The hostory of Ancient Egypt covers a 5000 year history, from the Pre-dynastic Era to the Graeco-Roman Period.
The White Goddess Divination, Scrying, Runes

Historical Overview - Lesson 1 - The White Goddess

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Historical Overview

Historical Overview

The hostory of Ancient Egypt covers a 5000 year history, from the Pre-dynastic Era to the Graeco-Roman Period. Such an expanse of history provides certain problems for Egyptologists; during some eras, there is a lack of primary evidence, wether through wars, natural catastrophes or man-made destruction of evidence. Because of the lack of evidence in certain eras, Egyptology is open to many various views and interpretations of these facts.

Recorded History

The Ancient Egyptians left an immense wealth of recorded history throughout a 3500 year period that hieroglyphes were used as a written language, the last inscriptions were done around 343ad at Philae. Writing was developed around the time of the unification of Ancient Egypt, as yet there is no definitive evidence that the Ancient Egyptians created their writing system through contact with the ancient Sumerians or whether it was developed independantly.

Major Periods

Archaic Period - Dynasties 1 & 2
Old Kingdom - Dynasties 3 to 6
First Intermediate Period - Dynasties 7 to 11
Middle Kingdom - Dynasty 12
Second Intermediate Period - Dynasties 13 to 17
The New Kingdom - Dynasties 18 to 20
Third Intermediate Period - Dynasties 21 to 25
Late Period - Dynasties 26 to 31
343BC - 332BC - Ruled by Alexander The Great
Roman Period - Ends with the emergence of Christianity and the Arabic invasions of the 7th century

Chronology and King Lists

The chronology used by Egyptologists is based on the work done by Manetho, who complied a list of Egyptian rulers and then divided them into 31 dynasties. The start of Dynasty 1 is around 3100BC and ends at 343BC. Manetho's King Lists do not stop at Dynasty 1, but lists that the Gods ruled Pre-Dynastic Egypt. Unfortunately Manetho's work is no longer extant, and we are left with various passages quoted by other classical authors that do survive.

Ancient Egyptian Names

There are many spellings of personal names of the Ancient Egyptians that also give rise to many problems. Hieroglyphs were written without vowels, using only the consonants, vowels were added when speaking much like Hebrew and Arabic. Coptic gives a hint of possible vocalisations, but it must be remembered that Coptic is the final stage in the evolution of the Egyptian language; it is useful to think of the differences between Old English, the language of Chaucer and that used today.

Sometimes it is useful to speak the Ancient Egyptian words, which presents further problems. As well as the Egyptian name and its variant spellings, there is no standardised method for inserting vowels, but also many place and God names also have their Greek name.

For example Archaelogical Site Names, could have more than one name, the Ancient Egyptian name, a Graeco-Roman Period name and the modern Arabic name.

Snippets

Hieroglyphics of the Horus of Gold - Showing falcon perched on the sign for gold

Horus of Gold

Also known as the Golden Horus name, this form of the pharaoh's name typically featured the image of a Horus falcon perched above or beside the hieroglyph for gold.

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