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A Presentation on Egyptian Civilization and its history from Late Neolithic era to the decline of Egypt in 30 BC.
This Presentation looks at History of Egypt, Social structure, Architecture, Daily life of average Egyptian, Pharaohs and their roles in governance, religion and gods of Ancient Egypt, Language and Literature, Egyptian Art and representation, and Legacy of Egyptian civilization.
The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided
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
neighbouring countries and invading armies. They also
provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious
metals and semi-precious stones.
▪ Ancient Egyptian pharaohs were considered to be
divine deities as well as mortal rulers. Throughout the
30+ dynasties in ancient Egyptian history, it is
speculated that some 170 or more rulers reigned over
the great land of Egypt during a three thousand year
▪ The throne of Egypt was primarily intended to be
succeeded from father to son, however in many cases
this line of kingship was interrupted by murder,
kidnappings, plots and mysterious disappearances
similar to daily TV serials that we see today.
▪ Each time a new family took control of the throne, a
new kingdom began in the history of this culture.
rulers often intermarried with daughters,
granddaughters, sisters and brothers to keep the
throne within the family the throne still managed to
shift hands multiple times; creating a dynamic, and
often, complex ancient history.
▪ The most powerful person in ancient Egypt was
the pharaoh. The pharaoh was the political and
religious leader of the Egyptian people, holding
the titles: 'Lord of the Two Lands' and 'High Priest
of Every Temple'.
▪ As 'Lord of the Two Lands' the pharaoh was the
ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt. He owned all of
the land, made laws, collected taxes, and
defended Egypt against foreigners.
▪ As 'High Priest of Every Temple', the pharaoh
represented the gods on Earth. He performed
rituals and built temples to honour the gods.
▪ Every civilization is built upon
rules and regulations and Ancient
Egypt was no different in this
regard. In ancient Egypt,
government revolved heavily
around a single figure, the
Pharaoh, who the people believed
to be a living god. This status
basically granted the pharaoh
virtually limitless power and
control over his subjects.
▪ In the New Kingdom, when
Akhenaton forced the people
to put aside the 'old gods' in
favour of a single god, religion
and government were tightly
▪ A good number of the people
carrying out the Pharaoh's
decrees where priests and holy
men. This group formed their own
social class as they were given
preferential treatment before
other citizens and were a kind of
nobility in their own right.
▪ The government structure of
ancient Egypt involved other
officials, including viziers, army
commanders, chief treasurers, the
minister of public works, and tax
collectors, all of whom answered
directly to the pharaoh.
▪ Since before Ancient Egypt
became a unified kingdom, the
kings of the region were believed
to be earthly incarnations of the
god Horus. Horus was one of the
most revered gods of the
Egyptian religion, depicted in art
as a falcon or as a man with a
falcon's head. According to
Ancient Egyptian mythology, the
first king of Egypt was murdered
by his brother, and it was his son,
Horus, who avenged him.
Religion and beliefs
Ancient Egyptians worship of 2000 different gods
After all the Gods were kept, meaning many gods had similar characteristics
Animals were considered the living images of the gods
Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some brought the flood every year, some offered
protection, and some took care of people after they died. Others were either local gods who
represented towns, or minor gods who represented plants or animals.
The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to recognize and worship these gods and
goddesses so that life continued smoothly.
• Appearance: Man with the
head of a hawk
• Horus was a god of the sky.
He is the protector of the
ruler of Egypt.
• It was believed that the
pharaoh was the 'living
• Appearance: A Man with a
ram-head wearing an ostrich
• Amun was one of the most
powerful gods in ancient
• At the height of Egyptian
civilisation he was called the
'King of the Gods'.
• Appearance: A mummified man
who is wearing a white headdress
• Osiris was the god of the dead,
and ruler of the Underworld.
• Osiris was also the god of
vegetation (plant matter) that’s
why he is green in appearance.
• Appearance: Man with the double
• Atum was a creator god.
