Sunday, February 17, 2013

Aryan Classes

For hundreds of years Aryan priests used the Vedas to give order to their society Following the teachings of the Vedas, the Aryans divided their society into four social classes. Each class, or varna in the Sanskrit language, had a special job to do.

To the people of ancient India, the different social classes worked together like the different parts of the human body. The Brahmans (BRAH*muhnz), who were the priests and scholars, made up the head. The Kshatriyas (KSHAH»tree*uhz), who were the rulers, made up the arms. The Vaisyas (VYSH*yuhz), who were the merchants and professionals, made up the legs. The Sudras (SOOdruhz), who were the laborers and servants, made up the feet.

The Aryans' social classes led to India's caste system. A caste is a group within a social class. A person born into one caste could not become a member of another caste. Caste members worked within their own group and could marry only others from their caste.

Below all the other castes were the untouchables. These people did all the unpleasant jobs in Indian society They picked up garbage, cleaned stables, and handled the dead. Untouchables were thought to be impure. They had to avoid all contact with the rest of society. An untouchable could not even let his or her shadow fall on a person of a higher caste.

Hinduism required people to accept the caste into which they were born. Each person had a place in society and a job to do. Life might be hard, but if people did the work of their caste, there was hope that the next life would be better.

Around the sixth century B.C., a new religion appeared in India. This new religion challenged the rituals and caste system of Hinduism.

What was the ancient Indian caste system?

Hinduism Facts

The ideas of the Aryans can be seen in present-day Indian culture and beliefs.
For example, the Aryans brought their language, Sanskrit, to India. Many Indian languages of today, including the one most widely spoken, Hindi, are based on Sanskrit.

The Aryans believed that Sanskrit was a holy language. To them it was the language spoken by the gods. The Aryans' holiest books,The the Vedas (VAY»duhz), are written in Sanskrit. These four books of sacred writings describe the Aryan religion.

The Aryan religion developed into the religion of Hinduism. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions still practiced today. Believers in Hinduism worship three main gods Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. Below these gods are many other lesser gods. Hinduism teaches that people live many lives until they reach spiritual perfection. They believe that the soul lives on after death and returns to life in a new body. This rebirth is called reincarnation. According to Hinduism, those who obey their religious teachings and lead good lives will be reborn into higher social positions. Those who do not will return as lower life-forms. Hindus also believe that animals have souls and that cows are holy. For this reason, many do not eat beef.

What religion of today comes from the religion of the Aryans?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The City of Mohenjo-Daro

The City of Mohenjo-Daro
In its time, Mohenjo-Daro was a model of city planning. Straight, wide streets, some as wide as 30 feet (about 9 m), crisscrossed the city These streets were carefully laid out to form rectangular blocks for houses and other buildings.

On a hill at the end of the city nearest the Indus River, a walled fortress was built on a platform of bricks. A fortress is a building designed to protect a city or army. The fortress of Mohenjo-Daro like fortresses in all Harappan cities was built in the western part of the city. The thick walls of the ancient fortress protected government buildings, a bathhouse, and a huge storage shed. The shed stood 30 feet (about 9 m) tall and 1,200 feet (about 366 m) long. It held more than enough grain to feed the city's population, which by 1500 B.C. was about 45,000. The grain in the storage shed was also used to pay many of the workers in Mohenjo-Daro.

Most of the buildings in Mohenjo-Daro, including the huge grain shed, were made of bricks. Instead of sun-drying their bricks, as people in the Fertile Crescent and the Nile Valley did, people of the Indus Valley baked their bricks in ovens. These baked bricks were harder and lasted longer than sun-dried bricks.

Only the wealthiest families in the Indus Valley lived in the city's brick buildings. Most people lived in small huts in villages surrounding Mohenjo-Daro. Some city houses were two stories high and were large enough to have a courtyard and rooms for servants. The doors of most city houses opened onto alleys rather than onto
the busy main streets. The fronts of the houses, which had no windows, looked much alike.

Even the smallest city houses had separate rooms inside for cooking, sleeping, and bathing. Some even had a separate room for a well. Almost every house in Mohenjo- Daro had its own bathroom, some with polished brick floors. Family members showered by pouring fresh water over themselves with jugs. The runoff water flowed through brick pipes into a city drain system running along the main streets.

The streets had covered openings that let workers get to the drains to fix problems.
Each house also had a chute through which trash could be emptied into a bin in the street. The garbage was then collected by city workers.

Within Mohenjo-Daro's fortress was a large bathhouse. The main tank was 40 feet (12 m) long and 8 feet (2 m) deep. The bathhouse may have been used by people in the practice of their religion. It may also have been a gathering place where people exchanged news and conducted business.

What were the streets like in Mohenjo-Daro?

Civilization in the Indus Valley

Civilization in the Indus Valley
The Indus Valley offered the best conditions for agriculture on the Indian subcontinent. At first, people built small villages and farmed the surrounding land. By about 2500 B.C., not long after people in the Fertile Crescent and the Nile Valley had developed civilizations, the early people of the Indus Valley built cities and formed a civilization of their own.

Settling the Indus Valley
Fed by melting snows, the Indus River tumbles down from the high mountains, carrying rocks, gravel, and silt. It flows south and west onto a hot, dry plain in present-day Pakistan. Each spring, the Indus River spills over its banks and the old soil is made fertile by a new layer of silt. Another river, the Sarasvati (SAR»ahs»vuh»tee), once flowed parallel to the Indus. A series of earthquakes shifted the waters of its tributaries to other rivers. Today the Sarasvati is a dried-up riverbed. Early farmers in these river valleys grew barley and other grains in the rich soil. These grains supplemented, or added to, the food people got by hunting animals and gathering wild plants.

People in the Indus Valley built their villages on large mounds made from mud and stones. The purpose of the mounds was to keep the villages above the flooded land. Over time these villages grew to become cities. Eventually, a great civilization formed one that would cover present-day Pakistan and parts of what are now Afghanistan and northern India.

Some of the largest and most important early cities in the Indus Valley were Harappa (huh*RA»puh), Lothal, and Mohenjo-Daro (moh*HEN»joh DAR»oh).

Harappa is named after a Pakistani town where the first evidence of the civilization was found. It became so important that this early civilization is often called the Harappan civilization. Many archaeological discoveries have also been made at Lothal, which lies near the coast of the Arabian Sea. However, the most complete evidence of city life in the early Indus Valley has been found at Mohenjo-Daro.

What were Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa?

Ancient India: Rivers and Rainfall

Rivers and Rainfall
An ancient Indian text says this about rivers and rainfall: "Waters, you are the ones who bring us the life force. Help us to find nourishment so that we may look upon great joy." The people of ancient India knew that their rivers made life possible. Because of water's importance, India's people have always thought of their rivers as holy Ancient India's holiest river, the Ganges, is also one of the longest rivers on the Indian subcontinent. This river stretches for 1,560 miles (2,512 km). An Indian poet named Jagannatha (JAHG.nuh.tuh), who lived in the 1500s, called its water the "blessing of the world," which would "soothe our troubled souls." Even today followers of the Hindu religion come to bathe in the Ganges River. They believe that its waters will wash away their sins.

Besides rivers, the other major source of water for India is rain. Almost all of India's rain falls during the summer monsoon, the season when moist winds blow from the Indian Ocean toward the subcontinent. In the winter, the winds reverse direction. The winter winds bring no rain, because they come from a dry inland area of Asia.

The shifting of the winds usually follows a regular pattern. But some years the monsoon rains begin late or never arrive at all. This affects crops and sometimes leads to famine. At these times, the people of India turn to the gods they believe in. One of the most important gods is Indra, the god of thunderstorms. When rain is needed, they ask the god to "draw up the enormous bucket and pour it down."

Once the monsoon rains begin, they continue for four months. This constant rain has surprised visitors to India for centuries. One such visitor to the land was Aristobulus (uh»ris»tuh»BYOOluhs), from Greece, who traveled there in 327 B.C. He wrote that in India the rains poured "violently from the clouds both day and night." Even armies at war in ancient India stopped fighting during the monsoon season because the roads got so muddy.

Why did the people of ancient India think of rivers as holy?

Farming in Ancient India

Farming in Ancient India
All rivers in India carry more water in the monsoon season because of local rainfall. The rivers of northern India also get extra water from rainfall over the Himalayas.

This often causes the northern rivers to overflow their banks and flood the surrounding land. Flooding can sometimes be destructive and lead to the loss not only of crops but of human lives as well. At the same time, floods in India are also much needed, because they leave fresh silt on the land they cover. This silt makes the land fertile for growing crops.

The early farmers of the Indus Valley made good use of the yearly floods. They planted cotton and sesame seeds just before the monsoon began. By the time the rain stopped and the Indus River shrank to its normal size, the crops would be ready to harvest. The farmers grew barley and wheat during the winter and harvested it in the spring.

The ground was moist enough from the summer flooding that no more water was needed.

Early farmers in India also raised livestock, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. However, for making clothing they used the cotton plant instead of animals. Cotton is a plant native to India.

Although it was a good region for agriculture, the area near the Indus River also had drawbacks. The river often flooded and also shifted its course because of the buildup of silt. Some villages had to be abandoned when the Indus River moved too far away.
Still, life was good for the early settlers in the Indus Valley. The importance of the Indus River can be seen in the fact that the entire subcontinent is named after it.
Today flooding still causes problems in northern India. Deforestation, or the widespread cutting down of trees, has led to larger floods than in ancient times. The worst flooding happens in the Ganges Plain. This region once had thick forests, but now there are few trees left. In the last 50 years, many of the forests in the Himalayas have also been cleared. These forests used to help soak up some of the heavy rains. Without the forests, water rushes quickly downhill and causes flooding.

How did river flooding help the early farmers of the Indus River Valley?

Geography of Ancient India

Geography of Ancient India
The present-day countries of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are located in southern Asia. The area these countries fill is called the Indian subcontinent. A subcontinent is a large area of land that is separated by geography from the rest of a continent. To the north of the Indian subcontinent lie the tallest mountains in the world, the Himalayas (hih»muh»LAY»uhz). The Himalayas form a natural barrier between the Indian subcontinent and the rest of Asia.

