The Early Phase

The Early Phase

Commencing with Washington’s defeat at Great Meadows in July 1754, the French maintained the upper hand in an undeclared war that was a struggle for turf in North America.

The major event in this initial phase was the overwhelming defeat of General Edward Braddock in the shadow of Fort Duquesne in July 1755.

Another significant setback for the British cause in 1755 was the failure of Massachusetts governor William Shirley to take the French position at Fort Niagara, the gateway to the West.

Two events offered encouragement to the British effort. In June, Shirley and his forces succeeded in taking Fort Beauséjour, which occupied a strategic position between Nova Scotia and Acadia. As a security measure — a move that still generates bitterness today — the British expelled many of the French-speaking “Acadians” from Nova Scotia, fearing that they would provide aid to the enemy.

The second event that raised American spirits was the halting of a French advance on Lake George in September 1755, but the planned follow-up attack on Crown Point was stillborn thanks to balky New England soldiers. General William Johnson was later knighted for this solitary victory.

On the frontier, Lenni Lenape and Shawnee struck hard at the British-American settlements. The Indians had been emboldened by Braddock’s defeat and spread terror throughout western Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Washington played a prominent role in quelling the threat in the Shenandoah Valley.

In 1756, Lord Loudoun was sent to North America as the new commander-in-chief. Unfortunately for the British cause, he was little else but a master at paperwork. The war soon entered a new dimension as fighting broke out in Europe and elsewhere throughout the globe.


See French and Indian War Timeline. See also Indian Wars Time Table.


1945-1960 - The Cambodian Left: The Early Phases

The history of the communist movement in Cambodia can be divided into six phases: the emergence of the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP), whose members were almost exclusively Vietnamese, before World War II the ten-year struggle for independence from the French, when a separate Cambodian communist party, the Kampuchean (or Khmer) People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP), was established under Vietnamese auspices the period following the Second Party Congress of the KPRP in 1960, when Saloth Sar (Pol Pot after 1976) and other future Khmer Rouge leaders gained control of its apparatus the revolutionary struggle from the initiation of the Khmer Rouge insurgency in 1967-68 to the fall of the Lon Nol government in April 1975 the Democratic Kampuchea regime, from April 1975 to January 1979 and the period following the Third Party Congress of the KPRP in January 1979, when Hanoi effectively assumed control over Cambodia's government and communist party.

Much of the movement's history has been shrouded in mystery, largely because successive purges, especially during the Democratic Kampuchea period, have left so few survivors to recount their experiences. One thing is evident, however, the tension between Khmer and Vietnamese was a major theme in the movement's development. In the three decades between the end of World War II and the Khmer Rouge victory, the appeal of communism to Westerneducated intellectuals (and to a lesser extent its more inchoate attraction for poor peasants) was tempered by the apprehension that the much stronger Vietnamese movement was using communism as an ideological rationale for dominating the Khmer.

The analogy between the Vietnamese communists and the Nguyen dynasty, which had legitimized its encroachments in the nineteenth century in terms of the "civilizing mission" of Confucianism, was persuasive. Thus, the new brand of indigenous communism that emerged after 1960 combined nationalist and revolutionary appeals and, when it could afford to, exploited the virulent anti-Vietnamese sentiments of the Khmers. Khmer Rouge literature in the 1970s frequently referred to the Vietnamese as yuon (barbarian), a term dating from the Angkorian period.

In 1930 Ho Chi Minh founded the Vietnamese Communist Party by unifying three smaller communist movements that had emerged in Tonkin, in Annam, and in Cochinchina during the late 1920s. The name was changed almost immediately to the ICP, ostensibly to include revolutionaries from Cambodia and Laos. Almost without exception, however, all the earliest party members were Vietnamese. By the end of World War II, a handful of Cambodians had joined its ranks, but their influence on the Indochinese communist movement and on developments within Cambodia was negligible.

The story of Communism i n Cambodia began in 1945, when a group of Cambodian patriots, called the Khmer Issaraks, took to the hills to start a rebellion against the French. Within two years, they were in contact with the Communist Viet Minh in neighboring Vietnam. In short order, the Viet Minh attempted to take over the Khmer independence movement. Their effort split the rebels in two. One faction consisted of the old Khmer Issaraks. The other became the Khmer Viet Minh, controlled by the Indo-China Communist Party under the direction of Ho Chi Minh.

Viet Minh units occasionally made forays into Cambodia bases during their war against the French, and, in conjunction with the leftist government that ruled Thailand until 1947, the Viet Minh encouraged the formation of armed, left-wing Khmer Issarak bands. On April 17, 1950 (twenty-five years to the day before the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh), the first nationwide congress of the Khmer Issarak groups convened, and the United Issarak Front was established. Its leader was Son Ngoc Minh (possibly a brother of the nationalist Son Ngoc Thanh), and a third of its leadership consisted of members of the ICP. According to the historian David P. Chandler, the leftist Issarak groups, aided by the Viet Minh, occupied a sixth of Cambodia's territory by 1952 and, on the eve of the Geneva Conference, they controlled as much as one half of the country.

In 1951 the ICP was reorganized into three national units--the Vietnam Workers' Party, the Lao Itsala, and the KPRP. According to a document issued after the reorganization, the Vietnam Workers' Party would continue to "supervise" the smaller Laotian and Cambodian movements. Most KPRP leaders and rank-and-file seem to have been either Khmer Krom, or ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia. The party's appeal to indigenous Khmers appears to have been minimal.

According to Democratic Kampuchea's version of party history, the Viet Minh's failure to negotiate a political role for the KPRP at the 1954 Geneva Conference represented a betrayal of the Cambodian movement, which still controlled large areas of the countryside and which commanded at least 5,000 armed men. Following the conference, about 1,000 members of the KPRP, including Son Ngoc Minh, made a "Long March" into North Vietnam, where they remained in exile. In late 1954, those who stayed in Cambodia founded a legal political party, the Pracheachon Party, which participated in the 1955 and the 1958 National Assembly elections.

In the September 1955 election, it won about 4 percent of the vote but did not secure a seat in the legislature. Members of the Pracheachon were subject to constant harassment and to arrests because the party remained outside Sihanouk's Sangkum. Government attacks prevented it from participating in the 1962 election and drove it underground. Sihanouk habitually labeled local leftists the Khmer Rouge (see Appendix B), a term that later came to signify the party and the state headed by Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, and their associates.

During the mid-1950s, KPRP factions, the "urban committee" (headed by Tou Samouth), and the "rural committee" (headed by Sieu Heng), emerged. In very general terms, these groups espoused divergent revolutionary lines. The prevalent "urban" line, endorsed by North Vietnam, recognized that Sihanouk, by virtue of his success in winning independence from the French, was a genuine national leader whose neutralism and deep distrust of the United States made him a valuable asset in Hanoi's struggle to "liberate" South Vietnam. Champions of this line hoped that the prince could be persuaded to distance himself from the right wing and to adopt leftist policies.

The other line, supported for the most part by rural cadres who were familiar with the harsh realities of the countryside, advocated an immediate struggle to overthrow the "feudalist" Sihanouk. In 1959 Sieu Heng defected to the government and provided the security forces with information that enabled them to destroy as much as 90 percent of the party's rural apparatus. Although communist networks in Phnom Penh and in other towns under Tou Samouth's jurisdiction fared better, only a few hundred communists remained active in the country by 1960.


Literature

Romanticism proper was preceded by several related developments from the mid-18th century on that can be termed Pre-Romanticism. Among such trends was a new appreciation of the medieval romance, from which the Romantic movement derives its name. The romance was a tale or ballad of chivalric adventure whose emphasis on individual heroism and on the exotic and the mysterious was in clear contrast to the elegant formality and artificiality of prevailing Classical forms of literature, such as the French Neoclassical tragedy or the English heroic couplet in poetry. This new interest in relatively unsophisticated but overtly emotional literary expressions of the past was to be a dominant note in Romanticism.

