Portal:Ancient Egypt


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The golden funeral mask of king Tutankhamun, a symbol for many of ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes (often identified with Narmer). The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.

Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, and the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great. The Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.

The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.[1]

The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites. Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for millennia. A newfound respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy. (Full article...)

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Inscribed hieroglyphics cover an obelisk in foreground. A stone statue is in background.
Egyptian hieroglyphs with cartouches for the name "Ramesses II", from the Luxor Temple, New Kingdom

Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from ancient Egypt's pharaonic period until the end of Roman domination. It represents the oldest corpus of Egyptian literature. Along with Sumerian literature, it is considered the world's earliest literature.

Writing in ancient Egypt—both hieroglyphic and hieratic—first appeared in the late 4th millennium BC during the late phase of predynastic Egypt. By the Old Kingdom (26th century BC to 22nd century BC), literary works included funerary texts, epistles and letters, hymns and poems, and commemorative autobiographical texts recounting the careers of prominent administrative officials. It was not until the early Middle Kingdom (21st century BC to 17th century BC) that a narrative Egyptian literature was created. This was a "media revolution" which, according to Richard B. Parkinson, was the result of the rise of an intellectual class of scribes, new cultural sensibilities about individuality, unprecedented levels of literacy, and mainstream access to written materials. However, it is possible that the overall literacy rate was less than one percent of the entire population. The creation of literature was thus an elite exercise, monopolized by a scribal class attached to government offices and the royal court of the ruling pharaoh. However, there is no full consensus among modern scholars concerning the dependence of ancient Egyptian literature on the sociopolitical order of the royal courts. (Full article...)
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In antiquity, Ancient Egypt was divided into two lands: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the south, it was bounded by the land of Kush, and to the East, the levant. Surrounded by harsh deserts, the river Nile was the lifeline of this ancient civilization.

Did you know...


  • ... that more than seven hundred statues of Sekhmet (pictured) once stood in the funerary temple of Amenhotep III?
  • ... that pharaoh Psamtik I freed Egypt from the Assyrian Empire?
  • ... that the egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer was considered to be the foremost expert on pyramid construction techniques and methods at the time of his death?


5th September 2018. Rock-cut Tomb discovered in a 4,000-year-old Elite Cemetery

August 2018: in the tomb of the mayor of Memphis Ptahmose who dates around 1300 BC was found well preserved cheese, more than 3000 years old. [1]

Selected biography -

Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος Ptolemaios Philadelphos, "Ptolemy, sibling-lover"; 309 – 28 January 246 BC), also known posthumously as Ptolemy the Great, was the pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 to 246 BC. He was the son of Ptolemy I, the Macedonian Greek general of Alexander the Great who founded the Ptolemaic Kingdom after the death of Alexander, and Queen Berenice I, originally from Macedon in northern Greece.

During Ptolemy II's reign, the material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height. He promoted the Museum and Library of Alexandria. In addition to Egypt, Ptolemy's empire encompassed much of the Aegean and Levant. He pursued an aggressive and expansionist foreign policy with mixed success. From 275 to 271 BC, he led the Ptolemaic Kingdom against the rival Seleucid Empire in the First Syrian War and extended Ptolemaic power into Cilicia and Caria, but lost control of Cyrenaica after the defection of his half-brother Magas. In the Chremonidean War (c. 267-261 BC), Ptolemy confronted Antigonid Macedonia for control of the Aegean and suffered serious setbacks. This was followed by a Second Syrian War (260-253 BC) against the Seleucid empire, in which many of the gains from the first war were lost. (Full article...)
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  1. ^ James (2005), p. 8; Manuelian (1998), pp. 6–7.


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Taharqo, Black Pharaohs Cache (Dukki Gel ) , Kerma Museum,Sudan (2)

During the excavation of a temple in Dukki Gel in January 2003,a pit containing 40 black granite statue fragments was discovered.It was identified as a favissa, where venerated sculptures were deposited for safety, handled with great care. The statues were deliberately broken in order to destroy the “power” of the pharaohs represented: all are broken at the neck and the legs, and occasionally so are the arms, the mekes cases, the nose or the uraei. The granite is carefully polished, but some details of the clothing, the adornment or the skullcap are roughened. With this treatment, pigments and fabric covered with a thin layer of gilded gesso could better adhere to the stone.

