Where are the ancient Egyptians today

Old Egypt

Perhaps the most famous image from ancient Egypt: the death mask of PharaohTutankhamun. It is over 3000 years old. You can marvel at them today in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Ancient Egypt originated on the River Nile over 5000 years ago, in ancient times. The rulers of the country were the pharaohs. A pharaoh was something of a king. The realm of the ancient Egyptians is known today mainly because of the pyramids and other structures made of oversized stone blocks. Pictures and writings have also been found from this time.

For millennia, Egypt was a powerful country on the Mediterranean. But about 300 years before Christ, 2300 years ago, Alexander the Great conquered the Egyptian Empire: Since then, Greeks ruled Egypt, or Egyptians who knew Greek. And about 2000 years ago, Egypt came to the Roman Empire. Later rulers who believed in Islam conquered the country.

Nowadays there is again a state of its own called Egypt. Its culture is not the same as that of ancient Egypt, but they are still proud of it. People all over the world are interested in pharaohs and pyramids.

Why is the Nile so important?

The Nile is the longest river in Africa. It mostly flows through the desert before flowing into the Mediterranean. However, he comes from an area in Africa where it rains very heavily for months. When the Nile led this muddy flood to the Mediterranean, it inundated the low-lying valley and deposited the fertile mud there. As soon as the floods receded, the people could grow everything they needed as farmers and what the priests, soldiers and scribes of the Pharaoh needed in the damp and fertilized fields.

After the flooding, the cultivation areas had to be re-measured and redistributed. With characters you remembered what to save for bad times when the Nile brought less mud with it. Early on, leaders and their warriors managed to rule large stretches of the Nile. The leaders then became kings who ruled ever larger parts of Egypt. Religion made this king a lord like a god to whom one always had to obey.

Why did a great empire come into being?

A distinction is made between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was much larger: the long, thin strip of fertile land on the Nile. Lower Egypt was the small section at the end of the Nile. The river divides into several arms before flowing into the Mediterranean. This is called a river delta. A particularly large number of people lived in the delta of the Nile, and that is still the case today.

Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were united and separated again several times. After that, the time of the Old Kingdom began, from 2700 to 2200 BC. The later sections are called Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom. In between there were always times of war in the country when it was not certain who was actually ruling.

Who were the main pharaohs?

An unusual pharaoh: Akhenaten with his wife, son Tutankhamun and their two daughters. Aton, the disk of the sun, shines over them.

There have been many pharaohs throughout the empire's long history. Some of them supposedly ruled for hundreds of years. In reality, I think it means that a number of fathers and sons were in power, a dynasty. Some pharaohs were particularly important, or very well known about them today.

Cheops was a pharaoh in the Old Kingdom. He had a pyramid built in which he was buried after his death. The Great Pyramid is one of the seven wonders of the world.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti were pharaohs and pharaohs around 1300 BC. For a long time it was believed that Akhenaten had abolished all Egyptian gods so that everyone would only believe in one god: Aton, the sun. Today we know that the other gods continued to be worshiped. But Aton was especially important to Akhenaten. The art of this time also looks different than before and after: A picture shows the Pharaoh with his family, as normal in everyday life.

Tutankhamun was not in itself a very important pharaoh. He became Pharaoh as a child and did not rule for very long. But apparently robbers haven't found his grave. So it was almost undamaged when scientists discovered it in 1922. His death mask, the sculpture over the face of the dead Pharaoh, became famous.

Ramses the Second was a great builder. Many temples and large statues of him were made during his long reign. He ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC - longer than any other pharaoh. During this time he had many wives and over 80 children. Many of his sons were buried in a huge tomb with over 100 chambers. After a great battle, Ramses signed the first peace treaty in history with one of his neighbors.

He also built a large city in the Nile Delta called Ramsesstadt. Some Hebrews lived here as slaves and had to do heavy labor. Moses found this unjust and went with them through the desert to Israel. At least that's what the Bible says.

Eventually Cleopatra became the last female pharaoh. She was very adept at becoming ruler instead of her brother. In their time the Romans fought against each other, namely Antony and Octavian, who was later called Augustus. Cleopatra and Antony became lovers, but Octavian was victorious in the Roman civil war. Egypt became part of the Roman Empire.

How do you know something about the ancient Egyptians today?

An Egyptian temple, a house where the Egyptians wanted to be close to their gods. This drawing appeared in the famous "Description of Egypt" in 1809.

For a long time little was known about the ancient Egyptians. Wise men from ancient Greece reported a little of it, such as Herodotus. In Europe, even in the early modern period, there was also an interest in the Egyptian script.

Around 1800 France fought against Great Britain. In this war, French soldiers also came to Egypt, along with scientists. These scientists wrote down much of what they saw and experienced. It took almost ten years to finish her book about it: "Description of Egypt". A few years later, this knowledge helped to finally be able to read the Egyptian script, the hieroglyphs. This was especially important in order to know what the Egyptians had said and thought.

Ancient Egypt was always in vogue when something significant was found. An example of this is Tutankhamun's grave in 1922. Soon afterwards, creepy films were made about living mummies. They also made clothes or furniture that were reminiscent of ancient Egypt. Today there are museums in Egypt and in many major cities around the world that show what it was like in ancient Egypt.

  • A barge, a small boat that transports a deceased person. Wooden figure, almost 4000 years old.

  • Hieroglyphics from the tomb of Pharaoh Sethos the First. He ruled about 3,300 years ago.

  • In the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, in Deir el-Bahari. This part was dedicated to the god Anubis.

  • Great Temple of Abu Simbel, in the south of what is now Egypt

  • In 1879 an English painter painted this picture: "The Egyptian Chess Players". However, the game of chess comes from India.


There is also an article on “Ancient Egypt” for beginners on MiniKlexikon.de and further search results from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

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