The Egyptian Civilization

The Egyptian Civilization

Ancient Egypt, known for its riches, the Pharaoh
Kings, the pyramids, and its hieroglyphs, is one of the greatest civilizations to have
ever existed. For about 3,000 years, since its first unification
in 3,100 BC to its final conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt was the central
civilization in the ancient world. If you’re new here, I’m Darius Cosden
and this is Vlogs of Knowledge. Make sure to subscribe and hit the notification
bell because we do have brand new episodes every single Wednesday. And today, we’re talking about the Egyptian
Civilization. The first and most important thing to know
and understand about this civilization is that it lasted over 3,000 years. And that’s not even counting the somewhere
around 2,000 years of “egyptian” civilization that pre-dates history itself. What I mean by that is that what we call “history”
is limited to the written documents that we have discovered. Anything before writing is technically considered
pre-history. The Egyptians were there before and after
writing. In fact, they were one of the first to discover
writing in the first place. Which goes to show just how big of a civilization
they were. 30 Centuries. That’s a lot of history to talk about. And if you don’t believe me, well let’s
look at some stats. In 30 centuries we have 9 distinct periods,
three Kingdoms, 13 different capitals, 30 dynasties, and about 170 different Pharaohs. Each period has its own distinct characteristics,
and each kingdom had its different rulers, whom by the way, all thought it would be a cool idea
to keep switching the capital around. Safe to say that, Ancient Egypt is one big
mess. But, don’t you worry, I’m very good at
taking messy things and making them simple and easy to understand. Let’s start with location. Egypt is located on the African continent,
just south of the Mediterranean sea. It is very close to modern day Israel, Syria,
and Iraq. If you were to look around there in the year
3,000 BC, you’d most likely see sand in any direction. Egypt is in the Sahara Desert, which makes
you wonder how they were able to build such a massive civilization on sand. Sand, and the desert would’ve been a big
problem, had it not been for the Nile River. The Nile River, most commonly referred to
as the Nile, is a massive north-flowing river that spans about 6,800 km and opens up to
the Mediterranean Sea. It’s so big, that you can even see it from space. This river transformed the otherwise hot desert
into fertile land, which allowed the early Egyptians to build their first settlements. Every year, the river floods in a predictable
manner, which allowed people to synchronize their agriculture with the tides of the water. Add onto that the strong irrigation systems
people built for the river specifically, and you have everything you need to build a civilization. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the
Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures showing a good understanding of agriculture
and animal domestication. Because when you find a water oasis in a desert,
you can expect the local animals to have found it too. This is what we’d call the Pre-Dynastic
Period (c. 6000-c.3150 BCE). In that period, belief in the gods defined
the then-Egyptian culture. An early Egyptian creation myth tells the
story of the god Atum who stood in the midst of chaos before the beginning of time and
spoke creation into existence. Atum was followed by the eternal force of
heka, which stands for (magic) and was personified in the god Heka. Heka was the main force which fuelled the
universe and caused all things to function as they did; it also gave birth to the central
value of the Egyptian culture: ma’at, which means harmony and balance. All of the gods and all of their responsibilities
went back to ma’at. The sun rose and set as it did and the moon
moved across the sky according with the balance and order of heka and ma’at. The entirety of Egyptian life revolved around
keeping the ma’at, the balance and harmony of society. The Egyptian written history begins at some
point between the year 3400 and 3200 BCE, when hieroglyphic script is developed. The Egyptians began writing things down, and
just as was happening in other cultures world-wide at the time, those small communities along
the Nile became centralized and grew into larger urban centers. Civilization had now begun. That’s when we enter the first historical
period of Egypt: the Early Dynastic period. Having grouped into bigger urban cities and
districts, the territory was then divided between the north and the south. Lower and Upper Egypt. A mysterious king by the name of “Menes”
is then said to have unified the two lands, and declared himself king and ruler of all. However, this story is debated because we
don’t have any record of any Menes that lived during that time. But, some historians argue that Menes may
have been a name used to refer to any king since Menes is an honorific title that translates
to “he who endures”. Nonetheless, this period marked the very first
dynasty, and the establishment of Memphis, the very first Egyptian capital. A dynasty, for those who don’t know, is
simply a lineage of rulers that trickle down, usually from father to son. As soon as the blood line breaks and you have somebody else who becomes a king from a different bloodline, you can think of a different dynasty. Trade increased significantly under the rulers
of the Early Dynastic Period and elaborate mastaba tombs, early versions of what was
to become the pyramids, developed in ritual burial practices. And with these rituals we also got the start
of mummification, where the Egyptian kings would be mummified to preserve their bodies. Egypt had a long-standing tradition of burying
their kings and preserving their bodies. It was believed that a king, after his death,
would become the god Osiris and roam the supernatural world. And to help the king do that, his physical
body had to be preserved as best as possible. Then comes a period by the name of “the
Old Kingdom” (c. 2613-2181 BCE). During that period, architecture developed
at an increased rate and some of the most famous monuments in Egypt, such as the pyramids
and the Great Sphinx at Giza, were constructed. The immense size of these structures and pyramids,
