Essay Example on The Civilization of Ancient Egypt

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Introduction The Old Kingdom began around 2686 B C E 2181 B C E and it was an era of political and social stability in Egypt At the time of the Middle Kingdom no one individual or family ruled all of Egypt and this time was established in around 2150 B C E after the collapse of the Old Kingdom Now after the Middle Kingdom collapsed a New Kingdom also referred to as the Egyptian empire emerged and it was a period that existed between 1640 1550 B C E It is stated that the New Kingdom was the most brilliant period in Egyptian history Politics The Pharaohs ruled by divine decree in the Old Kingdom central administration was divided into sectors and each sector or ministry was held by mostly royalty Princes As confidence in a central authority the Pharaoh began to dwindle the regional governors usually members of the royal family began to position themselves as rulers in this areas of the region and division arose Pharaoh s ability to control the land and his position of authority as a divine ruler completely declined During the time of the Middle Kingdom the government was far less centralized than that of the Old Kingdom Much more authority was given to the regional governors

The increase in government officials during this era eventually led to the advancement of middle class bureaucracy The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom continued to build the government on the foundation of previous government systems During this period Egyptian rulers built the first standing army and assigned military posts Also unification of the kingdom began about 3100 B C E and the Kings grew more powerful after the unification they were gods Architecture The Pyramids were the greatest accomplishments of the Old Kingdom They were built of solid limestone masonry Most of the architecture of the Old Kingdom were made of various types of stone Limestone Mud Bricks and sandstone were the most popular and readily available along the Nile river cliffs Another fascinating structure built during this era were the burial places of Egyptian nobility known as Mastabas These structures were flat topped one story rectangular buildings and referred to as the house of the soul In the Middle Kingdom limestone continued to be a main building material used and they were utilized for the construction of several temples In addition Mud brick continued to remain a valuable building material as it was in the Old Kingdom The most impressive surviving examples of non royal funerary architecture are the rock cut tombs of local governors in Middle Egypt Officials buried at royal cemeteries were buried beneath mastabas as in the Old Kingdom By the time of the New Kingdom the Pyramids were fully recognized as a place of safe preservation and temples began to spring up everywhere

These temples were one of the main architectural innovations of the new kingdom The basic temple plan was often lined by sphinxes leading to two great entrances pylons an open court colonnades and sanctuaries Sculpture Relief sculpture was very common in the first dynasty Old Kingdom figures sculpted are striking in appearance and expressed beautifully Most statues during this era were carved in softer materials and mainly made of limestone and wood Sculptors during the New Kingdom demonstrated extraordinary talent to represent the personality of the portrayed the priests and monarchs Temples of the Middle and New Kingdoms were all decorated with reliefs covering the walls wherever there was an empty space on the wall or columns the sculptors filled them with reliefs which were later painted in bright colors Old Kingdom sculpture is known to be comparatively realistic while New Kingdom sculpture is more sophisticated Economics The time of the Old Kingdom was a prosperous era marking the emergence of the world s first colossal buildings The great Pyramids Well developed methods of record keeping and accounting were established By the time of the Middle Kingdom Egyptians began to show more interest in different Art forms The Middle Kingdom had been labeled by historians as the Golden age due to the economic political and social stability at the time In addition to the interest in arts literature and trading also thrived Nubia became the main trading spot along the Nile which served as a means of transportation for ivory ebony leopard skins and ostrich plumes The economy of the New Kingdom period of Egypt can best be described as an agricultural command economy

The fertility of the Nile Valley and extensive irrigation systems enabled the Egyptians to reap large harvests Because farmers produced more food than they needed for themselves many of them became craftsmen or traders as well as farmers Trade reached its height during the New Kingdom when Egypt controlled the trade routes of the Near East Egyptian ships carried products such as wheat and linens across the Mediterranean to Europe and Asia returning with lumber and metal weapons which Egypt did not manufacture Conclusion The civilization of Ancient Egypt is known for its stunning achievements in a whole array of fields It was a great civilization which produced wonderful art architecture engineering literature medicine etc The wide range of highly developed practical techniques these involved were transmitted to other peoples and later cultures The civilization of Ancient Egypt was one of the earliest in world history It is usually held to have begun from about 5000 B C E to around 3100 BCE when the lower Nile Valley became unified under a single ruler Narmes also known as MENES Despite times of relative disruption during the different periods life was unusually stable and secure



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