Ancient Egypt | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy

Ancient Egypt | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy


– [Narrator] In this video,
we are going to give ourselves an overview of ancient Egypt, which corresponds
geographically pretty closely to the modern day state of
Egypt in northeast Africa. Now the central feature
in both ancient Egypt and in modern Egypt is the Nile River that you see in blue right over here. And the Nile River is one of
the great rivers of the world. It rivals the Amazon
River as the longest river and it sources the
tributaries of the Nile Rover start even south of this picture and the water flows northward and eventually its delta
reaches the Mediterranean Sea. The delta, which is where
a river opens into the sea, is called a delta because,
as you can see, these rivers, you can even see it from the satellite pictures right over here, they start branching up a bunch and you have this upside
down triangular region, which looks a little bit like an upside down Greek letter delta, so that’s why river delta is called that. And this one just happens
to be upside down. If it was flowing the other way, it would be a right-side-up delta. So the Nile River, it
flows from, you could say, eastern mid-Africa up
into the Mediterranean Sea and because it has this northward flow, the southern parts of
the river are upriver and they are actually
called the Upper Nile. So, Upper. The Upper Nile is actually
south of the Lower Nile, of the Lower Nile. And once again, that’s because
the Upper Nile is up river, it’s also flowing from higher elevations to lower elevations. So as you go south, you get to
higher and higher elevations. Now, the reason why the
river is so important, we studied this multiple times, rivers are a source of fresh water, when they flood they make
the surrounding soil fertile, they’re suitable for agriculture, and the Nile Valley is
one of the first places that we see agriculture emerging during the neolithic period. In fact, human settlement we believe was along this Nile River Valley as far as 6,000 BCE or 8,000 years ago, and it might have been there
even further back in time. And because you have that agriculture, it allowed for higher
population densities, which allowed for more
specialization of labor and more complex societies. It’s not a coincidence
that some of the first, that one of the first great
civilizations emerged here. Now, the story of the
Nile River, or of Egypt, and actually they are tied very closely, even though Egypt is considered
a lot of this region, most of the human population,
this is true even today, is right along the river,
around that fertile soil, where the agriculture actually occurs. In fact, this was so important
to the ancient Egyptians that their whole calendar, their seasons, were based on what the
Nile River was doing. They had a season called the inundation, or the flooding of the river,
which makes the soil fertile. They had a season of growth, which is now talking about
the growth of the crops and they had a season of harvest. And so you had people in this
valley for thousands of years, but when we talk about ancient Egypt, we formally talk about
it as a civilization around 3,100, 3,150 BCE. And this is where we get to
our timeline right over here. So we’re talking about right
around there on our timeline and the reason why this is considered the beginning of the ancient
Egyptian civilization is this is when we believe that upper and lower
Egypt were first united under the king and there’s
different names used, Narmer sometimes or Menes. I’m going to mispronounce things every now and then and I’m
probably doing it here as well. And so he was the king that
unified upper and lower Egypt into an empire and the
empire, as we will see, which lasted thousands of years, every one of these spaces
is a hundred years. We’re gonna go over huge time span, but the ancient Egyptian
civilization is roughly divided into three kingdoms. You have the old kingdom,
which went from about, right from about the 27th century BCE up to about the 17th century BCE. You have the middle kingdom
and you have the new kingdom. And once again, this is
spanning right over here over a thousand years of history. And in between those, you have
these intermediate periods where the kingdom or the empire was a little bit more fragmented. You have in some of these
intermediate periods, you have some foreign rule. But just to get a sense
of some of what happened over this thousands of years, and I’m kind of laughing in my head because it’s hard to cover
over two, 3,000 years, in the course of just a few minutes, but this will give you a
sense of what ancient Egyptian civilization was all about. Now the kings are referred to as pharaohs but as we’ll see that term
pharaoh is not really used until we get to the new kingdom. But I will refer to the kings as pharaohs throughout this video, just to say, hey these
are the Egyptian kings. And the old kingdom is
probably most known today in our popular culture
for what we most associate with ancient Egypt and
that is the pyramids. And here, right over
here are the pyramids, there’s the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is near modern-day Cairo today. This is the Sphinx and they
were built in that old period under the Pharaohs Sneferu
and Khufu, right over here in the 26th century BCE. And we are still trying to
get a better understanding of how this was done. We actually now don’t believe that it was done by slave labor, but instead it was done
during, you could say, the off season by the peasants
as a form of taxation. Okay, you’re done planting
or harvesting your crops? Well now that you have some time, and this shows actually the
importance of agriculture for freeing people up, so to speak, why don’t you help the pharaohs
built these massive tombs, which I’ve seen various estimates that it might have
taken some place between 10 and 100,000 people several
decades to build each. But these are even today, these were built over 4,500 years ago, are some of the most iconic symbols that humanity has ever created. And the reason why we know
so much about ancient Egypt is that we have been able
to decipher their writing. It’s a symbolic, they
have these pictographs, these hieroglyphics, I’m sure you’ve heard of the word before, and for a while we had
no idea what they said. We would see these
