ANCIENT EGYPT was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa ,
concentrated along the lower reaches of the
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its
ability to adapt to the conditions of the
The many achievements of the ancient
Egyptians include the quarrying
, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of
monumental pyramids , temples , and obelisks ; a system of mathematics
, a practical and effective system of medicine , irrigation systems
and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats,
Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature , and
the earliest known peace treaty , made with the Hittites. Ancient
* 1 History
* 1.1 Predynastic period
* 1.2 Early Dynastic Period (c. 3050–2686 BC)
Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)
* 1.4 First Intermediate Period (2181–1991 BC)
* 1.5 Middle Kingdom (2134–1690 BC)
Second Intermediate Period (1674–1549 BC) and the
* 2 Government and economy
* 2.1 Administration and commerce
* 2.4 Agriculture
* 2.4.1 Animals
* 2.5 Natural resources * 2.6 Trade
* 3 Language
* 3.1 Historical development * 3.2 Sounds and grammar * 3.3 Writing * 3.4 Literature
* 4 Culture
* 4.1 Daily life * 4.2 Cuisine * 4.3 Architecture * 4.4 Art * 4.5 Religious beliefs * 4.6 Burial customs
* 5 Military
* 6 Technology, medicine, and mathematics
* 6.1 Technology * 6.2 Faience and glass * 6.3 Medicine * 6.4 Maritime technology * 6.5 Mathematics
* 7 Population * 8 Legacy * 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 References * 12 Further reading * 13 External links
Ancient Egyptian agriculture , History of ancient
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was
much less arid than it is today. Large regions of
By about 5500 BC , small tribes living in the
Badari was followed by the Amratian (
Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada
II) cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements.
As early as the
Naqada I Period, predynastic
obsidian from Ethiopia , used to shape blades and other objects from
flakes . In
Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with
The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases , cosmetic palettes , and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience , which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language.
EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD (C. 3050–2686 BC)
The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early
The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than
ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary
record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical
Menes may have been the pharaoh
OLD KINGDOM (2686–2181 BC)
Main article: Old Kingdom of Egypt
Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom , fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. Some of ancient Egypt's crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx , were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier , state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield , drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. Khafre Enthroned
With the rising importance of central administration in
FIRST INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (2181–1991 BC)
Main article: First Intermediate Period of Egypt
After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period.
Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began
competing with each other for territorial control and political power
. By 2160 BC, rulers in
Herakleopolis controlled Lower
MIDDLE KINGDOM (2134–1690 BC)
Main article: Middle Kingdom of Egypt Amenemhat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom
The pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's stability
and prosperity, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature,
and monumental building projects.
Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh
Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier
With the pharaohs having secured the country militarily and politically and with vast agricultural and mineral wealth at their disposal, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom displayed an increase in expressions of personal piety. Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style. The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical sophistication.
The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom,
SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (1674–1549 BC) AND THE HYKSOS
Around 1785 BC, as the power of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs weakened,
a Western Asian people called the
After retreating south, the native Theban kings found themselves
trapped between the Canaanite
NEW KINGDOM (1549–1069 BC)
Main article: New Kingdom of Egypt
The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented
prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties
with their neighbours, including the
Between their reigns,
The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to
promote the god
Around 1350 BC, the stability of the New Kingdom was threatened when
Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical
and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to
Around 1279 BC,
Ramesses II , also known as Ramesses the Great,
ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more
statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in
history. A bold military leader,
Ramesses II led his army against the
Hittites in the
Battle of Kadesh (in modern
Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion,
particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the
THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD (1069–653 BC)
Main article: Third Intermediate Period of Egypt
Following the death of
Egypt's far-reaching prestige declined considerably toward the end of
the Third Intermediate Period. Its foreign allies had fallen under the
Assyrian sphere of influence, and by 700 BC war between the two states
became inevitable. Between 671 and 667 BC the Assyrians began their
attack on Egypt. The reigns of both
LATE PERIOD (672–332 BC)
The Assyrians left control of
Following its annexation by Persia,
PTOLEMAIC PERIOD (332–30 BC)
In 332 BC,
Alexander the Great
Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the
Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the
loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style,
supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs.
Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized
into composite deities, such as
ROMAN PERIOD (30 BC–641 AD)
Main article: Egypt (Roman province) The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures.
Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks
towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and
worship of the traditional gods continued. The art of mummy
portraiture flourished, and some Roman emperors had themselves
depicted as pharaohs, though not to the extent that the Ptolemies had.
The former lived outside
From the mid-first century AD,
In the fourth century, as the
GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY
ADMINISTRATION AND COMMERCE
The pharaoh was usually depicted wearing symbols of royalty and power.
The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs. In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier , who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives . At a regional level, the country was divided into as many as 42 administrative regions called nomes each governed by a nomarch , who was accountable to the vizier for his jurisdiction. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they houses of worship , but were also responsible for collecting and storing the nation's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers , who redistributed grain and goods.
Much of the economy was centrally organized and strictly controlled.