• It was believed that Atum was the
first god to exist on earth.
• Sun God
A man with the head of a
Hawk wearing a sun disk
• He was the most important
• The ancient Egyptians
believed that each night Ra
was swallowed night by Nut,
the sky goddess then reborn
in the morning.
• Appearance: A man with the
head of an ibis holding a
• Thoth was the go of Knowledge
• It was said that he gave the gift
• Appearance: A Woman with a
feather on top of her head
• Ma'at was the goddess of truth,
justice and harmony.
• Ma’at was often associated
with the balance of things on
• Appearance: A Man with the
head of a jackal
• Anubis was the god of
embalming and the dead.
• Jackals were often seen found
in cemeteries, because of this it
was believed that Anubis
watched over the dead.
The After Life
Death is not seen as the last stage of life
Before the mummy can reach the underworld it has to pass through seven
gates, aided by the magic spells inscribed upon the funerary objects, then
the dead person arrives in the presence of Osiris (god of the underworld)
Osiris then performs a ceremony called the 'weighing of the heart'
Heart of the dead person is weighed on a scale by the jackal headed god
Anubis (god of dead) against the feather of Ma'at (goddess of truth)
Balancing the scale meant immortality.
• If the scale did not balance then Sobek (crocodile headed god) would eat
the heart, and Seth, murderer of Osiris ate the rest of the body
Food and Agrarian society
• River Nile has played a very important role when it comes to farming in
• It deposited a layer of black soil over the land, rich in nutrients needed
for growing crops.
• Under normal conditions, the flood plains supported a rich variety
of plants and animals that provided food for the ancient Egyptians.
Hunting and Fishing:
• Pharaohs and nobles participated in hunting, fishing and
fowling expeditions, a means of recreation that had ritualistic and
• Rabbits, deer, gazelles, bulls, oryx, antelopes, hippopotamuses,
and lions were among the wild animals hunted for their meat and
• Fishing allowed the working class to add variety to its diet. The poor
substituted fish for meat, which they could not afford.
• Most houses were made of brick. The banks of
the Nile provided the mud used to make bricks.
• Egyptian peasants would have lived in simple mud-
brick homes containing only a few pieces of furniture:
beds, stools, boxes and low tables.
• Craftsmen lived in one- or two-storey flat-roofed
dwellings made of mud bricks. The walls and roof
would have been covered with plaster and painted.
• The homes of the wealthy were larger and more
luxurious. Spacious reception and living rooms
opened onto a central garden courtyard with a fish
pond and flowering plants. Each bedroom had a
private bathroom, and the walls, columns and ceilings
were painted with beautiful designs inspired by
Egypt’s intense sun and heat
shaped how ancient Egyptians
built their houses. The oldest
houses were built of mud and
papyrus. After a while, however,
people realized that this
combination wouldn’t work. The
Nile River flooded for three
months every year and literally
washed these houses away.
This is when the ancient Egyptians
discovered that they could create
bricks out of clay and mud from
the Nile’s riverbank. Allowed to
dry in the sun, mud-bricks lasted
much longer than houses made of
mud and papyrus, but rain still
eventually eroded them. Wood
wasn’t used to build the actual
houses because of its scarcity.
Slaves and children as young as
four were left to the menial job of
Almost all ancient Egypt houses
were constructed with a flat roof.
Not only did this most likely
make the construction process
simpler, but the flat roofs also
offered a welcome respite from
the burning Egyptian sun.
“the workmen's village"
It is a walled enclosure of very regular houses along several parallel streets.
Archaeologists believed it housed workers working on the rock tombs nearby.
However, this walled town had a guard house at the only exit, and it seems more
likely to have been to keep the workers in than anything out (the main city was
protected by no such wall, for the whole site, including the workmen's village, is
enclosed by high cliffs).