The hand of India
The two great rivers of the Indian subcontinent, the Indus and the Ganges (GAN*jeez), begin in the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. Many tributaries flow into the Indus and the Ganges rivers. The Indus River and its tributaries begin in the western Himalayas and move southward through Pakistan to empty into the Arabian Sea.

The Indus is one of the longest rivers in the world, with a length of about 1,800 miles (2,900 km). The Ganges River and its tributaries start in the middle of the Himalayas and flow eastward through India to the Bay of Bengal.

Today much of the Indian subcontinent is part of the country of India. For the most part northern India is covered by wide river plains. The plain that surrounds the Indus River and its four main tributaries is called the Punjab, or "Five Rivers." East of the Punjab, the Ganges River flows through the large Ganges Plain. This region of the Indian subcontinent is often called the North Indian Plain.

No large mountains like the Himalayas rise in southern India. This area also lacks the wide river plains found in northern India. Instead, southern India is a land of varying heights, with many large rugged hills. This region is known as the Deccan (DEH»kuhn). Travel is more difficult in this hilly land than in northern India.

Rivers in southern India are fed by rainfall, not by melting snow as in northern India. Because of this, many of southern India's smaller streams are dry except during the rainy season. While the rivers of northern India are often used for transporting people and goods, boats are rarely used on southern India's rivers.

The greater ease of travel in northern India made it easier for people to unite there. This may help explain why the large empires of ancient India were all located in the north.

How is the geography of northern India different from that of southern India?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Use a Historical Map Skills

Use a Historical Map

1.    Why Learn This Skill?
One way to learn about history is by using historical maps. A historical map gives information about the past. A historical map can show you where trade routes once were and where battles were fought.

It can also tell you who controlled the resources of a place. Knowing how to use a historical map can help you understand what a place was like in ancient times.

2.    Understand the Process
The two maps on page 181 show part of northern Africa. Map A is a historical map. It shows the land controlled by Kush around 730 B.C. Map B is a current political map of the same region. Both maps show physical features, such as rivers, seas, and mountains.

Physical features usually change little over time. However, the names they go by may change. For example, the Eastern Desert of the past is now also known as the Arabian Desert. Political borders and the names of regions, cities, and towns also may change. Look closely at the differences between Map A, which shows Egypt and Nubia as they were in the past, and Map B, which shows a present-day view of the same area. Then answer these questions:

1- What cities and towns are shown on Map A? What cities and towns are shown on Map B? Why do you think the cities and towns shown on the two maps are different?
2- What ancient city was built near where the city of Cairo is today?
3- What two ancient kingdoms are identified on Map A?
4- What present-day countries are identified on Map B?
5- What other ancient kingdom did the Kingdom of Kush control in about 730 B.C.? How do you know?
6- What present-day countries occupy land once controlled by the ancient Kingdom of Kush?
7- How many tributaries appear near the mouth of the Nile River in Map A? How many tributaries appear near the mouth of the Nile in Map B? Why do you think the maps show a different number of tributaries?
8- Why do you think the relief shown on the two maps is the same?
9- Which map shows a reservoir and a dam built along the Nile River? Why do a reservoir and a dam appear on this map only?

3.    Think and Apply
Find another historical map in this textbook. How do you know that it shows information about the past? What kind of information does it show? How would a present-day map of the same area be different?

The Fall of Meroe

The Fall of Meroe
During the 200s B.C., Greek rulers in Egypt ordered ports built on the Red Sea. Traders began to use sea routes rather than the overland routes that passed through the once thriving city of Meroe. No longer a center of trade, Meroe lost much of its power, wealth, and importance.

Also, soldiers from the African kingdom of Axum began making raids on Kushite towns. By about A.D. 350 the people of Axum had defeated the Kushites. The king of Axum wrote,

I burned their towns, both those built of bricks and those built of reeds.

By the end of the fourth century A.D., the Kushite culture had disappeared.
Between A.D. 500 and A.D. 600, missionaries from Egypt and southeastern Europe brought Christianity to the Nubians. Christianity remained the main religion of the region until the 1300s. During this time, the religion of Islam was introduced.

What caused Meroe to lose much of its power, wealth, and importance?

Meroitic Rulers Facts

Meroitic Rulers
Trade brought the Meroitic culture much wealth, but its rulers gave it its strength.
Just as the pharaohs of Dynasty 25 had claimed to be sons of the god Amon, so too did the leaders of the Meroe culture.

In some ways, however, the rulers of Meroe were quite different from Egyptian rulers. In Meroe, women played an important role in governing. In fact, many historians believe that the right to rule was passed on through the queen, not the king. Women could also be rulers themselves, and many queens ruled Meroe.

Much of what we know about the women who ruled Meroe comes from ancient carvings on Nubian temples. Many of the Meroitic queens are pictured as warriors holding swords. These powerful queens are even known to have led their own troops in battles. One queen was Amanitore (uh»MAN»uh»tawr»ee). Queen Amanitore led her army against the Romans in 24 B.C.

The carvings also show how Meroitic rulers dressed. A king or queen wore a long robe with a cloak over it. Often this outfit was draped with a fringed shawl and long bands of cloth with tassels that hung almost to the floor. Kings and queens wore jewelry. Sometimes they placed a whole series of thick bracelets on their lower and upper arms and as many as ten rings on each hand. Large pendants were worn on chains around their necks.

In what ways did women take part in ruling Meroe?

Kush History and the World

Kush and the World
Attacked but not defeated, Kushite leaders moved their capital south to Meroe (MAIR«oh«wee), near the sixth cataract of the Nile River. There, farther from Egypt, the Kushite culture continued. This time of great achievement lasted from 270 B.C. to A.D. 350 and is known as the Meroitic period.

During the Meroitic period, Kush included most of Nubia as well as regions far south of Khartoum. Across the empire the Kushites built temples to their own gods as well as palaces and pyramids for their own kings and queens. They also created many new customs of their own. Once again the Kushites became known for trade.

Trade Links
One of Meroe's greatest advantages was its location. The city was not only on the Nile River but also at the meeting point of several overland trade routes. In Meroe, Kushite merchants once again set up their old trade network, or group of buyers and sellers. Traders from southwestern Asia and from all parts of Africa came to Meroe. Along with gold and spices, the Kushites began to offer iron products.

The knowledge of ironmaking proved very important to the people of Kush. Under their new land lay much iron ore. In mining pits near Meroe, Kushite workers dug the iron ore from beneath the rock and sand. Ironworkers melted the ore in furnaces and removed the minerals that could not be used.

The pure iron was then hauled to the city, where craftworkers used it to make iron tools and weapons.

Meroe was one of the earliest centers for ironmaking in Africa. Today huge heaps of slag, the waste from the melted iron ore, are evidence of this important economic activity of long ago.

Meroe won fame in much of the ancient world as a center of trade. The city became an artistic and cultural meeting ground for travelers from all parts of Africa. The Meroitic trade network even reached to the Mediterranean. We know this because artifacts from all parts of the Mediterranean region have been found in graves and tombs excavated in and around ancient Meroe.

The need to keep records of their trade led the people of Meroe to create the first Nubian written language. Before this time the Nubian language was only spoken. Any written communication had used Egyptian hieroglyphics. The new alphabet had 23 symbols, which stood for sounds in the Nubian language. Today the sounds of the symbols are known, but no one has been able to figure out the meaning of the words. The Meroitic language is still a mystery. Until this mystery is solved, much of the ancient history of the people of Meroe will remain unknown.

Why was Meroe's location important?

Which Civilization Came First Nubia or Egypt?

Which Civilization Came First:

Nubia or Egypt?
For many years archaeologists and other scholars knew little about either the Egyptians or the Nubians. Then, in 1822, Jean-Franqois Champollion used the Rosetta Stone to decode the language of the ancient Egyptians. His work gave the world the key to understanding their written records. These writings, however, gave only the Egyptians' view of the Nubians. For nearly 150 years, most scholars believed that the Nubians were of little importance.

It was not until the 1960s that archaeologists and scholars began to learn more about ancient Nubia. They have uncovered and studied artifacts and monuments that show that Nubia had a highly developed civilization.

Now some scholars wonder which civilization, the Nubian or the Egyptian, affected the other more. One topic of the debate centers on which civilization was the first to have a unified government ruled by a single king. The opinions of two scholars follow on page 175.

Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams, an archaeologist at the University of Chicago, believes that Nubian artifacts from 3300 B.C. show the world's earliest representations of kings. One of the artifacts Williams has studied is a stone incense burner that shows a falcon and a human figure.

The falcon means a god.... That [figure] is definitely a representation of a king, and he's wearing a crown.... The burner is definitely a typical Nubian, not an Egyptian, object.

David O’Connor
David O'Connor of the University of Pennsylvania believes that the Nubians copied many Egyptian ideas, including that of having a united government ruled by a king.

I think there may well have been an elite group in Nubia at the time, in charge of a complex chiefdom. But the artifacts Williams's argument depends on are almost certainly Egyptian, not Nubian traded to Nubia in early ... times. The kings he sees were Egyptian kings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kushite Rule Ends in Egypt

Kushite Rule Ends in Egypt
The Kushites' powerful rule over Egypt came to an end in 671 B.C., when the Assyrians invaded Egypt. The Assyrians' iron weapons overpowered the bronze weapons used by the Kushites. The Assyrians destroyed the combined Kushite and Egyptian armies. This forced Taharka and the Kushite army to retreat to Napata.

King Taharka died in Napata, and soon after, the Kushites lost their control of Egypt. However, the Kushites had learned from the Assyrians how to make iron. This skill would help them as they set about building a new kingdom.

What caused the Kushites to lose control of Egypt?

The Temples of Abu Simbel
About 1279 B.C. Pharaoh Ramses II had two temples built at Abu Simbel in Nubia. In 1959 Egypt announced plans to build the Aswan High Dam. The lake formed by the dam would cover much of Lower Nubia. A worldwide effort was made to save the temples. The temples were cut into blocks some weighing as much as 30 tons and moved slightly farther away from the Nile and at a higher elevation.

Ancient Nubia and Conquest of Egypt

Conquest of Egypt
Beginning about 1075 B.C. several weak dynasties brought the Egyptian Empire into a time of disorder. By 800 B.C. Egyptian soldiers had to leave Nubia to take care of troubles at home. At the same time, the kingdom of Kush started to regain its strength. The Kushites built a new capital city farther south on the Nile called Napata (NA»puh»tuh), near the fourth cataract.

