Ancient Egypt Study Guide

Download Ancient Egypt Study Guide

Post on 30-Mar-2016




2 download


Ancient Egypt Study Guide


  • Study Guide for Ancient Egypt (Chapter 2)

    How to study for your Assessments:

    START EARLY NOT THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TEST! Read through your Study Guide multiple times, then cover up part of it and see if you can say it back without looking. Read through the Study Guide some more and highlight the material that you can't say back. Read through the Study Guide some more, only looking at the highlighted parts. Use a different color highlighter to re-highlight the material you still dont know.

    Read through the Study Guide some more, only looking at the newly highlighted material. If there is material that you still dont know, use a 3rd highlighter color to mark that stuff. When you read the Guide again, only look at that 3rd color highlighted material. Keep going like this until you feel pretty

    confident that you know the material.

    Record yourself reading the material that you dont know well and listen to the playback while you do chores or are in the car. Draw little pictures of important ideas, or make up rhymes to help you remember.

    Have a family member quiz you over the material. Get with a friend and take turns asking each other test questions over the material.





    t Type

    TARGET: I can compare the source of power in this government to other governments.

    The earliest rulers were village chiefs. Over time, a few strong chiefs united groups of villages into small kingdoms. The strongest of these kingdoms eventually overpowered the weaker ones. By 4000 B.C., Egypt was made up of two large kingdoms. In the Nile delta was Lower Egypt. To the south, upriver, lay Upper Egypt. Narmer: Narmer, also known as Menes, was a king of Upper Egypt who took control of Lower Egypt and combined the two kingdoms into one. Narmer ruled from Memphis, the capital city he built on the border between the two kingdoms. To symbolize the kingdom's unity, Narmer wore a double crown: the helmet-like white crown represented Upper Egypt, and the open red crown represented Lower Egypt. After his death, members of his family passed the ruling power from father to son to grandson. Such a line of rulers from one family is called a dynasty. When one dynasty died out, another took its place. Over time, ancient Egypt would be ruled by 31 dynasties, which together lasted about 2,800 years. Historians group Egypt's dynasties into three main time periods called kingdoms. The earliest period, the Old Kingdom, was followed by the Middle Kingdom and then the New Kingdom. Each marked a long period of strong leadership and stability. Pharaohs: The pharaoh was an all-powerful ruler who guided Egypt's every activity. His word was law, and it had to be obeyed without question. Egyptians willingly serve the pharaoh because they believed the unity of the kingdom depended on a strong leader, and because they considered the pharaoh to be the son of Re (RAY), the Egyptian sun god. The Egyptians thought their pharaoh was a god on earth who controlled Egypt's welfare and carried out rituals that were thought to benefit the kingdom. Old Kingdom: 2600 B.C. - 2300 B.C. During those years, Egypt established their civilization, grew, and prospered. The Egyptians built cities and expanded trade, and their kings called pharaohs set up a strong government. The Old Kingdom ended when the pharaohs lost control of Egypt as nobles battled one another for power. Middle Kingdom: 2050 B.C. - 1670 B.C. During this time, Egyptians enjoyed a golden age of stability, prosperity, and achievement. They moved their capital south from Memphis to a city called Thebes. The Middle Kingdom came to an end in 1670 B.C. Nobles were again plotting to take power from the pharaohs. Then the Hyksos, from western Asia, attacked Egypt using horse-drawn chariots and weapons made of bronze and iron. The Egyptians lost, fighting on foot with copper and stone weapons, and the Hyksos ruled Egypt for about 150 years. An Egyptian prince named Ahmose led an uprising that drove the Hyksos out of Egypt. New Kingdom: 1550 B.C. to 1080 B.C. Pharaoh Ahmose's reign in Egypt began a period known as the New Kingdom. During this time, Egypt reached the height of its glory becoming even richer and more powerful. Pharaoh Amenhotep IV: With the help of his wife, Nefertiti, Amenhotep (also called Akhenaton) tried to change Egypt from a polytheistic society that worshipped many gods to a monotheistic society that worshipped only one god, called Aton. Egypts priests and people were not happy with this change. Pharaoh Tutankhamen: (also called King Tut) Akhenatons son-in-law inherited the throne at age 10. He restored the old religion and ruled for only nine years before dying unexpectedly. A British archaeologist, Howard Carter, found his tomb and treasures in A.D. 1922. Carter's find was a thrilling discovery, because most royal tombs in Egypt were looted by robbers long ago. Pharaoh Ramses II: He reigned for 66 years. During this time, Egyptian armies regained lands in western Asia and rebuilt the empire. Archaeologists nicknamed the pharaoh "Ramses the Great" because of his fame on the battlefield, his construction and restoration of buildings and monuments, and his popularity among the Egyptian people. After the New Kingdom: Egypt came under the rule of one outside group after another. The first conquerors were the Libyans from the west. Then the people of Kush, from Nubia in the south, seized power and ruled Egypt for the next 70 years from the city of Napata. Next, Egypt was taken over by the Assyrians who invaded Egypt with iron weapons. They drove the Kushites back to their homeland in the south. More invaders followed them.






