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General History of Africa. Number How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature. Archived from the original Fear In Lord Of The Flies Argumentative Essay 4 March At first the coins were used as standardized How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful of precious metal rather than true money, but in the following centuries international traders came to rely on coinage. How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful are organized densely-populated settlements divided into hierarchical social How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful populations, which engage in intensive agricultureminingsmall-scale manufacture and trade.
Ancient Egypt 101 - National Geographic
Civilizations are intimately associated with and often have characteristics such as centralization , the domestication of plant and animal species, specialization of labour , culturally-ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacism , monumental architecture , taxation , societal dependence upon farming and expansionism. Historically, "a civilization" has often been understood as a larger and "more advanced" culture , in implied contrast to smaller, supposedly primitive cultures. Civilizations are organized densely-populated settlements divided into hierarchical social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which engage in intensive agriculture , mining , small-scale manufacture and trade.
Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over the rest of nature, including over other human beings. Civilization, as its etymology see below suggests, is a concept originally associated with towns and cities. The earliest emergence of civilizations is generally connected with the final stages of the Neolithic Revolution , culminating in the relatively rapid process of urban revolution and state-formation , a political development associated with the appearance of a governing elite.
He said that the world crisis was from humanity losing the ethical idea of civilization, "the sum total of all progress made by man in every sphere of action and from every point of view in so far as the progress helps towards the spiritual perfecting of individuals as the progress of all progress". Related words like "civility" developed in the midth century. The abstract noun "civilization", meaning "civilized condition", came in the s, again from French.
The first known use in French is in , by Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau , and the first use in English is attributed to Adam Ferguson , who in his Essay on the History of Civil Society wrote, "Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood but the species itself from rudeness to civilisation". In the late s and early s, during the French Revolution , "civilization" was used in the singular , never in the plural, and meant the progress of humanity as a whole. This is still the case in French. Already in the 18th century, civilization was not always seen as an improvement. One historically important distinction between culture and civilization is from the writings of Rousseau , particularly his work about education, Emile.
Here, civilization, being more rational and socially driven, is not fully in accord with human nature , and "human wholeness is achievable only through the recovery of or approximation to an original discursive or prerational natural unity" see noble savage. From this, a new approach was developed, especially in Germany, first by Johann Gottfried Herder and later by philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
This sees cultures as natural organisms, not defined by "conscious, rational, deliberative acts", but a kind of pre-rational "folk spirit". Civilization, in contrast, though more rational and more successful in material progress, is unnatural and leads to "vices of social life" such as guile, hypocrisy, envy and avarice. Social scientists such as V. Gordon Childe have named a number of traits that distinguish a civilization from other kinds of society. Andrew Nikiforuk argues that "civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities" and considers slavery to be a common feature of pre-modern civilizations.
All civilizations have depended on agriculture for subsistence, with the possible exception of some early civilizations in Peru which may have depended upon maritime resources. It is possible but more difficult to accumulate horticultural production, and so civilizations based on horticultural gardening have been very rare. A surplus of food permits some people to do things besides producing food for a living: early civilizations included soldiers , artisans , priests and priestesses, and other people with specialized careers. A surplus of food results in a division of labour and a more diverse range of human activity, a defining trait of civilizations. However, in some places hunter-gatherers have had access to food surpluses, such as among some of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and perhaps during the Mesolithic Natufian culture.
It is possible that food surpluses and relatively large scale social organization and division of labour predates plant and animal domestication. Civilizations have distinctly different settlement patterns from other societies. The word "civilization" is sometimes simply defined as "' living in cities '". Compared with other societies, civilizations have a more complex political structure, namely the state. The ruling class , normally concentrated in the cities, has control over much of the surplus and exercises its will through the actions of a government or bureaucracy.
Morton Fried , a conflict theorist and Elman Service , an integration theorist, have classified human cultures based on political systems and social inequality. This system of classification contains four categories . Economically, civilizations display more complex patterns of ownership and exchange than less organized societies. Living in one place allows people to accumulate more personal possessions than nomadic people. Some people also acquire landed property , or private ownership of the land.