Kush's king, Kashta (KASH»tuh), kept a careful watch on events taking place in Egypt. About 750 B.C. Kush attacked Upper Egypt. About 20 years later Kashta's son Piye (PEE»yeh), also known as Piankhi (PYANG»kee), conquered most of Lower Egypt. Piye's conquest brought all of Egypt under his control. After Piye's death his brother Shabaka (SHA»bah»kah) claimed the pharaoh's throne. He and the Kushite pharaohs who followed him ruled as Egypt's Dynasty 25. This dynasty is also known as the Kushite dynasty.

Perhaps the most successful of all the Dynasty 25 pharaohs was Taharka (tuh»HAR«kuh). Pharaoh Taharka is remembered for the many temples and pyramids he ordered built.

The Kushite pharaohs ruled Egypt from about 730 B.C. to 660 B.C. and helped restore Egypt to its former glory. Temples that had been destroyed in earlier invasions of Egypt were rebuilt and new temples were constructed. The Kushite pharaohs brought back long-forgotten religious ceremonies and ordered scribes to copy and save ancient Egyptian books.

The kings of Dynasty 25 learned to write in Egyptian hieroglyphics. For the first time, the people of Nubia began to write about themselves. They recorded their achievements in writing on temple walls and stelae. Their writings give us a firsthand look at their way of life.

How was Dynasty 25 different from other Egyptian dynasties?

Ancient Nubia: Freedom and Reconquest

Freedom and Reconquest
Egyptian control of ancient Nubia did not last long. A powerful kingdom began to grow in Upper Nubia. This kingdom soon gained the strength to drive the Egyptians out of Nubia.

The ancient Egyptians called the new kingdom Kush. Modern archaeologists call the people of this kingdom the Kerma culture. Its center was near the third cataract, where the modern town of Kerma, Sudan, is today.

By 1650 B.C. the people of Nubia had regained their independence, or complete freedom, from Egypt. Free from Egyptian rule, the Kerma culture grew. The ancient town of Kerma became a main stopping point for both river and overland trade. Goods such as gold, salt, spices, elephants, and rhinoceros horns moved through Kerma to markets all over Africa and across the Red Sea. This trade brought great wealth to the people of Kerma.

The ancient burial grounds of the Kerma kings provide evidence of their wealth. To bury a king, the people of Kerma dug a large round pit. They then placed a gold-covered wooden funeral bed at the bottom. They dressed the king in his finest clothes and laid him on the funeral bed.

Around him they placed his weapons, his treasures of gold and ivory, and his jewelry.
Then they covered the pit with a mound of earth and outlined the mound with skulls of cattle.

During Kerma's days of prosperity, its kings gained power as well as wealth. Over time they were able to gain control of much of northern Sudan and even some parts of southern Egypt.
The same period was not as good for the Egyptians. At this time the Hyksos held control of much of Egypt. Kerma's leader decided that it would be best to become an ally, or supporter, of the Hyksos. After all, the Hyksos controlled most of the land to the north of Nubia. The Kerma king did not know that the Egyptians would soon regain the land. The victorious Egyptians forced the Hyksos out of their country and into southwestern Asia. Then the Egyptians turned south and destroyed Kush's capital city of Kerma. They took this action to punish the people of Kerma for helping the Hyksos.

Following their military successes, the Egyptians claimed control of much of Nubia. This time Egypt's control of Nubia reached past the fourth cataract. As a show of strength, the Egyptians built cities and temples all over Nubia.

Egypt's rule over Nubia lasted for about 550 years. During that time the Egyptian pharaoh created a special position called the King's Son of Kush. This person was responsible for the day-to-day governing of Nubian lands and for collecting taxes.

Under Egyptian rule, the people of Nubia were encouraged to become like Egyptians. Many Nubians adopted Egyptian religious beliefs, writing, customs, and ways of dress.

How did the decision to side with the Hyksos affect the people of Kerma?

The Land and People Ancient Nubia

Ancient Nubia

Nubia: Egypt's Rival
The land of Nubia stretched along the Nile River from Egypt's southern border almost to where the city of Khartoum (kar»TOOM), Sudan, stands today. Beneath Nubia's rocky soil were many resources, such as copper and gold. Cliffs made of granite and other kinds of rock used in building rose high above the landscape. Animals of many kinds roamed the land. The many resources of Nubia made life comfortable for its people. Nubia's resources also caused other peoples, such as the Egyptians, to want control of the land. Many conflicts arose as a result. The close contact of the Egyptians and the Nubians caused them to influence each other's religion, government, and culture. Each adopted some of the ideas and customs of the other. Still, over thousands of years, each held on to its own identity.

The Land and People Ancient Nubia
The geography of Nubia was very different from the geography of Egypt. Nubia was much rockier than Egypt. In some places high cliffs rose straight up from the Nile River.

Even the Nile River took on a different shape as it traveled through Nubia. The Nile's course was not as smooth in ancient Nubia as it was farther north in ancient Egypt. Large granite boulders blocked parts of the river in the south, causing rapids and waterfalls. These groups of rocks formed the six large areas of cataracts found along the southern, or upper, part of the Nile.

Archaeologists believe that people migrated to Nubia at least 8,000 years ago. Evidence of an early culture from this time has been uncovered near the modern city of Khartoum. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Nubians usually lived alongside the Nile.

The earliest people of Nubia lived just as the Egyptians lived before the dynasties. Some experts believe that the ancient Nubians provided some of the basic ideas of Egyptian culture. For example, some Egyptian gods may have been first worshipped in Nubia.

To survive, the early people of Nubia fished and hunted and gathered wild grains. In time, the ancient Nubians began to grow their own grain and raise cattle, sheep, and goats. These Nubian farmers and herders found it best to stay in one place all year round rather than travel from place to place.

As settled people, the ancient Nubians began to make pottery to store grains and carry supplies. People on the move could not use pottery because it would get broken on long trips. For settled people, however, pottery was very useful.

The Nubians were among the first people to make pottery. Nubian craftworkers worked with clay as early as 6000 B.C. Nubian bowls and jars are among the most beautiful and best-made of all early objects.

Over time, pottery became a trade item offered by the Nubians. The Nubians also traded goods that came to them from several places in central and southern Africa. These goods were in great demand by the Egyptians and the peoples of southwestern Asia.

Nubia's location between Egypt and southern Africa made it an ideal trading center. The Nubians served as go-betweens for trade between northern and southern Africa. Among the many trade items the Nubians sent northward were leopard skins, ostrich eggs, feathers, ivory, ebony, spices, and gold.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Egypt and Nubia traded peacefully at first. The Egyptians realized, though, that they could gain greater wealth if they had control of Nubia's trade routes, the paths that traders use as they exchange goods.

By 2600 B.C. Egyptian kings succeeded in claiming all the trade routes in northern Nubia. The Egyptians also began helping themselves to Nubia's rich natural resources. Egyptians cut blocks of stone such as granite, which they used for statues and buildings. They also mined Nubian copper and gold. After years of controlling much of northern Nubia, Egypt moved to annex, or take over, the land. About 1900 B.C. the Egyptian pharaoh ordered forts built near the second cataract to protect the newly annexed land from enemies.

Why did Egypt want control of Nubia's trade routes?

Queen Hatshepsut Story Part 1/2

Queen Hatshepsut
Women in ancient Egyptian society shared with men the right to own property and businesses. Some women in ancient Egypt became government officials and trusted advisers to pharaohs. Historians believe that Queen Tiye, wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, ruled along with her husband, making many important decisions. Few women, however, became pharaohs.

Queen Hatshepsut also ruled with her husband, Thutmose II. Hatshepsut had married her half- brother, a common custom among Egyptian royalty. After the death of her husband, Hatshepsut refused to give up her rule to young Thutmose III, the son of Thutmose II and another of his wives. Because he was male, Thutmose III stood next
in line to the throne. However, Hatshepsut believed she deserved to rule because she was the daughter of Thutmose I.

Hatshepsut did become pharaoh. In doing so, she became the first important woman ruler in world history. Advised by her vizier Hatshepsut ruled Egypt during the period of the New Kingdom. As pharaoh, she helped bring strength and wealth to Egypt. Hatshepsut is remembered for her expansion of trade routes, and for sending expeditions to the land of Punt.

Read now a story about Queen Hatshepsut's coronation, or crowning, as pharaoh. As you read, think about what it might be like for a person to take on a new role in a society.

And so arrangements for my coronation go forward. The sooner it takes place, the better. For plots of defiance to hatch, time is essential. We will dispense with time.
Throughout the Two Lands and abroad, the edict of my ascension to the throne is sent, only a few weeks before the ceremony. By tradition the event takes place on a major religious holiday, in this case the Feast of Opet. Hapusoneb insists this is a bit hurried but perfectly proper. But then anything Pharaoh-to-be decides is proper. The edict reads:

Hatshepsut. Cause thou that all oaths be taken in the name of My Majesty, born of the royal mother Ahmose. This is written that thou mayest bow thy head in obedience and knowest that the royal house is firm and strong.

The third year, third month of Inundation, day 7. Day of Coronation.
I worry over my dress. As ceremony demands that the king wear the royal braided beard strapped to his chin (no matter whether he has a beard of his own or not), I shall certainly do so. Ought I, then, to wear the long dress of a queen or the short kilt of a king?

With a question Hapusoneb supplies the answer.
He is preoccupied, poor man, at having to oversee so many elaborate arrangements in such a short period of time. At each succeeding audience with me he appears more harried, more bent with care, until his back curves like a strung bow.

"One of the problems,
Majesty, is that the titles and coronation ceremonies are designed for men. How are we to change them?"
The solution strikes me, clear as Hapusoneb's harassed face.
"There is no need to change anything, Vizier. I mean to rule as a king, with the full powers of a king. And I shall dress as a king. The rituals, the titles, will remain the same as those initiated by Narmer, first King of the Two Lands."
Hapusoneb appears dubious, then relieved. After all, he can scarcely overrule Pharaoh-to-be, no matter what his misgivings.

