Ancient Egypt was even ancient to the ancient Egyptians themselves. It was as ancient to the ancient Greeks as the ancient Greeks are to us. 5, 000 years separated us from the beginning of ancient Egypt. The history of Egypt begins with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt into one United Kingdom. The first ruler under this new system was Menes. Thirty other dynasties would follow.
To further unify Upper and Lower Egypt Menes founded a capital city where the two met: at the apex of the Nile, where it fans out into the silt plain. This city was named "White walls" by the Egyptians but later called Memphis by the Greeks. It is here at Memphis that the great pyramids where built. The pyramids of Egypt are the last remaining Wonder of the World.
Even In the days of Ancient Egypt when powerful pharaohs ruled over Egypt the Pyramids were considered a wonder. Today, the ruins of 35 pyramids still stand Near the Nile River in Egypt. These pyramids were built to protect the bodies Of Egyptian kings and other royalty but before the pyramids became the standard For burials, tombs were used for Egypt's early rulers, nobles, and other high Ranking officials. Its temples are on the same massive scale as its great pyramids. The Temple of Karnak took 2, 000 years to build, and its hypostyle hall is larger then the basilica of St. Peter.
The step pyramid of King Zoster dates from the 28 th century and it stands in The open desert south of Cairo. Of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, only the Pyramids of Giza still survive. Egypt has the greatest collection of monuments from the ancient world. The Step Pyramid was built for King Djoser. The people of Egypt willingly labored to build these monuments for their rulers, believing that, as gods, the pharaohs had to be properly provided for in they re after life. The Step Pyramid was built around 2630 B.
C. Because the ancient Egyptians built their earthly houses out of mud brick, and their heavenly home out of stone, the religious monument endured. And they are the greatest witness to immortality of any civilization known on the planet earth. The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the gift of the Nile, because floodwaters of this great river deposited rich, black soil on the land year after year. Egyptian farmers planted their crops in this fertile soil. Sandy plateaus and towering cliffs bordered the river valley.
Beyond these waters stretched the barren wastes of the Sahara desert. On the edge of the desert, the Egyptians built giant pyramids as burial places for their pharaohs. They carved the Great Sphinx out of solid rock as a guardian of King Cheops+ Great Pyramid at Giza. The ancient Egyptians called their country Kemet, which means black (after the land). The Greeks called the country Aigyptos, from the name Ha-ka-ptah, the main temple of the Egyptian capital at Memphis. The religion of the ancient Egyptians was rather complex.
Creation was Believed to have been made out of darkness and chaos. With the physical Creation of earth, mankind, and gods came the abstract concepts of law, religion, Ethics, and kingship. Those were to last for eternity, which solidifies the Notion that ancient Egyptians were very conservative. They believed there was No change; the universe worked according to a certain pattern governed by Principles laid down at the beginning of time. The Hebrews spent 430 years in Egypt before they developed their own religion, and their founder, Moses, was raised as an adopted son in the pharaoh s court. Many modern beliefs and ideals, as well as much of man+s knowledge, had their origin in Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians developed the world+s first national government. Their religion was one of the first to emphasize a life after death. They produced an expressive art and literature. The Egyptians introduced stone architecture and made the first convenient writing material, papyrus. They developed a 365-day year and set up the basic methods of geometry and surgery. As you look into the ancient past of Egypt, it is quite interesting to note the bureaucracy in the times of 3000 BC, which helps us to understand the artwork accomplished in these times.
As the Egyptians were united under one central government and ruled by a pharaoh, they were organized by control through a tightly organized bureaucracy. The Pharaoh dominated all facets of the people s lives. The people dreamed of afterlife as a reward for their hard work while living, and often depicted afterlife where the spirit could find pleasure wandering unseen among the living. The palace art and architecture of these ancient kingdoms was intended to emphasize a hierarchical ordering of society, form ruler, to subject. Egypt's tombs and temples were ornamented with paintings of great distinction. A painting at the tomb of The ber shows floral offerings being made to the hawk god Menu.
This is highly stylized and rich, showing the worshipping of animal gods at the time.