Rise and Fall of Egypt

Rise and Fall of Egypt - 7 Rise and Fall of Egypt 1 Outline...

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1 7. Rise and Fall of Egypt
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2 Outline Why the differences between Egypt and Mesoptamia? Egypt’s periods of “feudalism” Rise of Egyptian empire Akhnaton’s religious revolution
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3 War v. Peace “Politically, each of the major cities of Sumer was also a state, ruling over the contiguous agricultural areas and often in conflict with neighboring city- states. The artwork [involved] an exaltation of war.” Spodek 60 “Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt has almost no existing record of independent city-states.” 71
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4 Creation of Legal-Bureaucratic Rule in Mesopotamia Problem of Sargon’s standing army Devastates local area Solution: disperse army to different regions Problem: Local leadership revolts Solution: replace local rulers with centralized administration and army: faceless bureaucracy, military discipline Impose centralized rules: Law carved in stone Result: radical overthrow of old kinship system
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5 Egyptian liberalism “In Egypt, thousands of small, largely self- sufficient communities seem to have persisted under a national monarchy, but with a generally decentralized economy for the local production and consumption of food and basic commodities. . . .” Spodek, 71-2.
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6 Egypt’s Easy Rule No history of warfare for 1000 years No independent city-states to conquer No need to radically transform old kinship systems through legality > Survival of elements of ancient past in Egypt’s social and cultural life
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7 Egypt and Mesopotamia: culture Hymn to the Nile, to the Sun Nile as life-giving, mankind-loving divine force Sun as divine source of life for all the world Gilgamesh: story of the flood Rivers as tools of destruction of wrathful anthropomorphic king-like gods Hammurabi’s Code of law v. continuation of traditional society in Egypt
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8 Death and Immortality Emphasis of Epic of Gilgamesh on Death Gilgamesh dies, fails in quest for immortality Only 2/3 a god Egypt builds pyramids for immortality Book of the Dead (Spodek, 76) Pharaoh is 3/3 divine
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9 Weirdness of Egyptian religion Mesopotamia as classical model
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