1. Historical Context:
Geography, topography and resources of Egypt and its neighbours
Geography & Topography:
Egypt is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, deserts to the east and west and cataracts to the south. During the period of old kingdom, Egypt was able to develop in relative isolation. Her geography and topography was characterized by the following, which included that Egypt was split into Upper Egypt, which was southern Egypt to the Nile delta and Lower Egypt, which was the delta area. Also the first cataract at Elephantine marked the southern border while the Mediterranean Sea marked the northern border while hostile borders occupied the eastern and western borders. The Nile River was the country’s source of life. To the east belong the desert was the boundary of the Red sea. Rainfall was rare and its occurrence was usually destructive. Most of Egypt was flat but on either side of the Nile River was a mountainous region. This was the edge of the Nile valley.
Natural resources include natron, basalt, copper, limestone, alabaster, carnelian, gold, granite, quartzite, malachite, turquoise, jewellery and tin.
Historical overview of the early 18th Dynasty
• After the brilliance of the MK, Egypt had declined into a ‘state of dire havoc and confusion, its rulers murdering and replacing one another with extreme rapidity’. During this time of weakened rule, a group of foreigners called the ‘Hyksos’ moved into the delta area from Palestine. The Hyksos were able to remain in control for so long because they were: militarily stronger than the divided Egyptians; had horse-drawn war chariots (unlike the Egyptians); had superior weapons, such as powerful composite bows; stronger armour and many fortified camps. • ‘The war of revenge against the Hyksos was successfully launched by Kamose’ 100 years before Hatshepsut, in the 2nd Intermediate Period, Egypt was still under the control of the Hyksos. The Egyptian Ahmosis family took power of Thebes under the rule of Seqenenre Tao I and his wife Tetisheri (‘Great Royal Wife’). His successor (son) Kamose advanced on the Hyksos capital with his army, but failed to take the town as his brother had before. Kamose’s successor Ahmose (Kamose’s nephew), however, did manage to conquer Lower Egypt, driving the Hyksos out and reunifying Upper and Lower Egypt, thus, becoming the 1st ruler of the 18th Dynasty. Amenhotep I was his successor (with his queen, Ahmose-Nefertari), but didn’t have an heir, so the Ahmose line died with them. • His successor was the general Thutmose I (and his queen Ahmose – a royal princess; held title of ‘King’s Sister’). Their child was Hatshepsut.
Overview of the social, political, military and economic structures of the early New Kingdom Period Ma’at:
Gods/people had common obligation to ensure that chaos didn’t overcome justice and order. Egypt was always being disturbed and a large amount of effort was necessary to keep it under control. The king was closely associated with ma’at and blamed if it was out of balance. Kings offered ma’at to gods and the gods needed human response to exist. Egyptian religious beliefs:
The belief was that the creator god made all religious/political systems in Egypt and was to stay that way Myth, ritual and religious structures:
All classes in ancient Egypt shared religious beliefs. The common creation myth was that the creator god emerged and made the world. Ritual was the cult and festivals performed to renew life of the cosmos. The king was the sole link to the gods and the chief channel of power (priests were also there, but were recognised as delegates of the king, even the high priests of Amun). The Government system:
Quasi-divine kingship with great authority. Main characteristics were its strong centralisation and hierarchical structure and the aim was to please the gods with ritual and economic wealth (expeditions). The...