Updated: Jul 28, 2021
As one of the longest and most prosperous civilizations, Ancient Egypt created some of the longest standing wonders of the world. In this article I will be talking about the characteristics and culture of ancient egypt, the old kingdom, and the middle and new kingdom. This article is based on the crash course playlist world history on YouTube and I would definitely recommend watching it for more information.
The river valley civilizations are defined as the first civilizations that were established near rivers. And the most influential of them was probably the egyptians. There are a few reasons why we pretty much all know about ancient egypt, but one is that they lasted for around 30 centuries from 3000 BCE - 332 BCE! The Nile had profound impacts on ancient Egypt for a few reasons: It was extremely predictable, calm and pretty much never had any issues whatsoever. This made agriculture extremely easy and allowed for almost effortless surpluses in food and only required simple irrigation techniques that were relatively easy to implement. Since agriculture wasn’t a big issue, Egyptians had a lot of time to build the wonders like pyramids and statues. With most river valley civilizations, most communities were on a river, and some weren’t. But Egyptians only lived on the Nile.
Egyptian Civilization is divided into three main time frames: the Old Kingdom that lasted from 2469 - 2152 BCE, the Middle Kingdom which lasted from 2040 - 1640 BCE, and the New Kingdom which lasted from 1550 - 1070 BCE. In between these time frames there are “intermediate”periods. The Old Kingdom was the time frame where most of the Statues, Pyramids and many of the things Egypt is known for were created. There was a king or a pharaoh that was seen to be divine and was expected to act like a god as well. Most of the famous pyramids were built in the time frame of 2575 - 2465 BCE including the Sphinx and The Great Pyramid. Pyramids were built by peasants required to work a certain amount of months for the government and slaves. Old Kingdom Egypt also had two types of writing, hieroglyphics and demotic script. And lastly, the Old Kingdom was very very rich which declined in the intermediate period between the Old and Middle Kingdom where there were droughts and power struggles between pharaohs.
Then there was the Middle Kingdom in which power hierarchy was straightened out by outsiders in Nubia and was no longer a problem by 2040 BCE. The new rulers created a new pantheon including the god Ammun which merged with the god Ra creating a new god Amun-Ra. The Middle Kingdom was when the Egyptians developed an interest for conquering land. This also caused some of their territory to be conquered since many other civilizations had more advanced weaponry. At one point the Hyksos, another civilization, conquered all of Egypt but adapted into their culture instead of destroying it. By doing that, the Egyptians then improved their weaponry and overthrew the Hyksos. And lastly there was the New Kingdom in which Egypt kept expanding themselves in search of gold and slaves. By trying to expand through military expansion, Egypt created conflicts with many other civilizations and probably would’ve been better off keeping to themselves. A common misconception is that King Tut, a pharaoh from the New Kingdom, was alive when the pyramids were built, which is wrong since the pyramids were built in the Old Kingdom and King Tut lived about 1200 years later.
In this article I talked about the characteristics and culture of ancient egypt, the old kingdom, and the middle and new kingdom. I think everyone should learn history to learn about how we came to be what we are today. We can foresee challenges in the future by seeing patterns of what happened in the past. And most importantly, we can learn more about ourselves by understanding the story of humanity.