The Ancient City of Akhetaten at el-Amarna
The wealthy enjoyed building their homes
along the Nile River. The outside of the
homes was painted white to keep it cooler
during the day. Sometimes, the very wealthy
lined the outside walls with limestone, which
caused their house to sparkle and twinkle in
the sunlight. Artists were paid to decorate
the inside walls with bright pastel colors to
create a fresh and clean feel.
Some of the richest had houses as big as 30
rooms. Most of these rooms were used for
storing sealed jars of food. Other rooms
were used for the children, guest rooms and
even bathrooms (though with no running
water). These large homes had front and
back doors with bars on the windows to
keep out intruders and wild animals.
Raised up, at the center of the house, lay the
living or family room. This room was raised
up to keep sand out. As it was the center of
the home, it was cool in the summer and
warm in the winter.
• The Nile River was the highway that joined the country together.
• The simplest type of boat used in ancient Egypt was the skiff, made from papyrus reeds that were tied together.
• Boats also served a ceremonial purpose. They were used to move images of gods from temple to temple, and to transport
mummified bodies of royals and nobles across the Nile to their tombs on the west bank.
• Large wooden ships were equipped with square sails and oars and Ships could travel with ease up and down the Nile from
delta region to the First Cataract at Aswan.
Arts and crafts
• Stone and clay pots comprise one of the most important categories of Egyptian artifacts.
• Skilled carpenters manufactured a wide range of products, from roofing beams to furniture and
statues. Their tools included saws, axes, chisels, adzes, wooden mallets, stone polishers and bow
• Sculptors had to adhere to very strict stylistic rules. The stone was first shaped and smoothed by
masons using stone hammers. For bas-reliefs, draftsmen outlined images on the stone before a
team of sculptors began carving them with copper chisels.
• Various types of semi-precious stones were used in jewellery. To make beads, artisans broke stones
and rolled them between other stones to shape them.
Ancient Egyptian art is 5000 years old. It
emerged and took shape in the ancient Egypt,
the civilization of the Nile Valley. Expressed in
paintings and sculptures, it was highly
symbolic and fascinating - this art form
revolves round the past and was intended to
keep history alive.
In a narrow sense, Ancient Egyptian art refers
to the 2D and 3D art developed in Egypt from
3000 BC and used until the 3rd century. It is to
be noted that most elements of Egyptian art
remained remarkably stable over the 3000
year period that represents the ancient
civilization without strong outside influence.
Ancient Egyptian art forms are characterized
by regularity and detailed depiction of human
beings and the nature, and, were intended to
provide company to the deceased in the
Beautifully preserved funerary
sculptures of Prince Rahotep and
his wife Nofret, Old
Kingdom, painted limestone, life-
size. Note the lifelike eyes of inlaid
Artists' endeavored to
preserve everything of
present time as clearly and
permanently as possible.
prettiness. Some art forms
present an extraordinarily
vivid representation of the
time and the life, as the
ancient Egyptian life was
lived thousand of years
Egyptian art in all forms
obeyed one law: the mode
of representing man,
nature and the
almost the same for
thousands of years and the
most admired artists were
those who replicated most
admired styles of the past.
To be understood, Ancient
Egyptian art must be
viewed from the
standpoint of the ancient
The somewhat static,
usually formal, strangely
abstract, and often blocky
nature of much Egyptian
imagery has, at times, led
comparisons with later,
more naturalistic Greek or
The art of the Egyptians,
however, served a vastly
different purpose than that
of these later cultures.
The king being embraced by a goddess, Old
Kingdom, painted sunk relief, Tomb of
Amenherkhepshef QV 55.
This late Amarna period Queen
Nefertiti bust (right) demonstrates the
abilities of the sculptor if not
constrained by traditional Ancient
Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen,
Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, 2490 – 2472
BC. The formality of the pose is
reduced by the queen's arm round her
Type of Art
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an
oval with a horizontal line at one end,
indicating that the text enclosed is a royal
name, coming into use during the
beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under
Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier
While the cartouche is usually vertical
a horizontal line, it is sometimes
if it makes the name fit better, with a
vertical line on the left. The Ancient
Egyptian word for it was shenu, and it was
essentially an expanded shen ring. In
Demotic, the cartouche was reduced to a
pair of parentheses and a vertical line.