Romanticism in English literature began in the 1790s with the publication of the Lyrical Ballads of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth’s “Preface” to the second edition (1800) of Lyrical Ballads, in which he described poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” became the manifesto of the English Romantic movement in poetry. William Blake was the third principal poet of the movement’s early phase in England. The first phase of the Romantic movement in Germany was marked by innovations in both content and literary style and by a preoccupation with the mystical, the subconscious, and the supernatural. A wealth of talents, including Friedrich Hölderlin, the early Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean Paul, Novalis, Ludwig Tieck, August Wilhelm and Friedrich von Schlegel, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, and Friedrich Schelling, belong to this first phase. In Revolutionary France, François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, and Madame de Staël were the chief initiators of Romanticism, by virtue of their influential historical and theoretical writings.

The second phase of Romanticism, comprising the period from about 1805 to the 1830s, was marked by a quickening of cultural nationalism and a new attention to national origins, as attested by the collection and imitation of native folklore, folk ballads and poetry, folk dance and music, and even previously ignored medieval and Renaissance works. The revived historical appreciation was translated into imaginative writing by Sir Walter Scott, who is often considered to have invented the historical novel. At about this same time English Romantic poetry had reached its zenith in the works of John Keats, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

A notable by-product of the Romantic interest in the emotional were works dealing with the supernatural, the weird, and the horrible, as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and works by Charles Robert Maturin, the Marquis de Sade, and E.T.A. Hoffmann. The second phase of Romanticism in Germany was dominated by Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, Joseph von Görres, and Joseph von Eichendorff.

By the 1820s Romanticism had broadened to embrace the literatures of almost all of Europe. In this later, second, phase, the movement was less universal in approach and concentrated more on exploring each nation’s historical and cultural inheritance and on examining the passions and struggles of exceptional individuals. A brief survey of Romantic or Romantic-influenced writers would have to include Thomas De Quincey, William Hazlitt, and Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë in England Victor Hugo, Alfred de Vigny, Alphonse de Lamartine, Alfred de Musset, Stendhal, Prosper Mérimée, Alexandre Dumas, and Théophile Gautier in France Alessandro Manzoni and Giacomo Leopardi in Italy Aleksandr Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov in Russia José de Espronceda and Ángel de Saavedra in Spain Adam Mickiewicz in Poland and almost all of the important writers in pre-Civil War America.


1789-91

An Estates General is called to give the king consent to sort out the finances, but it's been so long since it was called there is room to argue about its form, including whether the three estates can vote equally or proportionally. Instead of bowing to the king the Estates General takes radical action, declaring itself a Legislative Assembly and seizing sovereignty. It starts tearing down the old regime and creating a new France by passing a series of laws which strip away centuries of laws, rules and divisions. These are some of the most frenetic and important days in Europe's history.

The French king was always uneasy with his role in the revolution the revolution was always uneasy with the king. An attempt to flee doesn't help his reputation, and as the countries outside France mishandle events a second revolution occurs, as Jacobins and sansculottes force the creation of a French Republic. The king is executed. The Legislative Assembly is replaced by the new National Convention.


1930s – Science fiction story predicted VR

In the 1930s a story by science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum (Pygmalion’s Spectacles) contains the idea of a pair of goggles that let the wearer experience a fictional world through holographics, smell, taste and touch. In hindsight the experience Weinbaum describes for those wearing the goggles are uncannily like the modern and emerging experience of virtual reality, making him a true visionary of the field.

Image source: sffaudio.com


Mesopotamia: The Proto-Literate and Early Dynastic Phases

During the next period (called the proto-literate phase) the south was the important region, and the transformation of the village culture into an urban civilization took place. Uruk (modern Tall al Warka), the foremost site at the beginning of this period, has yielded such monumental architecture as the temple of Inanna and the ziggurat of Anu. Also found at Uruk were tablets including the earliest pictographic writing. At the same time and apparently independently, smaller organized settlements arose at sites such as Tell Hamoukar and Tell Brak in NE Syria and Hacinebi and Arslantepe in SE Turkey.

The early dynastic phase that followed saw the development of city-states all over the Middle East as far as N Syria, N Mesopotamia, and probably Elam. The famous sites of this period are Tell Asmar, Kafaje, Ur, Kish, Mari, Farah, and Telloh (Lagash). The Sumerians (see Sumer), the inhabitants of these city-states of S Mesopotamia, were unified at Nippur, where they gathered together to worship Enlil, the wind god. The famous first dynasty of Ur came at the end of the early dynastic period.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Middle East


Contents

The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. [8] The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. [9] Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.

Predynastic period

In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is also the period when many animals were first domesticated. [10]

By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, and identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs, bracelets, and beads. The largest of these early cultures in upper (Southern) Egypt was the Badarian culture, which probably originated in the Western Desert it was known for its high-quality ceramics, stone tools, and its use of copper. [11]

The Badari was followed by the Naqada culture: the Amratian (Naqada I), the Gerzeh (Naqada II), and Semainean (Naqada III). [12] [ page needed ] These brought a number of technological improvements. As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. [13] In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast. [14] Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. [15] Establishing a power center at Nekhen (in Greek, Hierakonpolis), and later at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile. [16] They also traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. [17] [ when? ]

The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. [18] During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language. [19]

Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150–2686 BC)

The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian-Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia and of ancient Elam. The third-century BC Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of kings from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today. He began his official history with the king named "Meni" (or Menes in Greek), who was believed to have united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. [20]

The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have been the king Narmer, who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette, in a symbolic act of unification. [22] In the Early Dynastic Period, which began about 3000 BC, the first of the Dynastic kings solidified control over lower Egypt by establishing a capital at Memphis, from which he could control the labour force and agriculture of the fertile delta region, as well as the lucrative and critical trade routes to the Levant. The increasing power and wealth of the kings during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified king after his death. [23] The strong institution of kingship developed by the kings served to legitimize state control over the land, labour, and resources that were essential to the survival and growth of ancient Egyptian civilization. [24]

Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)

Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom, fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. [25] Some of ancient Egypt's crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx, were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier, state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. [26]

With the rising importance of central administration in Egypt, a new class of educated scribes and officials arose who were granted estates by the king in payment for their services. Kings also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples, to ensure that these institutions had the resources to worship the king after his death. Scholars believe that five centuries of these practices slowly eroded the economic vitality of Egypt, and that the economy could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration. [27] As the power of the kings diminished, regional governors called nomarchs began to challenge the supremacy of the office of king. This, coupled with severe droughts between 2200 and 2150 BC, [28] is believed to have caused the country to enter the 140-year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period. [29]

First Intermediate Period (2181–2055 BC)

After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the king, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. [30] In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period. [31]

Free from their loyalties to the king, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 BC, rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 BC the northern Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands. They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom. [32]

Middle Kingdom (2134–1690 BC)

The kings of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's stability and prosperity, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects. [33] Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I, upon assuming the kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 BC, shifted the kingdom's capital to the city of Itjtawy, located in Faiyum. [34] From Itjtawy, the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a far-sighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the "Walls of the Ruler", to defend against foreign attack. [35]

With the kings having secured the country militarily and politically and with vast agricultural and mineral wealth at their disposal, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom displayed an increase in expressions of personal piety. [36] Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style. [31] The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical sophistication. [37]

The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III, allowed Semitic-speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the Delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties. During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to assume greater control of the Delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos. [38]

Second Intermediate Period (1674–1549 BC) and the Hyksos

Around 1785 BC, as the power of the Middle Kingdom kings weakened, a Western Asian people called the Hyksos, who had already settled in the Delta, seized control of Egypt and established their capital at Avaris, forcing the former central government to retreat to Thebes. The king was treated as a vassal and expected to pay tribute. [39] The Hyksos ("foreign rulers") retained Egyptian models of government and identified as kings, thereby integrating Egyptian elements into their culture. They and other invaders introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot. [40]

After retreating south, the native Theban kings found themselves trapped between the Canaanite Hyksos ruling the north and the Hyksos' Nubian allies, the Kushites, to the south. After years of vassalage, Thebes gathered enough strength to challenge the Hyksos in a conflict that lasted more than 30 years, until 1555 BC. [39] The kings Seqenenre Tao II and Kamose were ultimately able to defeat the Nubians to the south of Egypt, but failed to defeat the Hyksos. That task fell to Kamose's successor, Ahmose I, who successfully waged a series of campaigns that permanently eradicated the Hyksos' presence in Egypt. He established a new dynasty and, in the New Kingdom that followed, the military became a central priority for the kings, who sought to expand Egypt's borders and attempted to gain mastery of the Near East. [41]

New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC)

The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria, and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Beginning with Merneptah the rulers of Egypt adopted the title of pharaoh.