built with beautiful shining white limestone, served as a message to the ancient world regarding
the power and wealth of the Egyptian rulers during this period. They were able to build these massive structures
largely due to the ridiculous amounts of gold they possessed. Their gold came either from mines, or for
foreign conquest. Egypt was one of the very first civilizations. And that certainly has its advantages. You’re able to better organize your army,
conquer different territories and steal their riches. Plus I guess it really helps when you’re
in the middle of a desert, and getting to you can be quite impossible for enemies. You’re very safe in a desert. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence
that any structure or pyramid in Egypt was built by slave labor. Although slave labor was common in that era,
these structures were considered public works and used paid labor to build them. Workers at the Giza site, which was only one
of many, were given a ration of beer three times a day, and their housing, tools, and
level of health care were all taken care of. Now, as I always say on this show, nothing
lasts forever. What follows is a brief period of instability
known as “the First Intermediate Period” where the kingdom split into two temporarily,
because of independent districts breaking off and forming their own government. The dynasty was also split into two, and the
capital moved to Hierakonopolis. All districts were fighting for supreme control
of the land until the Theban king Mentuhotep II (c. 2061-2010 BCE) defeated the forces
of Hierakonpolis and united Egypt under the rule of his city Thebes, which became the
new Egyptian capital. Poor egyptians.. So many capitals in so little time. Like I’m skipping over a lot of the history
to keep it simple, but you can already see the chaos and turmoil that they went through. I mean, 13 capitals in the Egyptian civilization? That’s a lot. The stability of Mentuhotep’ rule is what
ushered the next period in Egyptian history: the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE). The Middle Kingdom is considered Egypt’s
`Classical Age’ when art and culture really developed and Thebes became the most important
and wealthiest city in the land. The first standing army was created, the temple
of Karnak was begun, and some of the greatest art and literature of the civilization was
produced. Unfortunately, this was right about the time
when the rest of the ancient world was also catching up and Egypt was finally faced with
its first serious foreign enemy: the Hyksos. This era is known as the “Second Intermediate Period” While the Hyksos (whose name simply means
`foreign rulers’) were despised by the Egyptians, they did introduce many improvements to the
culture such as the composite bow, the horse, and the chariot, which greatly helped the
Egyptians advance. Once again, another king arises, conquers
Egypt once more, starts a new dynasty and restores both Upper and Lower Egypt under
one capital. At least this time it’s still Thebes. This is what started the next period: the
New Kingdom (c.1570- c.1069 BCE), which is arguably Ancient Egypt’s most well-known
and most prosperous period. There was once more a strong, central government,
the title of Pharaoh was created, the valley of the Kings was built as a substitute for
king burial in the Pyramids, Egypt expanded its borders and Ramses II became the longest
ruling Pharaoh at the age of 90. In fact, Ramses II is a very funny character. He lived double the life of the average Egyptian commoner. Which if you think about it, means that some Egyptians only knew one emperor throughout their entire life. Because he outlived everyone, twice. And when he died, some people legitimitely thought that the end of the world was coming, which I mean, I guess I understand, because if you only know one Pharaoh throughout your entire life and and you associate him with being divine, when he dies you’re going to think the end of the world is coming. I don’t know, I thought it was funny. What follows is unfortunately the decline
of the Egyptian civilization. The wealth and riches of the Pharaohs had
attracted foreign powers, who finally were able to venture into the dry desert to attack
the Egyptians. One of the reasons the Egyptians were able
to last so long was for the very fact that it was a huge challenge to cross the desert
with a massive army. Plus you had some divisions within the Egyptian
religion, the central government, and even the different districts. And as is often the case, when a kingdom starts
fighting with itself, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to fall apart. The fall of Egypt began with the Persians,
who conquered it in the 6th century BC, then came Alexander the Great, who took it from
the Persians in the 4th century BC, and finally, the Romans, who officially conquered it and
made it a roman province in the year 30 BC. But really, after the period of the New Kingdom,
Egypt was no longer the same prosperous nation it once was. And now I pass the question onto you guys,
what do you think about Ancient Egypt as a civilization? Do you find it interesting? Please do leave me a comment I would love
to read and answer them all, and bonus points for you if you
do leave a comment you might get featured in next week’s video as a fan of the week! As usual, I know I haven’t talked about everything regarding the Egyptian civilization. That’s OK, I actually do this on purpose because I want you guys to go out and research more on your own. Because I believe in research, and I believe in creating this show to get people educated, but also curious about a subject to want to research more on their own. And if you guys want to do that, as always there are some links in the description where you can start! Thank you so much for watching, thank you for being here and giving your time to this video If you’ve enjoyed it please leave it a big thumbs up, make sure to subscribe and hit the notification bell join #TeamKnowledge and be notified whenever I release a new video. And with that being said, my name has been Darius Cosden, it’s been an absolute pleasure you can follow me on social media the links will be in the description. And I will see you all next Wednesday.

