were removed. The Ancient Egyptians believed that a physical body was essential for an eternal life for the deceased. Without a physical body the soul had no place to dwell and became restless forever Tombs - Tomb decorations carried messages affirming the religious beliefs of the person The Underworld - Definition: The Underworld, called Duat, was a land of great dangers through which every Egyptian would need to pass through after death according to the beliefs of the Ancient Egyptian religion The Book of the Dead - Definition: A guidebook known as the Book of the Dead which contained spells and instructions to ensure safe passage through the dangers of the Underworld. Funeral prayers and spells were chanted to Egyptian Gods and a papyrus scroll of the Book of the Dead was buried with the Ancient Egyptians Hall of the Two Truths - The God of the Dead Anubis would lead the dead in the Underworld at the Hall of Two Truths to a set of scales where his or her heart was weighed against the feather of truth and their fate would be decided - either entrance into the perfect afterlife or to be sent to the Devourer of the Dead

The Afterlife - A perfect existence in an ideal version of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians provided for their afterlives according to their earthly means Temples were believed to be the dwelling place of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Only priests and priestesses, and the Pharaoh, were allowed inside the temples. The common folk were only allowed access to the temple forecourts Statues of the Gods - Statues of the Gods and Goddesses were believed in the Ancient Egyptian religion to be living embodiments of the deities. The statues were revered and offered prayers together with physical items such as food and drink. The statues were washed, oiled and adorned with make-up, jewelry and clothes Divine Kingship - The Egyptian Pharaohs were also believed to be living Gods in the Ancient Egyptian religion Pharaohs believed that they became gods in the afterlife Ancient Egyptians believed that as long as a pharaoh's name was remembered, the king would live on through eternity Pyramids and other monuments such as tombs and obelisks were inscribed with the names of Pharaohs and scenes that represented their earthly lives The Ancient Egyptian religion held the belief that each person was thought to have three souls: The "Ka" - "soul" or "vital energy" - a "double" of a living person. The heart was considered to be the seat of the Ka The "Ba" - said to emerge from the body at death, similar to a ghost who could visit previous haunts of the mortal world The "Akhu" - centerpoint of each person's divine soul