Pharoahs and Pyramids

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Pharoah is a title used to refer to the kings of godly status in ancient Egypt. Sometime in the 27the century B.C.E. Imhotep decided that pharaoh needed a great monument to his person, power, and position in Egyptian society, and so designed the “Step Pyramid”, the first great monument in world history built entirely of dressed stone. These buildings serve 2 purposes; Zoser’s ka would have what it needed to rule in the afterlife, and the many building with their immovable doors and labyrinthine passageways would frustrate tomb robbers, a chronic problem as pharaonic burials became richer. In Fourth Dynasty these pyramids were the symbols of Egyptian civilization.

2) Nomes: Upper Egypt was known to the Pharaohs as Shemau and was divided into twenty-two areas called nomes. The first nome was roughly where modern Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih, just to the south of Cairo.

3) Upper and Lower Nile: Lower Egypt is to the north and is that part where the Nile delta flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Upper Egypt is to the south from the Libyan Desert down to just past Abu Simbel.
The reason for this apparent upside-down naming is that Egypt was considered the "Gift of the Nile" and as such everything was measured in relation to the river. The Nile enters Egypt in the country's southern heights, winding its way down (north) until exiting via the fertile delta of the Egyptian lowlands into the Mediterranean Sea.

4) Afterlife: Ancient Egyptians believe that after death, the deceased’s ka, or other worldly existence, would have to roam the underworld, the Duat, searching for the House of Judgment, where Osiris and forty-two other judges would decide its fate. At the end of the judgment, the god Anubis weights the heart of the deceased in front of the judges, placing it in the scales with the father of the goddess Ma’at. Only if the heart and the father were in perfect balance did the dead person achieve immortality as an aspect of the god.

5) Narmar/Menes and Zoser: Narmer was an Egyptian pharoah who ruled in the 32nd century BC. The successor of Serket, he is considered by some to be the founder of the First dynasty. The famous Narmer Palette, discovered in 1898, shows Narmer displaying the insignia of both Upper and Lower Egypt, giving rise to the theory that he unified the two kingdoms.
Menes was an Egyptian pharaoh of the First dynasty of Egypt, to some authors the founder of this dynasty, to others the second. He is generally credited with uniting Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom.
Some Egyptologists hold that Menes and Narmer are in fact the same person; some hold that Menes inherited an already-unified Egypt from Narmer; others hold that Narmer began the process of unification but either did not succeed or succeeded only partially, leaving it to Menes to complete.
Djoser (also known as Zoser) is the best-known pharaoh of the Third dynasty of Egypt, for commissioning his vizier Imhotep to build his Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

6) Menetho: He was a Hellenistic Egyptian historian and a priest of Serapis in Heliopolis during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. His magnum opus, Aegyptiaca, written in Greek, which he wrote to contest errors he claimed existed in Herodotus's History, was the most important source for the history of Ancient Egypt before the successful translation of the Egyptian language. Even now, it remains a major primary source for its aid in compiling and systematizing ancient Egyptian Pharaonic dynasties into the order that still serves as a basis by the historians. The titles of his other works include The Sacred Book, and An Epitome of Physical Doctrines. Much of what the ancient Greek and Latin authors write about Egyptian religion is believed to come from Manetho's works.

7) Ma’at: The father of the goddess in ancient Egyptian myth. In Egyptians’ definition, the great cycle of life, death and the return of life was ma’at. Our concepts of harmony, order, justice, and trust would all fir comfortably within ma’at. Both abstract notion and its personification as a female deity named Ma’at were what kept the universe running in its sense, repetitive, predictable fashion.

8) Vizier: It is an Arabic term for a high-ranking religious and political advisor, often to a king or sultan. In ancient Egypt the second important person after the pharaoh was the vizier as a general governor. Among the Huns, the vizier was the second in rank officer after the great king.

9) Hyksos ca. 1570: The Hyksos (ancient Egyptian: "rulers of foreign countries") were a Semitic people, who invaded Ancient Egypt around 1710 BC, using the chariot and composite bow as new weapons of war. The Hyksos ruled Egypt for over a century, until they were finally defeated by Pharaoh Amasis I.

10) Ahmose I: He was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was the son of king Tao II Seqenenre and brother of king Kamose, the last king of the Seventeenth dynasty. Ahmose lost his father and his brother in very short notice during the struggle against the Hyksos princes, who still ruled in the north-east of the Nile Delta.

11) Thutmose I and II: Thutmose I was the 3rd Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1504 BC to 1492 BC. He was the father of the Pharaohs Thutmose II and Hatshepsut and was the first Pharaoh to be buried in the Valley of the Kings.
Thutmose II was the son of Thutmose I. He was not fully royal and he married his fully royal half-sister, Hatshepsut, to secure his rule. He successfully put down rebellions in Nubia and the Levant and defeated a group of nomadic Bedouins. Thutmose II had two daughters with Hatshepsut, Nefrure and Meritre, but managed to father a male heir, Thutmose III, by a lesser wife named Isis before his death.

12) Amenhotep IV becomes Akhenaton; married to Nefertiti:
He was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. His chief wife was Nefertiti. T couple had six known daughters. In year 4 of his reign, Amenhotep IV started his famous worship of Aten. This year is also believed to mark the beginning of his construction of a new capital, Akhetaten, at the site known today as Amarna. In year 5 of his reign IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten as evidence of his new worship. In year 7 of his reign the capital was moved from Thebes to Amarna, though construction of the city seems to have continued for two more years.

