Ancient  Egypt

By:Ahmad collins

Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. It is one of six civilizations globally to arise independently. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology)[1] with the political unification ofUpper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh.[2] The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, theMiddle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.

Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period where it rivaled the Hittite Empire, Assyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was invaded or conquered by a succession of foreign powers (such as the Canaanites/Hyksos, Libyans, Nubians, Assyria, Babylonia,Achaemenids and Macedonian Greece) in the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt and Late Period. In the aftermath ofAlexander the Great's death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new ruler of Egypt. ThisGreek Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.

The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system ofreligious beliefs.[4][5]

The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known ships,[6] Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with Hittites.[7] Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy.[8]
Map of ancient Egypt, showing major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC)Main articles:
History of ancient Egypt, History of Egypt, and Population history of EgyptThe Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history.[9] The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization.[10] Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120 thousand years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.Predynastic periodMain article: Predynastic EgyptA typical Naqada II jar decorated with gazelles. (Predynastic Period)In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is also the period when many animals were first domesticated.[11]By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, and identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs, bracelets, and beads. The largest of these early cultures in upper (Southern) Egypt was the Badari, which probably originated in the Western Desert; it was known for its high quality ceramics, stone tools, and its use of copper.[12]The Badari was followed by the Amratian (Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada II) cultures,[13]which brought a number of technological improvements. As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes.[14] In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast.[15] Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley.[16] Establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and later at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile.[17] They also traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of thewestern desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east.[17] Royal Nubian burials at Qustul produced artifacts bearing the oldest-known examples of Egyptian dynastic symbols, such as the white crown of Egypt and falcon.[18][19]The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the
Map of ancient Egypt, showing major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC)

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