The Complete History of Ancient African Civilizations
A BRIEF OF THE NIL VALLEY CIVILIZATION
The Nile is the longest river in the world, reaching 6400 kilometers in length. Nile River water comes from springs in the highlands (mountains) of Kilimanjaro in East Africa. The Nile flows from south to north and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. There are four countries through which the Nile flows, namely Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Every year the Nile always floods. The overflow of the flood then inundated the area on either side of the river, so that it became a fertile valley between 15 and 50 kilometers wide. Surrounding the river valley is desert, with the eastern limits being the Arabian desert on the shores of the Red Sea, the Nubian desert in the South being in the Sudan with the western limits being the Libyan desert. Then the northern limit of Egypt is the Mediterranean Sea.
According to myth, the water that flows directly from the river is the tears of the Goddess Isis who is always busy crying and going down the Nile to find the remains of her son who died in battle. Scientifically speaking, even in summer the Nile still flows. The water actually comes from glaciers that melt from the Kilimanjaro mountains as the headwaters of the Nile. The role of the Nile river is so important for the birth of the life of the people in the river valley. So it is right if Herodotus says "Egypt is the gift of the Nile".
The fertile Nile river valley encouraged people to engage in farming. It is the water of the Nile that people use to build irrigation and canals, canals and reservoirs. River water is channeled into the fields belonging to residents with an even distribution. For irrigation purposes, an irrigation organization was created, which was usually chaired by landlords or feudal groups. The agricultural products of the Egyptian people at that time were wheat, sekoi or jamawut and jam, namely grains whose seeds or fruit were hard like corn. To meet the demand for goods and to sell the products of the Egyptian people, trade relations were established with Phoenicia, Mesopotamia and Greece in the Mediterranean region. The role of the Nile in this case is as a means of trade transportation. Many trading boats crossed the Nile.
It is often said in ancient history that political history in Egypt actually began with the formation of communities in villages that formed small kingdoms with village administrations. The village is called nomen. From these small villages, they developed into cities which were later united into the kingdoms of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt by Menes, who had the title Nesut - Bitti. The idea of forming these kingdoms actually dates back to 4000 BC, but only then did it materialize into a unified kingdom in 3400 BC, when a ruler named Menes united the two kingdoms into one large Egyptian empire.
Egypt in that context is a kingdom ruled by a king whose title is Pharaoh. He has absolute power. The word Pharaoh comes from the word "peru" which means a big house or palace which is the residence of the king. Pharaohs were considered gods and believed to be the sons of the god Osiris. All power is in his hands whether civil, military or religious (belief).
As ruler, Pharaoh claimed that all land belonged to the kingdom. The people who lived in the kingdom's territory had to pay taxes, which was why for this purpose Pharaoh had ordered a population census (perhaps this was the first sesus in the history of mankind on earth), land and livestock. He makes laws, and because of that he controls the courts. As a military ruler, Pharaoh must have played the role of a warlord, while in times of peace he ordered his soldiers to build canals and highways. He is also a religious leader.
If it is concluded then three important things about Pharaoh (Ramses) are that the King rules with an authoritarian system, as he wishes, second, all power is in the hands of the king both civil (economic, government and law), military and religion, and third is that the people need fully subject to the king's orders, one of which is the obligation to pay taxes.
To run his government, Pharaoh appointed officials who generally came from the nobility. There are governors who govern the provinces, military commanders, judges at court and priests to carry out religious ceremonies. One of the important positions at that time was Vizier or Prime Minister which was generally held by the crown prince. Since 3400 BC, in ancient Egypt history has been ruled by no less than 30 different dynasties consisting of three eras, namely the Old Egyptian Kingdom centered in Memphis, the Middle Kingdom in Awaris and the New Egyptian Kingdom in Thebe.
