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Other Historical Topics on Ancient Egypt


About Ancient Egypt

 

The Ancient Egyptian Concept of the Soul




To the Ancient Egyptians, their soul - their being - was made up of many different parts. Not only was there the physical form, but there were eight immortal or semi-divine parts that survived death, with the body making nine parts of a human.

 

The Ancient Egyptian Heart by Jimmy Dunn



Probably the most interesting aspect of the ancient Egyptian's concept of the heart is that their ancient beliefs remain with us today, not as science, but within the very fiber of our emotions, our poetry and our song lyrics. When we refer to our hearts in regard to love, or any other emotion, we are invoking a living memory of the ancient Egyptian belief system. The Egyptians believed that the heart, rather than the brain, was the source of human wisdom, as well as emotions, memory, the soul and the personality itself. Notions of physiology and disease were all connected in concept to the heart, and it was through the heart that god spoke, giving ancient Egyptians knowledge of god and god's will.

 

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality

 

Sexuality in ancient Egypt was open, untainted by guilt. Sex was an important part of life - from birth to death and rebirth. Singles and married couples made love. The gods themselves were earthy enough to copulate. The Egyptians even believed in sex in the afterlife.

 

Aromatic Treasures of Ancient Egypt by Judith Illes



Many of ancient Egypt's precious treasures remain hidden underground or are kept under guard in the world's museums. Yet others, more subtle treasures, remain available, valuable and viable today. It was not only jewels and precious metals that were prized. The distances from which they were imported and the care with which they were preserved indicates the high esteem with which Egypt held its botanical treasures. One such treasure, whose name and fragrance is today little known, is galbanum. Galbanum (Ferula spp.) is an oleo-resin that exudes from an umbelliferous plant similar to fennel.

 

The Baboons and Monkeys of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Royce Hiller

In ancient Egypt, baboons and monkeys often play a significant and mysterious role in religion and elsewhere. This somehow seems strange, as there are certainly no native monkeys or baboons to Egypt, nor have there been for some time stretching back to antiquity. However, it is clear that prehistoric Egyptians of the fourth millennium BC were familiar with monkeys, including the imposing and dangerous baboons and the African long-tailed monkey. Since that time, they have held a permanent place in ancient Egyptian religion as one of the more important animal forms into which the gods might be transformed.

 

Bargues, Barges, and Byblos Boats by Anita Stratos

 

The ancient Egyptians once again reached out of the past to awe the world with another of their buried secrets - the Abydos ships. In 1991 in the desert near the temple of Khentyamentiu, archaeologists uncovered the remains of 14 ships dating back to the early first dynasty (2950-2775 BC), possibly associated with King Aha, the first ruler of that dynasty.

 

Basketry in Ancient and Modern Egypt by Heba Fatteen Bizzari



Basket making is one of the worlds oldest forms of craft, and therefore not surprisingly a part of ancient Egyptian tradition. Basketry is known from the earliest sites in Egypt. Remains of baskets have been found in the Fayoum dating to the Neolithic period, about 5000 BC. Basketry found in a Predynastic context is often of very high quality, not surpassed later. There were several words used to denote baskets, including mndm, nbt and dnit. In general, baskets can be categorized into at least three primary descriptive classes, based on their construction and form, each exhibiting a wide range of variations.

 

The Battle of Al-Alamein by Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

 

The Battle of al-Alamein, fought on the North Coast of Egypt, was one of the most important, and bloodiest, of World War II.

 

Beauty Salts by Judith Illes



Mummification ideally preserved and protected the beauty of the human form. A crucial component of this process was a carbonate salt, known as natron. The use of natron, however, was not reserved for the dead. Based upon the records left to posterity, natron was a fairly ubiquitous product for the living as well. Natron was ancient Egypt's supreme cleansing product. It was used for household cleansing as well as to cleanse the body. Formulae featuring natron were used to rid the home of vermin. It was also used to cleanse the body, teeth and prevent unattractive body odors. Read Story

 

British Museum Interview by Adel Murad

 

in London The level of debate on the Tour Egypts Message Center, on the issue of the return of Egyptian antiquities has intensified.

 

Cattle, the Most Useful Animal of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

From very ancient Egyptian rock carvings in the Eastern desert, we can surmise that from the earliest of times, cattle were viewed as an important indicator of personal status, to the extent that they become part of the iconography of the immerging elite of Egypt. There is no real surprise here. It is sometimes difficult for us in the modern era with all of our convinces to remember that in more ancient times, basic necessities such as food and shelter were paramount. They become symbolic of those first important men who rose above others to lead, perhaps at first, small tribes that grew along the path to Egypt's early civilization.

