Egypt, located in Africa, is very hot and dry. Egyptians farmed near the Nile River. They used the Nile River for fishing, cleaning themselves and their clothes. Egypt is 90% desert. The Nile River floods every year due to the amount of rain that occurs at the source of the Nile River. There is also grass near the Nile River.
It rarely ever rains in Egypt. During the summer, it is hot during the day and cold at night. During the winter, it is warm during the day and it is freezing at night. It is cold because of the Mediterranean Sea flows from south to north. It is divided into upper Egypt and lower Egypt. The desert protects Egypt from invaders.
Stable Food Supply
Egyptians drank out of the Nile River. They also used the flooded soil from the Nile River to help grow crops like wheat and barley, and vegetables such as lettuce, onions, leeks, garlic, cucumber, and squash. They also grew fruits such as melons, grapes, dates, figs and pomegranates. They used pigs, geese, goats, cattle, donkeys and oxen for the plowing fields. They ate antelope, gazelles, cranes, herons, honey, caviar and fish from the Nile River. They drank beer made from barley and wine. Their main food was bread. They used clay to make ovens so they could cook their food.
At the top of the social pyramid is the Pharaoh, Egypt's supreme ruler. People believed the Pharaoh was a god so his word was law. There were social classes of status. Under the Pharaoh was the government officials and the priest. Next are the scribes on the social pyramid. Artisans occupied the next layer. This group is made up of people like carpenters, metal workers, painters, sculptors, and stone carvers. Last but not least, were the pheasants and slaves who were at the bottom of the social pyramid, which is the largest of the social class.
Egyptians' religion centered on the Pharaoh. Egyptians could talk to god by praying. After death, the Egyptians wanted to keep the soul by placing them in tombs, and in a grave with their personal goods. They filled the Pharaohs tombs with paintings and sculptures to help the Pharaoh in his after life. They buried kings inside of pyramids. Egyptians believed gods could do anything. They worshiped many gods. Some kings thought they were a god. Some of the gods they believed in were Ra, God of Creation; Horus, God of the Sky; Osiris, God of the Under World; Anubis, God of Funeral and Embalming.
Arts and Architecture
By painting and sculpting they wrote about ancient Egypt. They reached the highest of the painting and sculpting. They preserved the knowledge of a dead person. The art they had was highly stylized and symbolic. They used temples to hold art like gigantic statues of gods and paintings on the wall. Egypt is known for gigantic sculptures like the SPHINX OF GIZA and the statues of RAMESES II at the Abu Simble TEMPLE. Egyptians are well known for building pyramids that had paintings inside of them. They had their own mines of gold, copper, turquoise, amethyst, and other gemstones to make jewelry and other things. Also, they had enough gold to make buildings of solid gold.
The Pharaoh is a supreme leader not just in government but religion too. The Vizier, the chief over seer, is like a prime minister. Under the Vizier were the local governors called Nomarks. Nomarks ruled a land called Nome. Nome is like a state or province. People there had simple laws. Some became Nomarks from the Pharaoh or it could be past down from father to son.
Rameses II, the third Egyptian Pharaoh, was known as a strong military leader, had more than a hundred children, and built a big statues of himself. Hatsheput is the first female king. Khufu is known for building the great pyramid. Senusret made a lot of art work. Other officials like the army commander, chief treasurer, prime minister, and the scribe. Punishments were based on common sense.
They used oxen to plow fields for their crops. Egyptians were scientists and mathematicians. They had numerous inventions like medicine, cosmetics, calender, the plow for farming, musical instruments, and even toothpaste. They were able to build large statues such as pyramids and palaces, and simple things like ramps and levers. They had ink and paper. They made mummies to preserve the dead. They had a number system with decimal points.
Egyptions were the first civilization to invent writing. Hieroglyphics, used in the early 3000 B.C., are picture words that involves thousands of symbols. Some symbols represent sound or whole words. Archaeologists didn't know what hieroglyphics stood for until they found the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone had Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Hieroglyphs were carved in stone on tomb and temple walls. They also used ink and paper called papyrus.
Connections to Life Today
There are several connections between the way the ancient Egyptians lived and the way I live my life today. Like ancient Egyptians I eat food grown on a farm and animals raised on a ranch; I have visited monuments in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. made by craftsmen like carpenters, masons, and painters who worked like ancient Egyptians craftsmen; I visited an exhibit of many pieces of ancient Egyptian art; and one day I would like to visit the very big buildings they built, buildings that still exist. Even though the ancient Egyptians are gone much of what they built and did is still with us today.