Monday 30 November 2015

The Divine Pharaohs

Egypt's old kingdom(c.2686 - 2181 BC) flourished on the flood-enriched banks of the River Nile. It was an era of prosperity, relative stability, and strong centralized rule, during which the great pyramids were built and Egyptian society worshiped their mighty kings, or pharaohs, as "gods on Earth".

The period between early Neolithic settlement and 3100 BC is known as Egypt's pre-dynastic era.

Egypt's old kingdom existed in two parts - Northern(Upper) Egypt and Southern(Lower) Egypt. the old kingdom lasted from 3rd dynasty to 6th dynasty. The capital city of old Egyptian kingdom was Memphis.

Djoser was the second pharaoh of the third dynasty(2686 - 2613 BC) and Imhotep was his chief adviser and physician. Imhotep is credited as the main architect of Djoser's step pyramid in Memphis and was worshiped as god in later ancient Egypt and Greece.

Djoser's step Pyramid

The early pharaohs were representations of mythical figure Horus, son of god Osiris and Isis. He was often depicted as dressed in kind of a kilt(skirt type garment) and false beard, bearing a crook and scepter and with the double crown of Lower and Upper Egypt on his head.

Pharaoh Tutankhamen  

The great pyramid at Giza - the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the only one to survive till date.Two million blocks each weighing 15,000 Kg were used in building this pyramid. The great sphinx is also thought to have Khufu's features.

The middle or the second largest pyramid at Giza belong to Pharaoh Khafre and the smallest one to Pharaoh Menkaure. 

The Giza pyramid complex

At the end of sixth Dynasty after the reign of Pepe II, the old kingdom started to fade and nobles gained more power then Pharaohs.

Thursday 5 November 2015

The Cradle of Civilization

Mesopotamia, a fertile land embraced by rivers, was the site of the first complex societies. By 3,000 BC, competing city states of great wealth an sophistication were flourishing here, with advanced irrigation and agricultural schemes, established trade, the first known writing, and great palaces and temples.

The civilization of Mesopotamia included Iraq, southwest Iran, east Syria and south east Turkey.

Mesopotamia had no native metal or ore so both Copper and Gold had to be imported from Anatolia.

Trade came to involve Tigris and Euphrates rivers where rafts made of wood and inflated goat skins came into use by 3,000 BC. They had trade ties with modern Afghanistan, Persian gulf and Indus valley.

Sargon (Ruled 2340 BC - 2284 BC) was a great warrior king who established the Akkadian dynasty and ruled from his capital Akkad. Unlike Egyptian civilization there was no centralized rule and kings were rarely thought to be divine.

Bronze cast head of Sargon
In one grave 74 bodies were found that let us know that slaves must do god's bidding to such an extent that palace staff would entomb themselves with the king.

In science their numerical system was based on number 60 that lives in division of circle in 360 degrees and splitting of hours and minutes in 60 parts.

By around 3,000 BC Mesopotamia was entering an era known as Early dynastic period which lasted for 700 years.

After the Akkadian era, the third dynasty of Ur(2100 - 2000 BC) fought off competing city states to found a short lived empire and after the Ur dynasty faded, the Assyrian city state of Assur(2000 - 18000 BC) emerged as the center of vast trade network in north.

By 1900 BC, the city of Babylon had been emerging as a dominant power.
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