 

Breaking the Color Code by Anita Stratos

 

If you walked into an Egyptian museum exhibit today, what would you see? Youd carefully inspect the painting and carvings on various objects such as amulets and pottery. And youd be impressed with the richness of color throughout it all. But even with all you may know about Egyptian history, youd only be getting half the story if you dont know how to "read" the color code.

 

An Overview of the Cities and Towns of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as John Warren

 

Cities in ancient Egypt grew out of the development of agriculture and the emergence of the state as the unifying and predominant form of political organization. However, even as early as 3500 BC, towns and cities (if they can be called such), consisted of regional capitals linked to the population centers of smaller administrative districts. The term we most frequently apply to these districts is nome, which was actually not used to describe a province until the Greek Period. During the New Kingdom, the Egyptian word for "city" was niwt, a term which in the earliest texts of the 1st Dynasty refers to "settlement".

 

Colors in Egyptian Art and Jewelry by Marie Parsons

 

The Egyptians considered the color of an object to be an integral part of its nature or being. The word iwen was used to signify the concept of color, and could also mean external appearance, nature, being, character, or even disposition. Not every color and variation has symbolic significance of course. When groups of objects were being depicted, colors were varied to distinguish one object from another. So rows of people or chariot horses may be alternated as light and dark. And color was often enjoyed for its own sake.

 

A Confederate in King Ismail's Court by Jimmy Dunn

 

Ismail, who built the Suez Canal, was struggling with debt to Europe, and a possible takeover of Egypt by European interests. If, for instance, he could have depended on his army he would at least have had some sort of support against the European embrace and against rising popular hatred. If he'd been a Mameluke sultan he would simply have purchased a new supply of Mamelukes to replace his corrupt Turkish and Albanian officers. But the Mameluke system was dead, so he looked around for other outsiders and he found them in the United States of America.

 

Crowns of Ancient Egypt, Part I by Jimmy Dunn

 

There were many varied and different crowns that adorned the heads of gods, kings, queens and their families in ancient Egypt.

 

Specific Crowns of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

Find out about the many specific crowns for various purposes, for gods, kings and other Royalty in Ancient Egypt.

 

The Destruction of Luxor by Jane Akshar

 

While conservation efforts are underway, many monuments are at risk throughout Egypt of underground water damage.

 

Dwarfs and Pygmies of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Richard Warner

 

Dwarfs in ancient Egypt appear to have suffered little due to prejudice. This was the most serious congenital abnormality recorded in ancient Egypt. Well known Egyptologists Kent Weeks has recorded nine skeletons of this type, and Dasen lists 207 known representations of dwarfism. The disease, known as achondroplasia, was probably caused by inbreeding, and thus might very well have occurred in royal families. This disease results in a head and trunk of normal size with shortened limbs.

 

The Fans of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

A simple fan, a few feathers on a pole, could symbolize much in ancient Egypt, such as the movement of air and life itself.

 

The Flowers of Ancient Egypt and Today by Jane Rumsfield

 

One aspect of Egypt that many first time visitors often find surprising, if they are attentive, is the number of flower shops scattered about. Many people who are not really very familiar with Egypt continue to think of it as a completely arid environment when, of course, the Nile Valley is very lush. In fact, Egypt exports many varieties of flowers these days, and Egyptians back into ancient times have always adored their flowers. Indeed, Pharaohs once adorned their war carts with flowers before heading off to war, while even peasants adorned themselves, their animals as well as the coffins of their dead with various flowers. They were given as gifts of love and worship, to lovers and gods.

 

Fossils: The Other Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Henry Stone

When we think of ancient Egypt, we see majestic temples and beautifully decorated tombs. Some of us also think of the medieval Islamic mosques, with their wonderful geometric designs and even crusader fortresses, such as the Citadel. But few of us think of a much older Egypt, where the fossils of a huge variety of our very ancient world may be found. They are found all over Egypt. Dinosaurs have certainly been found in the Western Desert, and other fossils surface in such places as lake Moeris north of Wadi Natrun. But traditionally, the most important site for ancient fossils in Egypt is the Fayoum.

