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Ancient Egypt: 

Ancient Egypt Chapter 2 - Section 2 Presented by Mrs. Utech September 11th & 12th

Big Idea: 

Big Idea How were the Egyptians able to adapt to their environment?


The Gift of the Nile While Sumerian civilization was on the rise in Mesopotamia, a similar process was taking place along the banks of the Nile in Egypt. The Greek historian Herodotus said approximately 2,500 years ago, Egyptian civilization was “the gift of the Nile.”

The Nile River River in the Sand: 

The Nile River River in the Sand Desert covers most of Egypt. The sands spread for hundreds of miles to the west and the south, discouraging outsiders from invading (natural barrier.) The Nile River, which runs through the desert, is sometimes called “the river in the sand.” It is the longest river in the world.

The Nile River River in the Sand cont.: 

The Nile River River in the Sand cont. The Nile’s yearly floods deposit tons of silt in the river valley. The deposits make the soil black and fertile. Every year, around October, the floodwaters begin to retreat. Then the farmers plant their seeds. They harvest their crops during the months the Nile is at its lowest levels. The Egyptians knew the Nile would flood each year. But they could not predict how much it would flood or how high the water would rise. In years with very low floods, their might not be enough food. In years with very high floods, the waters would destroy fields and homes.

The Nile River Taming the Nile: 

The Nile River Taming the Nile The ancient Egyptians found ways to manage their unpredictable river. They built canals to carry water from the Nile to the parts of the land the flooding water did not reach. They also strengthened the riverbanks to keep the river from overflowing.

The Nile River Taming the Nile cont.: 

The Nile River Taming the Nile cont. Egyptian towns and cities were spread along the Nile River valley. The Nile made it possible for Egyptians living in distant places to come together. The Egyptians were expert boat builders. They built harbors and ports for large cargo boats. The Nile provided such good transportation that there were few roads in ancient Egypt. Because goods moved easily along the Nile, trade was very profitable.


Lower Egypt - Lower Egypt includes the Nile delta region. The delta begins about 100 miles before the river enters the Mediterranean. The delta is a broad, marshy, triangular area of land formed by deposits of silt at the mouth of the river. Upper Egypt - Because its elevation is higher, the river area in the south is called Upper Egypt. The Nile River

Two Egypts - Lower & Upper: 

Two Egypts - Lower & Upper Eventually the two kingdoms were united. There is conflicting historical evidence over who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Some evidence points to a king called Scorpion (i.e. Scorpion King). More solid evidence points to a king named Narmer.

Narmer’s Double Crown: 

Narmer’s Double Crown Upper Egypt Lower Egypt Upper & Lower Crown - United

The Pharaoh: 

The Pharaoh To the Egyptians, kings were gods. The Egyptian god-kings, called pharaohs, were thought to be almost as splendid and powerful as the gods of the heavens.


Theo = god Crac = govern Theocracy = Governed by God or Ruled by God A Theocracy

The Pyramids: 

The Pyramids Since kings expected to reign forever, their tombs were even more important than their palaces. For the kings of the Old Kingdom, the resting place after death was an immense structure called a pyramid. The Old Kingdom was the great age of pyramid building in ancient Egypt.

Egyptian Culture - Religion: 

Egyptian Culture - Religion Poly = many Theo = god Polytheism = belief in many gods Like the Mesopotamians, the early Egyptians were polytheistic, believing in many gods.

Egyptian Culture - Religion: 

The most important gods were Re, the sun god, and Osiris, god of the dead. The most important goddess was Isis, who represented the ideal mother and wife. In all, Egyptians worshiped more than 2,000 gods and goddesses. Egyptian Culture - Religion

Egyptian Culture - Religion: 

Egyptian Culture - Religion Egyptians believed in an afterlife, a life that continued after death. Egyptians believed they would be judged for their deeds when they died.

Egyptian Culture - Religion: 

Egyptian Culture - Religion Royal and elite Egyptians’ bodies were preserved by mummification, which involves embalming and drying the corpse to prevent it from decaying.

