The term “civilization” describes the level of development at a particular place where people or communities live together and form the basics of government, nations, and empires.

Civilization also often refers to a combination of sophistication and complexity; when a particular group of people engages in a more complex and sophisticated way of life, they are considered superior to the more spartan society.

Long before the world turned into a place of modern civilization with a better understanding of how nature works, physics, medical science, and social justice, ancient civilizations had their own unique cultures and beliefs.

Things they left behind give us a chance to visit human history.

Some critical components of civilization are developed urban areas, administrative infrastructure – which suggests a form of public governance, shared methods of communication, and division of labor.

Ancient Egypt had already incorporated all those components in 3000 B.C.E.

The civilization led the cultural and economic affairs across North Africa until its fall in 332 B.C.E to the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great and eventually the Roman Empire in 30 B.C.E.

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10 /10 Upper And Lower Egypt

Ancient Egypt came into existence when two separate kingdoms, Upper (South) and Lower (North) Egypt, unified in around 3150 B.C.E.

The king of Upper Egypt had a white and conical crown, whereas, in the north, the king wore a red crown with a peak at the back.

After King Narmer from the south took an aggressive stance and conquered the north, the unification took place. The domes have never been found.

The Narmer Palette, considered the world’s first historical document containing some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions, was discovered in 1987 in Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), north of Aswan.

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9 /10 Kingdoms And Periods

Egyptologists divided the time of Ancient Egyptian into three periods: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom.

In the Old Kingdom, the nationhood of Egypt began to form under a supreme leader known as the Pharaoh. The pyramids were constructed, and most Egyptian arts originated from this period.

Ancient Egyptians found themselves in multiple conflicts during the Middle Kingdom to re-establish their greatness and supremacy.

The New Kingdom saw Egypt in its most glamorous state. Well-known pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Tutankhamen, and Ramses the Great, were born in this period.

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8 /10 Ancient Gods

Ancient Egyptian myth essentially revolved around eight gods, also known as the Ogdoad, in the primordial waters.

They came in pairs: Nun and Nunet were the primordial waters, Kuk and Kuket represented the darkness, Amun and Amunet were hiddenness, while Hole and Hoket symbolized formlessness.

These gods reflected Chaos and were often depicted with the heads of frogs. Primordial hill rose out of these waters.

Before all those gods, however, there was the Atum, the ultimate God who stood on that hill. Atum created himself then brought the other gods to life.

7 /10 The Great Ennead

In addition to those eight gods, the Great Ennead consisted of nine more gods. Each represented an element in nature. Shu was the embodiment of air, and Tefnut was moisture.

They were Atum’s children. Shu and Tefnut also had two children: Geb epitomized the earth, and Nut was the sky.

Geb and Nut begat two pairs; each was a sister–brother–wife–husband, including Isis and Osiris and Seth and Nephthys.

Seth was evil, whereas the other three were elementally good. The Great Ennead sometimes also included Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris.

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6 /10 First Mummy

The death of Osiris was the main story that became the origin of ancient Egyptian’s belief in the afterlife. Seth tricked Osiris into climbing into his coffin, nailed it, and threw it into the Nile.

Knowing that her husband–brother had died, Isis recovered Osiris’ body and gave him a proper burial. Seth found the body, cut it to 14 pieces, and scattered them over the Nile again.

Isis and Nephthys found the pieces except for the phallus as a fish had swallowed it, then reassembled the body; this made Osiris the first mummy.

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5 /10 Resurrection

Once the body had been reassembled, Isis fanned breath and life into Osiris. Now alive again, Osiris became the God of the Dead. The story formed the basis of mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian culture.

A corpse must remain whole to have a chance at coming back to life. Another important message was that resurrection could only happen if the body were buried in Egyptian soil.

The story continued with Isis giving birth to Horus, who defeated Seth in a battle. Seth did not die, which symbolized that evil would always be around.

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4 /10 Napoleon's Campaign To Egypt

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt. At that time, Egypt was an Ottoman province but not under its direct control; it was a state of disorder.

There were several reasons why in 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte chose to invade Egypt instead of England.

In addition to being a scientific expedition, Bonaparte seemed to desire to follow Alexander the Great’s footsteps by conquering Egypt. The campaign’s success also would cut England’s land route to India.

He assembled a team of 150 scientists and artists, including Dominique-Vivant Denon, who became the first director of the Louvre.

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3 /10 The Birth Of Modern Egyptology

Napoleon’s campaign to Egypt was a failure. British admiral Horatio Nelson forced him to retreat and withdrew the French troops from the region.

That said, his team of scientists made some important discoveries of ancient artifacts. The findings led to the Description de l’Égypte in multiple editions and volumes.

Each was filled with illustrations and drawings, which sparked significant interest in the historical study of Egypt.

Napoleon also ordered the team to make an exact copy of the hieroglyphs. Collections of natural history were systematically organized as well. It was the birth of modern Egyptology.

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2 /10 A Dead Language

For a long time since the fall of the civilization to the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E and eventually the Roman Empire in 30 B.C.E., the ancient Egyptian language was considered dead.

It had been occupied by foreign rulers for centuries, including the Greeks and Romans, that the old language became obsolete. No one knew how to read hieroglyphs.

Most researchers assumed that hieroglyph was ideographic instead of alphabetic, making it more challenging to interpret objectively. The discovery of the Rosetta stone was key to understanding ancient Egypt.


1 /10 The Rosetta Stone

It was also Napoleon’s team of scientists who discovered the Rosetta stone.

It was a stone slab with multi-language inscriptions on it; hieroglyphs (ancient Egyptian), demotic (cursive writing of hieroglyphs), and ancient Greek (the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time).

In 1818, an English physicist named Thomas Young correctly concluded that the sign for “Ptolemy” was phonetic rather than ideogram.

In 1822, French scholar Jean-François Champollion deciphered the sound of ancient Egyptian language based on his knowledge of how ancient Greeks sounded.

The discoveries laid the foundations of our understanding of the culture and history of ancient Egypt.

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