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Egypt of the Pharaohs –– Notes from Readings

Late Predynastic
Naqada: one of the cultures in Nile valley
One of the largest known in the Nile Valley during Pre-Dynastic Period Naqadization: Ousted, engulfed or incorporated other cultures: culminated in political unification and statehood; cultural unification occurred before political unification Gradual conquest and subjection of more and more extensive areas of Nile Valley until whole of Upper Egypt was under Naqada control Hunting and nomadism in south; settled farming and cattle husbandry in north Stratified society

Richness of pictorial imagery
Decorated tomb of a chief of Hierakonpolis: first instance of smiting motif but no traces of writing Hierakonpolis: site of Narmer palette
Snake-neck panthers whose intertwined necks symbolize unification Bull tramples enemy with hooves, destroys city with horns: bull = symbol of pharaonic royal power 10 decapitated figures with heads between feet

King wearing white crown, smiting victim
Falcon (Horus/king) perched on papyrus thicket with 6 blossoms holds in claw a rope attached to a head that protrudes from soil on which papyrus thicket grows Falcon (king or god) conquered land of papyrus (Delta or Lower Egypt) 4 of 5 sections represent death-dealing power of king: message centers on war, violence, death, subjection Not peaceful expansion but lethal conflict, victory of south over north Dynasty 0

Horus name title: king as incarnation of Horus
Irihor (?)
“Scorpion”: ruled over Upper Egypt and parts of Delta
War-like and violent form of self-representation
Scorpion Macehead: Scorpion wearing white crown, sporting bull’s tails, followed by fan bearers, scorpion near head, facing man holding basket and men holding standards (ceremonial flag); holding hoe that smashed up dikes and opened Nile flood Narmer: royal Residence lay in southern Upper Eypt

Palermo Stone: fragmentary tablet of black basalt recording annals of kings of early period and Old Kingdom; begins with series of kings only wearing red crown Years recorded by means of notches; also given names corresponding to most important events Archaic Period

Landscape: clear large-scale division: valley, deserts, fertile delta Gradual descent from desert plateau into Nile valley: cultural ascent into agriculture, animal domesticity, tool improvement Menes: founder of Egyptian realm and Memphis, the first city; lawgiver, bringer of civilization King carried out every cultic act and historical deed: only he has prerequisite magical capabilities Delegations: led to establishment of administrative departments Registers and hierarchy of scale illustrates concept of order in art Dynasty 1

Aha/Menes: built tomb near Saqqara; moved center of state to Memphis to link U&L Egypt Abydos: built large tombs
Introduction of official system of dating; regnal years named after typical events Djer
Djet (serpent)
Wadj
Den: first to bear two more titles: King of Upper and Lower Egypt Adjib
Semerkhet
Qaa
Dynasty 2
Tradition of second tomb at Abydos temporarily abandoned
Hetepsekhemwy
Reneb
Ninetjer: reigned nearly 50 years
Sed festival: connected with Egyptian concept of kingship; magical, creative power of king had to be ritually renewed Peribsen: title of Seth = incarnation of god
Revived construction of royal tombs at Abydos
Khasekhemwy: restored state unity
Built larger stone buildings, paving way for monumental architecture Horus falcon and Seth animal above royal name: king united and balanced two inimical forces, securing unity of state The Old Kingdom

Monumental stone construction, life-size statuary, refinement of relief sculpture technique Seated scribe sculpture
Every official = royal scribe
Dynasty 3: Age of the Pyramids⋄clear structure, firm order, tight organization of state Nebka
Djoser: creator of new era
Invention of building with stone (imperishable, eternal material) Step Pyramid: stone replica of “primeval mound” with festival court surrounded...
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