 

God's Other People, the Jinn by Jimmy Dunn



The Genie that most westerners associate with magic lantern is actually derived from the jinn, or ginn, which are known throughout the Arabic, as well as the Muslim world. In Egypt, as well as elsewhere, the modern concept of jinn have their basis in the Islamic faith. According to the Quran, Allah created man from clay, angles from light, and jinn from fire. However, there is little doubt that the belief in jinn, who themselves are believed to predate Adam, also predates the Quran.

 

Golden Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

How many ancient people worshipped the sun, or a deity represented by the sun? We may never know, but certainly Egypt and many others. The sun was often recognized as a giver of life and even within pagan religions where many gods were worshipped, the sun god was often given a high status. To many civilizations that worshipped the sun, it comes as no surprise that gold was seen as a valuable representation of the sun, given its shinny yellow attributes.

 

The History of the Glass Industry During the Islamic Period by the Egyptian Government

 

The influence exerted on the Arabs by the civilizations of the countries they conquered; the Greek, Roman, and ancient Egyptian civilizations in Italy, Syria, Asia, Turkey, Egypt, and Spain were enormous. In Egypt, such influence manifested itself, among other things, in glass-making. A glass-making industry already flourished in Alexandria at the time Amr Bin Alas conquered Egypt. However, the Arabs made efforts to further develop this industry.

 

Who Were the Hittities by Jimmy Dunn writing as Troy Fox



The Hittites, who at the time of Egypt's New Kingdom were a major enemy of of the Egyptian empire, were a people who once lived in what is modern Turkey and northern Syria. Most of what we know about them today comes from ancient texts that have been recovered. It would seem that the first indication of their existence occurred in about 1900 BC, in the region that was to become Hatti. There, they established the town of Nesa. Over the next three hundred years, their influence grew until in about 1680 BC, a true empire was born.

 

Human Sacrifice in Ancient Egypt

 

Human sacrifice is not generally connected with ancient Egypt. There is little evidence of human sacrifice during most of the dynastic period of ancient Egypt... but there is some evidence that it may have been practiced in the Nile Valley during the 1st Dynasty and possibly also Predynastic Egypt. One form of human sacrifices to the gods may have been in the form of slaying criminals and prisoners of war. Some early dynastic depictions of sacrifices have been found, showing a man holding a bowl, possibly using it to catch the blood of a victim who is seated in front of him. The man and the victim are normally before either gods or men of power, making it seem as if these scenes are of human sacrifices.

 

In Search of Alexander the Great by Nermin Sami



Despite scientific progress in research and continuous excavations, the mystery of Alexander the Great's tomb still has not unraveled, and locating the burial of Alexander seems to have become an impossible mission for archaeologists. The problem of locating the place where the body of one of the worlds most famous individuals was buried first came into focus when, in the 4th century AD, St. John Chrysostom, the Bishop of Constantinople (347-407), asked his people, "Tell me where is the Sema of Alexander?". His real purpose was to emphasize the futility of the world where even the greatest of men became lost in history.

 

The Inundation

 

Until the Aswan High Dam was built, Egypt received a yearly inundation - an annual flood - of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians did not realise this, but the flood came due to the heavy summer rains in the Ethiopian highlands, swelling the different tributaries and other rivers that joined and became the Nile.

 

Ivory in Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

Ivory was actually one of the most ancient materials used by the Egyptians, from before the Predynastic Period onward

 

The Israelite Exodus from Egypt by Jimmy Dunn



The Israelite Exodus from Egypt, recounted in the Bible, tells of the oppression of the Israelites as slaves in Egypt, their flight from the country led by Moses and their journey through the wilderness before eventually settling in the "Promised Land". Strictly speaking, there has never been any clear evidence discovered in Egypt, or elsewhere, to support the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, though there is no small amount of conjecture and theories. In fact, today it is fashionable, among Egyptologists, archaeologists and even some Jewish scholars to doubt the whole biblical story.

 

The Jews of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

Little evidence, all of which is circumstantial at best, exits to substantiate the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. Frankly, the predecessors of those people who would begin to call themselves Jewish probably came to Egypt very early and during different periods and may have even ruled Egypt for a time. However, it was not until relatively late in Egyptian history that we actually find references to Israelites or their country as Israel. The first reference to Israel is found in the so-called Israel Stele, inscribed during the fifth year of the reign of Merenptah in Egypt's 19th Dynasty. Though evidence of actual Jewish residence in Egypt occurs much later in Egypt, there were certainly earlier reference to them between the time of Merenptah and later periods. Although Jewish refugees probably fled to Egypt after the Babylonian conquest of Palestine (Jer 42:1422) by Nebuchadnezzar when they were dispersed throughout the known world, we really have no good evidence of such from archaeology in Egypt.

