Historical story

THE EGYPTIANS - the people who built the pyramids and the sphinx

Around the sixth millennium BC various populations began to migrate from their territories of origin to settle along the rivers, and along the coasts.
The Nile Valley , in north-eastern Africa, was a very fertile territory rich in water, vegetation and animals and around 5,000 BC . Several populations settled there, building numerous villages designed to make the most of the potential fertility of the land derived from the floods of the nearby river, without however putting their homes and the lives of the animals they raised at risk. These peoples soon learned how to build dams and canals whose construction and maintenance required a large number of workers.

From these first villages the Egyptian civilization was born , a metropolitan civilization like the Sumerian one, however organized as a single great state at the top of which there was a ruler called Pharaoh.
The pharaoh was considered by the Egyptians as the personification of the god Horus , one of the most ancient Egyptian deities, and among the various interpretations of the meaning of this name, one in particular stands out above the others, according to this interpretation Horus or Haru or Horu it could mean "he who is above / the superior" according to other interpretations of him his name could mean "the distant / the distant" or even “Hawk "Recalling the iconic image of this deity generally depicted with the body of a man and the head of a hawk.

The Pharaoh is a sort of absolute monarch and represents the first historical form of divinity personified by a sovereign, this model would later be inherited by the Persian peoples and subsequently imported into the Latin world through the contact of Rome with the Egypt of the Ptolemies in the first century. / P>

As far as writing is concerned, the invention of hieroglyphs is dated around 3000 BC, or rather, in this period the oldest hieroglyphic inscription is dated, namely the Paletta Narmer , found during the excavations in Hierakonpolis ( today Kawm al-Ahmar ) at the end of the 19th century. Compared to the cuneiform, the Egyptian hieroglyphs were conceived as a phonetic transliteration that combines ideographic, syllabic and alphabetic elements and according to some hypotheses, would be the point of origin of the first Greek writing, introduced by the Minoan civilization around 2000 BC, a period of strong expansion of the Minoan civilization in which it is likely that the two civilizations came into contact.

Egyptian society is very rigid and divided into hierarchical castes, at the top of the social pyramid there was obviously the pharaoh, who was followed by the caste of priests who was entrusted with the religious administration, and likewise to the priests there was the caste of officials, whose task was that of administering the population on behalf of the pharaoh.
A step lower than priests and officials there was the caste of scribes who knew the hieroglyphic script and among other tasks were also in charge of registering the taxes paid from workers to state, a task that put scribes in direct contact with the riches of the crown , and this made them extremely influential and above all rich and powerful.
The scribes were followed by the military, a caste that, if it could well count on huge wealth, had no particular political power, finally, there were the popular masses made up of artisans, farmers and breeders, while the lowest rung of Egyptian society was occupied by those who did not own anything, not even themselves, or the slaves.

Egyptian slavery it is still the subject of study and research today, and is shrouded in a thick blanket of mystery, we know that there were at least three different types of slaves, the first were the traditional slaves captured in battle, generally foreigners subjected to the institution of slavery so that learned the Egyptian culture, then there were the internal slaves, divided into two different categories, the debt slaves, that is, those who got into debt and became slaves to pay their debt, and the "voluntary slaves", a fairly common institution in ancient world, in which the "free" Egyptian population generally engaged in agricultural activity, lent services to the crown, working as construction workers in the service of the Pharaoh for the construction of buildings, tombs and temples.

The Egyptians were convinced that the soul could not exist without the body , and that once dead, the dead could face eternal life in the realm of the dead provided that their bodies could be preserved and it was very important to keep the body intact after death, especially for the pharaoh and for the wealthiest classes of Egyptian society, to do this they resorted to embalming / Mummification . The body of the deceased was emptied of the internal organs and the appropriately treated blow was wrapped in bandages and covered with precious clothes, later the mummy was enclosed in a sarcophagus and then placed in monumental tombs built specifically for this purpose. In addition to the room where the body of the deceased was laid, there were usually other rooms, full of food, precious objects, jewels and weapons that were to be used by the deceased to face life after death.
During the phase of maximum expansion of the Egyptian civilization these would have come into contact and in some cases clashed with numerous other peoples, including Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Of the many contacts it is worth mentioning the Hittites, people who would have been wiped out by the Assyrians, and against whom the Egyptians also came to clash between the thirteenth and twelfth centuries BC. In battle the Hittites could count on the great advantage derived from iron working, and among their most lethal war machines, the war chariot was certainly one of the most significant and it is very likely that it was also and above all thanks to these that the Hittites they were able to conquer an immense territory that extended throughout Asia Minor.
From the clash between the Egyptians and the Hittites, a mutual aid agreement was born between the two peoples that would last until the disappearance of the Hittites, which took place at the beginning of the first millennium, while the Egyptian civilization continued to prosper until and beyond the Macedonian conquest at the hands of Alexander the great which took place in the fourth century and later, under the leadership of the Tolomei survived until 31 BC. c. year in which, with the death of Cleopatra , last queen of Egypt and of Marco Antonio , Egypt was incorporated by Octavian into the territories of the nascent Roman Empire.

The end of Egyptian autonomy also marks the end of the last of the ten phases of Egyptian history, meaning only the dynastic period or the years in which Egypt was ruled by a Pharaoh.
Until 3000 BC. prehistoric Egypt experiences a phase known as predynastic , followed by a first “archaic” period which goes from around 3050 to 2686, the year in which, according to tradition, the ancient kingdom begins , an era of about five centuries that ends, according to tradition, in 2181, the Ancient Kingdom is followed by an era of transition called the first intermediate period which ends in 2050 with the beginning of the Middle Kingdom .
The Middle Kingdom lasts just over three centuries and is generally dated between 2050 and 1690. The Middle Kingdom is followed by a new transition phase also called the age of the Hyksos or of foreign sovereigns, in this phase Egypt is governed following the Egyptian tradition but some important innovations are imported especially in the military field, with the introduction, among other technologies, of the war chariot.
The decline of the Hyksos in 1549 it marked the beginning of the new kingdom, which would end five centuries later, in 1069 with a new phase of transition much longer than the previous ones that would have led in 653 to the beginning of the so-called Late Antiquity period.
Late Antiquity it is the last true period of Egyptian history since it ends in 332 with the conquest by Alexander and the establishment after his death of the dynasty of the Ptolemies , which as we know will fuse together the Hellenic and Egyptian cultures. Finally, the Ptolemaic reign ends in 31 BC. with the Roman conquest.