Between their reigns, Hatshepsut, a queen who established herself as pharaoh, launched many building projects, including restoration of temples damaged by the Hyksos, and sent trading expeditions to Punt and the Sinai. [42] When Tuthmosis III died in 1425 BC, Egypt had an empire extending from Niya in north west Syria to the Fourth Cataract of the Nile in Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood. [43]

The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built. [44]

Around 1350 BC, the stability of the New Kingdom was threatened when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of most other deities, and moved the capital to the new city of Akhetaten (modern-day Amarna). [45] He was devoted to his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned and the traditional religious order restored. The subsequent pharaohs, Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb, worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period. [46]

Around 1279 BC, Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history. [a] A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in modern Syria) and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty, around 1258 BC. [47]

Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples, a conjectured confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea. [b] Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of its remaining territories in southern Canaan, much of it falling to the Assyrians. The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period. [48]

Third Intermediate Period (1069–653 BC)

Following the death of Ramesses XI in 1078 BC, Smendes assumed authority over the northern part of Egypt, ruling from the city of Tanis. The south was effectively controlled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes, who recognized Smendes in name only. [49] During this time, Libyans had been settling in the western delta, and chieftains of these settlers began increasing their autonomy. Libyan princes took control of the delta under Shoshenq I in 945 BC, founding the so-called Libyan or Bubastite dynasty that would rule for some 200 years. Shoshenq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. Libyan control began to erode as a rival dynasty in the delta arose in Leontopolis, and Kushites threatened from the south.

Around 727 BC the Kushite king Piye invaded northward, seizing control of Thebes and eventually the Delta, which established the 25th Dynasty. [51] During the 25th Dynasty, Pharaoh Taharqa created an empire nearly as large as the New Kingdom's. Twenty-fifth Dynasty pharaohs built, or restored, temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley, including at Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, and Jebel Barkal. [52] During this period, the Nile valley saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom. [53] [54] [55]

Egypt's far-reaching prestige declined considerably toward the end of the Third Intermediate Period. Its foreign allies had fallen under the Assyrian sphere of influence, and by 700 BC war between the two states became inevitable. Between 671 and 667 BC the Assyrians began the Assyrian conquest of Egypt. The reigns of both Taharqa and his successor, Tanutamun, were filled with constant conflict with the Assyrians, against whom Egypt enjoyed several victories. Ultimately, the Assyrians pushed the Kushites back into Nubia, occupied Memphis, and sacked the temples of Thebes. [57]

Late Period (653–332 BC)

The Assyrians left control of Egypt to a series of vassals who became known as the Saite kings of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. By 653 BC, the Saite king Psamtik I was able to oust the Assyrians with the help of Greek mercenaries, who were recruited to form Egypt's first navy. Greek influence expanded greatly as the city-state of Naukratis became the home of Greeks in the Nile Delta. The Saite kings based in the new capital of Sais witnessed a brief but spirited resurgence in the economy and culture, but in 525 BC, the powerful Persians, led by Cambyses II, began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the Battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from Iran, leaving Egypt under the control of a satrapy. A few successful revolts against the Persians marked the 5th century BC, but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians. [58]

Following its annexation by Persia, Egypt was joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia in the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. This first period of Persian rule over Egypt, also known as the Twenty-Seventh Dynasty, ended in 402 BC, when Egypt regained independence under a series of native dynasties. The last of these dynasties, the Thirtieth, proved to be the last native royal house of ancient Egypt, ending with the kingship of Nectanebo II. A brief restoration of Persian rule, sometimes known as the Thirty-First Dynasty, began in 343 BC, but shortly after, in 332 BC, the Persian ruler Mazaces handed Egypt over to Alexander the Great without a fight. [59]

Ptolemaic period (332–30 BC)

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander's successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic Kingdom, was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria. [60] The Lighthouse of Alexandria lit the way for the many ships that kept trade flowing through the city—as the Ptolemies made commerce and revenue-generating enterprises, such as papyrus manufacturing, their top priority. [61]

Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style, supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs. Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized into composite deities, such as Serapis, and classical Greek forms of sculpture influenced traditional Egyptian motifs. Despite their efforts to appease the Egyptians, the Ptolemies were challenged by native rebellion, bitter family rivalries, and the powerful mob of Alexandria that formed after the death of Ptolemy IV. [62] In addition, as Rome relied more heavily on imports of grain from Egypt, the Romans took great interest in the political situation in the country. Continued Egyptian revolts, ambitious politicians, and powerful opponents from the Near East made this situation unstable, leading Rome to send forces to secure the country as a province of its empire. [63]

Roman period (30 BC – AD 641)

Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC, following the defeat of Marc Antony and Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) in the Battle of Actium. The Romans relied heavily on grain shipments from Egypt, and the Roman army, under the control of a prefect appointed by the Emperor, quelled rebellions, strictly enforced the collection of heavy taxes, and prevented attacks by bandits, which had become a notorious problem during the period. [64] Alexandria became an increasingly important center on the trade route with the orient, as exotic luxuries were in high demand in Rome. [65]

Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and worship of the traditional gods continued. [66] The art of mummy portraiture flourished, and some Roman emperors had themselves depicted as pharaohs, though not to the extent that the Ptolemies had. The former lived outside Egypt and did not perform the ceremonial functions of Egyptian kingship. Local administration became Roman in style and closed to native Egyptians. [66]

From the mid-first century AD, Christianity took root in Egypt and it was originally seen as another cult that could be accepted. However, it was an uncompromising religion that sought to win converts from Egyptian Religion and Greco-Roman religion and threatened popular religious traditions. This led to the persecution of converts to Christianity, culminating in the great purges of Diocletian starting in 303, but eventually Christianity won out. [67] In 391 the Christian Emperor Theodosius introduced legislation that banned pagan rites and closed temples. [68] Alexandria became the scene of great anti-pagan riots with public and private religious imagery destroyed. [69] As a consequence, Egypt's native religious culture was continually in decline. While the native population continued to speak their language, the ability to read hieroglyphic writing slowly disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses diminished. The temples themselves were sometimes converted to churches or abandoned to the desert. [70]

In the fourth century, as the Roman Empire divided, Egypt found itself in the Eastern Empire with its capital at Constantinople. In the waning years of the Empire, Egypt fell to the Sasanian Persian army in the Sasanian conquest of Egypt (618–628). It was then recaptured by the Roman Emperor Heraclius (629–639), and was finally captured by Muslim Rashidun army in 639–641, ending Roman rule.