Because a percentage of people in civilizations do not grow their own food, they must trade their goods and services for food in a market system, or receive food through the levy of tribute , redistributive taxation , tariffs or tithes from the food producing segment of the population. Early human cultures functioned through a gift economy supplemented by limited barter systems. By the early Iron Age , contemporary civilizations developed money as a medium of exchange for increasingly complex transactions. In a village, the potter makes a pot for the brewer and the brewer compensates the potter by giving him a certain amount of beer. In a city, the potter may need a new roof, the roofer may need new shoes, the cobbler may need new horseshoes, the blacksmith may need a new coat and the tanner may need a new pot.
These people may not be personally acquainted with one another and their needs may not occur all at the same time. A monetary system is a way of organizing these obligations to ensure that they are fulfilled. From the days of the earliest monetarized civilizations, monopolistic controls of monetary systems have benefited the social and political elites. The transition from simpler to more complex economies does not necessarily mean an improvement in the living standards of the populace. For example, although the Middle Ages is often portrayed as an era of decline from the Roman Empire, studies have shown that the average stature of males in the Middle Ages c. The average stature of a population is a good measurement of the adequacy of its access to necessities, especially food, and its freedom from disease.
Writing , developed first by people in Sumer , is considered a hallmark of civilization and "appears to accompany the rise of complex administrative bureaucracies or the conquest state". Like money, the writing was necessitated by the size of the population of a city and the complexity of its commerce among people who are not all personally acquainted with each other.
However, writing is not always necessary for civilization, as shown by the Inca civilization of the Andes, which did not use writing at all but except for a complex recording system consisting of cords and nodes: the " Quipus ", and still functioned as a civilized society. Aided by their division of labour and central government planning, civilizations have developed many other diverse cultural traits. These include organized religion , development in the arts , and countless new advances in science and technology. Throughout history, successful civilizations have spread, taking over more and more territory, and assimilating more and more previously-uncivilized people.
Nevertheless, some tribes or people remain uncivilized even to this day. These cultures are called by some " primitive ", a term that is regarded by others as pejorative. Specifically, as all of today's cultures are contemporaries, today's so-called primitive cultures are in no way antecedent to those we consider civilized. Anthropologists today use the term " non-literate " to describe these peoples. Civilization has been spread by colonization , invasion , religious conversion , the extension of bureaucratic control and trade , and by introducing agriculture and writing to non-literate peoples.
Some non-civilized people may willingly adapt to civilized behaviour. But civilization is also spread by the technical, material and social dominance that civilization engenders. Assessments of what level of civilization a polity has reached are based on comparisons of the relative importance of agricultural as opposed to trading or manufacturing capacities, the territorial extensions of its power, the complexity of its division of labour , and the carrying capacity of its urban centres.
Secondary elements include a developed transportation system, writing, standardized measurement, currency, contractual and tort -based legal systems, art, architecture, mathematics, scientific understanding, metallurgy , political structures, and organized religion. Traditionally, polities that managed to achieve notable military, ideological and economic power defined themselves as "civilized" as opposed to other societies or human groupings outside their sphere of influence — calling the latter barbarians , savages , and primitives. Every society, civilization or not, has a specific set of ideas and customs, and a certain set of manufactures and arts that make it unique.
Civilizations tend to develop intricate cultures, including a state -based decision making apparatus, a literature , professional art , architecture , organized religion and complex customs of education , coercion and control associated with maintaining the elite. The intricate culture associated with civilization has a tendency to spread to and influence other cultures, sometimes assimilating them into the civilization a classic example being Chinese civilization and its influence on nearby civilizations such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
Many civilizations are actually large cultural spheres containing many nations and regions. The civilization in which someone lives is that person's broadest cultural identity. It is precisely the protection of this cultural identity that is becoming increasingly important nationally and internationally. The aim is to preserve the cultural heritage of humanity and also the cultural identity, especially in the case of war and armed conflict. According to Karl von Habsburg , President of Blue Shield International , the destruction of cultural assets is also part of psychological warfare. The target of the attack is often the opponent's cultural identity, which is why symbolic cultural assets become a main target.
