Amr Shahat

Topics: Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians Pages: 6 (2305 words) Published: January 17, 2013
Who were the Ancient Egyptians
Although several books are published about Ancient Egypt every year, identifying who were the Ancient Egyptians is still a question whose answer seems to be highly mysterious. Modern historians have different criteria to identify a specific nation, according to their language, religion, culture or their ethnicity. Nonetheless, when we try to use these methods to identify Ancient Egyptians, we find them disable to lead us to a fully clear answer. It is also noteworthy to pay attention to the fact that the Ancient world was more open than our mind would think, which makes it difficult for a nation to keep themselves from being mixed with other people of different ethnical group or culture, whether through invasion, trade, or immigration. The following essay will discuss the issue of identifying Ancient Egyptians through multiple angles, such as the language, culture, religion or ethnicity, and analyzing all together as an attempt to indentify the Ancient Egyptians. It will also shows the problems that a researcher usually finds with these evidences while trying to answer to this question. language might be one of the approaches that help us identify a nation or a tribe. However, it seems that this approach is still problematic. we can find that some empires appeared in the history mixing people of different languages such the ottoman empire ottoman empire, which included people of different races with different languages but what united them is the concept of Islam. While using this approach to identify Ancient Egyptians, some documents have shown the difficulty that people from delta found to understand people from upper Egypt, is this because of a difference in their race or only a different dialect. Although this difference is not reflected in the written language inscribed in temples and papyri since sources of the same period seem to have the same language structure, we find the last phase of Egyptian language, Coptic shows two different dialects, Se'edy or Upper Egyptian and Bahary, lower Egyptian. Does this mean that writing was practiced by a group of elite who might have the same race or rather this reflects a cultural identity? In fact evidence from New kingdom shows that captives from aristocratic families drawn from conquered cities joined the Egyptian scribal elite which means even the scribal elite who wrote the same language might have different races. Furthermore some of them adopted Egyptian "Loyalist" name such as Ben-Ia, worked as a page and architect in the court of Thutmosis III. Being architect suggests that he also might inscribed texts in Hieroglyphs. Ramssess III mentions his conquer of the libou, however this does not mean that these people did not different ways to infiltrate Egyptian border through the western desert. Ethnographic evidence might show their influence on some of the Egyptian inhabitants in the western desert. Siwa oasis, for instance, speak one of the Libyan tribal languages which is Amazighy. During the Ptolemaic period, we have many examples of Egyptians writing in Greek, Manethon wrote the history of Egypt to Ptolomy II in Greek language, at the entrance of Luxor temple, on one side of the gateway of the first pylon, we find prayers written to Amon written in Greek and it is difficult to say whether this was inscribed by an Egyptian who spoke Greek , especially when we think of many texts show Egyptian hiring tutors to teach their children Greek language or by a Greek person.Earlier evidence dating to the fifth century shows Greek taken as slaves in Egypt and became Egyptianized by making them " Hear the speech of mankind while following the king, He made their speech disappear, changing their tongues". As we have seen Greeks speaking Egyptian language, on the other hand, we find that last phase of Egyptian language adopting foreign letters, the Greek. Furthermore, numerous Greek word were incorporated in Egyptian language and eventually after...
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