    TARGET: I can describe how this government used democratic principles (justice, equality, responsibility, freedom).

    Equality: Pharaoh Hatshepsut - the first woman to rule Egypt as pharaoh. Because the position of pharaoh was usually passed from father to son, Hatshepsut had to prove that she was a good leader. She often wore men's clothing to convince the people that she could handle what had always been a man's job. Justice: Although males dominated the legal system in ancient Egypt, records indicate that females enjoyed considerable rights under the law. Upon an individual's death, property was often divided equally among both male and female children. Women could own and will property, file lawsuits, be witnesses in court and file for divorce. Women were accountable for crimes they committed and would have to stand trial the same as any man. Children and the poor had considerable legal rights, and even slaves were allowed to own property under certain circumstances.


    ts and







    to U

    S citizen


    TARGET: I can compare the rights and responsibilities of individuals in this culture to the rights and responsibilities of US citizens today.

    In the USA today, citizens of both genders are considered equal under the law and have the same rights and responsibilities. In ancient Egypt, men had greater rights and responsibilities. Although they never had the same rights as males, an Egyptian woman could own property in her own name and hold professions that gave her economic freedom from male relatives (women could practice medicine, handle money and make real estate transactions). Responsibilities: In both ancient Egypt and the USA, people had to pay taxes, and might possibly be forced to do military service. In ancient Egypt, people were sometimes forced to work on projects that served the community, such as large-scale irrigation projects. The Pharaoh had absolute power over all of his subjects in ancient Egypt. In the USA, citizens are allowed to question the decisions of our rulers, and those rulers can be held responsible for their actions.




    ts of C



    TARGET: I can explain how cultural elements in this society helped define this group and give them unique perspectives. Beliefs Unlike the Mesopotamians, who imagined a gloomy life after death, the Egyptians believed in an afterlife that would be even better than life on Earth. Following a long journey, the dead would reach a place of peace and plenty. Customs/traditions The Egyptians developed a process called embalming to protect the body after death. The wrapped body was known as a mummy. The Egyptians built stone pyramids as tombs for their pharaohs. These gigantic structures protected the bodies of dead pharaohs from floods, wild animals, and grave robbers. The pyramids also held supplies that the pharaoh might need in the spirit world, including clothing, furniture, jewelry, and food. Language Egyptians developed their own system of writing. Called hieroglyphics, it was made up of thousands of picture symbols. Some symbols stood for objects and ideas. Literature One of the most important manuscripts written in ancient Egypt was the Book of the Dead. This was a collection of spells and prayers that Egyptians studied to obtain life after death. Ancient Egyptians also wrote poetry and stories. Arts During the Middle Kingdom, arts, literature, and architecture thrived. Painters covered the walls of tombs and temples with colorful scenes of the deities (gods) and daily life. Sculptors created large wall carvings and statues of the pharaohs, showing them as ordinary people rather than godlike figures. Poets wrote love songs and tributes to the pharaohs. A new form of tomb architecture was also created. Instead of building pyramids, pharaohs had their tombs cut into cliffs west of the Nile River. This area became known as the Valley of the Kings.