It is also intended to destroy the particularly sensitive cultural memory museums, archives, monuments, etc. Many historians have focused on these broad cultural spheres and have treated civilizations as discrete units. Early twentieth-century philosopher Oswald Spengler ,  uses the German word Kultur , "culture", for what many call a "civilization". Spengler believed a civilization's coherence is based on a single primary cultural symbol.
Cultures experience cycles of birth, life, decline, and death, often supplanted by a potent new culture, formed around a compelling new cultural symbol. Spengler states civilization is the beginning of the decline of a culture as "the most external and artificial states of which a species of developed humanity is capable". This "unified culture" concept of civilization also influenced the theories of historian Arnold J. Toynbee in the mid-twentieth century. Toynbee explored civilization processes in his multi-volume A Study of History , which traced the rise and, in most cases, the decline of 21 civilizations and five "arrested civilizations".
Civilizations generally declined and fell, according to Toynbee, because of the failure of a "creative minority", through moral or religious decline, to meet some important challenge, rather than mere economic or environmental causes. Samuel P. Huntington defines civilization as "the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species".
Huntington's theories about civilizations are discussed below. Another group of theorists, making use of systems theory , looks at a civilization as a complex system , i. Civilizations can be seen as networks of cities that emerge from pre-urban cultures and are defined by the economic, political, military, diplomatic, social and cultural interactions among them. Any organization is a complex social system and a civilization is a large organization.
Systems theory helps guard against superficial and misleading analogies in the study and description of civilizations. These spheres often occur on different scales. For example, trade networks were, until the nineteenth century, much larger than either cultural spheres or political spheres. Extensive trade routes, including the Silk Road through Central Asia and Indian Ocean sea routes linking the Roman Empire , Persian Empire , India and China, were well established years ago when these civilizations scarcely shared any political, diplomatic, military, or cultural relations. The first evidence of such long-distance trade is in the ancient world. Many theorists argue that the entire world has already become integrated into a single " world system ", a process known as globalization.
Different civilizations and societies all over the globe are economically, politically, and even culturally interdependent in many ways. There is debate over when this integration began, and what sort of integration — cultural, technological, economic, political, or military-diplomatic — is the key indicator in determining the extent of a civilization. David Wilkinson has proposed that economic and military-diplomatic integration of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations resulted in the creation of what he calls the "Central Civilization" around BCE.
According to Wilkinson, civilizations can be culturally heterogeneous, like the Central Civilization, or homogeneous, like the Japanese civilization. What Huntington calls the "clash of civilizations" might be characterized by Wilkinson as a clash of cultural spheres within a single global civilization. Others point to the Crusades as the first step in globalization. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos , the Libyans , the Nubians , the Assyrians , the Achaemenid Persians , and the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great. The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture.
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 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 of religious beliefs.
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 planked boats,  Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature , and the earliest known peace treaty , made with the Hittites. 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 millennia. A newfound 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. The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. 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. 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. By about 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 Badarian culture , which probably originated in the Western Desert ; it was known for its high-quality ceramics, stone tools , and its use of copper.
As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia , used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases , cosmetic palettes , and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience , which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian - Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia and of ancient Elam. The third-century BC Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of kings from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today.
He began his official history with the king named "Meni" or Menes in Greek , who was believed to have united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have been the king Narmer , who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette, in a symbolic act of unification. The increasing power and wealth of the kings during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified king after his death.
Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom , fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. Under the direction of the vizier , state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield , drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. With the rising importance of central administration in Egypt, a new class of educated scribes and officials arose who were granted estates by the king in payment for their services.
Kings also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples, to ensure that these institutions had the resources to worship the king after his death. Scholars believe that five centuries of these practices slowly eroded the economic vitality of Egypt, and that the economy could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration. This, coupled with severe droughts between and BC,  is believed to have caused the country to enter the year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period.
After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the king, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces.
Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. Free from their loyalties to the king, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By BC, rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes , the Intef family , took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable.
