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Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East, and the 15th most populated in the world. The great majority of its over 82 million people[10] live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.



The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek) over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BCE. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.

Snofru's Red Pyramid This area is arguably the most important pyramid field in Egypt outside Giza and Saqqara, although until 1996 the site was inaccessible due to its location within a military base, and was relatively unknown outside archaeological circles. The southern Pyramid of Snofru, commonly known as the Bent Pyramid, is believed to be the first Egyptian pyramid intended by its builders to be a "true" smooth-sided pyramid from the outset; the earlier pyramid at Meidum had smooth sides in its finished state but it was conceived and built as a step pyramid, before having its steps filled in and concealed beneath a smooth outer casing. As a true smooth-sided structure, the Bent Pyramid was only a partial success albeit a unique, visually imposing one; it is also the only major Egyptian pyramid to retain a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing intact. As such it serves as the best contemporary example of how the ancient Egyptians intended their pyramids to look.

The Step Pyramid of Djoser Major pyramids located here include the Step Pyramid of Djoser generally identified as the world's oldest substantial monumental structure to be built of finished stone the Pyramid of Merykare, the Pyramid of Userkaf and the Pyramid of Teti. Also at Saqqara is the Pyramid of Unas, which retains a pyramid causeway that is one of the best-preserved in Egypt. This pyramid was also the subject of one of the earliest known restoration attempts, conducted by a son of Ramesses II. Saqqara is also the location of the incomplete step pyramid of Djoser's successor Sekhemkhet, known as the Buried Pyramid. Archaeologists believe that had this pyramid been completed it would have been larger than Djoser's. South of the main pyramid field at Saqqara is a second collection of later, smaller pyramids, including those of Pepi I, Isesi, Merenre, Pepi II and Ibi. Most of these are in a poor state of preservation.


The Egyptians believed the dark area of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve was the physical gateway into the heavens. One of the narrow shafts that extends from the main burial chamber through the entire body of the Great Pyramid points directly towards the center of this part of the sky. This suggests the pyramid may have been designed to serve as a means to magically launch the deceased pharaoh's soul directly into the abode of the gods.


Tutankhamun (alternatively spelled with Tutenkh-, -amen, -amon) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. He is popularly referred to as King Tut. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun". In hieroglyphs, the name Tutankhamun was typically written Amen-tut-ankh.




Tutankhamun was slight of build, and was roughly 180 cm (5 ft 11 in) tall.[16] He had large front incisors and the overbite characteristic of the Thutmosid royal line to which he belonged. He also had a pronounced dolichocephalic (elongated) skull, although it was within normal bounds and highly unlikely to have been pathological. Given the fact that many of the royal depictions of Akhenaten often featured such an elongated head, it is likely an exaggeration of a family trait, rather than a distinct abnormal figure.

One day, in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties, an archaeologist named Howard Carter was working in Egypt. He found a really small tomb. He didn't think much about it because it was so small. He figured it was the tomb of a commoner. You can imagine his excitement when he opened the door and realized he had found the tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, a tomb so small that it had been overlooked for thousands of years! From the hieroglyphic writing on the walls, Howard Carter knew who was buried in the tomb. It was a young pharaoh named King Tunkhannock, King Tut for short. Today, we know what King Tut looked like because Howard Carter found a solid gold mask inside the tomb, designed like the pharaoh's face.

Howard Carter (9 May 1874 2 March 1939) was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist known for discovering the tomb of 14thcentury BC pharaoh Tutankhamun.


Ra Ra - Sun God, King of the Gods a falcon crowned with a sun disk or a man with a falcon's head Ra was the God of the Sun. He sailed across the heavens in a boat called the 'Barque of Millions of Years'. At the end of each day Ra was thought to die and sailed on his night voyage through the Underworld, leaving the Moon to light the world above. The boat would sail through the twelve doors, representing the twelve hours of night-time. The next dawn, he was born again. It was not always smooth sailing. During the day Ra had to fight his chief enemy, a snake called Apep. He was helped by the other gods, such as Seth and Bastet. The sun disk on Ra's head often has a cobra round it. A cobra appears on the forehead of Pharaohs, like Tutankhamun.

Hathor (Sekhmet)
Hathor - the Goddess of love, music, dance cow horns and sundisk on head Sekhmet - the Goddess of the sun woman with lion's head head

Hathor was the goddess of joy, motherhood, and love. She looked after all women. She was the goddess of music and dancing, as well. Dead women were identified with Hathor, as men were identified with Osiris. She has a sun disk on her head and cow horns. Sometimes she had cow's ears or was a whole cow. But she had another side as well, as Sekhmet, the Eye of Ra, the destructive Sun Goddess. The Egyptians knew that the Sun brought life, but they also knew that the desert Sun could kill you. Ra, the Sun God, was angry with mankind, because they laughed at him. He said that he'd send down his anger as Sekhmet, the Eye of Ra. She went down to Earth, killing men, and drinking their blood. She started to frighten Ra, who only wanted to punish Mankind, not destroy them all. So he dyed some beer red, to look like blood. When Sekhmet saw the beer, she was thristy for blood, so she drank it all, got drunk and went to sleep. When she woke up, Ra persuaded her to stop killing Mankind.