And as I am resolved to be as resolute, as forceful as any king, I will begin by donning full regalia  for my coronation. Around my waist, over the short kilt, I fasten a broad belt adorned with a metal buckle in the form of my personal cartouche.  Tied to it in front is an apron of beads, in back a bull's tail. A girl attaches : the beard to my chin. Over my wig is fitted the nems, the leather headcloth with the two striped lappets falling forward over my shoulders.

For the ceremony I have ordered a dazzling gold-and-jeweled pectoral  suspended from a double gold chain. On each of my arms a girl clasps a pair of wide bracelets, another on each wrist, a third pair on my ankles. On my fingers rings are strung like chunks of beef on skewers. Surely I must weigh twice as much as usual.

Queen Hatshepsut Story Part 2/2

As I take a final peek in my silver mirror, I gasp to Henut, "But I look a matter whether he has a beard of his own or not), I shall certainly do so. Ought I, then, to wear the long dress of a queen or the short kilt of a king?

With a question Hapusoneb supplies the answer.
He is preoccupied, poor man, at having to oversee so many elaborate arrangements in such a short period of time. At each succeeding audience with me he appears more harried, more bent with care, until his back curves like a strung bow.

"One of the problems,
Majesty, is that the titles and coronation ceremonies are designed for men. How are we to change them?"
The solution strikes me, clear as Hapusoneb's harassed face.
"There is no need to change anything, Vizier. I mean to rule as a king, with the full powers of a king. And I shall dress as a king. The rituals, the titles, will remain the same as those initiated by Narmer, first King of the Two Lands."

Hapusoneb appears dubious, then relieved. After all, he can scarcely overrule Pharaoh-to-be, no matter what his misgivings.

And as I am resolved to be as resolute, as forceful as any king, I will begin by donning full regalia  for my coronation. Around my waist, over the short kilt, I fasten a broad belt adorned with a metal buckle in the form of my personal cartouche.  Tied to it in front is an apron of beads, in back a bull's tail. A girl attaches : the beard to my chin. Over my wig is fitted the nems, the leather headcloth with the two striped lappets falling forward over my shoulders.

For the ceremony I have ordered a dazzling gold-and-jeweled pectoral  suspended from a double gold chain. On each of my arms a girl clasps a pair of wide bracelets, another on each wrist, a third pair on my ankles. On my fingers rings are strung like chunks of beef on skewers. Surely I must weigh twice as much as usual.
As I take a final peek in my silver mirror, I gasp to Henut, "But I look a mummy! One can hardly see the flesh for the gold."

"Very appropriate, Highness." Henut nods approvingly. "Egypt is wealthy beyond measure. You are the symbol of that wealth."

Perhaps so, but wealth, I find, does not always signal comfort.
The ceremony goes off with fanfare. Although the coronation of my husband occurred fifteen years before, the rites are still clear in my memory.

I sit on a light throne borne by six slaves from the Great House to the royal barge, which carries us down the river. From the shore to the temple the procession is headed by heralds crying, "Earth, beware! Your god comes!" Rows of soldiers pace before and behind my carrying chair, and in back of them hundreds of priests.

Behind my chair a servant supports a long-handled sunshade to provide me some relief from the sun, and beside me two young pages wave fans of ostrich plumes. (Vizier has promised boys with endurance and dedication enough not to whack off my headpiece.) The tail of the procession a very long tail is made up of government dignitaries,6 the nobility, and foreign envoys.

Most of the spectators sink to their knees, heads in the dust, although a few bewildered country folk stand gaping in amazement. A guard motions them sternly to bow, or even strikes one or two with his spear. As Hapusoneb says, "Manners grow more and more out of fashion." Still, the atmosphere is a happy mixture of reverence and rejoicing.

h dignitaries: persons holding high office 7 envoys: persons sent to another place or country as representatives Thutmose III, who followed Hatshepsut as pharaoh, destroyed many statues of her. This statue of Hatshepsut in the form of a sphinx a creature half human and half animal remained untouched.

In the main hall of the temple my litter is lowered and I walk, accompanied by the High Priest, to the gleaming gilded throne set on a dais.8 After prayers and hymns to Amon, the Priest makes an address in which he repeats my father's words uttered in the dream: "I have appointed her to be my successor upon my throne. She it is, assuredly, who shall sit upon my glorious throne; she shall order all matters for the people in every department of the state; she it is who shall lead you."

Finally he pronounces me Lord of the Two Lands, seated on the Horus-throne, and living forever and ever. Into my hands he puts the two scepters, emblems of Osiris: the golden crook, and the golden flail with its handle carved in the form of a lotus flower. And on my head he places one symbolic crown after another, ending with the double crown, combining the white crown of Upper Egypt and the red of Lower Egypt, with the golden uraeus, or cobra, attached to the front. The cobra has the reputation of spitting poisonous fire at anyone venturing too near to Pharaoh. (Someday for amusement I must persuade Vizier to test this.) The whole contraption is so heavy that my neck soon aches with the weight.

During the crowning I notice my daughter and the Prince standing beside each other. As Nefrure refused to ride in a carrying chair for fear of falling, the two march (when Nefrure is not being carried by a guard) in the procession, close behind my litter. Nefrure beams at me, proud and excited, while Thutmose's gaze is as blank as when he viewed the gems and vases at the reception of ambassadors. Lost in his own world (perhaps a world where his stepmother is either feeble or dead), he seems oblivious of all movement about him.

The return journey to the palace is agonizing, so that I have to grit my teeth and lock my neck in position. What if suddenly my neck were to bend or break and the unwieldy crown bounce off onto the pavement and into the crowd? King Hatshepsut would have to fabricate a glib story; else all of Egypt would believe that Amon had sent a warning that I was unfit to be Pharaoh. I shudder and lock my neck even more tightly.

Finally it is over. I am home in my suite, resting, my head and neck painful but still intact. The reception and banquet lie ahead, but those I can manage easily. In the distance I hear the celebration of the people, with their eating and drinking, their singing and dancing, their roars of amusement at the acrobats and jugglers and clowns provided for their entertainment. Egypt's treasury will sink this day like the Nile during harvest, but then coronations do not happen every day, that of a queen practically never.
I, Makare Hatshepsut, am Pharaoh of all of Egypt! The thought is too stupendous to fit into my head just yet. First I must view it from all sides ... and stroke it... and shape it... till it can slip naturally into place.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Egypt Under the Rule of Others

Egypt Under the Rule of Others

Rival dynasties arose in the Delta.
By 730 B.C. Dynasty 25, a Nubian dynasty, had taken control of Egypt.
For almost 50 years they fought with the Assyrian Empire for control of southwestern Asia. The Assyrians finally defeated the Nubians.

By about 664 B.C., the Assyrians had reunited all of Egypt. Egypt continued under Assyrian rule for more than 100 years. Egypt remained at peace until a Persian king named Cambyses II (kam»BY»seez) made Egypt a part of his empire in 525 B.C. Egypt regained its independence from 404 B.C. to 343 B.C., only to be conquered a second time by Persia.

In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire. In doing so, he gained control of Egypt and made it part of his Greek Empire. His general, Ptolemy (TAHL«uh»mee), took control of Egypt in 305 B.C. Egypt remained in Greek hands until the Greeks were defeated by the Romans. Egypt was made a part of the Roman Empire in 30 B.C. Egyptian civilization continued under Roman rule. By A.D. 395 the Egyptians had begun to replace many of their original religious beliefs with Christian beliefs.

Which different peoples controlled Egypt after the New Kingdom?

The New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt

The New Kingdom
Egypt's prosperity declined about 1630 B.C. when the Hyksos (HIK»sahs) gained control of Lower Egypt and part of Upper Egypt. The Hyksos had come to Egypt from western Asia.

Hyksos kings ruled over Egypt for about 100 years as Dynasty 15. During their rule the Hyksos introduced the Egyptians to many important military innovations.

These included the horse-drawn chariot and a stronger kind of bow called a composite bow.

Pharaoh Ahmose of Dynasty 18 defeated the Hyksos and reclaimed Egypt in 1520 B.C. The beginning of Dynasty 18 in 1539 B.C. marks the beginning of the New Kingdom.

Egypt's first full-time army began during the New Kingdom. Army troops protected Egypt and conquered lands beyond the Nile Valley. Pharaoh Thutmose I sent troops as far north as the Euphrates River. He also conquered parts of Nubia, pushing Egypt's border past the fourth cataract. His son, Thutmose II, continued to expand Egypt.

After Thutmose II died, his wife Hatshepsut (hat«SHEP»soot) became pharaoh. Hatshepsut was the only woman in ancient Egypt's history to take on all the titles of a pharaoh. Queen Hatshepsut sent armies into Nubia and southwestern Asia. She also sent a trading expedition south on the Red Sea to the land of Punt. Punt may have been located in what is today Ethiopia or Somalia.

Hatshepsut's stepson, Thutmose III, followed her as pharaoh. Under his rule, the Egyptian empire reached its largest size. By 1450 B.C. Egypt controlled lands from Syria to Nubia.
The early years of the New Kingdom were a time of splendor. The Egyptians of this period built huge temples to the gods, larger than any before them. The temple of Amon-Re at Karnak was the largest in the Two Lands.

Although the Egyptians of this time constructed many buildings, they no longer built pyramids. The mummies of Egyptian kings were instead placed in hidden tombs in the Valley of the Kings. This was done so that tomb robbers would not find the tombs and their buried treasures.

At the height of Egypt's prosperity, the Egyptian people faced change. In 1353 B.C. Amenhotep IV came to the throne. He and his wife Nefertiti (nef»er»TEE»tee) focused worship on a single god, the Aton. Some scholars think of this as the first example of monotheism in ancient Egypt.

Amenhotep was so devoted to the god known as the Aton that he changed his own name to Akhenaton (ahk»NAHT»uhn), meaning "servant of the Aton." Akhenaton ordered that the names of many other gods be removed from temples and tombs. Most Egyptians, however, continued to worship the old Egyptian gods along with the Aton.
To help strengthen belief in the Aton, Akhenaton moved Egypt's capital to Akhetaton, also called el-Amarna, in the central part of the country. There he built large open-air temples to the Aton. Because of this move, present-day historians call this time the Amarna period.