    Social In


    ns in






    TARGET: I can investigate how social institutions in this society responded to human needs, structured society, and influenced behavior. Family

    In ancient Egypt, the father headed the family. However, Egyptian women had more rights than females in most other early civilizations. In Egypt, women could own and pass on property. They could buy and sell goods, make wills, and obtain divorces. Upper-class women were in charge of temples and could perform religious ceremonies. Few Egyptians sent their children to school. Mothers taught their daughters to sew, cook, and run a household. Boys learned farming or skilled trades from their fathers. Egyptian children had time for fun, as well. They played with board games, dolls, spinning tops, and stuffed leather balls. Social Classes At the top were the pharaoh and his family. Beneath that level was a small upper class of priests, army commanders, and nobles. Next came a larger base of skilled middle-class people, such as traders, artisans, and shopkeepers. At the bottom were the largest group-unskilled workers and farmers. Religion Like the people of Mesopotamia, the ancient Egyptians worshiped many deities, or gods and goddesses. The Egyptians believed these deities controlled the forces of nature and human activities. The main Egyptian god was the sun god Re. Another major god was Hapi, who ruled the Nile River. The most important goddess was Isis. She represented the loyal wife and mother, and she ruled over the dead with her husband Osiris. Egyptians worshiped cats because they associated them with the goddess Bastet. She represented motherhood, grace, and beauty, and often appears in paintings and statues as a woman with the head of a cat. Unlike modern churches, temples, and mosques, Egyptian temples did not hold regular services. Instead, most Egyptians prayed at home. They considered the temples as houses for the gods and goddesses. Priests and priestesses, however, performed daily temple rituals, washing statues of the deities and bringing them food. The temples also served as banks. Egyptians used them to store valuable items, such as gold jewelry, sweet-smelling oils, and finely woven cloth. Education In ancient Egypt, few people could read and write. Some Egyptian men, however, went to special schools located at Egyptian temples to study reading and writing and learn to become scribes. Scribes kept records and worked for the rulers, priests, and traders.


    act of C


    ral Diffe


    TARGET: I can explain how interactions between this society and others led to conflict, compromise, and cooperation. Conflict Pharaoh Amenhotep IV: With the help of his wife, Nefertiti, Amenhotep tried to lead Egypt in a new direction. Amenhotep realized that Egypt's priests were gaining power at the expense of the pharaohs. In an attempt to maintain his own power, Amenhotep introduced a new religion that swept away the old gods and goddesses. Instead, only one god, called Aton, was to be worshiped. When Egypt's priests resisted these changes, Amenhotep removed many from their positions, seized their lands, and closed temples. He then changed his name to Akhenaton, which means "Spirit of Aton." He began ruling Egypt from a new city. To most Egyptians, Akhenaton's attacks on the gods seemed to be an attack on Egypt itself. They refused to accept Aton as the only god. Meanwhile, Akhenaton became so devoted to his new religion that he neglected his duties as pharaoh. The administrators he appointed were not as experienced as the priests they replaced, and Akhenaton took no action when enemies from what is now Turkey, the Hittites, attacked Egypt. As a result, Egypt lost most of its lands in western Asia, greatly shrinking the empire. Akhenatons attempts to change Egypt from a polytheistic society to a monotheistic society were not successful. Compromise/cooperation Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III sent his armies into Nubia in the 1400s B.C. After a 50-year war, the kingdom of Kerma collapsed, and the Egyptians took control of much of Nubia. They ruled the Nubians for the next 700 years. During this time, the people of Nubia adopted many Egyptian ways. They began to worship Egyptian gods and goddesses along with their own. They learned how to work copper and bronze and changed Egyptian hieroglyphs to fit their own language. As people and goods continued to pass between Nubia and Egypt, the two cultures mixed.


    Scarcity: decisio

    ns ab



    use o

    f natu

    ral resou





    urces, &

    capital go



    TARGET: I can explain how scarcity required this civilization to make decisions about how to use productive resources. Scarcity of water: Most of Egypt is desert, and the main source of water there is the Nile River. The Egyptians took advantage of the Nile's floods to become successful farmers. They planted wheat, barley, and flax seeds in the wet, rich soil. Skillful farming led to surplusesextra amountsof food. This freed some people to work as artisans instead of farmers. They wove cloth, made pottery, carved statues, or shaped copper into weapons and tools. Within Egypt, the pharaohs added more waterways and dams. They increased the amount of land being farmed and built a canal between the Nile River and the Red Sea. Scarcity of iron ore: Egypt lacked iron ore and had to buy iron weapons from other places at an expensive price. The high cost of the weapons made it difficult to keep their armies supplied with all that they needed to keep the neighboring countries under Egyptian control. The lack of iron ore was one of the reasons that Egypt power began to fade.