They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom. The kings of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's stability and prosperity, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the " Walls of the Ruler ", to defend against foreign attack. With the kings having secured the country militarily and politically and with vast agricultural and mineral wealth at their disposal, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished.
In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom displayed an increase in expressions of personal piety. The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III , allowed Semitic -speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the Delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties.
During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to assume greater control of the Delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos. Around BC, as the power of the Middle Kingdom kings weakened, a Western Asian people called the Hyksos , who had already settled in the Delta, seized control of Egypt and established their capital at Avaris , forcing the former central government to retreat to Thebes. The king was treated as a vassal and expected to pay tribute. They and other invaders introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot.
After retreating south, the native Theban kings found themselves trapped between the Canaanite Hyksos ruling the north and the Hyksos' Nubian allies, the Kushites , to the south. After years of vassalage, Thebes gathered enough strength to challenge the Hyksos in a conflict that lasted more than 30 years, until BC. That task fell to Kamose's successor, Ahmose I , who successfully waged a series of campaigns that permanently eradicated the Hyksos' presence in Egypt.
He established a new dynasty and, in the New Kingdom that followed, the military became a central priority for the kings, who sought to expand Egypt's borders and attempted to gain mastery of the Near East. The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria , and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Beginning with Merneptah the rulers of Egypt adopted the title of pharaoh. Between their reigns, Hatshepsut , a queen who established herself as pharaoh, launched many building projects, including restoration of temples damaged by the Hyksos, and sent trading expeditions to Punt and the Sinai.
The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun , whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built. Around BC, the stability of the New Kingdom was threatened when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten , he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity , suppressed the worship of most other deities, and moved the capital to the new city of Akhetaten modern-day Amarna.
After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned and the traditional religious order restored. The subsequent pharaohs, Tutankhamun , Ay , and Horemheb , worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period. Around BC, Ramesses II , also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history. Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples , a conjectured confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea.
The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period. The south was effectively controlled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes , who recognized Smendes in name only. Libyan princes took control of the delta under Shoshenq I in BC, founding the so-called Libyan or Bubastite dynasty that would rule for some years. Shoshenq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. Libyan control began to erode as a rival dynasty in the delta arose in Leontopolis , and Kushites threatened from the south.
Around BC the Kushite king Piye invaded northward, seizing control of Thebes and eventually the Delta, which established the 25th Dynasty. Twenty-fifth Dynasty pharaohs built, or restored, temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley, including at Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, and Jebel Barkal. Egypt's far-reaching prestige declined considerably toward the end of the Third Intermediate Period. Its foreign allies had fallen under the Assyrian sphere of influence, and by BC war between the two states became inevitable. The reigns of both Taharqa and his successor, Tanutamun , were filled with constant conflict with the Assyrians, against whom Egypt enjoyed several victories.
Ultimately, the Assyrians pushed the Kushites back into Nubia, occupied Memphis, and sacked the temples of Thebes. The Assyrians left control of Egypt to a series of vassals who became known as the Saite kings of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Greek influence expanded greatly as the city-state of Naukratis became the home of Greeks in the Nile Delta. The Saite kings based in the new capital of Sais witnessed a brief but spirited resurgence in the economy and culture, but in BC, the powerful Persians, led by Cambyses II , began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the Battle of Pelusium.
Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from Iran, leaving Egypt under the control of a satrap. A few successful revolts against the Persians marked the 5th century BC, but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians. This first period of Persian rule over Egypt, also known as the Twenty-Seventh Dynasty , ended in BC, when Egypt regained independence under a series of native dynasties. The last of these dynasties, the Thirtieth , proved to be the last native royal house of ancient Egypt, ending with the kingship of Nectanebo II.
In BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander's successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic Kingdom , was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria.
Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style, supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs. Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized into composite deities, such as Serapis , and classical Greek forms of sculpture influenced traditional Egyptian motifs. Despite their efforts to appease the Egyptians, the Ptolemies were challenged by native rebellion, bitter family rivalries, and the powerful mob of Alexandria that formed after the death of Ptolemy IV. Continued Egyptian revolts, ambitious politicians, and powerful opponents from the Near East made this situation unstable, leading Rome to send forces to secure the country as a province of its empire.
