Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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?

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