After Akhenaton's death, a nine-year-old boy named Tutankhaton became pharaoh of Egypt. Under pressure from his ministers, the new pharaoh restored the old Egyptian gods and changed his name to Tutankhamen (too*tahng*KAHM»uhn), or "Living Image of Amon." Tutankhamen died at age 18 and was buried in a solid-gold coffin in a tomb packed with gold and jewels.

About 1215 B.C., the Egyptians began to lose parts of their empire to invaders known as the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples came from Asia Minor and lands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Egypt itself remained united through Dynasty 20, which ended in 1075 B.C.

Where did Akhenaton move Egypt's capital?

After the Egyptians were conquered, the written languages of their conquerors were used rather than hieroglyphics. For thousands of years, no one could read ancient Egyptian writing. Then, in A.D. 1798, French armies led by Napoleon Bonaparte invaded northern Africa.

The Middle Kingdom and Later Egyptian Rule

Later Egyptian Rule
The Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom were times of growth and prosperity for Egypt. At the same time, however, the Egyptians stopped believing in the pharaoh as an intermediary, or go-between, for humans and gods. This weakening of the pharaoh's power eventually led to a breakdown of the Egyptian government.

The Middle Kingdom
At the end of the Old Kingdom, ancient Egypt went through troubled times. About 2080 B.C. the country was divided as rival kings fought for power. Egypt was torn by a civil war. In a civil war groups of people from the same place or country fight one another. A scribe named Neferti described this troubled time in Egypt:

Dry is the river of Egypt, one crosses the water on foot....
I    show you the land in turmoil....
Men will seize weapons of warfare....
I    show you the son as enemy, the brother as foe....

Egypt reunited in about 1980 B.C. That year also marks the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, which lasted until about 1630 B.C.

The rule of Dynasty 12 is considered the high point of the Middle Kingdom. Dynasty 12 started about 1938 B.C. when a vizier in Lower Egypt named Amenemhet (AHM«uhn»em»HET) took over as pharaoh. He and those who ruled after him conquered all of Lower Nubia. Then Egyptian trade also expanded during the Middle Kingdom. Boats and furniture were built of cedar and pine wood from Lebanon. Important metals such as gold from Nubia, silver from Syria, and copper from the Sinai peninsula were brought to Egypt by traders. Egyptians received products such as gold, ebony, ivory and incense from the African savanna through trade with Upper Nubia.

During the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian society changed. Some of the rights that had once been for pharaohs alone were now available to all Egyptians. For example, the burial prayers that had once been used only for kings could now be used by everyone. Despite this change, Egyptian society remained strongly divided by social class.

Historians have compared Egyptian society to a pyramid. At the top of the social pyramid stood the pharaoh. Just below the pharaoh were the royal family and the priests and nobles. Below them were the scribes, craft workers, and merchants. Egypt's farmers followed. At the very bottom of the pyramid were the slaves.

Most of Egypt's enslaved workers had been captured during military campaigns. Unlike slaves in some societies, those in Egypt had some freedoms. They were allowed to own personal items and even to hold government jobs. They were also able to earn their freedom.

In addition to changes in society, Egypt also saw changes in government. A Middle Kingdom pharaoh named Sesostris III (suh»SAHS*truhs) reorganized Egypt's bureaucracy, or network of appointed government officials. Under the old system the leaders of individual nomes had gained much power. Sesostris III removed these leaders from office and replaced them with a system of governors. The new governors were controlled by the pharaoh's vizier.

This gave the pharaoh greater control over the government.

How did Egyptian government change during the Middle Kingdom?

Solve a Problem Skills

Solve a Problem
1.    Why Learn This Skill?
You have to solve problems almost every day Some problems are bigger than others, but most problems are easier to solve if you follow a set of steps. Knowing the steps to use can help you solve problems your whole life.

2.    Remember What You Have Read
The builders of the Great Pyramid at Giza had a big problem. The pharaoh Khufu had ordered a pyramid built that was to be larger than any ever made. It was to cover 13 acres and rise as high as a modern 36-story building. Mud bricks would not be strong enough, so the Great Pyramid was to be built of limestone blocks. The builders of the Great Pyramid had to move the huge blocks without pulleys or wheels. Wheel technology was still unknown to the ancient Egyptians during this time.

3. Understand the Process
No one knows exactly what steps the Egyptian builders followed to solve their problem. The fact that the Great Pyramid was built, however, proves that they did find a solution. Listed below are some steps you can follow to solve problems, whether large or small. Under each step is a brief description of how it would have related to the Egyptian builders' problem.

1- Identify the problem. The builders had to be able to raise huge blocks of stone to the top of the pyramid. Remember that pulleys and wheels were unknown to the Egyptians during this time.

2- Think of possible solutions.
a.    Workers could lift the stone blocks up each step of the pyramid.
b.    Workers could use rollers to move the blocks up ramps built on the side of the pyramid.

3- Compare the solutions, and choose the best one.
a.    Many workers would be needed to lift each block up one step at a time. This would be hard to do and would take much time.
b.    Fewer workers would be needed to move the blocks up ramps. By placing blocks on rollers, the job could be done more easily and in less time.

4- Plan a way to carry out the solution.
Temporary ramps could be built on each side of the pyramid. With four ramps, workers could move stones into place faster.

Try your solution, and think about how well it solves the problem. The solution the Egyptian builders chose solved the problem, because the Great Pyramid at Giza was built. It is still standing after 4,500 years.

4. Think and Apply
What if the Great Pyramid had to be built today? How might the problem the Egyptian builders faced be solved now? With a partner, brainstorm ways builders of today might solve the problem. Use the steps you just learned, and share your solution with your class.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ancient Egyptian Way of Life

Egyptian Way of Life
Craftworkers held an important position in ancient Egypt. These workers artists, builders, carpenters, and stonecutters were responsible for building and decorating the tombs, temples, and pyramids. They often lived in villages at the construction site since many temples and pyramids were located far from cities or towns. Workdays were sunrise to sunset, and generally work was done 10 days at a time, followed by one day of rest. There were also several religious holidays in ancient Egypt on which people did not work.

Egyptians enjoyed their time off. Most listened to music and sang and danced at religious festivals and parties. Scenes painted on the walls of tombs show party-goers dressed in their finest clothes. As everyday clothes, women wore long, sleeveless dresses made from linen. Men wore knee-length linen skirts, with or without short-sleeved shirts. Men and women of all classes and ages wore jewelry and makeup. Wealthy Egyptians also often wore fancy wigs.

Egyptian houses were made of mud brick. In each house was a small shrine for the worship of household gods. Furniture included chests, stools, chairs, and beds.

Egyptian women were in charge of most household matters. Though they usually did not hold positions in government, several were priestesses at Egyptian temples. Some women were craft workers. Most weavers were women. Since the linen they wove was in high demand, weavers could earn a good living. Unlike women in some societies, Egyptian women were allowed to own property and had full legal rights.

In ancient Egypt, children were often seen as gifts from the gods. In Egyptian art, children are usually shown with their parents or playing games. Some of the games Egyptian children played are still enjoyed today, including leapfrog, wrestling, and tug-of-war.

Education started at an early age in Egypt. Most boys learned their father's trade. Most girls learned weaving and household skills from their mother. Children of the upper class were usually the only ones to learn writing, mathematics, and literature.

What did women do in ancient Egypt?

Building the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt

Building the Pyramids
About 2650 B.C., King Zoser's architect, Imhotep, began a new style in royal tombs. He decided to build his king's tomb of stone instead of mud brick. While building the stone mastaba, Imhotep had another idea. He built a second layer on top of the first, and then another and another. Each new layer was smaller than the one below. The layers formed a pyramid that looked like a set of steps. Today we call this early pyramid a step pyramid.

The ancient Egyptians believed that after death the pharaoh went to live with their most powerful god, Amon-Re. One of their religious writings said, "A staircase to heaven is laid for him [the pharaoh] so that he may climb to heaven." Imhotep may have built the step pyramid to help the pharaoh reach Amon-Re.

About 2600 B.C. pyramid builders tried still another idea. They made pyramids with slanting sides and a pointed peak instead of steps. The slanting sides of the pyramids may have stood for the rays of the sun.

The best known of Egypt's pyramids is the Great Pyramid built at Giza. This pyramid was built for the Pharaoh Khufu. He wanted his tomb to be the largest pyramid ever built. Workers may have spent 20 years building the Great Pyramid, completing it in about 2566 B.C.

A labor tax supplied the Egyptian government with the workers it needed to build the Great Pyramid. Just as a money tax requires people to pay money a labor tax required the ancient Egyptians to work. During the time of Inundation, when no farming could be done, the Egyptian farmers had to work for the pharaoh. As many as 10,000 farmers worked on the Great Pyramid at any one time.

The workers cut and moved more than 2 million blocks of stone. Each block weighed about 5,000 pounds (about 2,300 kg). The blocks were probably brought to the Great Pyramid on strong sleds. Egyptian workers may have used temporary ramps to move the blocks up into place.

Today the Great Pyramid of Khufu still stands in Giza. It is about 480 feet (about 146 m) high and covers 13 acres!

How did the Egyptian government get workers for the pyramids?

The Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt

The Old Kingdom
The Old Kingdom lasted from about 2625 B.C. to 2130 B.C. During this 500-year period, the Egyptian kings of Dynasties 4 through 8 began to look outside of Egypt for resources. They started a colony in Lower Nubia to make use of resources found there. Traders were sent farther south into Africa in search of incense, oils, ebony, ivory, and other items. Traders also traveled into southwestern Asia and returned with goods such as cedar wood and silver.

The Old Kingdom is perhaps best remembered for its achievements in building. During this period the Egyptians developed the technology to construct the biggest stone buildings in the world the pyramids. A pyramid is a burial place for the dead. The Egyptians built many pyramids for their rulers and other important people. It is no wonder that the time of the Old Kingdom is often called the Age of Pyramids.

Pyramids were much larger and more magnificent than earlier Egyptian tombs. Before this time the kings of Egypt had been buried beneath flat-topped, mud-brick tombs called mastabas (MAS»tuh»buhz).