The Romans relied heavily on grain shipments from Egypt, and the Roman army , under the control of a prefect appointed by the Emperor, quelled rebellions, strictly enforced the collection of heavy taxes, and prevented attacks by bandits, which had become a notorious problem during the period. Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and worship of the traditional gods continued.
The former lived outside Egypt and did not perform the ceremonial functions of Egyptian kingship. Local administration became Roman in style and closed to native Egyptians. From the mid-first century AD, Christianity took root in Egypt and it was originally seen as another cult that could be accepted. However, it was an uncompromising religion that sought to win converts from Egyptian Religion and Greco-Roman religion and threatened popular religious traditions. This led to the persecution of converts to Christianity, culminating in the great purges of Diocletian starting in , but eventually Christianity won out. While the native population continued to speak their language , the ability to read hieroglyphic writing slowly disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses diminished.
The temples themselves were sometimes converted to churches or abandoned to the desert. In the fourth century, as the Roman Empire divided, Egypt found itself in the Eastern Empire with its capital at Constantinople. It was then recaptured by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius — , and was finally captured by Muslim Rashidun army in —, ending Byzantine rule. The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs.
In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier , who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they places of worship , but were also responsible for collecting and storing the kingdom's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers , who redistributed grain and goods. Much of the economy was centrally organized and strictly controlled. Although the ancient Egyptians did not use coinage until the Late period ,  they did use a type of money-barter system,  with standard sacks of grain and the deben , a weight of roughly 91 grams 3 oz of copper or silver, forming a common denominator.
Prices were fixed across the country and recorded in lists to facilitate trading; for example a shirt cost five copper deben, while a cow cost deben. At first the coins were used as standardized pieces of precious metal rather than true money, but in the following centuries international traders came to rely on coinage. Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble family that owned the land. Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments that served as a mark of their rank. Below the nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized training in their field.
It is unclear whether slavery as understood today existed in ancient Egypt; there is difference of opinions among authors. The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes, as essentially equal under the law, and even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his court for redress. Married couples could own property jointly and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts, which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife and children should the marriage end.
Compared with their counterparts in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world, ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices, legal rights, and opportunities for achievement. Despite these freedoms, ancient Egyptian women did not often take part in official roles in the administration, aside from the royal high priestesses, apparently served only secondary roles in the temples not much data for many dynasties , and were not so likely to be as educated as men. The head of the legal system was officially the pharaoh, who was responsible for enacting laws, delivering justice, and maintaining law and order, a concept the ancient Egyptians referred to as Ma'at. Plaintiffs and defendants were expected to represent themselves and were required to swear an oath that they had told the truth.
In some cases, the state took on both the role of prosecutor and judge, and it could torture the accused with beatings to obtain a confession and the names of any co-conspirators. Whether the charges were trivial or serious, court scribes documented the complaint, testimony, and verdict of the case for future reference. Punishment for minor crimes involved either imposition of fines, beatings, facial mutilation, or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes such as murder and tomb robbery were punished by execution, carried out by decapitation, drowning, or impaling the criminal on a stake.
Punishment could also be extended to the criminal's family. The procedure was to ask the god a "yes" or "no" question concerning the right or wrong of an issue. The god, carried by a number of priests, rendered judgement by choosing one or the other, moving forward or backward, or pointing to one of the answers written on a piece of papyrus or an ostracon. A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile River.
The ancient Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits. Land management was crucial in ancient Egypt because taxes were assessed based on the amount of land a person owned. Farming in Egypt was dependent on the cycle of the Nile River. The Egyptians recognized three seasons: Akhet flooding , Peret planting , and Shemu harvesting. The flooding season lasted from June to September, depositing on the river's banks a layer of mineral-rich silt ideal for growing crops. After the floodwaters had receded, the growing season lasted from October to February.