Administration and commerce

The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs. In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier, who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives. [71] At a regional level, the country was divided into as many as 42 administrative regions called nomes each governed by a nomarch, who was accountable to the vizier for his jurisdiction. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they places of worship, but were also responsible for collecting and storing the kingdom's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers, who redistributed grain and goods. [72]

Social status

Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble family that owned the land. [77] Farmers were also subject to a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a corvée system. [78] Artists and craftsmen were of higher status than farmers, but they were also under state control, working in the shops attached to the temples and paid directly from the state treasury. Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments that served as a mark of their rank. [79] The upper class prominently displayed their social status in art and literature. Below the nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized training in their field. It is unclear whether slavery as understood today existed in ancient Egypt, there is difference of opinions among authors. [80]

The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes, as essentially equal under the law, and even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his court for redress. [81] Although slaves were mostly used as indentured servants, they were able to buy and sell their servitude, work their way to freedom or nobility, and were usually treated by doctors in the workplace. [82] Both men and women had the right to own and sell property, make contracts, marry and divorce, receive inheritance, and pursue legal disputes in court. Married couples could own property jointly and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts, which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife and children should the marriage end. Compared with their counterparts in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world, ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices, legal rights, and opportunities for achievement. Women such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra VII even became pharaohs, while others wielded power as Divine Wives of Amun. Despite these freedoms, ancient Egyptian women did not often take part in official roles in the administration, aside from the royal high priestesses, apparently served only secondary roles in the temples (not much data for many dynasties), and were not so likely to be as educated as men. [81]

Legal system

The head of the legal system was officially the pharaoh, who was responsible for enacting laws, delivering justice, and maintaining law and order, a concept the ancient Egyptians referred to as Ma'at. [71] Although no legal codes from ancient Egypt survive, court documents show that Egyptian law was based on a common-sense view of right and wrong that emphasized reaching agreements and resolving conflicts rather than strictly adhering to a complicated set of statutes. [81] Local councils of elders, known as Kenbet in the New Kingdom, were responsible for ruling in court cases involving small claims and minor disputes. [71] More serious cases involving murder, major land transactions, and tomb robbery were referred to the Great Kenbet, over which the vizier or pharaoh presided. Plaintiffs and defendants were expected to represent themselves and were required to swear an oath that they had told the truth. In some cases, the state took on both the role of prosecutor and judge, and it could torture the accused with beatings to obtain a confession and the names of any co-conspirators. Whether the charges were trivial or serious, court scribes documented the complaint, testimony, and verdict of the case for future reference. [83]

Punishment for minor crimes involved either imposition of fines, beatings, facial mutilation, or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes such as murder and tomb robbery were punished by execution, carried out by decapitation, drowning, or impaling the criminal on a stake. Punishment could also be extended to the criminal's family. [71] Beginning in the New Kingdom, oracles played a major role in the legal system, dispensing justice in both civil and criminal cases. The procedure was to ask the god a "yes" or "no" question concerning the right or wrong of an issue. The god, carried by a number of priests, rendered judgement by choosing one or the other, moving forward or backward, or pointing to one of the answers written on a piece of papyrus or an ostracon. [84]

Agriculture

A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits. Land management was crucial in ancient Egypt because taxes were assessed based on the amount of land a person owned. [85]

Farming in Egypt was dependent on the cycle of the Nile River. The Egyptians recognized three seasons: Akhet (flooding), Peret (planting), and Shemu (harvesting). The flooding season lasted from June to September, depositing on the river's banks a layer of mineral-rich silt ideal for growing crops. After the floodwaters had receded, the growing season lasted from October to February. Farmers plowed and planted seeds in the fields, which were irrigated with ditches and canals. Egypt received little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile to water their crops. [86] From March to May, farmers used sickles to harvest their crops, which were then threshed with a flail to separate the straw from the grain. Winnowing removed the chaff from the grain, and the grain was then ground into flour, brewed to make beer, or stored for later use. [87]

The ancient Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley, and several other cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food staples of bread and beer. [88] Flax plants, uprooted before they started flowering, were grown for the fibers of their stems. These fibers were split along their length and spun into thread, which was used to weave sheets of linen and to make clothing. Papyrus growing on the banks of the Nile River was used to make paper. Vegetables and fruits were grown in garden plots, close to habitations and on higher ground, and had to be watered by hand. Vegetables included leeks, garlic, melons, squashes, pulses, lettuce, and other crops, in addition to grapes that were made into wine. [89]

Animals

The Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order thus humans, animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole. [90] Animals, both domesticated and wild, were therefore a critical source of spirituality, companionship, and sustenance to the ancient Egyptians. Cattle were the most important livestock the administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses, and the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs. Poultry, such as ducks, geese, and pigeons, were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them. [91] The Nile provided a plentiful source of fish. Bees were also domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, and provided both honey and wax. [92]

The ancient Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden, and they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an offering ritual. Horses were introduced by the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period. Camels, although known from the New Kingdom, were not used as beasts of burden until the Late Period. There is also evidence to suggest that elephants were briefly utilized in the Late Period but largely abandoned due to lack of grazing land. [91] Cats, dogs, and monkeys were common family pets, while more exotic pets imported from the heart of Africa, such as Sub-Saharan African lions, [93] were reserved for royalty. Herodotus observed that the Egyptians were the only people to keep their animals with them in their houses. [90] During the Late Period, the worship of the gods in their animal form was extremely popular, such as the cat goddess Bastet and the ibis god Thoth, and these animals were kept in large numbers for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. [94]

Natural resources

Egypt is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones. These natural resources allowed the ancient Egyptians to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry. [95] Embalmers used salts from the Wadi Natrun for mummification, which also provided the gypsum needed to make plaster. [96] Ore-bearing rock formations were found in distant, inhospitable wadis in the Eastern Desert and the Sinai, requiring large, state-controlled expeditions to obtain natural resources found there. There were extensive gold mines in Nubia, and one of the first maps known is of a gold mine in this region. The Wadi Hammamat was a notable source of granite, greywacke, and gold. Flint was the first mineral collected and used to make tools, and flint handaxes are the earliest pieces of evidence of habitation in the Nile valley. Nodules of the mineral were carefully flaked to make blades and arrowheads of moderate hardness and durability even after copper was adopted for this purpose. [97] Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use minerals such as sulfur as cosmetic substances. [98]

The Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the most important metal for toolmaking in ancient Egypt and was smelted in furnaces from malachite ore mined in the Sinai. [99] Workers collected gold by washing the nuggets out of sediment in alluvial deposits, or by the more labor-intensive process of grinding and washing gold-bearing quartzite. Iron deposits found in upper Egypt were utilized in the Late Period. [100] High-quality building stones were abundant in Egypt the ancient Egyptians quarried limestone all along the Nile valley, granite from Aswan, and basalt and sandstone from the wadis of the Eastern Desert. Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry, greywacke, alabaster, and carnelian dotted the Eastern Desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, miners worked deposits of emeralds in Wadi Sikait and amethyst in Wadi el-Hudi. [101]

Trade

The ancient Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt. In the Predynastic Period, they established trade with Nubia to obtain gold and incense. They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty pharaohs. [102] An Egyptian colony stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty. [103] Narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt. [104] [105]

By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons. [106] Egypt relied on trade with Anatolia for essential quantities of tin as well as supplementary supplies of copper, both metals being necessary for the manufacture of bronze. The ancient Egyptians prized the blue stone lapis lazuli, which had to be imported from far-away Afghanistan. Egypt's Mediterranean trade partners also included Greece and Crete, which provided, among other goods, supplies of olive oil. [107]

Historical development

The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages. [108] It has the second longest known history of any language (after Sumerian), having been written from c. 3200 BC to the Middle Ages and remaining as a spoken language for longer. The phases of ancient Egyptian are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian (Classical Egyptian), Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. [109] Egyptian writings do not show dialect differences before Coptic, but it was probably spoken in regional dialects around Memphis and later Thebes. [110]

Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language, but it became more analytic later on. Late Egyptian developed prefixal definite and indefinite articles, which replaced the older inflectional suffixes. There was a change from the older verb–subject–object word order to subject–verb–object. [111] The Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts were eventually replaced by the more phonetic Coptic alphabet. Coptic is still used in the liturgy of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, and traces of it are found in modern Egyptian Arabic. [112]

Sounds and grammar

Ancient Egyptian has 25 consonants similar to those of other Afro-Asiatic languages. These include pharyngeal and emphatic consonants, voiced and voiceless stops, voiceless fricatives and voiced and voiceless affricates. It has three long and three short vowels, which expanded in Late Egyptian to about nine. [113] The basic word in Egyptian, similar to Semitic and Berber, is a triliteral or biliteral root of consonants and semiconsonants. Suffixes are added to form words. The verb conjugation corresponds to the person. For example, the triconsonantal skeleton S-Ḏ-M is the semantic core of the word 'hear' its basic conjugation is sḏm, 'he hears'. If the subject is a noun, suffixes are not added to the verb: [114] sḏm ḥmt, 'the woman hears'.