At times amulets were given the
form of a cartouche displaying
the name of a king and placed in
tombs. Such items are often
important to archaeologists for
dating the tomb and its contents.
Cartouches were formerly only
worn by Pharaohs.
Statues and Sculptures
Of the materials used by the Egyptian sculptors,
we find - clay, wood, metal, ivory, and stone -
stone was the most plentiful and permanent,
available in a wide variety of colors and hardness.
Sculpture was often painted in vivid hues as well.
Egyptian sculpture has two qualities that are
distinctive; it can be characterized as cubic and
frontal. It nearly always echoes in its form the
shape of the stone cube or block from which it
was fashioned, partly because it was an image
conceived from four viewpoints.
The front of almost every statue is the most
important part and the figure sits or stands facing
strictly to the front. This suggests to the modern
viewer that the ancient artist was unable to
create a naturalistic representation, but it is
that this was not the intention.
Symbolism in Art
Symbolism also played an important role in establishing a sense
of order. Symbolism, ranging from the Pharaoh's regalia
(symbolizing his power to maintain order) to the individual
symbols of Egyptian gods and goddesses, was omnipresent in
Animals were usually also highly symbolic figures in Egyptian
Color, as well, had extended meaning - Blue and green
represented the Nile and life; yellow stood for the sun god; and
red represented power and vitality.
The colors in Egyptian artifacts have survived extremely well
the centuries because of Egypt's dry climate. Despite the stilted
form caused by a lack of perspective, ancient Egyptian art is
Ancient Egyptian artists often show a sophisticated knowledge
anatomy and a close attention to detail, especially in their
renderings of animals.
The word paper is derived from "papyrus", a plant
was cultivated in the Nile delta. Papyrus sheets were
derived after processing the papyrus plant. Some rolls
papyrus discovered are lengthy, up to 10 meters. The
technique for crafting papyrus was lost over time, but
was rediscovered by an Egyptologist in the 1940s.
Papyrus texts illustrate all dimensions of ancient
Egyptian life and include literary, religious, historical
administrative documents. The pictorial script used in
these texts ultimately provided the model for two most
common alphabets in the world, the Roman and the
Modes of representation for three-
Three-dimensional representations, while quite formal,
also aimed to reproduce the real-world. Statuary of
gods, royalty, and the elite was designed to convey an
idealized version of those individuals. Some aspects of
naturalism were dictated by the material. Stone
for example, was quite closed—with arms held close to
the sides, limited positions, a strong back pillar that
provided support, and fill spaces left between limbs.
Wood and metal statuary, in contrast, was more
expressive—arms could be extended and hold
objects, spaces between the limbs were opened to
create a more realistic appearance, and more positions
were possible. Stone, wood, and metal statuary of elite
figures, however, all served the same functions and
retained the same type of formalization and frontality.
Only statuettes of lower status people displayed a wide
range of possible actions; these pieces were focused
the actions themselves, which benefited the elite
not the people depicted in the statuettes.
Modes of representation for two-
Two-dimensional art represented the world
differently. Egyptian artists embraced the two-
dimensional surface and attempted to provide
the most representative aspects of each
in the scene rather than attempting to create
vistas that replicated the real world.
Each object or element in a scene was rendered
from its most recognizable angle and these
then grouped together to create the whole. This
is why images of people show their face, waist,
and limbs in profile, but eye and shoulders
These scenes are complex composite images
provide complete information about the various
elements, rather than single viewpoints that
would not be as comprehensive in the data
Chaotic fighting scene, New Kingdom,
painted box from the tomb of
Hierarchy of scale
Difference in scale was the most commonly used method for conveying
hierarchy—the larger the scale of the figures, the more important they
were. Kings were often shown at the same scale as deities, but both are
shown larger than the elite and far larger than the average Egyptian.