Farmers plowed and planted seeds in the fields, which were irrigated with ditches and canals. Egypt received little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile to water their crops. Winnowing removed the chaff from the grain, and the grain was then ground into flour, brewed to make beer, or stored for later use. The ancient Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley , and several other cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food staples of bread and beer. These fibers were split along their length and spun into thread, which was used to weave sheets of linen and to make clothing. Papyrus growing on the banks of the Nile River was used to make paper. Vegetables and fruits were grown in garden plots, close to habitations and on higher ground, and had to be watered by hand.
Vegetables included leeks, garlic, melons, squashes, pulses, lettuce, and other crops, in addition to grapes that were made into wine. The Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order; thus humans, animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole. Cattle were the most important livestock; the administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses , and the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs.
Poultry , such as ducks, geese, and pigeons, were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them. Bees were also domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, and provided both honey and wax. The ancient Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden , and they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an offering ritual.
Horses were introduced by the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period. Camels, although known from the New Kingdom, were not used as beasts of burden until the Late Period. There is also evidence to suggest that elephants were briefly utilized in the Late Period but largely abandoned due to lack of grazing land. Herodotus observed that the Egyptians were the only people to keep their animals with them in their houses. Egypt is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones.
These natural resources allowed the ancient Egyptians to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry. There were extensive gold mines in Nubia , and one of the first maps known is of a gold mine in this region. The Wadi Hammamat was a notable source of granite, greywacke , and gold. Flint was the first mineral collected and used to make tools, and flint handaxes are the earliest pieces of evidence of habitation in the Nile valley. Nodules of the mineral were carefully flaked to make blades and arrowheads of moderate hardness and durability even after copper was adopted for this purpose.
The Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the most important metal for toolmaking in ancient Egypt and was smelted in furnaces from malachite ore mined in the Sinai. Iron deposits found in upper Egypt were utilized in the Late Period. Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry , greywacke, alabaster , and carnelian dotted the Eastern Desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty. The ancient Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt.
In the Predynastic Period , they established trade with Nubia to obtain gold and incense. They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty pharaohs. By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons. The ancient Egyptians prized the blue stone lapis lazuli , which had to be imported from far-away Afghanistan.
Egypt's Mediterranean trade partners also included Greece and Crete, which provided, among other goods, supplies of olive oil. The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages. Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language , but it became more analytic later on. Late Egyptian developed prefixal definite and indefinite articles , which replaced the older inflectional suffixes. There was a change from the older verb—subject—object word order to subject—verb—object.
Coptic is still used in the liturgy of the Egyptian Orthodox Church , and traces of it are found in modern Egyptian Arabic. Ancient Egyptian has 25 consonants similar to those of other Afro-Asiatic languages. These include pharyngeal and emphatic consonants, voiced and voiceless stops, voiceless fricatives and voiced and voiceless affricates. It has three long and three short vowels, which expanded in Late Egyptian to about nine. Suffixes are added to form words. The verb conjugation corresponds to the person. Adjectives are derived from nouns through a process that Egyptologists call nisbation because of its similarity with Arabic.
Hieroglyphic writing dates from c. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic , which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction though typically written from right to left , hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows.
A new form of writing, Demotic , became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone. Around the first century AD, the Coptic alphabet started to be used alongside the Demotic script. Coptic is a modified Greek alphabet with the addition of some Demotic signs. As the traditional religious establishments were disbanded, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was mostly lost.
Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries called House of Books , laboratories and observatories. Late Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni. The genre known as Sebayt "instructions" was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; the Ipuwer papyrus , a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example.
The former tells the story of a noble who is robbed on his way to buy cedar from Lebanon and of his struggle to return to Egypt. From about BC, narrative stories and instructions, such as the popular Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, as well as personal and business documents were written in the demotic script and phase of Egyptian. Many stories written in demotic during the Greco-Roman period were set in previous historical eras, when Egypt was an independent nation ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramesses II.
Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mudbrick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread. Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture. The ancient Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance.
Most bathed in the Nile and used a pasty soap made from animal fat and chalk. Men shaved their entire bodies for cleanliness; perfumes and aromatic ointments covered bad odors and soothed skin. Children went without clothing until maturity, at about age 12, and at this age males were circumcised and had their heads shaved. Mothers were responsible for taking care of the children, while the father provided the family's income. Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular.