Although the ancient
Egyptians did not use coinage until the Late
period , they did use a type of money-barter system, with standard
sacks of grain and the deben , a weight of roughly 91 grams (3 oz) of
copper or silver, forming a common denominator. Workers were paid in
grain; a simple laborer might earn 5½ sacks (200 kg or 400 lb) of
grain per month, while a foreman might earn 7½ sacks (250 kg or 550
lb). Prices were fixed across the country and recorded in lists to
facilitate trading; for example a shirt cost five copper deben, while
a cow cost 140 deben. Grain could be traded for other goods,
according to the fixed price list. During the fifth century BC coined
money was introduced into
Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was
expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but
agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble
family that owned the land. Farmers were also subject to a labor tax
and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a
corvée system. Artists and craftsmen were of higher status than
farmers, but they were also under state control, working in the shops
attached to the temples and paid directly from the state treasury.
Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known
as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments
that served as a mark of their rank. The upper class prominently
displayed their social status in art and literature. Below the
nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized
training in their field.
Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all
social classes except slaves, as essentially equal under the law, and
even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his
court for redress. Although slaves were mostly used as indentured
servants, they were able to buy and sell their servitude, work their
way to freedom or nobility, and were usually treated by doctors in the
workplace. Both men and women had the right to own and sell property,
make contracts, marry and divorce, receive inheritance, and pursue
legal disputes in court. Married couples could own property jointly
and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts,
which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife
and children should the marriage end. Compared with their counterparts
in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world,
ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices and
opportunities for achievement. Women such as
Scribes were elite and well educated. They assessed taxes, kept records, and were responsible for administration.
The head of the legal system was officially the pharaoh, who was
responsible for enacting laws, delivering justice, and maintaining law
and order, a concept the ancient
Egyptians referred to as Ma\'at .
Although no legal codes from ancient
Punishment for minor crimes involved either imposition of fines, beatings, facial mutilation, or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes such as murder and tomb robbery were punished by execution, carried out by decapitation, drowning, or impaling the criminal on a stake. Punishment could also be extended to the criminal's family. Beginning in the New Kingdom, oracles played a major role in the legal system, dispensing justice in both civil and criminal cases. The procedure was to ask the god a "yes" or "no" question concerning the right or wrong of an issue. The god, carried by a number of priests, rendered judgment by choosing one or the other, moving forward or backward, or pointing to one of the answers written on a piece of papyrus or an ostracon .
Ancient Egyptian agriculture See also: Ancient
Egyptian cuisine and Gardens of ancient
A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the
success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was
the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile
River. The ancient
Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of
food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to
cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits.
Land management was
crucial in ancient
Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley , and several other
cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food
staples of bread and beer.
Sennedjem plows his fields with a pair of oxen, used as beasts of burden and a source of food.
Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people
and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order; thus humans,
animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole.
Animals, both domesticated and wild , were therefore a critical source
of spirituality, companionship, and sustenance to the ancient
Egyptians. Cattle were the most important livestock; the
administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses, and
the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate
or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient
Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs.
Poultry , such as ducks, geese,
and pigeons, were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were
force-fed with dough to fatten them. The
Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden , and
they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into
the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an
offering ritual. Horses were introduced by the
Further information: Mining industry of
Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas
to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the
most important metal for toolmaking in ancient
Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors
to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt. In the Predynastic
Period , they established trade with
Nubia to obtain gold and incense.
They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by
Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty
pharaohs. An Egyptian colony stationed in southern
By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos
yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the
Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony,
ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons.
r n kmt 'Egyptian language' in hieroglyphs
Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language , but it became more
analytic later on.
Late Egyptian developed prefixal definite and
indefinite articles , which replaced the older inflectional suffixes .
There was a change from the older verb–subject–object word order
to subject–verb–object . The Egyptian hieroglyphic , hieratic ,
and demotic scripts were eventually replaced by the more phonetic
SOUNDS AND GRAMMAR
Ancient Egyptian has 25 consonants similar to those of other Afro-Asiatic languages. These include pharyngeal and emphatic consonants, voiced and voiceless stops, voiceless fricatives and voiced and voiceless affricates . It has three long and three short vowels, which expanded in Late Egyptian to about nine. The basic word in Egyptian, similar to Semitic and Berber, is a triliteral or biliteral root of consonants and semiconsonants. Suffixes are added to form words. The verb conjugation corresponds to the person . For example, the triconsonantal skeleton S-Ḏ-M is the semantic core of the word 'hear'; its basic conjugation is sḏm, 'he hears'. If the subject is a noun, suffixes are not added to the verb: sḏm ḥmt, 'the woman hears'.
Adjectives are derived from nouns through a process that Egyptologists call nisbation because of its similarity with Arabic. The word order is predicate–subject in verbal and adjectival sentences, and subject–predicate in nominal and adverbial sentences. The subject can be moved to the beginning of sentences if it is long and is followed by a resumptive pronoun. Verbs and nouns are negated by the particle n, but nn is used for adverbial and adjectival sentences. Stress falls on the ultimate or penultimate syllable, which can be open (CV) or closed (CVC).
Hieroglyphic writing dates from c. 3000 BC, and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic , which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic , became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone.
Around the first century AD, the
Main article: Ancient Egyptian literature The Edwin Smith surgical papyrus (c. 16th century BC) describes anatomy and medical treatments and is written in hieratic.
Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries (called House of Books), laboratories and observatories. Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and Coffin Texts , were written in Classical Egyptian, which continued to be the language of writing until about 1300 BC. Late Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni . The genre known as Sebayt ("instructions") was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; the Ipuwer papyrus , a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example.
Story of Sinuhe
Ostraca of hunting a lion with a spear, aided by a dog. Statues depicting lower-class ancient Egyptian occupations.
Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mud-brick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread. Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture.
Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance.
Most bathed in the
Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular. In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia. The sistrum was a rattle-like musical instrument that was especially important in religious ceremonies.
The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet , a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times; another similar game was mehen , which had a circular gaming board. Juggling and ball games were popular with children, and wrestling is also documented in a tomb at Beni Hasan . The wealthy members of ancient Egyptian society enjoyed hunting and boating as well.
The excavation of the workers village of Deir el-Medina has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world, which spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organization, social interactions, working and living conditions of a community have been studied in such detail.
Main article: Ancient Egyptian cuisine
Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time; indeed, the
cuisine of modern
Main article: Ancient Egyptian architecture
The architecture of ancient
The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary
Egyptians alike were
constructed from perishable materials such as mud bricks and wood, and
have not survived. Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces
of the elite and the pharaoh were more elaborate structures. A few
surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in
The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples , such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns. In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon , the open courtyard , and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Greco-Roman period. The earliest and most popular tomb architecture in the Old Kingdom was the mastaba , a flat-roofed rectangular structure of mudbrick or stone built over an underground burial chamber . The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other. Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs. The use of the pyramid form continued in private tomb chapels of the New Kingdom and in the royal pyramids of Nubia .
Main article: Art of ancient
The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over 3500 years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change. These artistic standards—simple lines, shapes, and flat areas of color combined with the characteristic flat projection of figures with no indication of spatial depth—created a sense of order and balance within a composition. Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette , for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs. Because of the rigid rules that governed its highly stylized and symbolic appearance, ancient Egyptian art served its political and religious purposes with precision and clarity.
Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone as a medium for carving statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute. Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores (red and yellow ochres), copper ores (blue and green), soot or charcoal (black), and limestone (white). Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed.
Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art , such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife. During the Middle Kingdom, wooden or clay models depicting scenes from everyday life became popular additions to the tomb. In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife.
Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of
particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or
political attitudes. After the invasion of the
Ancient Egyptian religion
Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception; pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings . The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system. These various conceptions of divinity were not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality. The Ka statue provided a physical place for the Ka to manifest
Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials. Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos. After the New Kingdom, the pharaoh's role as a spiritual intermediary was de-emphasized as religious customs shifted to direct worship of the gods. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people.
The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. In addition to the body, each person had a šwt (shadow), a ba (personality or soul), a ka (life-force), and a name. The heart, rather than the brain, was considered the seat of thoughts and emotions. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh, or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a "feather of truth" . If deemed worthy, the deceased could continue their existence on earth in spiritual form. Pharaohs' tombs were provided with vast quantities of wealth, such as the golden mask from the mummy of Tutankhamun .
Main article: Ancient Egyptian burial customs
Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs
that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death.
These customs involved preserving the body by mummification ,
performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the
deceased would use in the afterlife. Before the Old Kingdom, bodies
buried in desert pits were naturally preserved by desiccation . The
arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient
By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification; the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron . The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated.
Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Funerary texts were often included in the grave, and, beginning in the New Kingdom, so were shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife. Rituals in which the deceased was magically re-animated accompanied burials. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased.
Main article: Military of ancient
The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt
against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in
Typical military equipment included bows and arrows , spears, and
round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden
frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had
earlier been introduced by the
TECHNOLOGY, MEDICINE, AND MATHEMATICS
Main article: Ancient Egyptian technology
In technology, medicine, and mathematics, ancient
FAIENCE AND GLASS
Ancient Egyptian medical instruments depicted in a Ptolemaic period inscription on the temple at Kom Ombo.
Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience , which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone. Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica , small amounts of lime and soda , and a colorant, typically copper. The material was used to make beads, tiles, figurines, and small wares. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian Blue , also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing (or sintering ) silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment.
The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently. It is also unclear whether they made their own raw glass or merely imported pre-made ingots, which they melted and finished. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque.
Main article: Ancient Egyptian medicine
The medical problems of the ancient
Egyptians stemmed directly from
their environment. Living and working close to the
The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease . Despite the flattering physiques portrayed on tomb walls, the overweight mummies of many of the upper class show the effects of a life of overindulgence. Adult life expectancy was about 35 for men and 30 for women, but reaching adulthood was difficult as about one-third of the population died in infancy.
Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East
for their healing skills, and some, such as
Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures,
nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection, while
opium thyme and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest
records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk
from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess
Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull
and had mastered advanced forms of shipbuilding as early as 3000 BC.
Archaeological Institute of America reports that the oldest
planked ships known are the
Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with
treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams.
Khufu ship ", a 43.6-metre (143 ft) vessel sealed into a pit in
Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the
Great Pyramid of Giza
Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the
Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern
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