Updated: May 21
I realise I’ve already done a few posts for this topic, as well as the others, but in truth, I wasn’t really paying any attention to what I was reading, let alone learning. So, here we are, starting again. At least I’m not restarting the whole blog itself. Anyway, let’s get back to the post!
We Can't Compare
Alright, today, we’re going to start talking about Ancient Egypt, and what makes it so interesting. The truth is, it’s a very ancient civilisation. Yes, we all know it was alive and bustling thousands of years ago, but the civilisation itself lived for around 3000 years! And that’s just the years of the Pharaohs and their dynasties. If you want to go beyond that, then Ancient Egyptian civilisation would have lasted 5000 years!
Think about it this way. In the last decade alone, a lot has gone down in history as major events. We had the 2008 recession, Donald Trump was elected president, the USA had their first African American president, the Arab Spring took place, and the 2012 scare happened (when everyone thought the world was gonna end? Remember that?).
Ok, so that took place in the last ten years. Think to the times before that, we had the Cold War, the very first manned spacecraft landed on the moon, World War II happened, nuclear energy was discovered, and that happened in the latter half of the 20th Century! Go to the time before that! You had the Renaissance period, the French Revolution, and King Henry the VIII! This all happened within the last millennium!
So, if we think about the Ancient Egyptian civilisation, what should we say about it? It was a very old and very long-lived civilisation. We’d need another 4000 years if we want to catch up to it.
Let's Break It Down
Alright, so it is rather daunting, to think that we have to go through 5000 years of history, before we can get a clear idea of what Ancient Egyptian civilisation was like, so let’s break it down, before we do. It’ll be easier to think of it this way, because each period that we’re looking at, has very distinctive characteristics.
For example, if we’re looking at the Neolithic Era, we’re looking at tribes, and smaller communities, since agriculture was just introduced to the Nile Delta, and people began to stay in one place, because it was easier than hauling entire communities around the continent. If we’re looking at the Predynastic Era, there would have been kingdoms fighting over land, around the Nile, because they wanted to expand their territories.
Finally, when we’re looking at the Pharaonic Era, we’re looking at the longest-lived era, in all of Ancient Egypt. While there were many generations of different dynasties, and each dynasty ruled differently from each other, the culture remained, largely the same. That is, until the later part of the period, when the Macedonians invaded and ruled the empire.
Now it’s not that scary right? Let’s take it a step at a time, because it’s rather difficult to explain everything all at once. Not to mention, there are 3000 years, worth of history to go through, in the Pharaonic Era alone, that’s going to take a while, before we can fully say, we know all about Ancient Egypt.
Time To Look At The Numbers
When I say “look at the numbers” I mean we’ll be looking at when these eras began, and how long they lasted for. So, let’s start with the earliest, because why not?
Now, this era was basically like a “pre-era”. It was around the same time when humans began forming tribes and communities. This one was called the Palaeolithic Era, or the Old Stone Age Era. It was around before 6000BC and might have been around even longer than any civilisation, since human evolution began 200 000 years ago. While it may not be as interesting for some as it is others, it’s still an important part of ancient history, because we can see how humans evolved, both in terms of how we formed societies and how our intelligence evolved from simple intelligence, like hunting and gathering, to building temples and palaces.
The Palaeolithic Era was essentially the beginnings of civilisation and society. Families turned into communities, and in those communities, people had specific roles, like being hunters, or gatherers, or protectors of the young, weak and old. You could say that this was the simplest era, and not much can be found about it, since the tools they’d used were largely made of stone or wood, and they wouldn’t have lasted the test of time. The only relics from these people are probably their cave paintings, or fragments of spear heads and crude tools.
So, there really isn’t much else to say about this era, except human society was only just beginning to form. The next era was just a step above that. It is called the Neolithic Era, and this lasted roughly 1000 years, so it was mostly active around 6000 – 5000BC.
This is where civilisation began to appear. Now, tribes began to settle, and people began to farm the land, after learning how to grow the crops themselves and irrigate them. People have learned how to use clay to make pots, jars and other tools. Sturdier stone are used in making weapons, and rope becomes useful. The Neolithic Era is probably where culture is born, and the idea of religion, politics and justice are just beginning to form.
After that, we have the Predynastic Era. Another thousand years pass, and Kingdoms have formed. Kings and leaders begin to form armies and start to wage war against their neighbours and form allies with their friends. So, looking at the timeline here, the Predynastic Era began around 4000BC and lasted until 3000BC.
Finally, the main crux of the Ancient Egyptian world has begun: The Pharaonic Era. Here both Upper Egypt (Southern Egypt) and Lower Egypt (Northern Egypt) were finally united. It has become an empire, which answers to one person, the Pharaoh.
During this time, 31 dynasties rule, although a full, comprehensive list of Pharaohs can’t actually be named, because some have been lost to time and erosion. Some to war and civil unrest. Some have been lost to conquerors and natural disasters. In all the Pharaonic is the most glorious and most studied of all the eras of Ancient Egypt. It is the most interesting era, because it’s so long-lived.
That’s why, archaeologist and historians are still looking at Ancient Egypt, even today. Its society remained largely unchanged throughout all of its 3000 years of history, and it is a wealth of information, not just for the historians, but for our society today. Many things we do today are similar to what they did in their time. In fact, there are still many things that they managed to accomplish, that we haven’t yet.
Are You With Me?
So, does that help out a little bit? Like I said before, I’m still learning about this stuff to. That’s why I’m going to be taking this slowly. Anyway, I’ll leave it here for now. Next week, I think I’ll be looking at the details of how people study these civilisations. It’s easy enough to understand. I mean, they mostly examine relics and remnants of those civilisations that have been buried beneath the sand, but how they do that is actually pretty interesting.
Well, I’ll see you all next time then! Oh, and if you have anything you already know about Ancient Egypt, why not leave it in the comments below! We might all learn something interesting! I’ll see you guys around!