The Egyptians built strong tombs because they believed that they would need their bodies in the afterlife. For the same reason the Egyptians also developed ways to preserve the dead body

The process of preserving a body began by removing all the internal organs except for the heart. The removed organs were placed in special jars. The heart remained in the body because the ancient Egyptians believed it was the home of the soul.

After the organs were removed, the body was covered with natron, a kind of salt. The natron absorbed water and caused the body to dry out.

Next, the body was rubbed with special oils and wrapped in linen cloth. The entire process took 70 days. Only then was the preserved body, or mummy, ready to be placed in its tomb.

All the things a person might need in the afterlife were also placed in the tomb. Clothing, jewelry, furniture, and even games were included. Tomb walls were covered with painted scenes of the person's life. Prayers from the Book of the Dead were also carved in tomb walls. The Egyptians thought that these practices would help the soul in the afterlife.

The Egyptians believed that the soul of a dead person appeared before the god Osiris and a group of judges. The judges placed the dead person's heart on one side of a scale. They placed a feather, the symbol of truth, on the other side. If the two balanced, the soul earned life forever. The judges would say,

44 I have judged the heart of the deceased, and his soul stands as a witness for him. His deeds are righteous in the great balance, and no sin has been found in him.
An unbalanced scale meant that a soul was heavy with sin. This soul, the Egyptians believed, would be eaten by an animal that was part crocodile, part lion, and part hippopotamus.

Why did the Egyptians preserve bodies as mummies?

The Early Period and Early Egyptian Rule

Early Egyptian Rule
Modern experts trace the beginning of the ancient Egyptians to the rule of King Narmer. When Narmer died, rule of Egypt passed on to a family member. This continued for several generations, creating Egypt's first dynasty, or series of rulers from the same family Over the next 3,000 years, about 33 dynasties ruled Egypt.

The Early Period
The kings of Dynasties 1 and 2 had names that showed a relationship with the gods. Later, Egyptians began to call their king pharaoh. The word means "great house" and referred to the ruler's magnificent palace.

Egyptians believed that their pharaoh was the son of Re, their sun god. As a god in human form, the pharaoh had total authority over Egypt. The pharaoh was also a link between the Egyptian people and their gods.

The strong rule of the pharaoh helped the Egyptian civilization survive for thousands of years. Because the pharaoh was usually obeyed without question, the structure of Egyptian government changed little.

The most important government official was the vizier (vuh»ZIR), or adviser. The vizier carried out the pharaoh's decrees, or commands, and took care of the day-to-day running of the government. Many other officials helped the pharaoh govern Egypt. These people collected taxes, planned building projects, and made sure the laws were obeyed.

We know about Egypt's earliest kings and their governments because the Egyptians left written records. They developed a system of writing known as hieroglyphics (hy»ruh»GLIH»fiks). Egyptian hieroglyphic writing used more than 700 different symbols. Most of these symbols stood for sounds, though some stood for whole words or ideas.

Egyptian scribes were educated for many years to learn hieroglyphics. Beginning scribes practiced writing on broken pieces of pottery. Scribes also learned mathematics, since their job often involved tax collecting and record keeping.

Egyptian scribes wrote in stone and on a paperlike material called papyrus (puh»PY»ruhs). Our word paper comes from papyrus. The invention of papyrus helped make the Egyptians' central government possible. They used papyrus for keeping all the important written records of their society.

To make papyrus, the Egyptians cut strips from the stalk of the papyrus plant, a reed that grows in marshy areas. The strips were laid close together, with their edges touching. Another layer of strips was laid across the first. Then the layers were pressed together with heavy stones until a single sheet was formed.

For the Egyptians a "book" was a scroll a roll made of papyrus sheets joined end to end. Some rolls were more than 100 feet (30 m) long. Scribes recorded the history of ancient Egypt on these scrolls. Ancient Egyptian history can be divided into three main parts: the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom. During each of these three kingdoms, one ruler at a time controlled Egypt. In the times between these kingdoms, competing dynasties ruled parts of Egypt and sometimes fought with each other. These periods are called intermediate periods.

 Who controlled the land and people of ancient Egypt?

Unified Egypt History

Unified Egypt
About 5000 B.C., small farming villages of ancient Egypt grew up along the Nile River between the delta and the first cataract. As population increased, villages became towns with more buildings and land. Some towns became capitals of city-states called nomes. Often the leaders of the different nomes competed for control of power and wealth.

Over time, nomes joined together until by about 3500 B.C., there were two large kingdoms one in Upper Egypt and the other in Lower Egypt. These kingdoms were known as the "Two Lands." The rulers of each kingdom wanted to control all of Egypt.

By about 3000 B.C. Upper Egyptian kings had gained control of Lower Egypt. The Two Lands united as one. Ancient Egyptian legend says that Menes (MEE»neez) was the king who united Egypt.

Who really united the two kingdoms is not known. Some experts think that a king named Narmer may have brought the Two Lands together. In ancient artwork Narmer
is shown wearing a double crown that combines the white crown of Upper Egypt and the red crown of Lower Egypt.

The uniting of Egypt had an important result. It marked the beginning of the world's first nation-state, which lasted for 3,000 years.

Why was the uniting of Egypt important?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nile River is Source of Religion

Source of Religion
The Egyptians believed that their religion was important to their survival in the Nile Valley. The people of ancient Egypt used stories about their gods to explain events in nature. The ancient Egyptians believed the sun was a god who was born each day and died each night. This explained why the sun seemed to go away at night and return each morning. The sun became a symbol of the life cycle.

The ancient Egyptians believed in many gods, each with a different responsibility. For example, Thoth was the god of wisdom. Hathor was the goddess of love. Osiris ruled over the dead.

Hapi was the god of the Nile River.
Hapi is often shown in Egyptian art as a man with a papyrus plant sprouting from the top of his head.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the Nile floods were controlled by their gods. Many celebrations in honor of Hapi usually took place during Inundation.

The sun god, Re, was among the most important of the Egyptian gods. In Egyptian wall paintings, Re is often pictured as a falcon, soaring in the sky. At other times he is shown as the sun, riding in a special kind of boat called a solar bark. The ancient Egyptians believed that Re sailed through the sky just as they sailed on the Nile.

Re is the subject of many ancient Egyptian stories. One of these stories says that long ago a small island appeared out of nothingness. On that island grew a lotus blossom. From this blossom came the sun god, Re. Re then created the other gods and the world as the Egyptians knew it. Re was later combined with another Egyptian god, Amon. Amon-Re became the Egyptians' most powerful god.

The Egyptians prayed to their gods and believed in a life after death, or afterlife. Some Egyptian prayers were collected in what is now known as the Book of the Dead. Egyptians placed a copy of the Book of the Dead in their tombs and believed it would serve as a guide in their afterlife.

How did the Egyptians explain events in nature?

Nile River is Source of Innovation

Source of Innovation
Like the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians depended on floodwaters for their agriculture. Unlike the Mesopotamians, however, Egyptian farmers were able to predict, or tell ahead of time, when floods would come. The yearly flood, or inundation, took place at about the same time each year. The need to keep track of this important event led the Egyptians to develop a calendar. The Egyptian calendar is the oldest known calendar based on the sun. Like our calendar, it had 365 days.

The Egyptians divided their year into three seasons based on the action of the Nile River. These three seasons were Inundation, Emergence, and Harvest.

Because the time of flooding was so important to the Egyptians, they considered it to be the start of their new year. During Inundation the land was made new again with silt from the floodwaters that covered the farmland.

Inundation was followed by Emergence, the time when the land emerged once more from beneath the waters. As this season began, farmers planted their crops. To plant crops, Egyptian farmers used plows or hoes to create furrows, or long grooves. They dropped seeds along each furrow and then led cows or other farm animals through the fields. As the animals walked over the furrows, they pushed the seeds into the ground.

The growing season was only long enough to produce one crop of grains such as wheat. However, as many as three or four crops of some vegetables could be produced in the fertile soil.

The final season was Harvest, the time when the crops were ready. In most years Egyptian farmers could be certain of having large harvests. "It is to be a beautiful year, free from want and rich in all herbs," an Egyptian farmer said in a year of plentiful crops.

The Nile was "the giver of life," but life was not easy for the ancient Egyptians.
Their environment created many hardships for farmers. Because of this, the Egyptians developed innovations both to bring water to their fields and to take it away.

Rain hardly ever fell in Egypt itself. To keep their land watered during the growing season, the Egyptians developed ways to irrigate it. During Emergence, people trapped water in ponds to use in case of drought.

When too much rain caused flooding, the Egyptians, like the people of Mesopotamia, built dams and dikes to hold back the river. They also dug canals to carry excess water back to the river.

Most Egyptians were farmers and many of their inventions had to do with agriculture. Inventions such as the shaduf (shah*DOOF) are still used in rural parts of Egypt. A shaduf is a long pole with a basket for holding water on one end and a weight on the other. The shaduf allows farmers to draw water from the Nile and use it in their canals or fields.

What did the Egyptians do to control the Nile River?

Importance of the Nile River (Giver and Taker of Life)

Importance of the Nile River
Just as Mesopotamia is remembered for having the first cities, ancient Egypt is remembered for being the first united nation-state. A nation-state is a region with a single government and a united group of people. Their common experience of living in the Nile Valley and their shared religion brought the Egyptians together to form a single society.

Giver and Taker of Life
The Nile River was thought to be the "giver of life" for the ancient Egyptians. It affected all Egyptian activities, including farming, religious beliefs, and ways of governing. The Nile also helped bring together the peoples who lived along its banks.

For the early Egyptians the Nile served as a river highway To use this highway, the Egyptians became expert shipbuilders. The first Egyptian ships were made of bundles of reeds. By the time Egypt was united, some Egyptian boats were made of wooden planks and were as long as 60 feet (18 m). All year round, reed or wooden sailboats traveled on the Nile. Boats going downriver could use the river's fast currents to travel north. Boats sailing upriver relied on Egypt's steady north wind to go against the current. This two-way travel made visiting and trading easier.

No matter where they lived along the Nile River, the Egyptians had many of the same concerns. Some years the Nile, the giver of life, took life away. When rains fell too lightly upriver, the Nile did not overflow. The land lay baked by the sun, and the crops dried up. Without a harvest, people starved. But when too much rain fell at the Nile's source, the river flooded wildly. It washed away the crops and drowned people and animals. These common problems helped unite the Egyptian people. Together, the ancient Egyptians tried to understand their changing environment and developed innovations to solve their problems.

