Monday, January 15, 2018
Short Story: Living Through The Past
The values that built Egypt’s ancient civilisation are still very much in evidence today, writes Hussein Bassir.
Civilisation began in Egypt’s Nile Valley and Delta. The ancient Egyptians, the builders of this unique civilisation, were distinguished for their skill, perseverance, calmness, forbearance, faith and tolerance.
Egypt is also a meeting place for civilisations, a crucible for cultural exchange, and an object of desire for invaders throughout its long history. The names given to the land have been numerous. The name Egypt comes from the ancient term Hutkaptah, meaning “temple of the soul of Ptah”, the god of the ancient capital Memphis. The ancient Egyptians belonged to both the Semitic and Hamitic peoples.
The written story of Egypt begins around 3000 BC. When the legendary king Menes unified Upper Egypt (the south) and Lower Egypt (the Delta) and established a centralised state around 3000 BC, values and standards were introduced that still govern the state of Egypt today.
Egypt then entered the period of the Old Kingdom, the age of the Pyramids, which lasted from 2686 to 2160 BC. During this time, the Egyptians built the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, and carved the statue of the Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau, which represented the Pharaoh Khafre, builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza. These magnificent monuments bear witness to the archaeological, engineering, astronomical and administrative skills of the ancient Egyptians.
After this golden age, Egypt entered a period of decline, before emerging as a powerful force in the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC), the age of Egyptian classical literature. Following this second golden age, the country embarked on the most difficult period in its ancient history, namely the occupation by foreign tribes known as Hyksos, meaning “rulers of foreign lands”.
These crept over the country’s eastern borders and took control of large parts of the land when the Egyptian state was weak. After a long and bitter struggle, the Upper Egyptian Pharaoh Ahmose I (1550-1525 BC) managed to expel the Hyksos from Egypt by driving them into neighbouring Palestine. The New Kingdom, the final golden age of ancient Egypt, was now established.
Egypt adopted a new foreign policy based on expansion and foreign conquest and brought numerous other powers under its control. This period, which lasted until 1069 BC, is known as the age of empire. Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) is considered the founder of the Egyptian Empire in Asia and Africa, while other famous Pharaohs of this age include Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses II and Ramses III….. READ MORE.