Egypt is not only one of the oldest, but also the longest-lived civilizations. The reason for this is, first of all, its location: the country as it stands, apart from other states and empires. Clamped on both sides of the desert, it was able to develop in the fertile Nile valley without any influence and interference from outside. Like a long stalk of papyrus, it stretched for 1,120 km from the south, from the first Nile threshold in Aswan, to the north, where the river, spreading out the wide delta of the delta, flows into a series of streams into the Mediterranean.
The spill of the Nile is like a gift to the farmers, brought annually in the form of brown mud to their land, which gave birth in their minds a sense of permanence and an unchangeable cycle of life. This phenomenon is reflected in the ancient name of Egypt – “Kemet”, which means “black earth” – than as if underlining the benefaction done by the water element.
The blessed people of Egypt, whose population did not exceed five million during all periods of its history, lived under the rule of rulers who considered themselves living gods on earth. So numerous were the kings, or the pharaohs, who ruled the country, that some know nothing but their name, for their monuments and laws disappeared without a trace many centuries ago.
Speaking about Egypt, historians conduct his chronology according to the genealogical kings, or dynasties.
1. Early dynastic period – 2920 – 2575 years. BC.
Egyptian civilization has its roots in the depths of centuries, in the ninth millennium before the era of our era. The nomadic tribes of hunters gradually concentrated in the floodplain of the Nile, since the more distant lands were burnt by the sun, turning into deserts. By the 5th millennium BC. here there were two clearly delineated associations: Lower Egypt – in the delta of the Nile and Upper Egypt – along the green corridor formed by the Nile. Around 3000 BC. Upper Egypt conquered its northern neighbor, uniting the two peoples and thereby putting the beginning of the First Dynasty. Surrounded by a halo of grandeur and legends, the pharaohs of this early period were worshiped as certain deities descended from heaven to earth. During the III-rd dynasty, Djoser erected his Stepped Pyramid, which was the first in the list of giant monuments erected on the land of Egypt.
2. The ancient kingdom – 2575 – 2134 gg. BC.
In the time of the IV-th dynasty the Egyptian culture enters its prime. It was a period of stable existence, which became the herald of a new era in the history of Egypt – the Old Kingdom. The pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx – a lion with the face of Pharaoh Khafre – are unprecedented architectural monuments of the era. At this time, art and trade flourish, and writing is developed on the basis of a hieroglyphic letter that is used to know. During the V-th dynasty, the cult of the Sun greatly increased, weakening the influence of the pharaohs. By the end of the VI-th dynasty, the ancient kingdom is divided into a number of hostile principalities.
3. The first transition period – 2134 – 2040 years. BC.
At the beginning of the first transition period, the pharaohs have a weak real power, and internecine wars weaken Egypt. The shield from cowhide refers to this time. Eventually the IX and X dynasties reigned in Egypt. However, soon the aggressive princes in Thebes proclaim themselves legitimate heirs to the throne and establish their own dynasty. The cultural development of Egypt is experiencing a recovery.
4. The middle kingdom – 2040 – 1640 years. BC.
Having united Egypt, the Theban pharaoh XI of the dynasty of Nebhepetra Mentukhotpe proclaimed the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. The tsar of this epoch enjoys the support of the bureaucratic class, nullifying the power of local rulers. They also take care of the needs of the population, mastering thousands of acres of arable land by artificial irrigation. Art blossoms again. Among the gods, Osiris, the ruler of the Underworld, comes first: his cult spreads throughout Egypt, attracting the rich and the poor. The cult of the sun god Ra continues to enjoy immense popularity.
5. The second transition period – 1640 – 1550 gg. BC.
For unknown reasons, the Middle Kingdom disintegrates, and Egypt again plunges into an abyss of anarchy. The crown passes from hand to hand. And at this time, the Hyksos tribes from Palestine, who captured the area of ??the Delta, founded there the XV-th dynasty, which spread its power over the entire country. Dynasty XVII Theb declares war on them and, using the indestructible and modern weapons of that time, horses harnessed to chariots, releases the Delta from foreign domination and thereby proclaims a new era in the history of Egypt – the New Kingdom.
6. The new kingdom – 1550-1070 gg. BC.
From the east, trophies and captives are flowing in the country, and Egypt is once again becoming a prosperous and open society. Found in our time, the tomb of Tutankhamun impressed contemporaries with luxury. During the reign of Tutankhamen, art blossoms again, most of whose works were dedicated to the Theban deity Amon.
7. The third transition period – 1070 – 712 years. BC.
Inside the country, a crisis of power is maturing, and from the north and east Palestinian tribes occupy the possessions of Egypt. The population is being terrorized. Egypt split in two: the military junta, overcoming the priests, seizes power in Upper Egypt, the Delta is ruled by a dynasty of pharaohs-merchants. Then Egypt passes to the Libyan dynasty, which rules until the authorities seize the military from Nubia. Pharaohs of the new dynasty wore on the crowns a symbol of united domination over Nubia and Egypt – a double uraeus.
8. The late period – 712 – 332 years. BC.
In the VII century. BC Egypt is attacked by the Assyrians – the cities of Egypt are crumbling and plundering. And only with the XXVI dynasty there comes a short period of calm, but in 525 BC. Persians invade Egypt, turning it into a province, and establish here the XXVII dynasty. The last independent pharaohs are the XXVIII-XXX dynasties, but the Persians again deal a crushing blow, ending the independence of Egypt forever.
But even the powerful Persia fell under the blows of the armies of Alexander the Great, who conquered Persia and Egypt respectively in 332 BC. and thus turned the last page of the history of the great Egyptian civilization 1. The final decline came when Egypt fell under the blows of Caesar Augustus in 30 BC. Egypt is now a province of Rome, and under the sands of the deserts the historical relics of the once powerful civilization slowly disappeared.
Even the language spoken by this people has disappeared forever from the face of the earth. For many centuries after the break-up, Ancient Egypt remained a secret country: from the time of Ancient Greece and Rome until the 19th century people of many countries were amazed at the magnificence of the monuments, but they were powerless to read their enigmatic letters. During the Egyptian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798, the Rosetta stone-stele was found with three parallel texts carved into it, one of which is pictograms, the other is a demotic record (a cursive form of Egyptian writing), the third is the Greek language. This was the key to unraveling the ancient Egyptian signs.
With the advent of this document, the ancient Egyptians “talked” again, and as the decipherment of their writing progressed, this vibrant, vibrant nation began to loom in all its glory and beauty. “Cracked” the code of the Egyptian hieroglyphic letter by the brilliant French scientist J.-F. Champollion at the age of 31.