How did the Nile bring the Egyptian people together?

Ancient Egypt : Farming in the Nile Valley

Farming in the Nile Valley
In ancient Egypt, wealthy landowners controlled almost all the farmland. Most Egyptian farmers rented land from these landowners. In return, the landowners got a part of the crops as rent. During harvest time, farmers gathered huge amounts of wheat and barley and some vegetables, such as onions, lettuce, and beans.

Egyptian farmers also raised cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs for food. From these animals the Egyptians got meat and milk products, including cheese. Beef from cattle was mainly for the wealthy. Most Egyptians could afford it only for special days. More often, birds and fish were their main sources of protein. Using small boats, fishers caught huge Nile perch and catfish with nets or with hooks and fishing lines. Hunters used throwing sticks and large nets to catch geese and ducks.

Some plants and animals were important to the Egyptians for uses other than as food. Egyptians used the fibers of the flax plant to spin linen thread. Sheep's wool was spun and woven, too. Both of these materials were used to make clothing. Craftworkers also sewed together pieces of leather to make containers, sacks, and shoes.
From plants they made products such as sandals, boxes, and tabletops.

What were some of the crops ancient Egyptians depended on?

Black Land Red Land in Ancient Egypt

Black Land, Red Land
Every year heavy rains fall in eastern Africa at the sources of the Nile River. For many centuries this rainfall caused the river to rise and overflow its banks. When the floodwaters drained away, the silt they carried was left behind on the land. The rich silt acted as a natural fertilizer. The deep black color of the rich soil inspired the ancient Egyptians to call their home Kemet, or the Black Land.

The ancient Egyptians believed that their god Hapi caused the important yearly flooding. To Hapi, the Egyptian farmers offered this prayer:

Hail to you, Hapi!
Sprung from the Earth,
Come to nourish Egypt!
For thousands of years farmers depended on the flooding of the Nile to make their farmland new again. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1972 changed the Egyptian way of life and Egyptian agriculture forever. The dam brought an end to the yearly flooding of the Nile River. Today Egyptians must use pumps, canals, and chemical fertilizers to keep the land suitable for farming.

In contrast to the Black Land, the dry and barren lands of the Sahara were known as Deshuret (deh»SHOOret), or the Red Land. The Nile River slices the eastern part of the Sahara in two. Today the land on the east side of the river is known as the Eastern Desert, or the Arabian Desert. The land on the west side is called the Western Desert.
Why was the annual flooding of the Nile River important to the Egyptians?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ancient Egypt and The Nile Valley

Ancient Egypt

Geography of Northern Africa
The Nile River runs like a thin ribbon through the vast northern African desert known as the Sahara. All along its course, the river brings life to a dry land. Long ago the Nile's annual flood was a central part of life in ancient Egypt. The flooding of the Nile brought both water and rich soil to the land along its banks. This gift of the Nile made possible the great ancient Egyptian civilization.

The Nile Valley
During the Paleolithic period, or Old Stone Age, the Sahara was a vast savanna, or grassy plain, with many trees and animals. The early people living there were hunter-gatherers. Then, about 5000 B.C., the climate began to change and the Sahara slowly dried up. As the land dried, plants died and animals left to search for water.

Over time, the rich savanna turned into a harsh desert.
Without plants and animals, people could no longer survive in the Sahara. They began to move into the Nile Valley. The Nile Valley is made up of fertile land along both sides of the Nile River. The winding Nile is the world's longest river. It flows northward more than 4,000 miles (6,437 km) from its main source at Lake Victoria in central Africa, to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile also has sources in the mountains of eastern Africa.

As with all rivers, the land is higher at the beginning of the Nile and lower near its mouth. This led the ancient people of the region to call the lower land in the north Lower Egypt. The higher land in the south they called Upper Egypt.

Lower Egypt is made up mainly of the Nile Delta. A delta is low land formed at the mouth of some rivers by the silt the river drops there. The Nile Delta fans out in a huge triangle where the Nile enters the Mediterranean Sea. Long ago the Nile River broke into many branches as it passed through the delta. Today only two of these branches remain.

In Upper Egypt high cliffs surround the Nile. In some places a narrow strip of flat fertile land lies between the river and the cliffs. In other places the cliffs reach all the way to the river's edge. The cliffs are mostly made up of limestone and sandstone. Over thousands of years, the Nile River has cut a deep channel, or path, through these soft stones. Farther south, in the land that was known as Nubia, the cliffs also include very hard granite. The Nile has been unable to cut a clear path through these cliffs. Instead, the river runs through cataracts, a series of rapids and waterfalls.

Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt have one important thing in common both have rich soil. The early people who settled in the Nile Valley found the land perfect for growing crops. Instead of continuing to hunt and gather, they settled as farmers on the Nile Delta and in the narrow river valley to the south.

How would you describe the Nile River?

Compare Information with Graphs Skills

Compare Information with Graphs

1    • Why Learn This Skill?
The Phoenicians sailed the waters of the Mediterranean to trade cedar and purple dye for goods they did not have. They were among the most successful traders of their day. Imagine that you want to prepare a report on world trade today. You need to show a lot of information in a brief and clear way. One way you might do this is by making graphs. A graph is a diagram that shows relations between numbers. Knowing how to read and make graphs will help you see and compare large amounts of information.

2    • Bar, Circle, and Line Graphs
Different kinds of graphs show information in different ways. A bar graph, which is made up of different-sized bars, is especially useful for quick comparisons. Notice that the bars on the graph titled Selected U.S. Exports are horizontal, or go from left to right. Bar graphs can be vertical, too, with the bars going from bottom to top.

A circle graph, often called a pie chart, divides information into parts. The circle graph below shows the total amounts of the United States' exports. The parts of the graph represent the amounts of trade between the United States and certain other countries. Like other graphs, circle graphs can help you make comparisons. You can compare the parts to each other or to the whole.

A line graph shows change over time. The line graph below shows how the amount of goods exported from the United States changed between the years 1970 and 1995. Each dot shows how much trade took place in one year, and a line connects all the dots. Depending on the information, the line may go up or down or stay at the same level. Line graphs are most useful in showing a trend, or the way something changes over time.

3.    Understand the Process
Compare and contrast the information in the bar, circle, and line graphs by answering the following questions. As you answer, think about the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of graph.

  • Which graph or graphs would you use to find how much machinery the United States exports? Explain your choice.
  • Which graph or graphs would you use to find the percent of goods the United States exports to Japan? Explain your choice.
  • Which graph or graphs would you use to find how much change there was in the United States' exports between the years 1970 and 1980? Explain your choice.
  • Do you think the information on the line graph can be shown on the circle graph? Explain your answer.
4.    Think and Apply
Using the graphs on these pages, write a paragraph summarizing information about the United States' international trade in recent years. Share your paragraph with a partner, and compare your summaries.

Coined Money : The Phoenicians and the Lydians

Coined Money
The Lydians lived in an area northwest of Phoenicia in what is today the country of Turkey. Like the Phoenicians, the Lydians made a major contribution to the people of the Fertile Crescent. Theirs, too, was related to trade. Around 600 B.C. the Lydians became the first people to use coined money put out by their government.

As people around the Mediterranean began to trade with one another, they needed a kind of money. Its value had to be agreed on, and it had to be light enough to be carried on ships without sinking them. The first Lydian coins were the size of beans. They were made of a naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver called electrum. All the coins were the same weight and, therefore, had the same value.

Long before coined money, traders had relied on barter, the exchange of one good or service for another. The problem with barter was that two people could make a deal only if each had a good or a service that the other wanted. After a while, traders worked out a system of trading based on weighing silver. This system also proved difficult to use. Coined money meant that people no longer had to weigh silver each time they made a trade. The purity of the silver in coined money was also certain.

The use of money allowed traders to set prices for various goods and services.
Societies could then develop a money economy, an economic system based on the use of money.

How did the use of coined money change trade?

After the Lydians, other cultures began to make coins for use in trading. However, some people began to shave off bits of gold and silver from the coins. These shaved coins were still used at their original value. Yet they were really worth less because they weighed less. To stop this, governments began to require that coins be milled, or cut several times along their edges. People were then able to identify the less valuable shaved coins as ones with smooth edges. They now knew whether they were getting their money's worth.

The Phoenicians , The Lydians and The Alphabet

The Phoenicians and the Lydians
Ancient cultures all over southwestern Asia developed many new ways to improve their lives. Between 2000 B.C. and 500 B.C., the Phoenician (fih*NEE«shuhn) and Lydian (LIH.dee.uhn) cultures contributed important innovations that related to trade. Although their cultures never became large empires, their contributions to history continue to live on today.

The Alphabet
In the northwestern part of the Fertile Crescent lay Phoenicia. Phoenicia consisted of a loose union of city-states, each governed by a king. Phoenicia had little land to farm and few natural resources. So the people of Phoenicia traded cedar wood found in the nearby Lebanon Mountains to get the food and other supplies they needed. To reach trade ports, they built ships and sailed the Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenicians were skilled shipbuilders and masters of navigation. They even learned to use the North Star to guide their ships at night.

For hundreds of years the Phoenicians sailed the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. They traveled through the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco and possibly north to Britain, in search of metals, ivory, and other goods they could not find at home.

Between 1000 B.C. and 700 B.C., the ancient Phoenicians began to establish colonies all over the Mediterranean region. A colony is a settlement separate from, but under the control of, a home country. Phoenician colonies around the Mediterranean served as rest stops for sailors traveling on long sea voyages. The colonies also provided trade links between civilizations in Africa and Europe.

One such colony was Carthage in northern Africa. The Phoenicians settled Carthage in about 814 B.C. The colony of Carthage quickly grew into a successful trading port, linking Africa with the Mediterranean. Carthage eventually grew so independent that it split away from Phoenician control. However, the Phoenician influence in Carthage continued to spread through trade.

Phoenicia's location between the Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent brought it into contact with many other cultures. The Phoenicians modeled their civilization after those of the many different peoples with whom they traded. They borrowed ideas from the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and other trading partners.