Writing

Hieroglyphic writing dates from c. 3000 BC, and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic, which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic, became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone. [120]

Around the first century AD, the Coptic alphabet started to be used alongside the Demotic script. Coptic is a modified Greek alphabet with the addition of some Demotic signs. [121] Although formal hieroglyphs were used in a ceremonial role until the fourth century, towards the end only a small handful of priests could still read them. As the traditional religious establishments were disbanded, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was mostly lost. Attempts to decipher them date to the Byzantine [122] and Islamic periods in Egypt, [123] but only in the 1820s, after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and years of research by Thomas Young and Jean-François Champollion, were hieroglyphs substantially deciphered. [124]

Literature

Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries (called House of Books), laboratories and observatories. [125] Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and Coffin Texts, were written in Classical Egyptian, which continued to be the language of writing until about 1300 BC. Late Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni. The genre known as Sebayt ("instructions") was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles the Ipuwer papyrus, a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example.

The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian literature. [126] Also written at this time was the Westcar Papyrus, a set of stories told to Khufu by his sons relating the marvels performed by priests. [127] The Instruction of Amenemope is considered a masterpiece of Near Eastern literature. [128] Towards the end of the New Kingdom, the vernacular language was more often employed to write popular pieces like the Story of Wenamun and the Instruction of Any. The former tells the story of a noble who is robbed on his way to buy cedar from Lebanon and of his struggle to return to Egypt. From about 700 BC, narrative stories and instructions, such as the popular Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, as well as personal and business documents were written in the demotic script and phase of Egyptian. Many stories written in demotic during the Greco-Roman period were set in previous historical eras, when Egypt was an independent nation ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramesses II. [129]

Daily life

Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mudbrick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread. [130] Ceramics served as household wares for the storage, preparation, transport, and consumption of food, drink, and raw materials. Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture. [131]

The ancient Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance. Most bathed in the Nile and used a pasty soap made from animal fat and chalk. Men shaved their entire bodies for cleanliness perfumes and aromatic ointments covered bad odors and soothed skin. [132] Clothing was made from simple linen sheets that were bleached white, and both men and women of the upper classes wore wigs, jewelry, and cosmetics. Children went without clothing until maturity, at about age 12, and at this age males were circumcised and had their heads shaved. Mothers were responsible for taking care of the children, while the father provided the family's income. [133]

Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular. In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia. [134] The sistrum was a rattle-like musical instrument that was especially important in religious ceremonies.

The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet, a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times another similar game was mehen, which had a circular gaming board. “Hounds and Jackals” also known as 58 holes is another example of board games played in ancient Egypt. The first complete set of this game was discovered from a Theban tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat IV that dates to the 13th Dynasty. [136] Juggling and ball games were popular with children, and wrestling is also documented in a tomb at Beni Hasan. [137] The wealthy members of ancient Egyptian society enjoyed hunting, fishing, and boating as well.

The excavation of the workers' village of Deir el-Medina has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world, which spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organization, social interactions, and working and living conditions of a community have been studied in such detail. [138]

Cuisine

Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time indeed, the cuisine of modern Egypt retains some striking similarities to the cuisine of the ancients. The staple diet consisted of bread and beer, supplemented with vegetables such as onions and garlic, and fruit such as dates and figs. Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Fish, meat, and fowl could be salted or dried, and could be cooked in stews or roasted on a grill. [139]

Architecture

The architecture of ancient Egypt includes some of the most famous structures in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the temples at Thebes. Building projects were organized and funded by the state for religious and commemorative purposes, but also to reinforce the wide-ranging power of the pharaoh. The ancient Egyptians were skilled builders using only simple but effective tools and sighting instruments, architects could build large stone structures with great accuracy and precision that is still envied today. [140]

The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary Egyptians alike were constructed from perishable materials such as mudbricks and wood, and have not survived. Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces of the elite and the pharaoh were more elaborate structures. A few surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in Malkata and Amarna, show richly decorated walls and floors with scenes of people, birds, water pools, deities and geometric designs. [141] Important structures such as temples and tombs that were intended to last forever were constructed of stone instead of mudbricks. The architectural elements used in the world's first large-scale stone building, Djoser's mortuary complex, include post and lintel supports in the papyrus and lotus motif.

The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples, such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns. In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon, the open courtyard, and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Greco-Roman period. [142] The earliest and most popular tomb architecture in the Old Kingdom was the mastaba, a flat-roofed rectangular structure of mudbrick or stone built over an underground burial chamber. The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other. Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs. [143] The use of the pyramid form continued in private tomb chapels of the New Kingdom and in the royal pyramids of Nubia. [144]

Model of a household porch and garden, c. 1981–1975 BC

The Temple of Dendur, completed by 10 BC, made of aeolian sandstone, temple proper: height: 6.4 m, width: 6.4 m length: 12.5 m, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

The well preserved Temple of Isis from Philae is an example of Egyptian architecture and architectural sculpture

Illustration of various types of capitals, drawn by the Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius

The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over 3500 years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change. [145] These artistic standards—simple lines, shapes, and flat areas of color combined with the characteristic flat projection of figures with no indication of spatial depth—created a sense of order and balance within a composition. Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette, for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs. [146] Because of the rigid rules that governed its highly stylized and symbolic appearance, ancient Egyptian art served its political and religious purposes with precision and clarity. [147]

Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone as a medium for carving statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute. Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores (red and yellow ochres), copper ores (blue and green), soot or charcoal (black), and limestone (white). Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed. [148]

Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art, such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife. [149] During the Middle Kingdom, wooden or clay models depicting scenes from everyday life became popular additions to the tomb. In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife. [150]

Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or political attitudes. After the invasion of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period, Minoan-style frescoes were found in Avaris. [151] The most striking example of a politically driven change in artistic forms comes from the Amarna Period, where figures were radically altered to conform to Akhenaten's revolutionary religious ideas. [152] This style, known as Amarna art, was quickly abandoned after Akhenaten's death and replaced by the traditional forms. [153]

Egyptian tomb models as funerary goods. Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Kneeling portrait statue of Amenemhat holding a stele with an inscription c. 1500 BC limestone Egyptian Museum of Berlin (Germany)

Fresco which depicts Nebamun hunting birds 1350 BC paint on plaster 98 × 83 cm British Museum (London)

Portrait head of pharaoh Hatshepsut or Thutmose III 1480–1425 BC most probably granite height: 16.5 cm Egyptian Museum of Berlin

Falcon box with wrapped contents 332–30 BC painted and gilded wood, linen, resin and feathers 58.5 × 24.9 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

Religious beliefs

Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system. [154] These various conceptions of divinity were not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality. [155]

Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials. Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos. [156] After the New Kingdom, the pharaoh's role as a spiritual intermediary was de-emphasized as religious customs shifted to direct worship of the gods. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people. [157]

The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. In addition to the body, each person had a šwt (shadow), a ba (personality or soul), a ka (life-force), and a name. [158] The heart, rather than the brain, was considered the seat of thoughts and emotions. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh, or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a "feather of truth." If deemed worthy, the deceased could continue their existence on earth in spiritual form. [159] If they were not deemed worthy, their heart was eaten by Ammit the Devourer and they were erased from the Universe.