    ply &




    TARGET: I can explain how supply and demand functioned in this civilization. Exports: gold, papyrus, linen, and grain were Egypts chief exports and accounted for much of its wealth. Imports: cedar wood from Lebanon; olive oil and wine from Crete; copper and turquoise from Sinai; silver and horses from Palestine; ivory, gold, incense, and spices from Punt; ivory, ebony, gold, precious stones, copper, iron, cattle, slaves, ostrich feathers, monkeys, panthers, and giraffes from Nubia (Kush).


    w are


    ds &


    s exch


    TARGET: I can describe how goods and services were exchanged by this civilization. The ancient Egyptians used public marketplaces for the exchange of goods and services. Mostly people bartered, or exchanged goods without the use of money. Rings made of precious metals such as gold were sometimes used when dealing with foreign kingdoms. They often traveled by boat along the Nile River or the sea coasts to trade with foreign peoples. Conquering other places also brought goods into Egypt. Pharaohs would claim gold, copper, ivory, and other valuable goods from conquered people as tribute. Tribute is payment made by one nation to another as a sign of surrender or to keep from being attacked. When Egypt conquered other places, they also enslaved many prisoners of war. These unlucky captives were often put to work building projects. During the New Kingdom, slavery became common. Enslaved people did have some rights. They could own land, marry, and eventually be granted their freedom.



    ctivity incre

    ases fro

    m n





    , too


    & sp



    TARGET: I can give examples of ways this civilization was able to increase productivity through inventions and innovations. Egyptian farmers developed technology to help them in their work. For example, they used a shadoof, a bucket attached to a long pole, to lift water from the Nile to irrigation basins or canals. Many Egyptian farmers still use this device today. Early Egyptians also developed geometry to survey, or measure, land. When floods washed away boundary markers dividing one field from the next, the Egyptians surveyed the fields again to see where one began and the other ended. Papyrus, a reed plant that grew along the shores of the Nile, became a useful resource. At first the Egyptians harvested papyrus to make baskets, sandals, and river rafts. Later, they used papyrus for papermaking. Egyptians developed their own system of writing. Called hieroglyphics, it was made up of thousands of picture symbols. Some symbols stood for objects and ideas. To determine true north, the Egyptians studied the heavens and developed principles of astronomy. With this knowledge, they invented a 365-day calendar with 12 months grouped into 3 seasons. This calendar became the basis for our modern calendar. To determine the amount of stone needed for a pyramid, as well as the angles necessary for the walls, the Egyptians made advances in mathematics. They invented a system of written numbers based on 10. They also created fractions, using them with whole numbers to add, subtract, and divide. The people of Kush learned the secret of making iron from the Assyrians. The Kushites became the first Africans to devote themselves to ironworking. Soon, farmers in Kush were using iron for their hoes and plows instead of copper or stone. With these superior tools, they were able to grow large amounts of grain and other crops.






    TARGET: I can recognize where on the Earth this civilization was located. Egypt takes up the north-eastern corner of Africa, with the Mediterranean Sea on its north coast and the Red Sea on its east coast. The Nile River runs vertically through the middle and splits the land in two. Farther south, in present-day Sudan, another strong civilization arose. This was in a region called Nubia, later known as Kush.


    ysical Re



    TARGET: I can describe characteristics of this region. The Nile River is the world's longest river, flowing north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. This is a distance of some 4,000 miles. 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 neighboring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.