Text and image
Text accompanied almost all images. In statuary, identifying text
will appear on the back pillar or base, and relief usually has
captions or longer texts that complete and elaborate on the
scenes. Hieroglyphs were often rendered as tiny works of art in
themselves, even though these small pictures do not always
for what they depict.
Many are instead phonetic sounds. Some, however, are
logographic, meaning they stand for an object or concept.
The lines blur between text and image in many cases. For
the name of a figure in the text on a statue will regularly omit the
determinative—an unspoken sign at the end of a word that aids
Verbs of motion are followed by a pair of walking legs; names of
men end with the image of a man, names of gods with the image
of a seated god. In these instances, the representation itself
Highly detailed raised relief
Kingdom (White Chapel of
Senusret I at Karnak)
How Egyptians look at the death and the
afterlife from the Book of the Dead
How Egyptians look at
the death and the
afterlife from the Book of
One aspect of death was the
disintegration of the various modes of
existence. Funerary rituals served to re-
integrate these different aspects of
being. Mummification served to
and transform the physical body into a
sah, an idealized form with divine
aspects; the Book of the Dead
spells aimed at preserving the body of
the deceased, which may have been
recited during the process of
The heart, which was regarded as the
aspect of being which included
intelligence and memory, was also
protected with spells, and in case
anything happened to the physical
it was common to bury jeweled heart
scarabs with a body to provide a
The ka, or life-force, remained in the
tomb with the dead body, and
sustenance from offerings of food,
water and incense. The name of the
dead person, which constituted their
individuality and was required for their
continued existence, was written in
many places throughout the Book.
The ba was a free-ranging spirit aspect
of the deceased. It was the ba,
as a human-headed bird, which could
"go forth by day" from the tomb into
Finally, the shut, or shadow of the
deceased. If all these aspects of the
person could be variously preserved,
remembered, and satiated, then the
dead person would live on in the form
of an akh. An aka was a blessed spirit
with magical powers who would dwell
among the gods.
How Egyptians represent life
On the Tree Of Life, the birds represent the various stages of
Starting in the lower right-hand corner and proceeding
The light gray bird symbolizes infancy.
The red bird symbolizes childhood.
The green bird symbolizes youth.
The blue bird symbolizes adulthood.
The orange bird symbolizes old age.
In ancient Egypt, the direction east was considered the
direction of life, because the sun rose in the east.
West was considered the direction of death, of entering the
underworld, because the sun set in the west.
They believed that during the night, the sun traveled through
the underworld to make its way back to the east so it could
in the east again on the next day.
On the tree of life, note that the birds representing the first
four phases of life all face to the east, but the bird
old age faces to the west, anticipating the approach of death.
The Egyptian family was a closely knit unit in ancient
times, as it is today. It was customary to picture a man's
wife and children on his stela (gravestone), and often his
parents and grandparents are mentioned if they are not
actually represented. The mother is shown more
frequently than the father, as descent was traced
the female line.
As a rule a man had only one wife, who went about
although she lived with her children in a separate,
women's quarter of the house.
In the Old Kingdom a man and his wife
were equal in the eyes of the law. The Egyptians were
fond and proud of their children. Each child was named
birth, frequently after a god or the king. Often names
refer to qualities; some recall flowers, trees, or animals;
some express the parents' joy over their child.
The Family and the Estates
This scene, copied from a wall in a
New Kingdom tomb, shows some
of the activities that might have
taken place on a private
estate. In the center of the top
register, men gather grapes,
are being processed into wine in
the register below.
At the far right is a two-story
house with date palms growing in
its courtyard. In the bottom
register, cattle are being branded
far left, while a kneeling scribe
records the various proceedings.
