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Nile River Valley Civilization

April 24, 2016

As for yesterday’s history class in X IIS 2, we learned a lot about the Nile River Valley civilization, which occurred in Egypt.

Ancient Egypt is a land considered old among ancient lands. Egypt has become a major nation, a thousand years before Minoan people of Crete built their castle in Knossos, 900 years before Israeli people followed Moses from slavery. Egypt flourished as members of the tribe north of the Tigris River still lived in huts. Greeks and Romans 2,000 years ago, saw Ancient Egypt like us noting the Greek and Roman ruins now.

Kings who ruled Ancient Egypt were called pharaohs. Pharaohs ruled in an authoritarian way. They determined justice and are the source of law as well as the legislator. Their rule was absolute, because they were considered as half-god, while their people worshiped the pharaohs as king-god. In performing his duty, a pharaoh was helped by a few people as follows:

a. Viziers served as supervisors of the farm, stamp holders of the king, tax supervisors, and so on. Often a vizier was held by the king’s son. It was as a learning tool for the care of the kingdom.
b. High priests served as a trustee of the temple and the burial place of kings.
c. Army militia were unprofessional soldiers commanded by the nobles. The soldiers were from ordinary people who were armed. Army militia were called if their country was in danger. The rest of them returned to the community.

Between 3,200 and 3,000 BC, the pharaoh who ruled in Upper Egypt was Menes. He successfully united Upper Egypt with Lower Egypt. Menes then built a royal center in Memphis. Because of his success that brought Egypt together, Pharaoh Menes earned the nickname Nesutbitti, which means the twin-crowned king.

a. Kingdom of Old Egypt (3,400-2,160 BC)
The Old Egyptian government began since the governance of King Menes who successfully united Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The other king was Khufu or Cheops, Chefren, and Menkaure. In their reign the culture of Ancient Egypt grew rapidly.

The Pharaoh Pepi who ruled around 2,500 BC often did wars in purpose of protecting trade and obtaining slave labor to build palaces and pyramids. Syria and Palestine, who at the time became the center of trade in the Middle East were successfully mastered, while Sudan and Abyssinia were taken to obtain slave labor.

After King Pepi II passed away, Egypt suffered a setback. The setback was caused by the seizure of power by the nobility and attacks by foreign nations who were always waiting for the weakness of the fertile Egypt.

b. Kingdom of Middle Egypt (2,160-1,788 BC)
An Egyptian king from Thebes under the name Senusret III successfully united Egypt back in 1,880 BC. The royal capital was moved to Thebes. Senusret III then expanded the territory to Palestine and Sudan. Agriculture and trade were reinstated that Egypt returned to prosper.

The kingdom of Middle Egypt collapsed, because of the attacks of the Hyksos (Indo-German) whose civilization was still low and were belligerent. The Hyksos successfully occupied the eastern Nile delta and established the government center in Avaris. From the region, the Hyksos successfully ruled Egypt and Palestine.

c. New Egypt (1,500-1,100 SM)
In these New Egyptian times, the god of Amun (god of the moon) was compared with the god of Re, thus it is known of the existence of Amun-Re. In the reign of Thutmose III (1,500-1,447 BC), the temple of Amun-Re was built in the towns of Luxor and Karnak. Under Thutmose III, the territory of Egypt was very wide, covering Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Cyprus, and Sudan (Nubia) which is used as a colony of Egypt.

King Amenhotep IV moved his royal capital to Amarna. The king also seeked to change the main god of Amun-Re with the god of Anton who was depicted in a sun circle. King Amenhotep IV also declared that he was not a god, but an ordinary human. After Akhenaten died, he was succeeded by Tutankhamen in 1,350 BC.

After King Tut died, New Egypt broke into pieces and was involved back in a civil war and power struggles. In the power struggle, the king who came out as the winner is King Ramses II (1,275-1,220 BC). He built a great building under the name Ramesseum. The king was known for his oppression of the Hebrews. After he passed away, Ramses II was buried in Abu Simbel.

After the end of Ramses II’s reign, Egypt became seizure of nations outside. Alternately, the people who ever ruled in Egypt are the Libyans, Abyssinians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, and Romans. When ruled by the Macedonians (Greeks), Egypt became famous in history when ruled by the Ptolemaic Dynasty (332-30 BC) with its queen Cleopatra (66-30 BC).

Ancient Egyptian artifacts include mastaba, pyramids, temples, and who could forget the Great Sphinx of Giza, a lion statue with a human’s head.

Ancient Egyptian people invented the solar calendar system, simple mathematical operations, and medicine.

Their writing is called hieroglyphics, pictographs.

Thanks to Muhammad Akmaluddin, Rizqi Azhari, Nadhira Aulia Raisya, and Novita Aulia Regine Perdana who helped us during the presentation.

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