34 thoughts on “The Egyptian Civilization

  1. VOK IS BACK! Hope you guys enjoyed this episode as much as I enjoyed making it! Can you spot the differences from previous episodes?

    P.S. I also have a second channel! ➨

  2. Sweet video dude, you never let me down.
    Egypt is one of the foundations of civilization, I wonder how different would it be if they hadn't been there.

  3. Great to see VOK return. Ancient Egypt is really interesting to me. Fun fact the workers who built the pyramids were often paid with beer (according, at least, to Tom Standage in his book "A History of the World in 6 Glasses")

  4. My ancestors are featured on VOK, what an honor!!! Thank you so very much for making me understand how my own country was started; they skip too many important parts (they regard it as unnecessary) in history class.😂

  5. I loved the video but when you said you want to encourage people to research I thought it was an alright idea but people subscribed to you to hear about a subject not get encouraged to look somewhere else for the full story. That my friend, is how you lose subs.

  6. I remember reading that pyramids weren't built by slave labor before. Apparently some pharaohs hired people to build pyramids seasonally to offset seasons when people would classically be out of work, or river conditions weren't optimal etc

  7. Short and sweet. Personally I found it very useful that you explained the old and new kingdoms helped my own understanding of the region.

  8. BERRY interesting , maybe talk a bit slower ? It’s kind of hard to understand sometimes . Good video as always, keep it up !

  9. It is a really good video and its content is good but u didn't mention the the progress and the achievements (medical ,astronomical,preservation, there intelligence and the discovery of the  π  ,coordinates of pyramid and there meanings ) and to make the picture clearer to people that all of Egypt is not desert because some people think like that, by the way I am Egyptian and if u have any question or anything don't hesitate ❤

  10. Just subscribed to your channel 🙂 I think u should try talking slower because sometimes it can be hard to process all the things u r saying.

  11. I love your channel but you skipped over my favourite and kinda one of the most influential (culturally and)(Im going to spell this wrong) Hapshetsut, she was pretty cool and she built/destroyed a lot of stuff(mostly destroyed but still cool), and just a little thing; maybe you can have more of ur female characters have word bubbles? idk. This was one of my favs anuway and I love ur channel so much.

  12. I'm glad u put Egypt's fall at a more accurate date of 332 B.C.
    and not 30 B.C.
    Though it fell in 342 B.C.
    Culturally by A.D. 100

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