By: Ms. Pate
The civilization that formed along the Nile River Valley was one that truly stood the test of time. The geography of the land created a safe haven for the ancient people, as well as providing just the right conditions for successful farming. Religion played a vital role in the daily lives of the Egyptians as is evident by the wonderful artifacts that remain today. The many achievements of Ancient Egypt led to a civilization that would be remembered long after the last pharaoh was buried in his luxurious tomb.
The Gift of the Nile
The Nile River flooded twice every year. With the floods, cam rich silt that provided fertile soil for farming. The Ancient Egyptians were able to grow many crops and eventually had a surplus of food. The Nile River Valley contained many natural boundaries that helped protect the Ancient Egyptians. The Nile had six cataracts, or rushing rapids, that made the river difficult to sail. The Red Sea to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, were huge bodies of water that were very dangerous to sail on the ships they used in those days. The deserts on both sides of the Nile were too vast to cross easily.Ancient Greek philosopher, Herodotus, called these many amazing features, "the gift of the Nile."
The Ancient Egyptians were a polytheistic society. They believed in many gods. These included Re the sun god, Anubis, the god of the afterlife, and Osiris, the god of the underworld. People of wealth of power could be mummified after death. This included a process called embalming in which the body was prepared for the afterlife. Pharaohs were buried in lavish tombs in order for their ka, or soul, to have everything they needed, as it remained on earth while the body went to the afterlife. Even Egyptian pyramids point to the skies signaling a pharaoh's trip to the afterlife.
Pyramids, Papyrus, and Paintings--Oh My!
Egyptian achievements remain some of the most admired in the world today. Tourists flock to museums to view Egyptian displays. Hieroglyphics, the Egyptian writing system used symbols to represent words and sounds. Papyrus is a long-lasting paper-like material made from reeds found along the Nile. It made it possible to transport language for the first time. The Pyramids of Giza, built for the pharaoh Khufu, stand 481 feet high and took more than two million limestone blocks to build. Along with hieroglyphics, tomb walls were covered in beautiful paintings of daily life in Ancient Egypt. The brilliant colors also depicted images of the gods. Pharaoh's tombs were even known to have the ceilings painted.
The gift of the Nile, the importance of religion, and the valuable achievements made by the Ancient Egyptians all worked together to create a civilization rich in culture that would stand the test of time. The civilization that grew along the Nile River Valley lasted for over 3,000 years. To this day, Ancient Egypt continues to fascinate people around the world.