In the back of the
stable, cattle are
feeding at a trough. In
the front room, two
men are force feeding
two animals, one of
which is crouching on
On the upper level of
meat has been hung
up to dry, while the
cattle takes place
Right Bottom shows a
scene from a Bakery.
The climate of Egypt did not encourage the
Egyptians to clutter their rooms with furniture, but
beds, chairs, and stools were to be found in well-
equipped homes. Wickerwork stands were more
usual than wooden tables, and chests and baskets
took the place of cupboards and drawers. Mats of
woven rushes covered the floors.
Metal tools, which became available at the end of
the prehistoric period, made fine cabinetwork
the construction used by the Egyptians were the
mortise and Tenon joint, the miter joint, dovetailing,
Nevertheless, beds were comparatively
rare and a headrest, a prop of about the same
as the shoulder, was
the greatest necessity for a good night's sleep.
Egyptians who possessed beds used a headrest as
well; sometimes soft cushions stuffed with feathers
were put behind the back, but these have rarely
Nevertheless, beds were comparatively rare
and a headrest, a prop of about the same
height as the shoulder, was the greatest
necessity for a good night's sleep. Egyptians
who possessed beds used a headrest as well;
sometimes soft cushions stuffed with
were put behind the back, but these have
rarely been preserved.
Decorative and other daily items
As the Egyptians had only primitive
ways of lighting their homes they started
the day early and went to bed soon after
sunset. Dinner was probably in the middle
of the day, and a light supper taken
The guests at an Egyptian meal did not sit
down around one table. Important
personages were given individual stands
with their own supplies of food and drink.
The less important laid their dishes on the
floor beside them. No cutlery was used at
The vessels in which food and drink were
served were of a wide variety, but the
different shapes had definite uses. Pottery
vessels were the most usual; they were
often of elegant shapes and sometimes
were decorated with painted designs.
Copper and bronze dishes were
since they were also used as a form of
Dressing and Clothing
Before the Egyptians were ready
to appear for the day, a great
deal of care had been spent on
their persons. The better houses had shallow
baths in which the owner stood while water
was poured over him; soda was the
agent. To counteract the drying effect of the
soda, and of the sun and dust, perfumed oils
were rubbed into the skin.
The eyelids were painted with kohl, which is
antiseptic as well as decorative. Women
colored their lips and cheeks with rouge, and
stained their palms with henna. These
cosmetics were kept in jars and boxes that
were among the most highly prized products
of the Egyptian craftsman.
Dressing and Clothing
Men were usually clean-shaven; both
men and women used bronze razors and
tweezers, which came in sets with hair
curlers and gritstone hones. Wigs were
often worn by both men and women, but
some ladies preferred to pad out their
own hair with false braids that were
kept in baskets with sweet-smelling
Kerchiefs protected these elaborate
coiffures from the dust. Combs and
hairpins were used in dressing the hair.
There were many attractive ways in which the busy
Egyptian official could pass his spare time at home.
Sometimes professional magicians, wrestlers, or
storytellers were brought in to amuse him. Sometimes he
laughed at the antics of a dwarf, the Egyptian equivalent
of the medieval jester. More often he sat down to some
quiet game such as senet with one of his family.
This game, a form of which is still played throughout the
ear Fast, required a combination of luck and skill. Each
player a set of men that he moved up and down the
squares of the hoard according to the roll of the bones.
The southern Sanctuary
▪ Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple
complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in
the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes) and
founded in 1400 BCE.
▪ Known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the
▪ In Luxor there are six great temples, the four on the
bank are known as Goornah, Deir-el-Bahri, the
Ramesseum, and Medinet Habu; and the two temples
on the right bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor.
▪ The Luxor temple was built with sandstone
from the south-western Egypt. This sandstone
was used for the construction for monuments
in Upper Egypt.
▪ Like other Egyptian structures a common
technique used was symbolism, or illusionism.
For example, to the Egyptian, a sanctuary
shaped like an Anubis Jackal was really Anubis.