    t Inte



    TARGET: I can describe how this societys human/environment interactions impacted human activities and the environment. Settlement Most settlements in ancient Egypt bordered on the Nile River, the regions main source of water. Trade The Mediterranean Sea bordered Egypt to the north, and the Red Sea lay beyond the desert to the east. These bodies of water gave the Egyptians a way to trade with people outside Egypt. Within Egypt, people used the Nile for trade and transportation. Winds from the north pushed sailboats south. The flow of the Nile carried them north. Egyptian villages thus had frequent, friendly contact with one another, unlike the hostile relations between the Mesopotamian city-states. Merchants traveled in caravans for overland trade. Development Kush: to protect themselves from the Assyrians, Kush's rulers moved their capital from Napata farther south to Mero. Like Napata, the new capital had access to the Nile River for trade and transportation. The rocky desert east of Mero, however, contained rich deposits of iron ore. As a result, Mero became the center of a huge trading network and a center for making iron. Activities limited or promoted by environment Although Egypt was warm and sunny, the land received little rainfall. For water, the Egyptians had to rely on the Nile River. They drank from it, bathed in it, and used it for farming, cooking, and cleaning. The river provided fish and supported plants and animals. To the Egyptians, then, the Nile was a precious gift. On both sides of the Nile Valley and its delta, deserts unfold as far as the eye can see. To the west is a vast desert that forms part of the Sahara, the largest desert in the world. To the east, stretching to the Red Sea, is the Eastern Desert. Although these vast expanses could not support farming or human life, they did serve a useful purpose: they kept outside armies away from Egypt's territory. Other geographic features also protected the Egyptians. To the far south, the Nile's dangerous cataracts blocked enemy boats from reaching Egypt. In the north, the delta marshes offered no harbors for invaders approaching from the sea. In this regard, the Egyptians were luckier than the people of Mesopotamia. In that region, few natural barriers protected the cities. The Mesopotamians constantly had to fight off attackers, but Egypt rarely faced threats. As a result, Egyptian civilization was able to grow and prosper. Human modifications of environment Irrigation: Egyptian farmers first dug basins, or bowl-shaped holes, in the earth to trap the seasonal floodwaters. The farmers then dug canals to carry water from the basins to fields beyond the river's reach. The Egyptians also built dikes, or earthen banks, to strengthen the basin walls. Within Egypt, the pharaohs added more waterways and dams. They increased the amount of land being farmed and built a canal between the Nile River and the Red Sea.


    Biggest Im

    pacts o

    n th

    e fu


    & to

    days cu


    TARGET: I can analyze how this civilization influenced or had lasting impacts on modern societies. The Great Pyramid was the tallest structure in the world for more than 4,000 years. It is equal to the size of a 48-story building and is the largest of about 80 pyramids found in Egypt. The Great Pyramid is the only surviving Wonder of the Ancient World. This pyramid, built for King Khufu, is one of three still standing in Giza on the west bank of the Nile. Hieroglyphics: The ancient Egyptian system of writing was made up of hundreds of different characters called hieroglyphs. Each hieroglyph was a picture that represented a word. For example, a large circle with a smaller circle drawn in its center meant "sun." Egyptian scribes carved hieroglyphic symbols on monuments and used them for everyday communication. Today, millions of people use computer icons as symbols for words and even emotions in e-mails and other electronic communication. These icons are picturessuch as flags or paper clipsthat represent other things. Building and construction: They developed quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that helped them build monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks. To determine the amount of stone needed for a pyramid, as well as the angles necessary for the walls, the Egyptians made advances in mathematics. They invented a system of written numbers based on 10. They also created fractions, using them with whole numbers to add, subtract, and divide. The capital city of the USA is mostly recognized by the Washington monument which is the shape of an Egyptian obelisk. Obelisks can also be found as tombstones in U.S. cemeteries. Medicine: In the course of embalming the dead, the Egyptians learned much about the human body. Egyptian doctors used herbs and drugs to treat many different illnesses. They grew skilled at sewing up cuts and setting broken bones. Some doctors focused on treating particular parts of the body, becoming the first specialists in medicine. Egyptians also wrote the world's first medical books on scrolls of papyrus. Astronomy: To determine true north, the Egyptians studied the heavens and developed principles of astronomy. With this knowledge, they invented a 365-day calendar with 12 months grouped into 3 seasons. This calendar became the basis for our modern calendar. Egypts irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques are still used in some parts of modern Egypt. Some farmers still use shadoofs to bring water from the Nile to their fields. Egyptology the study of ancient Egypt - 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 led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy. Hollywood has embraced the legends of ancient Egypt with movies about mummies.


View more >