Burial customs

The ancient Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death. These customs involved preserving the body by mummification, performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the deceased would use in the afterlife. [149] Before the Old Kingdom, bodies buried in desert pits were naturally preserved by desiccation. The arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the elaborate burial preparations available to the elite. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs and use artificial mummification, which involved removing the internal organs, wrapping the body in linen, and burying it in a rectangular stone sarcophagus or wooden coffin. Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, some parts were preserved separately in canopic jars. [160]

By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron. The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated. [161]

Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Funerary texts were often included in the grave, and, beginning in the New Kingdom, so were shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife. [162] Rituals in which the deceased was magically re-animated accompanied burials. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased. [163]

The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in the ancient Near East. The military protected mining expeditions to the Sinai during the Old Kingdom and fought civil wars during the First and Second Intermediate Periods. The military was responsible for maintaining fortifications along important trade routes, such as those found at the city of Buhen on the way to Nubia. Forts also were constructed to serve as military bases, such as the fortress at Sile, which was a base of operations for expeditions to the Levant. In the New Kingdom, a series of pharaohs used the standing Egyptian army to attack and conquer Kush and parts of the Levant. [164]

Typical military equipment included bows and arrows, spears, and round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had earlier been introduced by the Hyksos invaders. Weapons and armor continued to improve after the adoption of bronze: shields were now made from solid wood with a bronze buckle, spears were tipped with a bronze point, and the khopesh was adopted from Asiatic soldiers. [165] The pharaoh was usually depicted in art and literature riding at the head of the army it has been suggested that at least a few pharaohs, such as Seqenenre Tao II and his sons, did do so. [166] However, it has also been argued that "kings of this period did not personally act as frontline war leaders, fighting alongside their troops." [167] Soldiers were recruited from the general population, but during, and especially after, the New Kingdom, mercenaries from Nubia, Kush, and Libya were hired to fight for Egypt. [168]

Technology

In technology, medicine, and mathematics, ancient Egypt achieved a relatively high standard of productivity and sophistication. Traditional empiricism, as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri (c. 1600 BC), is first credited to Egypt. The Egyptians created their own alphabet and decimal system.

Faience and glass

Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience, which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone. Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica, small amounts of lime and soda, and a colorant, typically copper. [169] The material was used to make beads, tiles, figurines, and small wares. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian blue, also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing (or sintering) silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment. [170]

The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently. [171] It is also unclear whether they made their own raw glass or merely imported pre-made ingots, which they melted and finished. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque. [172]

Medicine

The medical problems of the ancient Egyptians stemmed directly from their environment. Living and working close to the Nile brought hazards from malaria and debilitating schistosomiasis parasites, which caused liver and intestinal damage. Dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos were also a common threat. The lifelong labors of farming and building put stress on the spine and joints, and traumatic injuries from construction and warfare all took a significant toll on the body. The grit and sand from stone-ground flour abraded teeth, leaving them susceptible to abscesses (though caries were rare). [173]

The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease. [174] Despite the flattering physiques portrayed on tomb walls, the overweight mummies of many of the upper class show the effects of a life of overindulgence. [175] Adult life expectancy was about 35 for men and 30 for women, but reaching adulthood was difficult as about one-third of the population died in infancy. [c]

Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East for their healing skills, and some, such as Imhotep, remained famous long after their deaths. [176] Herodotus remarked that there was a high degree of specialization among Egyptian physicians, with some treating only the head or the stomach, while others were eye-doctors and dentists. [177] Training of physicians took place at the Per Ankh or "House of Life" institution, most notably those headquartered in Per-Bastet during the New Kingdom and at Abydos and Saïs in the Late period. Medical papyri show empirical knowledge of anatomy, injuries, and practical treatments. [178]

Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures, nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection, [179] while opium, thyme, and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess Isis. Moldy bread, honey, and copper salts were also used to prevent infection from dirt in burns. [180] Garlic and onions were used regularly to promote good health and were thought to relieve asthma symptoms. Ancient Egyptian surgeons stitched wounds, set broken bones, and amputated diseased limbs, but they recognized that some injuries were so serious that they could only make the patient comfortable until death occurred. [181]

Maritime technology

Early Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull and had mastered advanced forms of shipbuilding as early as 3000 BC. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that the oldest planked ships known are the Abydos boats. [5] A group of 14 discovered ships in Abydos were constructed of wooden planks "sewn" together. Discovered by Egyptologist David O'Connor of New York University, [182] woven straps were found to have been used to lash the planks together, [5] and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams. [5] Because the ships are all buried together and near a mortuary belonging to Pharaoh Khasekhemwy, originally they were all thought to have belonged to him, but one of the 14 ships dates to 3000 BC, and the associated pottery jars buried with the vessels also suggest earlier dating. The ship dating to 3000 BC was 75 feet (23 m) long and is now thought to perhaps have belonged to an earlier pharaoh, perhaps one as early as Hor-Aha. [182]

Early Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams. The "Khufu ship", a 43.6-metre (143 ft) vessel sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500 BC, is a full-size surviving example that may have filled the symbolic function of a solar barque. Early Egyptians also knew how to fasten the planks of this ship together with mortise and tenon joints. [5]

Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern Mediterranean, especially Byblos (on the coast of modern-day Lebanon), and in several expeditions down the Red Sea to the Land of Punt. In fact one of the earliest Egyptian words for a seagoing ship is a "Byblos Ship", which originally defined a class of Egyptian seagoing ships used on the Byblos run however, by the end of the Old Kingdom, the term had come to include large seagoing ships, whatever their destination. [183]

In 2011, archaeologists from Italy, the United States, and Egypt excavating a dried-up lagoon known as Mersa Gawasis have unearthed traces of an ancient harbor that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut's Punt expedition onto the open ocean. Some of the site's most evocative evidence for the ancient Egyptians' seafaring prowess include large ship timbers and hundreds of feet of ropes, made from papyrus, coiled in huge bundles. [184] In 2013 a team of Franco-Egyptian archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world's oldest port, dating back about 4500 years, from the time of King Cheops on the Red Sea coast near Wadi el-Jarf (about 110 miles south of Suez). [185]

In 1977, an ancient north–south canal dating to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt was discovered extending from Lake Timsah to the Ballah Lakes. [186] It was dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt by extrapolating dates of ancient sites constructed along its course. [186] [d]

Mathematics

The earliest attested examples of mathematical calculations date to the predynastic Naqada period, and show a fully developed numeral system. [e] The importance of mathematics to an educated Egyptian is suggested by a New Kingdom fictional letter in which the writer proposes a scholarly competition between himself and another scribe regarding everyday calculation tasks such as accounting of land, labor, and grain. [188] Texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus show that the ancient Egyptians could perform the four basic mathematical operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—use fractions, calculate the areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles and compute the volumes of boxes, columns and pyramids. They understood basic concepts of algebra and geometry, and could solve simple sets of simultaneous equations. [189]

Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million. Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively. [190] Because their methods of calculation could not handle most fractions with a numerator greater than one, they had to write fractions as the sum of several fractions. For example, they resolved the fraction two-fifths into the sum of one-third + one-fifteenth. Standard tables of values facilitated this. [191] Some common fractions, however, were written with a special glyph—the equivalent of the modern two-thirds is shown on the right. [192]

Ancient Egyptian mathematicians knew the Pythagorean theorem as an empirical formula. They were aware, for example, that a triangle had a right angle opposite the hypotenuse when its sides were in a 3–4–5 ratio. [193] They were able to estimate the area of a circle by subtracting one-ninth from its diameter and squaring the result:

a reasonable approximation of the formula πr 2 . [194]

