Egypt_2_Old_Kingdom_2007 - THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION THE OLD...

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1 T HE R ISE OF C IVILIZATION [Egypt2007Lec2.wpd] February 15, 2007 T. D’Altroy T HE O LD K INGDOM © Terence N. D’Altroy (sources: see previous lecture) 1. 2695-2160 BC a. Dynasties 3-8 b. total = 535 years 2. era of the great emergence of many features of full-blown Egyptian civilization a. often known as the Pyramid Age 3. era of continuing political unification a. following initial unification of Upper and Lower Egypt 1. in Archaic period: ca. 3100 BC b. written sources relatively underdeveloped 1. archaeological sources important 2. esp. public buildings commissioned by kings and nobles c. political developments: traceable through some of changes in this architecture 1. pyramids: most outstanding public buildings are pharaohs’ funerary pyramids S ETTLEMENT PATTERNS 1. at least five distinct types of settlements: archaeological perception a. national “capital”: Memphis b. large walled towns: Hierakonpolis, Abydos c. forts and trading entrêpots: Buhen, Elephantine 1. walled, medium-sized communities d. pyramid towns: Abusir, Giza 1. substantial settlements directly associated with pyramid complexes e. small provincial villages and towns 1. population still largely non-urbanized 2. five early hieroglyphic terms for different kinds of settlements [Wenke 1997: 32-33] a. a word usually translated as city whose root meaning is a collection of reed huts surrounded by a protective wall b. a word translated as town which actually means to touch and refers to locations on the riverbank where boats landed c. a word for mound that implies a settlement on a rise above the floodplain d. a word referring to clan or family that describes small hamlets of kin groups 1
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e. a word meaning seat or abode of a god, which may imply some kind of a temple within a community 3. Memphis a. legendary capital for first pharaoh: Narmer 1. continued as royal capital for Old Kingdom dynasties 2. later pharaohs kept residences there b. seen as strategic linchpin that held kingdom together 1. comparable only to Thebes: in south c. royal burial centers: along western bank of Nile 1. necropolis sites: starting in Late Predynastic and Archaic a. covered length of 30 km 2. names derive from modern villages a. Dahshur Saqqara Abusir Zawyet el-‘Aryan Giza Abu Rawash d. town itself mostly covered over by silt e. one New Kingdom tomb called Hikuptah : “The Temple of the ka of Ptah” 1. gave rise to Greek Aigyptos : name of whole country 2. yielded Egypt and Coptic 3. pyramids a. royal and noble burial grounds 1. in vicinity of Memphis b. after king’s death: pyramid sites functioned as centers for cult of dead ruler 1. resident group of officials/priests and retainers c. some non-royal cult centers begin to appear 1. temple complexes devoted to local deities a. pious foundations: sub-royal funerary cults or local statues of deities 4. Old Kingdom population size a. total Old Kingdom: 1-2 million b. no real population pressure 1. large expanses in middle Nile valley: unsettled
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Egypt_2_Old_Kingdom_2007 - THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION THE OLD...

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