13) Tutankhamen: He was Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, during the period known as the New Kingdom. His original name Tutankhaten means "Living Image of Aten" while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Ammon. Tutankhamun ruled Egypt for eight to ten years and examinations of his mummy suggest that he was a seventeen or eighteen year old man when he died. In year 3 of his reign, Tutankhamun restored the old pantheon of gods and their temples, granted the traditional privileges back to their priesthoods, and moved the capital back to Thebes.

14) Hatshepsut: She was the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. She ruled from 1473 BC to 1458 BC and is regarded as the first female monarch in recorded history.

15) Difference between pharaohs and gods; subtle but different: The pharaohs are the real people or kings who ruled the ancient Egypt and were considered as deities, but not the gods like in a myth.

16) Seth, Hathor, Isis, Horus, Re, Aton, Osiris: In the Jewish and Christian Bible, Seth is explained as meaning "foundation." According to this tradition, Seth was perceived as the "Foundation of the World," since he was the first person born of human parents and the ancestor of all mankind.
 In Egyptian mythology, Hathor was an extremely popular fertility goddess, associated with the cow. Her name refers to her position as the celestial cow which encircles the sky and hawk god, Horus. She was also a goddess of royalty. Her cult was centered in Dendera and was led by priests who were also dancers, singers or other artists, for she was a goddess of art as well. Her priests were also oracles and midwives.
Isis is the goddess of motherhood and fertility in ancient Egypt. She is a life-death-rebirth deity as well as one of the Ennead. Later, she acquired the goddess Sopdet.
Horus is the falcon-headed god of ancient Egyptian mythology. Like many other gods the nature of what he was and the legends and stories that went with him changed over the course of history. Horus was an amalgamation of other, related deities, all of whom were sun gods and associated with the royal prerogative and the sky.
Ra (sometimes spelled Re) is the sun-god of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt. He was a self-creating god, fashioning himself from Mehturt, a mound that came from the waters of Nu, or a lotus flower. He also created Shu and Tefnut out of his semen or mucus, Hu and Sia from the blood from his penis and humanity from his tears.
Osiris is one of the most important of the Ancient Egyptian deities. He is a life-death-rebirth deity. He was eventually buried in the city of Abydos, of which he was the patron deity. Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld, as well as a fertility and agricultural deity. With his wife, Isis, he was the father of Horus. Beb was described as his first-born son. Later, he was combined with Seker and Ptah to create Ptah-Seker-Osiris and was also identified with Heryshaf.

17) Ba: After the death of an individual, the Ba was the shell or physical body that remained on Earth in its tomb. At some point the Ba was to reunite with the Ka and thus the body was mummified. Should the body be destroyed it was believed that a stone sculpture would suffice.

18) Ka: The Ka was the spiritual soul of a person or a god, a type of mana. The Ka was created by Mesenet along with the physical form of the person, and then continued to the underworld after the death of the physical body.

19) Coptic: The Coptic language is the last descendant of the Egyptian language, still used in the liturgy of the Coptic Church. Although the Coptic alphabet (which is based on the Greek alphabet) is the source of the Nubian alphabet, the languages are unrelated. Nubian is Nilo-Saharan.

20) Hieroglyphics: Hieroglyphs are a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians. It is a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements. Hieroglyphics consisted of three kinds of characters: phonetic characters, including single-sound characters, like an alphabet, but also many representing one or more syllables, ideographs, representing a word, and determinatives, which indicate the semantic category of a spelled-out word without indicating its precise meaning.

21) Karnak:  Karnak is a village in Egypt that was once part of the ancient capital of Egypt, Thebes. It is situated about 2 miles north of Luxor.
For many centuries Karnak temple was the main religious centre of Egypt, with each Pharaoh adding to or altering the complex. It was the main temple for the cult of Amon, but like many other Egyptian temples, other gods and goddesses were worshipped there.

22) Thebes: Thebes was the capital of Egypt during the period of the Middle and New Kingdoms. Located on the banks of the Nile — with temples, palaces, and the city of the living on the east side, and the Theban Necropolis on the west — Thebes and its archaeological remains offers a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height.

23) Khufu: Khufu was a Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt's 4th dynasty, reigning from around 2589 BC to 2566 BC. He was the son of King Sneferu, and Queen Hetepheres, and unlike his father, was remembered as a cruel and ruthless Pharaoh. Khufu had several sons and his immediate successor was his son Djedefre. He is most famous for the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

24) Luxor: Luxor is a town in Upper Egypt. It has often been called the 'world's greatest open air museum', with the ruins of the temple complex at Karnak, Luxor temple, and the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank of the Nile, including the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

25) Memphis: Memphis was the ancient capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt from its foundation until around 1300 BC. The ruins are 19 km south of Cairo on the West Bank of the Nile. The city was founded around 3100 BC by Menes of Tanis, who united the two kingdoms of Egypt. Memphis reached a peak of prestige under the 6th Dynasty as a centre of the cult of Ptah. It declined briefly after the 18th Dynasty with the rise of Thebes and was revived under the Persian satraps before falling into firm second place following the foundation of Alexandria. Under the Roman Empire, Alexandria remained the most important city. It remained the second city of Egypt until the establishment of al Fustat in 641. Memphis was then largely abandoned and became a source of stone for the surrounding settlements. It was still an imposing set of ruins in the 12th century but soon became little more than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone. The remains of the temple of Ptah and of Apis have been uncovered at the site as well as a few statues, including two four metre ones in alabaster of Ramses II. The Saqqara necropolis is close to Memphis. It is believed that Memphis was the largest city in the world from its foundation until around 2250 BC. Its population was over 30,000.

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