encryptions in these tombs and we had a sense that, okay these tombs, especially things like the pyramids would be for these great kings, we could tell that it
was a stratified society, that nobility had better
tombs than others, but we didn’t really have a
good sense of what was going on until we discovered this,
which is the Rosetta Stone, which was discovered in 1799. The reason why this is so valuable is it has the same text written in three different languages. It has it written in the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians, and it has it written in a
later script used in Egypt, called demotic Egyptian,
and most importantly, it has it also written in Greek. And so historians were able to say, okay, we can now start to
decipher what these symbols mean because we have a translation of them and that’s why it’s one
of the first civilizations where we’re able to put
the picture together. And hieroglyphics are one of
the first forms of writing. But let’s now go on in our journey through thousands of years of
ancient Egyptian civilization. Between the old kingdom
and the middle kingdom, you have the first intermediate period and then you have the middle kingdom and then you have the Hyksos, which are Semitic people, Semitic referring to their language being of the same family as
Semitic languages like Arabic, or Hebrew, or Aramaic. But then you have the new kingdom, and the new kingdom is
considered to be the peak of ancient Egypt. It’s really the height
of their technology, it’s the height of their
military capability. And there are several pharaohs
that are worthy of note in the new kingdom. The first is, he was born Amenhotep or he was originally known
as Amenhotep the Fourth and then he eventually
names himself Akhenaton and Akhenaton means effective for Aton, Aton being a significant Egyptian god. And the reason why he changed
his name is he decides that, okay we have, the
Egyptians have this huge pantheon of gods. Here is just the some of
them right over here, this is the god Osiris, often
associated with the afterlife or transition, regeneration, resurrection. You have the god Amun here
and his first name Amenhotep, it means Amun is satisfied. What is considered kind
of the equivalent of Zeus, you have the god here Horus , once again a very significant god at different times in Egypt, but what was interesting
about Amenhotep the Fourth or Akhenaton, whichever
name you want to use, is he decided, no, no, no,
I don’t like this pantheon, this polytheistic religion that we have, I wanna worship one god, and the god that he decides to worship is really the, you could
consider it the sun god, or the sun disc, and
its representation looks something like this and
it was referred to as Aten and so he changes his name to Akhenaton and he actually starts to
try to get rid of evidence of these other gods or to make
them a lot less important. And so the reason why that’s notable is this is viewed as perhaps one of the first attempts at monotheism, at least within this ancient
Egyptian civilization. He’s also noted for giving
a lot of power to his wife, to the queen, Nefertiti, who some people say was second in command, or even co-ruled alongside him. Now he was also famous
because after his death, eventually, his son, King Tut,
Tutankhamen, comes to power. And the reason why King
Tut, as he’s often known, although it’s Tutankhamen,
is known is because we were able to find his
tombs in relatively good order and so he’s become a popular
part of the imagination. And he’s known as a child pharaoh. He comes to power when he’s very young, he dies at 18 and so it’s
kind of an interesting story. Now, most prominent
amongst all of the pharaohs across Egyptian history, and this is also in the new kingdom, comes a little bit after Tutankhamen, is Ramses the Second. And Ramses the Second, who
emerges here in the 13th century, and he rules for most
of the 13th century BCE, he represents really the
peak of Egypt, ancient Egypt, as a military power. He’s famous for the Battle at Kaddish, which is the earliest battle
where we actually know what the tactics and the formations were and it was with the also
significant Hittite Empire in 1274 BCE, this is an
image drawn much, much later, of the Battle of Kaddish. The battle, we now believe, might have been a bit of a stalemate, Ramses the Second wasn’t
able to capture Kaddish, but has told us a lot
about military tactics and strategy and formation of that time. Historians today think it
might have been the largest chariot battle maybe ever. So this was a significant
thing that happened. Now, eventually the new
kingdom does collapse, as we get to the end of
the second millennium, and then over the next
several hundreds of years, we’re talking about a
very long period of time, it gets fragmented, you
have several rulers, you have the Kushites
rule from the Upper Nile, the Kushites were in this
area right over here. They rule for a brief period. The Assyrians, that’s a
Mesopotamian civilization, they rule for a small period of time, and then eventually and we
talk about this in some detail in other videos, you have
the Persians take over, you have Cambyses, Cyrus the Great’s son, he’s able to rule over,
he’s able to conquer Egypt and Egypt becomes part of the
Achaemenid Empire for a while until the conquering
of Alexander the Great. And after Alexander the Great dies, one of his generals and
his dynasty takes over, Ptolemaic Egypt and now it’s
being ruled by foreigners, well it’s been ruled by
foreigners for a while now, but now it’s by the Greeks and the famous Cleopatra, who’s considered a pharaoh of Egypt, she’s actually Greek by blood, she’s actually the one
that seduced you could say Julius Caesar and Marc Antony and after Cleopatra’s
death, more and more, actually eventually it
becomes part of Rome. So as you can see we
covered this enormous large time period in history, one of the most significant
civilizations in all of history, one of the most famous
poems about civilizations and rulers, about Ramses the
Second, the poem Ozymandias was named after him. You have some of the great
cities of the ancient world, Thebes, which was the capital during parts of the new
kingdom and the middle kingdom, you have Memphis, which was one of the, some people say founded by Menes and the capital of the old kingdom. These were all happening in ancient Egypt.