Osiris Husband of Isis and Father of Horus Osiris - God of the Dead dressed in white with crook and flail and white crown Osiris is shown as a man with a beard wearing white mummy wrappings. His crown is the white crown of Upper Egypt surrounded by red feathers. His skin is green to represent vegetation. He holds the symbols of supreme power, the flail and crook. The crook is used by shepherds to catch their sheep. The flail is used in threshing, to separate the grains from the outer husks. Osiris was the God of the Dead. You would expect that such a god would be gloomy or even evil, but the Egyptians thought about death a lot. They mummified their dead and buried them with their belongings so they could enjoy themselves in the afterlife. This story begins on Nut and Geb's page. Osiris ruled over the Egyptians and taught them farming. His brother Sethhad always hated him, and wanted to kill him. Seth made a beautiful box, like a coffin, made to the exact measurements of Osiris. Then Seth invited Osiris and other people to a great feast. When everyone had finished eating, Seth displayed the box, and said that he'd give it to anyone who fitted inside. Everyone tried, but only Osiris fitted. While he was still inside, Seth and his friends quickly slammed on the lid and threw the box in the Nile river. But what happened next? See Seth's page.

Horus Son of Isis and Osiris

Horus - Son of Osiris a hawk, or a man with a hawk's head crowned with the crown of all Egypt Horus is shown as a hawk, or a man with a hawk's head and the crown of all Egypt. This makes him look similar to Ra, but Ra is crowned with the sun disk. Horus' crown is made of two parts. The white part is the crown of Upper Egypt (in the south) and the red part is the crown of Lower Egypt (including the Nile delta). Together they show that Horus ruled all Egypt. During their reign, Pharoahs identified themselves with Horus. After they died, they became Osiris. This story begins on Nut and Geb's page. When Horus was a baby, his father Osiris was killed by Seth. Horus and his mother Isis hid in the papyrus reeds in the delta of the Nile until Horus grew up. The he went to war with Seth to get his father's crown and kingdom. The battles raged for a long time. Once Seth managed to blind Horus by taking out his eye and tearing it to bits, but Thoth, the God of Wisdom, managed to heal the eye. So how did the war end? See Isis's page. The Eye of Horus, healed by Thoth, was an amulet, or magic charm. The Ancient Egyptians also used it to describe fractions. The Egyptians sometimes had had two eye symbols, with the left eye being the Eye of Horus, symbolising the moon, and the right eye being symbolising the Eye of Ra, or the sun.

Isis Wife of Osiris and Mother of Horus Isis - Queen of Goddess with a throne or sun disk and horns on her head Isis was the great mother-goddess. Her son was Horus, the enemy of Seth. Sometimes

she has the baby Horus on her lap. Sometimes she has a throne on her head, as she is Queen of the goddesses. Sometimes she has a sun disk and horns, like Hathor. Isis was also a great healer and magician. She got her magic powers by tricking Ra (see Ra's webpage). This story begins on Nut and Geb's page. The war between Horus and his enemy Seth had lasted a long time. Isis decided to help her son Horus. She met Seth, and asked for his help. She described someone killing a man and taking all he had away from the man's son. Seth said that killer should pay for his crimes. Isis said that Seth himself was the killer, and he had condemned himself. The other gods agreed, and Seth was driven out into the Sahara Desert. This is the end of the story.

Thoth Husband of Ma'at Thoth - God of Wisdom, Time, Writing and the Moon head of an ibis

Thoth invented hieroglyphs, the picture writing of Ancient Egypt. He was the measurer of the earth and the counter of the stars, the keeper and recorder of all knowledge. The ibis is a bird rather like a stork, with long legs and a long beak which it uses for prodding in the mud to find small fish. It was a symbol of wisdom and learning because it has a beak shaped like a pen which it dips in the mud, as if it was ink. The Book of Thoth had two spells in it. If you read the first spell aloud, you would be able to understand every beast and bird, and summon the fishes in the sea. If you read the second spell, you could bring the dead to life. Prince Setna, the son of a Pharaoh, knew the book was hidden in a royal tomb in the City of the Dead. With his brother Anhurerau, he broke into the tomb of Neferkeptah. When they found the burial chamber, they saw the mummy of Neferkaptah, and his wife and young son. The wife spoke to them, and warned them against taking the book of Thoth. She said that her husband had stolen the Book from Thoth, and had read the spells, but Thoth was angry and had drowned her and her son in the Nile, and Neferkeptah had then killed himself. But Setna ignored her and moved towards the Book. The mummy of Neferkaptah sat up and said "Play me at four games of draughts. If you win, you can take the Book." Setna was terrified, but agreed. He played the first game, and lost. He started to sink into the ground, up to his ankles. Then he lost the

next game, and sunk up to his hips. As he was losing the third game, he shouted to his brother, "Run and fetch my magic amulets. Only they can save me!" He then sank into the ground up to his chin. His brother ran out of the tomb. Setna played the fourth game as slowly as he could, trying desperately not to lose, but the mummy was too good at draughts. Just as he had nearly lost for the final time, his brother Anhurerau returned with the amulets, and put them on Setna's head. The spell was broken, and Setna grabbed the Book of Thoth, and ran as hard as he could out of the tomb. As Setna tried to read the Book, he saw a beautiful woman walking past. He fell in love with her, and tried to persuade her to marry him. She demanded that he kill his existing wife and children. Completely besotted with her, he agreed. When he had done this, she vanished, Ma'at Wife of Thoth Ma'at - Goddess of Justice ostrich feather in her hair Ma'at was the goddess of truth, justice and harmony. She was the wife of Thoth, the god of wisdom, since you need wisdom to find truth and justice. Both Ma'at and Thoth helped at the Weighing of the Heart.

The feather of Ma'at was an ostrich plume. She wore it on her head. The chief judge in charge of the Egyptian law courts was known as the "priest of Ma'at". He began court hearings by wearing the feather of Ma'at. The judge gave the

feather to the person who won his case in the law courts. The pharaoh had to promise that he would follow Ma'at. This means that he would be a just pharaoh, and keep order in Egypt.