Egyptian Culture - Mummification: 

First, they draw out the brains through the nostrils with an iron hook. . . . Then with a sharp stone they make an incision in the side, and take out all the bowels. . . . Then, having filled the belly with pure myrrh, cassia, and other perfumes, they sew it up again; and when they have done this they steep it in natron [a mineral salt], leaving it under for 70 days. . . . At the end of 70 days, they wash the corpse, and wrap the whole body in bandages of waxen cloth. HERODOTUS, The History of Herodotus Egyptian Culture - Mummification

Egyptian Culture - Tombs: 

Egyptian Culture - Tombs They filled the tomb with items the dead person could use in the afterlife, such as clothing, food, cosmetics, and jewelry. Many Egyptians purchased scrolls that contained hymns, prayers, and magic spells intended to guide the soul in the afterlife. This collection of texts is known as the Book of the Dead.

Egyptian Society - Social Structure: 

Egyptian Society - Social Structure Peasant farmers, laborers, slaves Middle class: Merchants & Artisans Government officials, priests, landowners, military officials King & Queen Royal Family

Egyptian Society - Writing: 

Egyptian Society - Writing As in Mesopotamia, the development of writing was one of the keys to the growth of Egyptian civilization. Simple pictographs were the earliest form of writing in Egypt, but scribes quickly developed a more flexible writing system called hieroglyphics.

Egyptian Contributions Papyrus: 

Egyptian Contributions Papyrus The Egyptians made many contributions to other civilizations. One was a paper called papyrus. It was made from a reed also called papyrus. In order to write on papyrus, the Egyptians invented ink. The dry climate of Egypt preserved some writing so well that they can still be read today. Papyrus has other uses. It was made into baskets and sandals. It was also tied in bundles to make columns for houses. Even rafts and riverboats were made of papyrus.

Egyptian Contributions Mathematics: 

Egyptian Contributions Mathematics Other contributions of the Egyptians lay in the field of mathematics. They used a number system based on ten. They also used fractions and whole numbers. They used geometry to survey, or measure, land. When floods washed away the boundary markers that separated one field from the next, the Egyptians surveyed the fields to see where one began and the other ended.

Egyptian Contributions The Calendar: 

Egyptian Contributions The Calendar The Egyptians knew the Nile flooded about the same time every year. They sued this knowledge to make a calendar. The calendar had three seasons of 120 days each, and 5 special feast days for the gods.

Egyptian Contributions Medicine: 

Egyptian Contributions Medicine The Egyptians also made contributions in the field of medicine. As dentists, eye doctors, animal doctors, and surgeons, Egyptian doctors were the first specialists in medicine. They were the first to use splints, bandages, and compresses. They were masters at sewing up cuts and setting broken bones. The Egyptians also treated such problems as indigestion and hair loss. For indigestion, they used castor oil. For hair loss, they used a mixture of dog toes, dates, and donkey hoof.


Ancient Egypt While Sumerian civilization was on the rise, a similar process took place along the banks of this river, the Nile in Egypt. Yet the Egyptian civilization turned out to be very different from the collection of city-states in Mesopotamia. Geography of Egypt Egyptian civilization arose on the Nile in Africa. It is the longest river in the world. Hundreds of miles of desert exist on both sides of the Nile - acts as a natural barrier. Yearly flooding deposits silt and makes the soil fertile. Flooding controlled w/canals. Nile made transportation easy - helped trade between Lower and Upper Egypt. The 2 Egypts Unite Lower Egypt & Upper Egypt united under King Narmer. He created 1st Egyptian dynasty Egyptians believed kings were gods. Pharaoh means “god king” Egypt was governed as a theocracy - rule is based on religious authority. Pyramids were built as tombs for pharaohs who would also rule in after-life. Culture Polytheistic - belief in many gods (poly = many) Believed in an after-life - and in a judgment after death. Important Egyptians were preserved by mummification. Buried in coffins/tombs. Tombs were filled w/items to help guide the dead person in the afterlife. Egyptian Society Social classes existed - could change classes. Hieroglyphics - Egyptian writing system invented. Written on papyrus. Achievements: written number system, geometry, medicine, calendar. Old Kingdom ended & led into the Middle Kingdom - which didn’t last long. Egypt’s Old Kingdom & Middle Kingdom became one of the first River Valley Civilizations. The Nile River helped to unify the people of Egypt because it made transportation & trade easy.


Peasant farmers, laborers, slaves Middle class: Merchants & Artisans Government officials, priests, landowners, military officials King & Queen Royal Family Egyptian Social Structure Egypt & The Nile

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