Ancient Egypt

1000 Words 4 Pages
One of the most famous of all ancient societies, Ancient Egypt has captured the imaginations of historians, authors, and archaeologists for centuries. The civilization produced many of the world’s most famous monuments, from the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx to the Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings. Dating from the 4th millennium BC, it is one of the earliest societies in recorded history, tracing roots back to 5000 BC and beginning its recorded history in around 2925 BC with its first king, Menes (Britannica, n. pag.). The society flourished to varying degrees for nearly 3000 years, witnessing the passage of 31 dynasties and upwards of 200 Pharaohs take up the double crown. Today, a very different Egypt presents itself from the …show more content…
The latter, also referred to as the First Persian Empire, successfully conquered Egypt in 525 BC and instituted themselves the 27th Dynasty of Egypt. Finally driven out in 402 BC, the Persians returned less than a century later, however after only 11 years of rule, both they and the Egyptians were overthrown by Alexander the Great’s Macedonian Empire in 332 BC. Following his death, one of his generals assumed control of Egypt. Becoming Ptolemy I Soter, the first Ptolemaic Pharaoh of Egypt, he was careful to carry on the legacy of the native Pharaohs, adopting their religion, taking up their manners and dress, and even assuming practices like sibling marriage. In honor of the first of the dynasty, all male descendants of Ptolemy were likewise named Ptolemy, and all females called either Cleopatra, Berenice, or Arsinoe. The Ptolemies brought a period of prosperity for Egypt, cultivating Alexander’s city of Alexandria as an intellectual and Hellenistic metropolis and expanding the borders of the nation. Successive generations proved to be increasingly weak and corrupt as various members of the intertwined royal family deposed and supplanted one another. Eventually an alliance with the burgeoning power of Rome was formed for protection, and by the reign of Cleopatra VII, Egypt was a de facto protectorate of Rome, a position which …show more content…
This set the stage for a sweeping revolution in religion following Jesus’ death in circa 33 AD. The religion of Ancient Egypt had been dwindling slowly in centuries of Greco-Roman rule, and the message of Christianity was theologically appealing to the oppressed masses. A religion teaching of an eternal life in heaven was naturally preferable to the poorest people than one promoting earthly life as eternal. The spread only increased when Constantine I legalized Christianity in the 313 Edict of Milan. Diocletian’s division of the Roman Empire in 330 virtually severed ties between Egypt and Rome, increasing Greek influence from the Byzantine Empire of which it was now a part. The Coptic language developed as a written form of Ancient Egyptian using the Greek alphabet, and combined with the Coptic Christian religion pervading the land, the old traditions began fade away. Lost was the ability to read hieroglyphics, as was the old religion, and temples were simply abandoned in the desert. After several centuries of rule, the Byzantine Empire’s hold on Egypt was growing ever more tenuous, just as the Ptolemaic Dynasty’s had, and 639 saw a final end for Byzantine

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