36 thoughts on “Ancient Egypt | Early Civilizations | World History | Khan Academy

  1. I know this is out-topic, but I find ur content really interesting. I am Moroccan currently studying in the 10th grade, your Maths lessons gave me a look on what I might have on 12th grade. Keep it up 😉

  2. l wonder if this guy only narrates the information, or he actually knows all the information, because there are different videos about different topics.

  3. I am Egyptian and I wish I could be there a translation of this lecture very Arab, because I do not speak English and I am trying hard to learn

  4. Hi. These are great information sessions – good initiative. Two important observations; can you guys number the episodes so that we can watch them in sequence, secondly could the narrator STOP smacking his SLIVA with tongue right Into the microphone – It's seriously Annoying. Thank you.

  5. Why would you feature a picture of Egypt that would lead a student to believe it was a part of the Middle East. Egypt is a part of Africa. Why would you not tell them that Egypt was called Kemet

  6. Hey man, good videos !
    It suprises me because you have the exact same voice as the father of Morty in "Rick and Morty" its a fun cartoon you should check that out

  7. Bro!! Take the Mic from your throat!! You're grossing me out and.breaking my concentration. Drink some water .I'm cringing every time I hear you swallowing your spit!!

  8. Mer Khuti (pyramids) 4,500 years old…but have alignments to stars from 10,500 BCE? Please explain that. Take your time…LOL!!!

  9. The Dacians were one of the first monotheist civilisations (I don't know if the first). They worshipped the king-God Zamolxes and lived by a set of moral rules called "Zamolxes' laws"

  10. ca.1440BC "Fiery Discs" According to the disputed Tulli Papyrus, the scribes of the pharaoh Thutmose III reported that "fiery disks" were encountered floating over the skies.

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