 

Necho II's African Circumnavigation by Jimmy Dunn



An interesting facet of ancient Egypt is that we are amazed by what we see left form history, such as the pyramids and great temples, but many scholars scoff at some legendary exploits. One such tale, told to us in a tantalizingly brief story by the Greek historian Herodotus, is of a sea voyage that took place during the 26th Dynasty reign of Necho II. He relates the circumnavigation of Africa some 2000 years before the Portuguese mariners of Vasco da Gama. We are not really given a reason for this expedition, though it would seem that such voyages were made for economic gain. Considering the control of the northern shores of the Mediterranean by the Greeks and of the southern coasts by the Phoenicians, the only region where Egypt might acquire some influence and wealth would have been eastern Africa, where they had already established some trade.

 

Opening Salvoes of WWII in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

 

We are beginning a rather long series of stories about WWII in Egypt, mostly to support a small section on the War Museum in Al-Alemein.

 

Origin of the Name, "Egypt" by Nermin Sami and Jimmy Dunn

Over the millenniums, Egypt has had many names in many different languages. Today, its official name is Junhuriyah Misr al-Arabiyah, which in English means the Arab Republic of Egypt. Egyptians themselves refer to Egypt as Misr, though this can also be a name for Cairo. Interestingly, it is common for Egyptians to refer to Egypt as Misr if they are resident in Cairo, but if outside of Cairo, then they will refer to Cairo as Misr. In a certain respect, this is a custom that dates to the earliest times of ancient Egypt. Basically, we can examine three groups of names which have applied to Egypt. In the early period of Egypt, during the Old Kingdom, Egypt was referred to as Kemet (Kermit), or simply Kmt , which means the Black land.

 

The Palermo Stone by Jimmy Dunn writing as Alan Winston

 

Almost everyone has heard of the Rosetta Stone, used to finally decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Probably the second best known, and certainly one of the most important inscribed stones was the Palermo Stone, important in its own right for revealing to us information on the early kings of Egypt, along with mythical kings prior to the dynastic era. This fragment of a 5th century basalt stele also details information on cult ceremonies, taxation, sculpture, buildings and warfare. Essentially, the Palermo Stone is Egypt oldest history book.

 

Paris on the Nile by Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox



This is, perhaps most of all, a story of the city that Khedive Ismail built, with the help of his mater builder and Minister of Public Works, Ali Mubarak, with the European money that would eventually steal the common Egyptian's freedom and give it to the great banking empires of the west. They were built during a time that ruthless European powers vied for Egypt and won her from her people, but in the course of things, a grand city was laid out.

 

Perchance to Dream by Anita Stratos

 

The "New Age" subject of dream interpretation isnt new at all. Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians used the messages in their dreams in order to cure illnesses, make important State decisions, and even to decide where to build a temple or when to wage a battle. Dreams were considered to be divine predictions of the future. They were messages from the gods that could be foretelling of impending disasters or, conversely, of good fortune; therefore, understanding the significance of ones dreams was an important part of the culture.

 

Pharaoh's Signs of the Zodiac by Egyptian Government Edited by Jimmy Dunn

We are told that the signs of the Zodiac as perceived and recorded by the pharaohs have recently been discovered at the Louvre Museum in Paris (source: Egyptian Government). People were to read their luck not as shown in daily newspapers under signs such as: Capricorn, Taurus, Aries etc, but rather according to the somewhat different ancient Egyptians horoscope. The signs of the zodiac, which allegedly reflect the effect of stars on the destinies of people born within specific date groups, were first devised by the ancient Greeks. However, hundreds of years before, the ancient Egyptians had charted a similar map of the stars.

 

Pharaonic Egypt in Sketches by the Egyptian Government

 

View a few of the paintings artists have been creating for hundreds of years of pharaonic Egypt.

 

The Pottery of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

 

Pottery was produced by the ancient Egyptians from early a very early period. It represents an important record and source of analysis for understanding vary archaic periods, but until relatively recently, Dynastic period pottery was of less interest to Egyptologists.The study of pottery and shards of pottery have contributed tremendously to the study of all eras of Egyptian history, but particularly the predynastic periods.