At the Luxor temple, the two obelisks flanking
the entrance were not the same height, but
they created the illusion that they were.
▪ With the layout of the temple they appear to
be of equal height, but using illusionism, it
enhances the relative distances hence making
them look the same size to the wall behind it.
Symbolically, it is a visual and spatial effect to
emphasize the heights and distance from the
wall, enhancing the already existing pathway.
▪ The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak
comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and
other buildings. Building at the complex began during the reign
of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the
Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date
from the New Kingdom. It is part of the monumental city of
Thebes. The Karnak complex gives its name to the nearby, and
partly surrounded, modern village of El-Karnak.
▪ The complex is a vast open-air museum, and the second largest
ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple
▪ The term Karnak often is understood as being the Precinct of
Amun-Ra. The three other parts, the Precinct of Mut, the
of Montu, and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, are
▪ There also are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries connecting
the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and the Luxor
▪ The original temple was destroyed and partially restored by
Hatshepsut, although another pharaoh built around it in order
change the focus or orientation of the sacred area.
▪ It is the name commonly given to the Mortuary
Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom
period structure on the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt.
Aside from its intrinsic size and architectural and
artistic importance, the temple is probably best
known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the
advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the
of Ramesses III.
▪ The first pylon leads into an open courtyard, lined
with colossal statues of Ramesses III as Osiris on one
side, and uncarved columns on the other.
▪ The second pylon leads into a peristyle hall, again
featuring columns in the shape of Ramesses. This
leads up a ramp that leads (through a columned
portico) to the third pylon and then into the large
hypostyle hall (which has lost its roof).
▪ Reliefs and actual heads of foreign captives were
found placed within the temple perhaps in an
to symbolize the king's control over Syria and Nubia.
▪ Deir el-Bahari (literally means, "The Northern
Monastery") is a complex of mortuary
and tombs located on the west bank of the
Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt. This is
part of the Theban Necropolis.
▪ The first monument built at the site was the
mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II of the
Eleventh dynasty. It was constructed during
the 15th century BC.
▪ During the Eighteenth dynasty, Amenhotep I
and Hatshepsut also built extensively at the
▪ The mortuary temple itself consists of a
forecourt, enclosed by walls on three sides,
and a terrace on which stands a large square
structure that may represent the primeval
mound that arose from the waters of chaos.
As the temple faces east, the structure is likely
to be connected with the sun cult of Ra and
the resurrection of the king.
The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock
temples in Abu Simbel , a small village in
Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are
situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser,
about 230 km southwest of Aswan.
The complex is part of the UNESCO World
Heritage Site The twin temples were originally
carved out of the mountainside during the reign
of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as
a lasting monument to himself and his queen
Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the
Battle of Kadesh.
The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968,
on an artificial hill made from a domed structure,
high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The
relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid
their being submerged during the creation of
Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir
formed after the building of the Aswan High
on the Nile River.
It is believed that the axis of the temple was
positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in
such a way that on October 22 and February 22,
the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary
and illuminate the sculptures on the back wall,
except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected
with the Underworld, who always remained in the
dark. People gather at Abu Simbel to witness this
remarkable sight, on October 21 and February 21.
These dates are allegedly the king's birthday and
coronation day respectively, but there is no
evidence to support this, though it is quite logical
to assume that these dates had some relation to a
great event, such as the jubilee celebrating the
thirtieth anniversary of the pharaoh's rule.
In fact, according to calculations made on the
basis of the heliacal rising of the star Sirius and
inscriptions found by archaeologists, this date
must have been October 22. This image of the
king was enhanced and revitalized by the energy
of the solar star, and the deified Ramesses the
Great could take his place next to Amun Ra and
Drawings of the types of the architectural capitals specific
for the Ancient Egyptian civilization.
Language and Literature
▪ A hieroglyph (Greek for "sacred writing") is a
character of the ancient Egyptian writing system.
