EGYPT: Some Notes
MANETHO (native Egyptian historian, ca. 280 B.C.,
worked at the MUSEUM, the first `graduate school' or `think tank',
founded by the Greek PTOLEMY II in Alexandria).
Manetho produced a History of his native Egypt of which there survives
an annotated list of "Dynasties" of Egyptian pharaohs (Pharaoh: PER WA = `great house').
Union of Egypt (`Dynasty 1' variously dated, ca. 3400-2900 B.C.)
King Narmer (Narmer palette, photo in Chambers, p. 15)
King MENES (=Narmer ? Menes is Manetho's name)
King Aha (=Menes ? =Narmer?)
The Pyramid Builders
(Dynasty 3 to Dynasty 5, ca. 2700-2350)
King ZOSER (= Djoser) commissioned the first step pyramid from the architect-priest-magician-bureaucrat
IM-HOTEP, who was later deified as the patron God of Medicine
King KHUFU (= Cheops) Dynasty 4: The Great Pyramid at Gizeh.
EARLY CITIES IN EGYPT:
- -Hierakonpolis ('city of the hawk') in upper Egypt, on west side of Nile, ca. 100 miles below Aswan; home of King Narmer and his palette.
-Memphis some 12 miles south (up-river) from modern Cairo, on the west side of the Nile. Founded by Narmer as united Egypt's northern capital (the tombs at Saqqara and pyramids at Gizeh are Memphis' cemetery).
-Abydos town in central Egypt, the city of OSIRIS, god of the dead. Early Pharaohs were buried here, or at least had a monument (cenotaph).
-Thebes capital of one of Egypt's districts, until (with Dynasty 11) it became the national capital. Its chief god AMON-RE had a major temple at Karnak. It reached its height under the 18th dynasty, until the disaster of AMON-HOTEP IV (IKHNATON) reduced Egypt to chaos. For nearly two centuries after Tutankhamon (ca. 1322) the Court preferred Memphis. RAMESES II (Dynasty 19, ca. 1300-1226) returned the capital to Thebes permanently. At THEBES, AMON-RA was King of the Gods.
-Hieroglyphics (`sacred writing') from pre-dynastic times (before 3100 B.C.) used for monumental inscriptions and sacred texts. Invented by THOTH, god of Memphis, creator of human beings (who were, in theory and practice, servants of the gods).
-Demotic (`popular writing') developed from H., used in everyday quick writing, including book texts. Scribes were taught in temples--which were Egypt's equivalent of universities: medicine, art, literature, law, etc.
*THE PYRAMID TEXTS: known from Dynasty 4 (King Unis), but far older sacred spells to resurrect the dead (Pharaoh) and ensure his safe journey to the Underworld where he was united with OSIRIS; originally ISIS had these spells, and command over life & death.
- MA'AT (`Truth'; `Law-and-order'; `Justice') goddess with feather
HYKSOS (ca. 1750--1570) Semitic invaders from Middle East, conquered and ruled the Delta from Memphis. Joseph, son of Jacob-Israel, may have been prime minister of the last Hyksos king (Dynasty 16)
Tuthmosis founder of Dynasty 18 (Theban), called The New Kingdom; led an uprising against the Hyksos and freed the sacred `Black Land', `Gift of the Gods'
THUTMOSIS III (ca. 1504--1450) greatest of the imperialists of the NEW KINGDOM: his empire reached the Euphrates River. His son was the AMENHOTEP II who set up the famous stele between the paws of the Sphinx at Giza.
AMENHOTEP III wealthiest and most magnificent of the Dynasty 18 pharaohs. His family was personally devoted to the Sun God of Heliopolis, RE-Harakhty, the solar disk.
AMENHOTEP IV son of A III, made RE (RA) `the only god worshipped in Egypt', under the name ATON, closed all the other temples, expelled the clergy. Called `THE HERETIC PHARAOH' Was perhaps a monotheist, but more likely a henotheist (There are many gods, but only one is to be worshipped). His successor was King TUT, his half-brother or son (?)
RAMESES II (ca. 1292-1225) Dynasty 19 BATTLE OF KADESH against HITTITES. Is he the Pharaoh of the Exodus ??
Rameses III (ca. 1198-1167) Dynasty 20: PEOPLES OF THE SEA invasions--included Cretans, Hittites, Achaeans (?), Danaans (?), Cilicians.
January 28, 2010 11:24 AM
John Paul Adams, CSUN