One idea that the Phoenicians borrowed was the alphabet. However, the Phoenicians changed the writing systems they borrowed from. They trimmed the alphabet to just 22 letters. Each letter stood for a single consonant sound. By simplifying the alphabet, the Phoenicians made it easier to learn to write. More and more people began to master the art of writing. No longer was writing limited to scribes.

Later the ancient Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet to shape their own.
The Greek alphabet is the base of many modern alphabets, including the English alphabet.

The Phoenicians used their improved alphabet in their businesses to record trade agreements and to write bills. Knowledge of the alphabet spread quickly among the Phoenician colonies and to other Mediterranean cultures. The spreading of new ideas to other places is called cultural diffusion.

How did the use of the Phoenician alphabet spread?


Phoenician Purple
The Phoenicians are remembered not only for their alphabet but also for a color. In the coastal waters of Phoenicia lived a certain kind of mollusk, a sea animal with a hard shell. Phoenicians in the city-state of Tyre used this mollusk to make a purple dye called Tyrian purple. Kings often wore clothes dyed this beautiful color. Soon purple came to be thought of as a royal color. Some leaders even ordered that only they could wear it. The Phoenicians' sea trade grew as more and more rulers demanded Tyrian purple. Over time the dye became very closely connected with the land where it was made. In fact, the name Phoenician comes from a Greek word for a reddish purple.

Israel and Judah Facts

Israel and Judah
After the Israelites returned to Canaan, they set up their own country and named it the Land of Israel. Saul became Israel's first king in about 1020 B.C. King Saul was followed by King David, who built up the capital city at Jerusalem. After David's death in 961 B.C., his son Solomon became king.

King Solomon became known for his great wisdom.
"Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country/' says the Bible. Under King Solomon the Israelites built a large temple in Jerusalem to worship God.

After Solomon's time Israel was divided into two parts, north and south. The northern kingdom, made up of ten of the twelve tribes, kept the name Israel. The southern kingdom, with little more than two tribes, was called Judah. Its people were known as Judaeans. The kingdom of Israel lasted until 721 B.C., when it was conquered by the Assyrians. Judah lasted until 586 B.C., when it was defeated by the Babylonians. The Babylonians destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and broke down the walls of the city. They enslaved the Judaeans and forced them to go to Babylonia and live in exile. A person in exile may not return to his or her home country. In 539 B.C., Babylonia was conquered by Persia. The Persians allowed the Judaeans to return to Judah and to rebuild the city walls and the temple in Jerusalem.

When the Judaeans returned they found no trace of the Israelites. The ten tribes had vanished completely. Scholars believe the Israelites may have been sold into slavery Later the Judaeans were conquered by the Romans. Judah became known as Judaea. While under Roman rule, the Judaeans completed their second temple. In A.D. 70, however, the Romans destroyed it. Later, around A.D. 130, the Romans ordered the Judaeans to leave Jerusalem. Judaea and the land around it became the Roman province of Palestine.

In which city did King David build his capital?

About 1025 B.C.-960 B.C.
King David is admired by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. David was born in Bethlehem. While growing up, he cared for his father's sheep. In the fields David learned to worship God through music. He played a stringed instrument and sang praises to God. David wrote many religious songs called psalms, which are recorded in the Bible's Book of Psalms. The Bible also describes events in David's life. One well-known Bible story tells how David killed Goliath, a fearsome enemy, using a sling. Later, King David expanded his kingdom by victories and treaties.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Ancient Israelites and Abraham

The Ancient Israelites
Between 2000 B.C. and 500 B.C., small kingdoms arose in southwestern Asia. Among them was the kingdom of the Israelites, the ancestors of the Jewish people. The Israelites contributed greatly to the religious and cultural ideas of ancient peoples of southwestern Asia. Many people look to the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament, as the source for information about the Israelites. Modern scholars, using the Bible, other ancient writings, and archaeological findings, have added to our understanding of these people.

Many people all over the world trace their identity as a people to a man named Abram. Scholars believe that Abram may have lived at about the time of Hammurabi. According to the Bible, Abram was born in the Sumerian city of Ur.

The Mesopotamians, like most early people, worshipped many gods. They prayed to one god for water, another god for good harvests, and still another for both love and war. The Mesopotamians also thought of the sun, the moon, and the winds as gods.

Unlike their neighbors Abram and his family worshipped one God. Belief in one God is called monotheism. According to the Bible, God spoke to Abram, saying, "Leave your country, your people, and your father's house and go to the land I will show you."

Abram left southern Mesopotamia and traveled north to Haran along with his family. After living for a while in Haran, Abram and his family continued their journey. This time they traveled first west and then south into the land of Canaan until they reached a place called Shechem (SHEH»kuhm). It was there, according to the Bible, that Abram heard God say, "I will give this land to your children." The Bible tells that Abram made a covenant, or special agreement, with God. In the covenant, Abram promised to be faithful to God and God promised to give Abram's descendants the land of Canaan. As a sign of his promise, Abram changed his name to Abraham. The name means "father of many nations." Abraham became known as the father of the Jewish people through his son Isaac and the father of the Arab people through his son Ishmael.

Hozv did Abraham's religious beliefs differ from the beliefs of other people of Mesopotamia?

Ancient Israelites and Movement Through the World

Movement Through the World
Ever since the Babylonian exile, Jews have settled in places outside Israel. Through the centuries they moved to nearly every country in the world. The settling of Jews outside of Israel is called the Diaspora. The word diaspora comes from the Greek word for "sowing," as in the spreading of seeds.

Strabo, a Greek geographer who lived at the end of the first century B.C., wrote this about the world's early Jews:

[They] are scattered in all the towns, and it is difficult to find a place in all the inhabited world which has not received them.. . .

During the Babylonian exile, the Judaeans realized that they did not need to be near the temple in Jerusalem to worship God. Wherever groups of Jews settled, they built houses of worship. Today Jewish houses of worship, or synagogues (SIH»nuh»gahgz), can be found in many different parts of the world.

What is the Diaspora?

Moses and the Ten Commandments Facts

Moses and the Ten Commandments
Abraham's son Isaac had a son called Jacob. Jacob, who also became known as Israel, had 12 sons. All of Jacob's descendants, including his sons, became known as Israelites. Each son led a separate Israelite tribe.

When famine came to their land, many Israelites left there for Egypt, where food was available. The Israelites found not only food but also work during their early years in Egypt. Later, however, Egyptian rulers enslaved the Israelites.

In about 1225 B.C. Moses, a leader of the Israelites, led a revolt against the Egyptians. Many enslaved Israelites followed Moses from Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the desert, and back toward Canaan. This journey is known as the Exodus. The word exodus is sometimes used today to describe any large movement or migration of people. The story of the Exodus is retold by Jews around the world during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The Exodus was filled with hardships and took many years. Moses and the Israelites often faced lack of water and food during the journey. The Israelites also had disagreements with each other.

The Bible says that during the Exodus God instructed Moses to climb a mountain in the Sinai desert. There God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, a set of laws for responsible behavior.

The Ten Commandments became an important part of Judaism the religion of the Jewish people and later of Christianity and Islam. Judaism teaches that God is just and that God's qualities must be imitated. In Judaism, a person's service to God is measured by how many good things he or she has done for other people.

The stories of Abraham, Moses, the Exodus, and the return to Canaan are in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The first five books are also sometimes called the Five Books of Moses. Jewish people refer to these five books as the Torah. Genesis, the first book of the Torah, tells of many of the important ideas introduced by the Israelites. For example, the Sabbath, a day of rest after a week of work, appears for the first time in the story of creation at the beginning of the book of Genesis.

What set of rules became an important part of three major religions?

Compare Maps with Different Projections Skills

Compare Maps with Different Projections

1.    Why Learn This Skill?
Throughout this book you will see many different kinds of maps. Some maps show the sizes and shapes of countries differently. You may wonder why this is so.
Over the centuries Arab, Chinese, and European mapmakers have developed different ways to show the round Earth in the form of a flat map. These different representations of the Earth are called projections. Each projection has its own name, such as Robinson Projection or Mollweide Projection.

Every map projection has distortions, or parts that are not accurate. This is because the shape of the round Earth needs to be split or stretched to make it flat. Identifying these distortions will help you understand how map projections can best be used.

2.    Map Projections and Their Uses
Different kinds of map projections have different kinds of distortions. Some map projections distort the shape or the size of the area shown. Some show distances to be greater or less than they actually are. One way that mapmakers classify map projections is by the properties that are distorted the least.

Map A is an equal-area projection. Notice that there is equal area on either side of the equator and on either side of the prime meridian. An equal-area projection shows the sizes of regions in correct relation to one another, but it distorts shapes. Because an equal-area projection shows correct size relations of regions, it is useful for comparing information about different parts of the world.

Map B is a conformal projection. A conformal projection shows directions correctly, but it distorts sizes, especially of places near the poles. On Map B the lines of longitude are all an equal distance apart. On a globe the lines of longitude get closer together as they near the poles, where they meet. Also notice on Map B that the lines of latitude closer to the poles are farther apart. On a globe the lines of latitude are an equal distance apart. The Mercator projection, shown on Map B, is just one example of a conformal projection. Map C on page 104 is an example of a Robinson projection, a combination of equal-area and conformal projections.

Map D, which appears on this page, is an equidistant projection. It shows accurate distances from a central point. Any place on Earth can be chosen as the central point. When one of the poles is the chosen central point, the map is called a polar projection. Either the North Pole or the South Pole can be the center of a polar projection. Notice on Map D that the North Pole is at the center. Map D is both a polar projection and an equidistant projection. The lines of latitude appear as circles, and the circles farther from the center are larger. Lines of longitude on Map D appear as straight lines that extend from the center in all directions like the spokes of a wheel.

3.    Understand the Process
Compare and contrast Maps A, B, C, and D by answering the questions in the next column. As you answer the questions, think about the advantages and disadvantages of each map projection.

  1. South America is much larger than Greenland. Which projection shows Greenland's size more accurately,
    Map A or Map B?
  2. The greatest east-west distance in Africa is about the same as the greatest north- south distance. Which projection shows Africa's shape more accurately,
    Map A or Map B?
  3. On which maps do the lines of longitude get closer together toward both poles?

4.    Think and Apply
Write a paragraph about the advantages and disadvantages of using each kind of map.


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