▪ Scripts that are pictographic in form in a way
reminiscent of ancient Egyptian are also
▪ Visually hieroglyphs are all more or less figurative:
they represent real or illusion elements,
stylized and simplified, but all generally perfectly
recognizable in form. However, the same sign
according to context, be interpreted in diverse
▪ Most scholars believe that Egyptian hieroglyphs
"came into existence a little after Sumerian script,
and, probably were, invented under the influence
of the latter", However, given the lack of direct
evidence, "no definitive determination has been
made as to the origin of hieroglyphics in ancient
▪ Hieratic (hieratika; literally
"priestly") is a cursive writing
system used in the provenance of
the pharaohs in Egypt and Nubia.
It developed alongside cursive
hieroglyphs, to which it is
yet intimately related. It was
primarily written in ink with a reed
brush on papyrus, allowing
to write quickly without resorting
to the time-consuming
▪ Hieratic first appeared and
developed alongside the more
formal hieroglyphic script.
is not a derivative of hieroglyphic
▪ Indeed, the earliest texts from
Egypt are produced with ink and
brush, with no indication their
signs are descendants of
hieroglyphs. True monumental
hieroglyphs carved in stone did
not appear until the 1st Dynasty,
well after hieratic had been
established as a scribal practice.
The two writing systems,
therefore, are related, parallel
developments, rather than a
▪ Through most of its long history,
hieratic was used for writing
accounts, legal texts, and letters,
as well as mathematical, medical,
literary, and religious texts. In
general, hieratic was much more
important than hieroglyphs
throughout Egypt's history, being
the script used in daily life. It was
also the writing system first
to students, knowledge of
hieroglyphs being limited to a
small minority who were given
▪ Throughout ancient Egyptian history, reading and
writing were the main requirements for serving in
public office, although government officials were
assisted in their day-to-day work by an elite, literate
social group known as scribes.
▪ Besides government employment, scribal services in
drafting letters, sales documents, and legal documents
would have been frequently sought by illiterate people.
Literate people are thought to have comprised only 1%
of the population, the remainder being illiterate
farmers, herdsmen, artisans, and other labourers, as
well as merchants who required the assistance of
▪ The privileged status of the scribe over illiterate manual
labourers was the subject of a popular Ramesside
Period instructional text, The Satire of the Trades,
where lowly, undesirable occupations, for example,
potter, fisherman, laundry man, and soldier, were
mocked and the scribal profession praised. A similar
demeaning attitude towards the illiterate is expressed
in the Middle Kingdom Teaching of Khety, which is
used to reinforce the scribes' elevated position within
the social hierarchy.
What were they writing?
▪ Narrative tales and stories
▪ Lament, discourses, dialogues, and
▪ Poems, songs, hymns, and afterlife
▪ Private letters, model letters, and
▪ Biographical and autobiographical
▪ Decrees, chronicles, king lists, and
▪ Tomb and temple graffiti
▪ The Story of Sinuhe, written in
Middle Egyptian, might be the
classic of Egyptian literature. Also
written at this time was the
Papyrus, a set of stories told to
Khufu by his sons relating the
marvels performed by priests.
Legacy and Relevance of Egyptian
▪ The decimal system
▪ 365 days a year calendar
▪ Great/Epic scale Architecture
▪ Long lasting built forms and techniques
▪ Mathematics to solve architectural problems
▪ Finding out area of a circle without using pi
▪ Abstraction in representation
▪ Writing similar to modern era with ink
▪ Complex Caste and class system
▪ Mapping of river flow and floods
▪ Measuring the water in the river
▪ Soap made from animal fat
▪ Notion of Personal hygiene
▪ Glass making
▪ Advanced pottery making techniques
▪ Surgery and use of medicine
▪ Mummification and embalming of dead bodies
▪ Concept of Afterlife
▪ Ship building
▪ First people to use sails
▪ Use of natural proportioning system Golden Ratio in
▪ Metallurgy and use of precious materials