The so called Black Pharaohs are Taharqa, Tanwetamani, Senkamanisken, Anlamani, and Aspelta, who ruled Egypt in the 25th Dynasty.
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Stela of the 2nd dynasty pharaoh Raneb. Circa 2880 B.C.
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Statue of king Meriankhre Mentuhotep, known as Mentuhotep VI or Mentuhotep V depending on the scholar, late 16th dynasty, London, British Museum EA 65429.
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Conjunto de ossos de bagre encontrados em um vaso escavado em Maadi. Desenhos vetoriais baseados em desenhos do livro A History of Ancient Egypt - From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid, p. 111.
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Prisoners on the Battlefield Palette
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Female Figure, ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505.
Mesopotamian king as Master of the Animals on the Gebel el-Arak Knife dated circa 3300-3200 BCE, Abydos, Egypt. Louvre Museum reference E 11517.jpg
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Mesopotamian king as Master of the Animals on the Gebel el-Arak Knife dated circa 3300-3200 BCE, Abydos, Egypt. Louvre Museum reference E 11517
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Atérien, région de Djelfa (Zaccar), Algérie.
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Map of Ancient Egypt, showing the Nile up to the fifth cataract, and major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC). Cairo and Jerusalem are shown as reference cities.
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Chronological evolution of Egyptian prehistoric pottery styles, from Naqada I to Naqada III
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Statue of Menkaura (Mycerinos) and Queen Khamerernebty II. (Chamerernebti II.). From the Giza Valley Temple of Menkaura, made during his reign (circa 2548-2530 B.C.) Graywacke. Now residing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Museum Expedition 11.1738.
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A map of ancient Egypt, made with Inkscape. The map shows lokalities, where is Faiyum oasis.
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Tuthankamun's famous burial mask, on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
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Rulers of Kush, Kerma Museum
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Al Fayum arrowheads
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Battlefield palette, late predynastic (lower half).
(shows upper left piece joining; a third minor piece exists from upper right-(not shown))
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Ptolemy VI Philometor, a Ptolemaic king of Egypt, wearing a pschent, the double crown of Ancient Egypt. Greek artwork, 3rd–2nd century BCE.
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Seated statue of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Painted Sandstone, 11th Dynasty.

  • Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Main floor - gallery 26. Sandstone: height 138 cm, width 47 cm. JE 36195.
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The Great Sphinx of Giza, partially excavated, with two pyramids in background. Albumen print.
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Map of Lower Ancient Egypt, showing the Nile and major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC).
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The Garden, fresco from Nebamun tomb, originally in Thebes, Egypt.
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Predynastic Period, Maadi Era, 4th millennium BCE Western Delta, Merimde Beni Salama; JE 97472

One of the earliest human representations found in Egypt
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The Tellem are thought to have occupied the region of the Bandiagara escarpment until the sixteenth century. The human form with raised arms is a common pose for Tellem sculptures and is said to refer to prayers for rain, crucial in this dry region.
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Xerxes I tomb Egyptian soldier circa 470 BCE
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Ptolemaic ruler, probably Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
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All Giza Pyramids in one shot.
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Pottery model of a house used in a burial from the First Intermediate Period.
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thumb|300px|left|Eastern Hemisphere in 1300 BC.

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Since January 1, 2016 it is possible again to take photographs in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The funerary mask of Tutankhamun is certainly the most demanded exhibit.
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The Edwin Smith papyrus, the world's oldest surviving surgical document. Written in hieratic script in ancient Egypt around 1600 B.C., the text describes anatomical observations and the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of 48 types of medical problems in exquisite detail. Among the treatments described are closing wounds with sutures, preventing and curing infection with honey and moldy bread, stopping bleeding with raw meat, and immobilization of head and spinal cord injuries. Translated in 1930, the document reveals the sophistication and practicality of ancient Egyptian medicine. Recto Column 6 (right) and 7 (left) of the papyrus, pictured here, discuss facial trauma. (Cases 12-20)
Luxor Temple, Egypt. Cartouches for Ramesses II
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Official film poster for The Mummy (1932). The copyright is believed to be owned by Universal Pictures, and/or its graphic artist. Link to the film: https://archive.org/details/the-mummy_202105