& Cultural Context
& Cultural Context
Archaic Period, 3250-2650
- Scorpion King, unification of Upper (southern) Egypt, c. 3250, earliest known hieroglyphic carvings come from his tomb
- Narmer/Menes, unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, c. 3100
pyramid, "step pyramid" at Saqqara, tomb of 3rd
dynasty king Djoser, c. 2600 BC, designed by architect and
Pyramids of Giza, tombs of 4th dynasty kings Khufu (Cheops),
Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus), c. 2,500 BC.
The tallest of the buildings is the pyramid of Khufu which
stands 482 feet high (147 meters)
also built during the 4th dynasty is a representation of king
Khafre or Khufu
Texts, religious inscriptions carved on pyramids, including narratives, incantations, and invocations
designed to help the pharaoh's soul in his journey to the other
world--found in tombs of the 5th and 6th dynasties
Kingdom, 2000-1650 BC:
Texts, inscriptions on the sarcophagi
of the Shipwrecked Sailor
Hyksos Period, 1650-1550:
- Egypt invaded and ruled by the Hyksos, a Semitic group of Cannanite or Amorite origin, 15th-17th dynasties
Kingdom, 1550-1070 BC:
Late Period, 1070-332 BC
of the Dead, papyrus scrolls, 1500 BC and after
(r. 1353-1336 BC); a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty; married
Nefertiti; established worship of a single god, Aten (the
sun); Amarna Period;"Hymn to the Sun"
(r. 1333-1323 BC), abandoned the cult of Aten; married a daughter
of Akhenaten; his tomb remained untouched and was discovered
II (r. 1279-1213 BC); pharaoh of the 19th dynasty; engaged
in war against the Hittites and Lybians; commissioned great
building projects, including many gigantic statues of himself;
possibly the pharaoh at the time of Moses
of the Harper (c. 1160 BC)
alternation of Egyptian rule and foreign control by Nubians, Assyrians, and Persians
Period, 332-30 BC
the Great's invasion of Egypt, 332 BC, Greek domination of
Egypt, death of Alexander in 323 BC
ruled by Ptolemy I (r. 323285 BC) (Ptolemy was one one
of Alexander's generals) and his successors. Capital at Alexandria.
Flourishing of learning and the arts during Ptolematic period, including the assembly of the library at Alexandria
Egyptian priest Manetho writes Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt, in 280 BC
The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew bible written in Alexandria c. 250 BC
Stone (196 BC): rock inscribed with three bands of writing
in hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek--it made possible the
decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Discovered in 1799.
Period, 30 BC-395 AD
occupation and rule of Egypt, began after the naval battle of Actium (31 BC) when Octavian's forces defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra.
- Philo Judaeus (20 BC-50AD), Alexandrian Jew and neoplatonic philosopher, concerned with reconciliation of Greek and biblical thought. Used the concept of "logos" to link the transcendental and the material worlds.
- Destruction of the library at Alexandria by repeated attacks, some of them by Christian zealots, in the 3rd-4th centuries AD
- Jean-François Champollion deciphers Egyptian hieroglyphics (1822) and publishes his findings in 1824
"Hymn to the Sun" (c. 1353-1336 BC)
was the ancient Egyptian attitude toward nature and life, as
seen in these texts? What may be the relationship between the
theological and philosophical ideas and images in the hymn and
the political situation in the Egypt of Akhenaten's time? How
does Akhenaten portray his own relationship to the divine? How
is the religious monotheism of Akhenaten connected to his own
political and social agendas?
Leiden Hymns (c. 1238 BC)
did the ancient Egyptians envision/imagine the creation of the
universe and all its beings? What role do language and poetry
have in the act of creation? What are the relations between
theology, philosophy and literature among the ancient Egyptians,
as seen in these texts?
of the Shipwrecked Sailor (from Middle Kingdom Period, 1938-1600
is the most valuable thing in life according to this narrative?
Are there any similarities in the situations and values of this
narrative and those presented in works like the Epic of Gilgamesh
and Homer's Odyssey?
Song of the Harper (c. 1160 BC)
values are promoted/advanced by this poem? How may such values
have related to the lives of people like Inherkhawy, the chief
of the workers at the royal burial ground in ancient Thebes?
How may such values have related to or commented on the pharaohs's
quest for eternal life (as evidenced in the practices of embalming
of corpses and burial in pyramids)? How can the carpe diem motif
be reconciled with the belief in or quest for immortality?
Love Lyrics (from Ramesside Period, 1300-1100 BC)
was the ancient Egyptian attitude toward love, sexuality and
the human body, as evidenced in these texts? How do those ideas
relate to the values and attitudes toward life expressed in
other ancient Egyptian texts?
2001-2006 by Fidel Fajardo-Acosta,
all rights reserved