 

A Problem as Old as the Pyramids by Judith Illes

 

Oh, of course there are modern style associations with back to school, too. Department stores tempt children, adolescents and parents with this season's back-to-school fashions. In addition, kids may look forward with mixed enthusiasm and trepidation to their reunion with friends, teachers and books. One aspect of back-to-school, however, can only fill parents with dread: the increased and apparently ever-increasing incidence of head lice infestations.

 

Royal Caches at Deir El-Bahri by Marie Parsons

 

In 1874, Gaston Maspero, the head of the Antiquities Service in Cairo, noticed that on the antiquities market, figures bearing royal names from the 21st Dynasty, a wooden tablet inscribed in scribal ink, a papyrus belonging to Queen Nedjmet, and other artifacts were being sold. Other important objects like papyri, shabti-figurines, bronze vessels, inscribed wrapping, and perhaps even at least one mummy (that of the missing Ramesses I?), were also leaking out onto the Luxor antiquities market. Maspero knew these came from no licensed excavation, yet, they had to have come from somewhere.

 

The Scorpion in Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Royce Hiller

Scorpions invoke, for many people, as much fear as venomous snakes. That is probably precisely the reason that one of Egypt's most most famous predynastic rulers chose this invertebrate for his name. Of course, that ruler's widespread fame is mostly due to the movie, "Scorpion King", which is a completely fictional account grounded in virtually no factual history. Really, we know very little about that king's true historical role, but we know much more about the creatures sacred significance in ancient

 

Who Were the Sea People by Robert Anderson

 

The Sea People, who we are told of on reliefs at Medinet Habu and Karnak, as well as from the text of the Great Harris Papyrus (now in the British Museum), are said to be a loose confederation of people originating in the eastern Mediterranean. From their individual names, we believe that they may specifically have come from the Aegean and Asia Minor. However, regardless of their organization as a "loose confederation", they did manage to invade Egypt's northern coast and apparently mounted campaigns against the Egyptians on more than one occasion.

 

The Sekhem-Scepter by Jimmy Dunn

 

Another popular scepter, found in the hands of gods, kings and other officials, was a symbol of power and control in Ancient Egypt.

 

Ships and Boats of Egypt by Marie Parsons

 

When men live by water, whether marsh, river, or sea, they eventually discover ways to build vehicles to move across that water. Egypts life has always turned around its River, the Nile, and its marshes in the Delta.

 

Silver in Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn



Gold was considered to be the skin of the ancient Egyptian gods, but their bones were thought to be of silver. At the onset of recorded history, silver may have been unknown to the ancient Egyptians. They could obtain gold and even electrum, which was a natural alloy of silver and gold from the mountains of the Eastern Desert and Nubia, but the Egyptian language at first lacks a word for silver. They described it only as the "white metal", and when they did run across it, they seem to have regarded it as a variety of gold. When silver was finally introduced into Egypt, it probably was more valuable than gold. It continued to be rare, and on lists of valuables, items of silver were listed above those of gold during the Old Kingdom.

 

Slaves and Slavery in Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

 

For many years, it was presumed that in ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramids at Giza were built by many thousands of foreign slaves, toiling under very harsh conditions over a period of decades. Today, many scholars refute this picture of ancient Egypt, believing instead that they were built by the free Egyptians themselves, some perhaps as seasonal conscripts with other artisans consigned permanently to the projects. One must also consider just how the Egyptians would really control so many slaves in one location with the rudimentary weapons of the Old Kingdom.

 

The Stelae of Ancient Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Randy L. Jordan Stelae

 

have played an important role in our understanding of ancient Egypt, and without them, our knowledge would be very limited

 

Tales of Magic in Ancient Egypt

 

Khufu and the Magicians is an ancient tale of Egyptian magic. This appears in the Westcar Papyrus (Second Intermediate Period around 1500 BC), housed in the Berlin Museum.

 

Tomb-Robbery in Egypt by Marie Parsons

 

The temptation of the sight of a treasure trove proved strong enough to overcome the devotion and esteem generally given to the king, his wives and his courtiers. One hundred deben of copper, in the 20th Dynasty a thiefs share of loot, was equivalent to ten months of worker rations, in one haul. The gain was perhaps worth the risk. So thieves have always thought.

 

The Valley of the Whales by Lara Iskander

 

What, in Egypt is more ancient than the Pyramids? Walking whales, and other fossil remains from a bygone wet age in Egypt.

 

Was-Scepters by Jimmy Dunn

 

The was-scepter, which could actually take other forms than a scepter, is one of the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt.

 

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