The Egyptian civilization was born on the banks of the Nile River, in the north of the African continent. It arose around 4,000 BC after the birth of writing.
The development of science, art, religion and commerce gave rise to one of the most important civilizations of antiquity. Next, and as a summary of the Egyptian civilization, we expose its history and its main contributions.
Characteristics Of Egyptian Civilization
1. Geographic location and Climate
The Ancient Egypt was located to the northeast of the African continent, limiting to the east with the Red Sea and to the north with the Mediterranean Sea. It was also surrounded by extensive sand deserts (now Sudan, Israel, and Libya).
With an extremely dry and hot climate this area has rainfall of up to 250 mm per year. This civilization was located on the banks of the Nile River. Egypt is a great valley; and this valley becomes very large in the area where the Nile River has its mouth, where a delta of large dimensions is formed. The Egyptians called this land Kemet which meant “black and fertile land”. In this way they differentiated these lands from the desert that surrounded them.
2. Form of government
The Egyptians had a form of government that was under the command of the pharaohs. These pharaohs were human figures designated by the gods themselves. The thrones were hereditary and lasted throughout Pharaoh’s lifetime. In turn, power was supported by religion.
The Egyptians were polytheists, that is, they believed in many gods.
The Egyptians had a kind of polytheistic religion. This means that they believed in the figure of several gods. They worshiped the forces of nature and considered them different gods that in turn had different ranges of importance. This was the God of the sun who received the names of Ra, Amon, Ammon Ra and Aten. Another high-ranking God was Osiris, who was the god of the dead.
4. Conception of Death
In the Egyptian civilization they believed that, when dying, the soul detached itself from the body. In this way the soul could travel to the mansion of Osiris. However, the journey from the soul leaving the body until it reached the mansion was not simple or quick. For this reason in the tombs the Egyptians left the book of the dead, which helped these souls to overcome different dangers in order to reach this mansion.
The soul was presented before a tribunal that was presided over by Osiris. Thus, the soul was weighed in a large scale where it was evaluated between good and bad actions. If the opinion was positive, the soul could return with its body to live for all eternity. But this was possible only if the body was preserved in excellent condition. From there arises the idea of mummification.
5. Type of constructions
The pyramids are the most majestic constructions that this civilization has carried out. These present exact measurements, full of corridors and bedrooms (many of them hidden). They took great pains in the realization of the precise constructions of the pyramids since these were a passage to the beyond.
They were built with huge blocks of stone that, even today, intrigue the whole world about how to transport these rocks. Finally, it should be noted that within the constructions they expressed their wishes towards their dead, decorating with artistic figures, engraving, drawings and inscriptions, a field in which they also stood out.
Egyptian calendar. Since they had advanced knowledge in astronomy, they created a very precise calendar. This calendar consisted of 365 days a year, with 12 months and 30 days each month. Then, at the end of the year they had 5 days left over.
Writing. While it is true that the concept of writing is taken from the Sumerians, the Egyptians created their own writing using hieroglyphics. This type of writing was pictographic. That is, it was based on drawings. Thanks to the writing, customs, beliefs, histories, etc. of this civilization are known that, otherwise, would have been lost.
Domain of copper.
Religious beliefs about death and resurrection led Egyptian civilization to advance notably in medicinal and chemical concepts. In this way they came to describe up to 28 types of injuries and had advanced knowledge of human anatomy.
As for the economy of the Egyptians, after years of observation about the rise and fall of the Nile River (product of the times of the year) they discovered that they could take advantage of the fertilizer silt left by the river in its path. This helped them to prosper in this field. Later they managed to channel this river in order to expand their crops.
This has been one of the sciences in which Egypt’s civilization most evolved. This was because the flooding of the Nile and its subsequent descent of the waters demanded by the Egyptians to investigate and deepen the field of geometry.
For them, music was considered a science and, as such, it had to be studied. It was not just the set of notes that lead to the creation of a melody. Music for the Egyptians represented cultural thought and occupied a transcendental place in their culture. This is known given that the hieroglyph that represents this art is the same one with which the word welfare is represented.