Broadly speaking, the state of the reign of the kings of Egypt can be described as follows:
1) The Kingdom of Old Egypt (3400 - 2160 BC), namely the kingdom of Old Egypt after Menes managed to unite Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. As a unifier she is called Nesutbiti and depicted as wearing a twin crown. The Old Egyptian Empire is also called the Age of the Pyramids because it was during this period that famous pyramids were built, for example the Sakarah pyramid of Pharaoh Joser. The pyramids at Gizeh are the tombs of the pharaohs themselves who are called Cheops, Chifren and Menkawa. The collapse of the Old Egyptian empire was caused because since 2500 BC the government was in chaos. Nations from outside, for example from Asia Minor, launched an attack on the Egyptian empire. Many nobles also broke away and wanted to rule independently. Finally there was a split between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt.
2) The Kingdom of Middle Egypt (2100 - 1788 BC), is the Kingdom of Egypt which is known for the appearance of King Sesotris III. He succeeded in restoring unity and rebuilding Egypt. His notable acts include clearing farmland, building irrigation projects, building dams and others. He increased trade and opened trade relations with Palestine, Syria and the island of Crete. Sesotris III also succeeded in expanding southward to Nubia (now Ethiopia). Since 1800 BC the kingdom of Middle Egypt was then invaded and conquered by the Hyksos.
3) The New Egyptian Kingdom (1500 - 1100 BC), namely an era after Egypt was occupied by the Hyksos, where Egypt entered a new kingdom era or was called the empire era. It is called the era of the empire because the Egyptian Pharaohs managed to seize territories/areas in western Asia including Palestine, Phoenicia and Syria. Among the famous kings who ruled during the New Egyptian era include:
a) Ahmosis I. It was he who had succeeded in expelling the Hyksos from Egypt so that the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties ruled.
b) Thutmosis I. During his reign, Egypt succeeded in controlling fertile Mesopotamia.
c) Thutmosis III. He is the greatest king in the history of ancient Egypt. He ruled with his beloved wife Hatshepsut. The boundaries of his territory in the east up to
Syria, in the south to Nubia, in the west to Lybia and in the north to the islands of Crete and Sicily. Because of this action he was called "Napoleon of Egypt". He is called Napoleon of Egypt because there is a similarity, namely that the two figures have conquered many of the surrounding areas. Like Tutmosis III, Napoleon Bonaparte through a coalition war between 1799 - 1814 has controlled almost all of Europe and fell into the hands of the French Emperor, namely Napoleon Bonaparte. Thutmosis III is also known for ordering the construction of the Karnak and Luxor Temples.
d) Amen Hotep IV, this Emperor is known for introducing monotheistic beliefs, namely worshiping only the god Aton (the sun god) who is a spirit and is formless. He also claimed to be an ordinary human and not a god.
e) Ramses II, who is known for having built a great building called the Ramesseum and his Temple and tomb at Abusimbel. He also ordered the excavation of a canal connecting the Nile to the Red Sea, although this was not successful at that time. The period of Ramses II is estimated to be contemporaneous with the life of the prophet Musa. After the reign of Ramses II power in Egypt declined. Egypt was conquered by Assyria in 670 BC and in 525 BC Egypt became part of the Persian empire. After Persia, and was ruled by Iskandar Zulkarnaen and his successors from Greece with the last dynasty of the Ptolemies. One of the descendants of the Ptolemaic dynasty was Queen Cleopatra and since 27 BC Egypt became Roman territory.
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN BELIEFS SYSTEMS
There are two interesting things when talking about the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, namely regarding polytheistic beliefs, and secondly, about the culture of preserving bodies in mummified form. Ancient Egyptian society knew the worship of the gods. There was a national deity, namely the god Ra (the sun god), and the god Amon (the moon god) later became Amon Ra. As a symbol of worship to Ra, an obelisk was erected, namely a stone pillar with a pointed end. The obelisk is also used as a place to record events that are considered important. To worship the god Amon Ra, a very beautiful temple called Karnak was built during the time of King Thutmosis III.
Apart from the national gods, there are also local gods who are only worshiped in certain areas, such as the god Osiris, the judge of the afterlife, the goddess Isis, the goddess of beauty for Osiris' wife, the god Aris, the god of fertility, and the god Anubis, the god of death.
