Culture Magazine

Ancient Egyptian Facts

By Egyking

Egypt is one of the countries in Africa and the Middle East. The ancient name for Egypt is Kemet meaning 'black land'. It had obtained its name owing to the fertile black soil found on the plains of the Nile river which flows through Egypt. Egypt is also known for its historical monuments like the Giza pyramid complex and even the Egyptian civilization holds a lot of importance.
Egypt is a country which has political and cultural significance for the Middle East. Egypt derived its English name from various sources like the French word Egypte, from Latin Aegyptus and ancient Greek Aigyptos. Facts include farming, paintings, education, religious beliefs and other things that related to and explained the Egyptian lifestyle.
Ancient Egyptian Facts
Ancient Egyptian Facts
Farming in Egypt
One of the fundamental reasons that attributed Egypt to flourish was the fertile black soil along the Nile river which flowed through Egypt. Farming was a significant activity carried on by the ancient Egyptians. During that time, many farmers were experts in cultivating wheat, vegetables, a variety of fruits and onions.
Other items of farming included barley, flax, leeks, garlic, beans, grapes, figs etc. Wheat was used for making bread, barley for beer and Flax was integral for textile fiber. Papyrus reeds which grew naturally on Nile river were used making sandals, boats, paper, mats and baskets. Farming was carried out in all the seasons, except when it flooded. During floods people avoided farming.
Animals like goat, cattle oxen, pigs, ducks, etc were kept by the Egyptian people for their milk, meat and using them in farming. In the ancient Egypt irrigation was classified into catch basin, shaduf and dykes. Shaduf was functional in the high lying regions. The different types of irrigation helped in amplifying both the quality and quantity of crops thus making Egypt a prosperous nation.
Paintings in Egypt
The Egyptian paintings were basically dedicated to a dead person. Paintings were a way of expressing the intention of its maker that the deceased should have a good life after death. Many paintings show the whole journey after death. Also, there was a practice of painting on the tombs the things the dead person did before his death and what the deceased hoped he would keep doing forever.
Paintings were a source of keeping the history alive. The paintings also showed how the Egyptians lived their life and their belief about death and life after death was. Another important aspect of the Egyptian paintings was the depiction of animals. The primary colors used for painting were red, green, blue, gold and black.
The Egyptians considered painting as a way of providing the dead a support which enabled him to carry on his journey after death. The essence of the Egyptian paintings was its complete nature and less importance was given to the beautification of the painting. It was very essential for the maker of the painting to conserve everything he drew permanently. The painting was made by its maker by using his memory so that everything he includes in the paintings remains intact forever.
Costumes worn in Egypt
Clothes were primarily made from white linen. The Egyptian people also used wool. However, clothes made from wool were prohibited in the temples as they were made from animals. Egyptian people believed that wool should not touch the skin and so was made in that fashion. Men wore loincloths or short skirts. Women generally wore robes or tight dresses. Some of the dresses had some straps which concealed the breasts and the others exposed them.
However much depended on the fashion that was prevalent then. Children during the Egyptian time did not wear clothes until they reach adolescence. The clothes fashion was simple in the initial years of the Egyptian rule but it became complex at the fag end of the New Kingdom. Clothes pattern was determined by the occupation of a person. Farmers wore short skirts while a poor person wore fewer clothes.
Egyptian Pharaohs
Pharaoh is a modern title given to ancient Egyptian rulers. However, the Kings were not referred to as Pharaoh by the ancient Egyptians. The term 'Pharaoh' was basically used by Greek and Hebrews. The word par'o in Hebrew referred to the word 'pr' in Egyptian language which meant 'the great house'. The term 'Pharaoh' was always used in relation to the Royal Palace and it meant for the life, prosperity and health of the palace.
From the fifteenth century BC Pharaoh was used as a synonym to King. However, the first use of the word 'pharaoh' can be traced to the New Kingdom during the middle of the eighteenth dynasty. After 2000 BC, Pharaoh was referred to by five names, four of them being his throne names and one was the name given to him at the time of his birth.
The late Egyptian word, the par'o word was reconstructed as per the Ancient Greek and Late Latin words pronounced as 'Pharaoh'. It was from this letter that the English word 'Pharaoh' was obtained. The ancient Egyptian people believed that Pharaoh was God Horus, the son of God Re or the Sun God. On the death of a Pharaoh it was assumed that he should be united with the sun.
Religious Beliefs
The ancient Egyptians strongly believed in God and life after death. The rule of Pharaohs was laid on the foundation of Divine Rights of Kings. The Egyptians were of the view that to please gods they should make some offerings and pray to god. Gods were worshiped in temples that were under the care of the priests who acted on behalf of the King.
The statue of the God was placed in the heart of the temple. It was only on selected few occasions that the statue of the god was open for public worship. After the New Kingdom, the role of the King as a mediator between God and people received less emphasis. In fact, the priests created a system of revelation wherein people could directly communicate with God.
Another dominant belief was that humans are made of physical and spiritual aspects and every individual has his own shadow, soul, life force and a name. It was believed that heart was the place for emotions and thoughts. After the death of the person, the final goal of the deceased was to unite his life force and soul to be regarded as the 'blessed dead'.
Culture of Ancient Egypt
The culture consisted of housing patterns, food, architecture, etc. The Egyptians had a staple diet of bread, beer along with vegetables like onions, garlic, fruits like date and fig. Meat and wine were consumed by everyone in general on certain occasions while the rich had it very frequently. The social ranking of an individual was a deciding factor in the food he could consume. The rich could afford a variety of food items while the poor were forced to stick to the normal food they could afford.
Beer and Wine were customary drinks for all classes. Honey was used instead of sugar. Butter and cheese was served at banquets held by the rich. The average people lived in mud-bricks while the rich people lived in double-thick bricks which controlled the room temperature. Nobles living in palaces had huge structures and ornamented walls and floors. Construction of buildings was sanctioned and funded by the state for religious purposes. It also symbolized the re-inforcing the power of the Pharaoh.
Language of Ancient Egypt
Egyptian is an Afro-Asiatic language which was spoken in Egypt till the 10th century AD. The language is associated to Berber and Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew. After this period, it continued to be in use as the liturgical language of the Egyptians, Christians, Copts. The Old Egyptian language was spoken for around 500 years from 2600 BC onwards.
It was the language spoken in the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period. Middle Egyptian was spoken for around 700 years from 2000 BC. It was often dubbed as Classical Egyptian and was known from various textual evidence. It however survived till some centuries AD despite the usage of Late Egyptian language.
Latin was spoken in the middle ages. Demotic was a spoken language till the 5th century AD. Demotic language is a mixture of Egyptian script derived from northern forms of hieratic that was prevalent in the Delta and the stage of Egyptian language between Late Egyptian and preceding Coptic period. Coptic was the last language that was adopted by the ancient Egyptians.

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