In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia. The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet , a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times; another similar game was mehen , which had a circular gaming board. The first complete set of this game was discovered from a Theban tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat IV that dates to the 13th Dynasty.
The excavation of the workers' village of Deir el-Medina has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world, which spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organization, social interactions, and working and living conditions of a community have been studied in such detail. Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time; indeed, the cuisine of modern Egypt retains some striking similarities to the cuisine of the ancients.
The staple diet consisted of bread and beer, supplemented with vegetables such as onions and garlic, and fruit such as dates and figs. Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Although the Mesopotamians are typically considered the very first urban civilization in the world, several earlier peoples developed complex societies and cultures that can also be classified as civilizations and they have been included on this list. Era: c. The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule and their civilization stretched across Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia modern-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
Since the empire combined two distinct yet similar civilizations, its people were bilingual, speaking both Sumerian and Akkadian and writing in the Akkadian version of Cuneiform. The Akkadians regularly traded with the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. The Sumerians and Akkadians had a surplus of agricultural products, which they traded for metal ores, timber, and building stone. The people of the Akkadian Empire were skilled craftsman and made a number of beautifully carved seals and cast metal statues.
The fall of the Akkadian Empire gave rise to two famous empires, Assyria in the north and Babylon in the south. Egyptians are perhaps the most well known of the ancient civilizations and while they made several social, cultural, and political advancements, they are best known for creating The Great Pyramids, which have stood the test of time and remain one of the great wonders of the world. The ancient Egyptians developed construction techniques that enabled them to build massive monuments such as pyramids, temples, and obelisks.
Some of their other achievements include creating a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems, the first known planked boats, glass technology, and new forms of literature. Egyptian culture left a lasting legacy on the world and many things we use today were first developed by the ancient Egyptians such as mints, paper, door locks, alarm clocks, concrete, and much more.
While the beautiful hieroglyphics of the Ancient Egyptians are largely associated with the civilization, it was not actually the common writing system. Hieroglyphics were used only in special circumstances and scribes used hieratic and later, demotic both were simplified versions of hieroglyphics. The Harappans built numerous sprawling cities, which were notable for their urban planning, water supply systems, elaborate drainage systems, and large concentrations on non-residential buildings. They also created new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. In addition to math and engineering, the Indus Valley Civilization enjoyed a number of arts and crafts.
Various games and toys have also been found in Indus Valley Civilization cities. For such a large and successful civilization, there is no evidence that the Indus Valley Civilization was ruled over by a King or some other singular ruler. Instead, the Indus Valley Civilization was most likely ruled by a central government, which would explain the extensive city planning. The Norte Chico civilization also called Caral or Caral-supe civilization is considered to be the oldest known civilization that existed in the Americas.
The Norte Chico civilization is a pre-ceramic culture as archaeologists have found no ceramic remains and almost no visual art. However, the Norte Chico people are known for their monumental architecture which includes large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas such as the one pictured above. In Caral, the city for which the Norte Chico civilization gets its other name, a total of six pyramids have been discovered — they are the oldest pyramids outside of Egypt and are actually contemporary with the first Egyptian pyramids. Around 10, BCE, some of the first fully developed Neolithic cultures began to settle in the fertile crescent, which includes Mesopotamia.
Around 8, BCE, people in northern Mesopotamia began to cultivate barley and wheat, which they used to make beer, gruel, soup, and eventually bread. During the time known as the Ubaid Period c. This gave rise to the Sumerians , who are credited as the first urban civilization in the world.While the native population continued to speak their languagethe ability to read How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful writing How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses Cultural Differences In Ancient Greece. In an attempt to duplicate the activities How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful Jury Service In Adversarial Court System living in the afterlifethese models show laborers, houses, Psychodynamic Perspective Essay, and even military formations that Alien And Sedition Act Negative Consequences scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife. Archived from the original How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful 19 March How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful Elias, at the time a nonagenarian, was still able How Did Egyptian Civilization Was The Most Successful respond to the criticism the year before his death.