The form of belief that developed in ancient Egypt at that time was a form of belief based on understanding as a form of worship of gods, which departed from concepts or ideas that humans were powerless in conquering nature. Second, the god that is worshiped is a scary god/goddess like the god Anubis or the god who gives the source of life. Worshiping the god Anubis means worshiping the gods with the hope that they will not become the target of death or be kept away from calamity (catastrophe).
The second belief is related to the preservation of bodies called mummies. The basis of the development of the ability to make mummies is the concept that humans cannot escape the will of the god of death. Humans want to live forever. In order for the spirit to live, the body as a symbol of the spirit must remain intact.
THE CIVILIZATION OF ANCIENT EGYPT
1) Writing, the ancient Egyptians knew a form of writing called hieroglyphs or writing in the form of pictures. Hieroglyphs are found on pyramid walls, obelisks and papyrus leaves. Hieroglyph letters consist of pictures and symbols in the form of humans, animals and objects. Each symbol has a meaning of its own. Hieroglyphic writing then developed into a simpler form which became known as hieratic and demotic writing.
Hieratic writing is basically scripture that only priests are allowed to use. Meanwhile, Demotic writing is people's writing that is used for worldly affairs, such as buying and selling, and so on. when Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1799 one of his troops found a large black stone in the Rosetta area. The stone later known as the Rosetta stone bears an inscription in three unknown writing styles. Only 23 years after the discovery of the Rosetta stone or in 1822 JF Champollion managed to reveal the meaning of the writing by comparing the three forms of writing used, namely Hieroglyph, Demotic and Greek. By reading the contents of the Rosetta stone, the veil was opened regarding ancient Egyptian knowledge (Egyptology) which is known today. Apart from stone, hieroglyphs were also found on paper made from Papyrus stems. Papyrus documents have been used in kiuno Egyptian culture since the first dynasty, including the use of ink made from a mixture of water with a kind of vegetable gum and paint.
2) Calendar System
The ancient Egyptians first made a calendar based on the cycle (circulation) of the moon for 291/2 days. Because it was considered inappropriate, they set a calendar based on the appearance of the dog star (Sirius) which appeared every year. They calculated that a year is 12 months, a month is 30 days and a year is 365 days, which is 12 x 30 days and then 5 days are added. They also know leap years. This calculation is the same as the calendar used today which is called the Syamsiah Year (Solar system). The calculation of the ancient Egyptian calendar with the Solar system was later adopted (taken over) by the Romans to become the Roman calendar with the Gregorian system. Meanwhile, the ancient Arabs took over the calculation of the lunar system (circulation of the moon) to drag the Hijrah.
3) Building Arts (architecture)
Based on the remains of buildings that can still be seen today, it proves to us that the ancient Egyptians had outstanding abilities in the fields of mathematics, geometry, and the arts of architecture. Relics of famous ancient Egyptian buildings such as pyramids and temples, for example, are closely related to religious life (beliefs), aren't the pyramids basically built for the burial places of Pharaohs? The famous architect who built the pyramid was actually Imhotep. The building has been designed to have underground chambers, courtyards and a small shrine on the outside. The columns and walls are decorated with beautiful ornaments. On the inside of the building there are even passages, vents and the king's morgue. In front of the pyramid there is also a spinx,
The largest pyramid is the tomb of king Cheops, which is 137 meters high which is located in Gizeh. Apart from Cheops, in Gizeh there are also Chefren and Menkaure pyramids. In Sakarah there is also the pyramid of the pharaoh Joser. Based on excavations in the El Badari area, a burial was found called Hockerbestattung (Hocker means squatting and bestattung means burial) because the deceased were put in by sitting down crouching. There is also a cemetery called mastaba for the nobility. The next building is a temple that serves as a place to worship the gods. The largest and most beautiful temple to date is the Karnak Temple which was built for the worship of the god Amon Ra. The Karnak Temple itself is ±433 m (1,300 ft) long, the columns are 23.5 m high and ±6.6 m (20 ft) in diameter. Wall,