The golden ratio seems to be reflected in many Egyptian constructions, including the pyramids, but its use may have been an unintended consequence of the ancient Egyptian practice of combining the use of knotted ropes with an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony. [195]

Estimates of the size of the population range from 1-1.5 million in the 3rd millennium BCE to possibly 2-3 million by the 1st millennium BCE, before growing significantly towards the end of that millennium. [196]

A team led by Johannes Krause managed the first reliable sequencing of the genomes of 90 mummified individuals in 2017 from northern Egypt (buried near modern-day Cairo), which constituted "the first reliable data set obtained from ancient Egyptians using high-throughput DNA sequencing methods." Whilst not conclusive, because of the non-exhaustive time frame (New Kingdom to Roman period) and restricted location that the mummies represent, their study nevertheless showed that these ancient Egyptians "closely resembled ancient and modern Near Eastern populations, especially those in the Levant, and had almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa. What's more, the genetics of the mummies remained remarkably consistent even as different powers—including Nubians, Greeks, and Romans—conquered the empire." Later, however, something did alter the genomes of Egyptians. Some 15% to 20% of modern Egyptians' DNA reflects sub-Saharan ancestry, but the ancient mummies had only 6–15% sub-Saharan DNA. [197] They called for additional research to be undertaken. Other genetic studies show much greater levels of sub-Saharan African ancestry in the current-day populations of southern as opposed to northern Egypt, [198] and anticipate that mummies from southern Egypt would contain greater levels of sub-Saharan African ancestry than Lower Egyptian mummies.

The culture and monuments of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world. Egyptian civilization significantly influenced the Kingdom of Kush and Meroë with both adopting Egyptian religious and architectural norms (hundreds of pyramids (6–30 meters high) were built in Egypt/Sudan), as well as using Egyptian writing as the basis of the Meroitic script. [199] Meroitic is the oldest written language in Africa, other than Egyptian, and was used from the 2nd century BC until the early 5th century AD. [199] : 62–65 The cult of the goddess Isis, for example, became popular in the Roman Empire, as obelisks and other relics were transported back to Rome. [200] The Romans also imported building materials from Egypt to erect Egyptian-style structures. Early historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus studied and wrote about the land, which Romans came to view as a place of mystery. [201]

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Egyptian pagan culture was in decline after the rise of Christianity and later Islam, but interest in Egyptian antiquity continued in the writings of medieval scholars such as Dhul-Nun al-Misri and al-Maqrizi. [202] In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European travelers and tourists brought back antiquities and wrote stories of their journeys, leading to a wave of Egyptomania across Europe. This renewed interest sent collectors to Egypt, who took, purchased, or were given many important antiquities. [203] Napoleon arranged the first studies in Egyptology when he brought some 150 scientists and artists to study and document Egypt's natural history, which was published in the Description de l'Égypte. [204]

In the 20th century, the Egyptian Government and archaeologists alike recognized the importance of cultural respect and integrity in excavations. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (formerly Supreme Council of Antiquities) now approves and oversees all excavations, which are aimed at finding information rather than treasure. The council also supervises museums and monument reconstruction programs designed to preserve the historical legacy of Egypt.

Frontispiece of Description de l'Égypte, published in 38 volumes between 1809 and 1829.


Indian History Timeline

Indian timeline takes us on a journey of the history of the subcontinent. Right from the ancient India, which included Bangladesh and Pakistan, to the free and divided India, this time line covers each and every aspect related to the past as well as present of the country. Read on further to explore the timeline of India:

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (9000 BC to 7000 BC)

The earliest records of the Indian history exist in the form of the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. These shelters are situated on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau, in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains. There are five groups of rock shelters, each of them adorned with paintings that are believed to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period.

Mehrgarh Culture (7000 BC to 3300 BC)

Mehrgarh is one of the most significant sites belonging to the Neolithic Age. At the same time, it is one of the oldest sites that indicate the introduction of the concept of farming and herding. Situated on the Kachi plain of Baluchistan (Pakistan), it lies to the west of the Indus River valley. The site of Mehrgarh, spread over an area of 495-acre, was discovered in the year 1974.

Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC to 1700 BC)

The Indus Valley Civilization was discovered in the 1920s. The major events in the timeline of the Indus Valley are given below:

Early Harappan Phase (3300 BC to 2600 BC)

The early Harappan Phase lasted for approximately 700 years, starting with the Ravi Phase. It is one of the three earliest urban civilizations and made use of an early form of the Indus script, known as Harappan script, for writing purposes. Around 2800 BC, the Kot Diji phase of the Indus Valley Civilization started.

Mature Harappan Phase (2600 BC to 1700 BC)

The Mature Harappan Phase started around 2600 BC. Large cities and urban areas started emerging and the civilization expanded to over 2,500 cities and settlements. Urban planning, excellent sewage and drainage system, system of uniform weights and measures, knowledge of proto-dentistry, etc are some of the other elements that characterize the mature phase.

Late Harappan Phase (1700 BC to 1300 BC)

The Late Harappan Phase began around 1700 BC and came to an end around 1300 BC. However, one can find many elements of the Indus Valley Civilization in later cultures.

Vedic Period/Age (1700 BC to 500 BC)

The Vedic Period or the Vedic Age refers to the time of the compilation of the sacred Vedic Sanskrit texts in India. Situated on the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the Vedic Civilization formed the basis of Hinduism and the sIndian culture. The Vedic Period can be divided into the following two phases:

Early Vedic/Rig Vedic Period (1700 BC to 1000 BC)

Early Vedic Period represents the time period when the Rig Veda was compiled. During this period, the king was believed to be the protector of the people, who took an active part in the government. The caste system started becoming rigid and the families started becoming patriarchal. The major events of this time are:

  • 1700 BC - Late Harappan and Early Vedic period coincide
  • 1300 BC - The end of Cemetery H culture
  • 1000 BC - Iron Age of India

Later Vedic Age (1000 BC to 500 BC)

The emergence of the later Vedic period was marked with agriculture becoming the dominant economic activity and a decline in the significance of cattle rearing. The political organization changed completely, with the reduction in the involvement of people in the administration. The major events are:

  • 600 BC - The formation of Sixteen Maha Janapadas (Great Kingdoms)
  • 599 BC - The birth of Mahavira, founder of Jainism
  • 563 BC - The birth of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), founder of Buddhism
  • 538 BC - Cyrus the Great conquered parts of Pakistan
  • 500 BC - Earliest written records in Brahmi
  • 500 BC - Panini standardized grammar and morphology of Sanskrit, converting it
  • into Classical Sanskrit. With this, the Vedic Civilization came to an end.

Ancient India (500 BCE - 550 AD)

Rise of Jainism and Buddhism

Jainism or Jain Dharma is the religious philosophy that originated in the Ancient India. The religion is based on the teachings of the Tirthankaras. The 24th Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira, is credited with propagating the religion in the various parts of the world. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Lord Buddha, who was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama. After attaining Enlightenment, Lord Buddha set on a task of teaching others how to achieve nirvana. His teachings were later propagated throughout the world by Emperor Asoka. The other major events of the Ancient Indian period are:

  • 333 BC - Darius III was defeated by Alexander the Great. The Macedonian Empire was established
  • 326 BC - Ambhi, King of Taxila surrendered to Alexander, Battle of the Hydaspes River
  • 321 BC - Chandra Gupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire
  • 273 BC - Emperor Ashoka took over the Maurya Empire
  • 266 BC - Ashoka conquered most of South Asia, Afghanistan and Iran
  • 265 BC - The battle of Kalinga, after which Emperor Ashoka embraced Buddhism
  • 232 BC: Ashoka died and was succeeded by Dasaratha
  • 230 BC - Satavahana Empire was established
  • 200 to 100 BC - Tholkappiyam standardized grammar and morphology of Tamil
  • 184 BC - Collapse of Maurya Empire with the assassination of Emperor Brihadrata, Establishment of the Sunga dynasty
  • 180 BC - Establishment of the Indo-Greek kingdom
  • 80 BC - Establishment of the Indo-Scythian kingdom
  • 10 BC - Establishment of the Indo-Parthian kingdom
  • 68 AD - Establishment of the Kushan Empire by Kujula Kadphises
  • 78 AD - Gautamiputra Satkarni took over Satavahana Empire and defeated Scythian king Vikramaditya
  • 240 AD - Establishment of the Gupta Empire by Sri-Gupta
  • 320 AD - Chandragupta I took over the Gupta Empire
  • 335 AD - Samudragupta took over the Gupta Empire and started expanding it
  • 350 AD - Establishment of the Pallava Empire
  • 380 AD - Chandragupta II took over the Gupta Empire
  • 399 to 414 AD - Chinese scholar Fa-Hien traveled to India

Medieval Period (550 AD to 1526 AD)

The medieval period can be divided into the following two phases:

Early Medieval Period (Upto 1300 AD)

  • 606 AD - Harshavardhana became the King
  • 630 AD - Hiuen Tsiang traveled to India
  • 761 AD - First Muslim invasion by Mohammed Bin Qasim
  • 800 AD - The birth of Shankaracharya
  • 814 AD - Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I became Rashtrakuta king
  • 1000 AD - Invasion by Mahmud of Ghazni
  • 1017AD - Alberuni traveled to India
  • 1100s AD - Rule of the Chandelas, Cholas, Kadambas, and Rashrakutas
  • 1120 AD - Kalyani Chalukya Empire attained peak, Vikramaditya VI introduced Vikrama Chalukya Era
  • 1191 AD - First battle of Tarain between Mohammed Ghori & Prithivi Raj Chauhan III
  • 1192 AD - Second battle of Tarain between Ghauri and Prithivi Raj Chauhan III
  • 1194 AD - Battle of Chandawar between Ghauri and Jayachandra
  • 1288 AD - Marco Polo came to India

Late Medieval Period (1300 AD to 1500 AD)

  • 1300 AD - Establishment of the Khilji Dynasty
  • 1336 to 1565 AD - Vijayanagar Empire
  • 1498 AD - First voyage of Vasco-da-Gama to Goa

Post-Medieval Era (1526 AD to 1818 AD)

The major events in the post medieval era are:

  • 1526 AD - Babur, the Mughal ruler of Kabul, invaded Delhi and Agra and killed Sultan Ibrahim Lodi
  • 1527 AD - Battle of Khanwa, in which Babur annexed Mewar
  • 1530 AD - Babur died and was succeeded Humayun
  • 1556 AD - Humayun died and was succeeded by his son Akbar
  • 1600 AD - East India company was formed in England
  • 1605 AD - Akbar died and was succeeded by Jehangir
  • 1628 AD - Jehangir died and was succeeded by Shah Jahan
  • 1630 AD - Shivaji was born
  • 1658 AD - Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal, Jamia Masjid and Red Fort.
  • 1659 AD - Shivaji defeated Adilshahi troops at the Battle of Pratapgarh
  • 1674 AD - Maratha Empire was established
  • 1680 AD - Shivaji died
  • 1707 AD - Aurangzeb died and was succeeded by Bahadur Shah I
  • 1707 AD - Maratha Empire broke into two divisions
  • 1734 AD - Pamheiba invaded Tripura
  • 1737 AD - Bajirao I conquered Delhi
  • 1740 AD - Bajirao I died and was succeeded by Balaji Bajirao
  • 1757 AD - Battle of Plassey was fought
  • 1761 AD - Third battle of Panipat ended the expansion of Maratha Empire
  • 1766 AD - First Anglo-Mysore War
  • 1777 AD - First Anglo-Maratha War
  • 1779 AD - Battle of Wadgaon
  • 1780 AD - Second Anglo-Mysore War
  • 1789 AD - Third Anglo-Mysore War
  • 1798 AD - Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
  • 1799 AD - Tipu Sultan died, Wodeyar dynasty was restored
  • 1803 AD - Second Anglo-Maratha War
  • 1817 AD - Third Anglo-Maratha War begins
  • 1818 AD - End of the Maratha Empire and British control over most of India

Colonial Era (1818 AD to 1947 AD)

The Colonial Era started with the British taking control over almost all the parts of India and ended with the freedom of India in 1947. The major events that took place during the Colonial Era are:

  • 1829 AD - Prohibition of Sati
  • 1857 AD - First Indian war of Independence, known as Indian Mutiny
  • 1885 AD - Indian National Congress was formed
  • 1930 AD - Dandi Salt March, Simon Commission, First Round Table Conference
  • 1915 AD - Home Rule League was founded by Annie Besant
  • 1919 AD - Massacre at Jallianwalabagh
  • 1931 AD - Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British, Second Round Table Conference, Gandhi-Irvin Pact
  • 1919 AD - Khilafat Movement, Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, Rowlat Act
  • 1937 AD - Congress won power in many states, World War II broke out
  • 1921 AD - Civil Disobedience Movement
  • 1928 AD - Murder of Lala Lajpat Rai
  • 1942 AD - Quit India Movement, Rise of Subhash Chandra Bose
  • 1922 AD - Quit India Movement suspended after the Chauri-Chura violence
  • 1946 AD - Muslim League adamant about the formation of Pakistan
  • 1947 AD - India gained independence and witnessed partition

Free and Modern India (1947 onwards)

In 1947, India became independent and from that year onwards, started India's struggle to become one of the leading nations of the world. Today, the country is regarded as one of the fastest growing economies of the world.


The History of Electrification

The power grid as we know it began with isolated power generation systems across the world starting in the 1870s. The growth and unification of the systems into an interconnected AC power 'grid' helped raise the quality of life of people from all classes.


Above:
Long-Legged Mary Ann type early DC dynamo created and sold by Thomas Edison.

Electric power first saw commercial use in the 1870s. DC systems dominated from the 1870s-1891. The 1891 Electro-Technical Exposition in Frankfurt marked the end of the DC era.

Direct Current Beginnings:

DC power systems dominated in the 1870's and 1880s. "Small" systems were sold to factories around the world, both in urban areas, and remote undeveloped areas for industrial/mining use. Thomas Edison, Charles Brush, and Werner von Siemens lead the industry in DC systems. DC systems powered factories and small downtown areas but did not reach 95% of residents. Electric lighting was a luxury found only in hotels and other businesses as well as in the mansions of people like George Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan.

The first methods used to power both DC and AC generation plants were coal-fired steam engines and hydroelectric power. Since most industrial cities were already located at waterfall/rapids, utilizing traditional mill power it was natural to convert to hydroelectric power. Learn more about methods of power generation on our page here.

Since coal was costly, early business people envisioned sending great power over distance from dams to cities not already blessed with reliable hydro power. To send DC power over distance one needed to use high voltage:

HVDC Power - This was the first method of transmitting electric power over distance. HVDC is the oldest and "newest" method of distance transmission, today it has reemerged in an advanced form to possibly replace major AC high-voltage routes.

Alternating Current

AC Power provided the solution to distance transmission. AC also provided a solution to interconnect generation sites. The development of the 3-phase AC power system in the late 1880s proved the effectiveness of the system and electrification of entire cities and regions began in the 1890s.

More on Alternating Current History >
More on Three Phase Power >

2.) List of important early power stations

Click on the power plants to learn more about them. Some of the pages are Edison Tech Center pages which have photos and videos.

1879: Dolgeville Dynamo This power station built at the Dolgeville Mill in Dolgeville, NY supplied power for industrial purposes.

1881: Niagara Falls, New York - A small dynamo supplied a few stores in in Niagara Falls with power for lighting. AC power came to this area 14 years later.

1882: Appleton Wisconsin, US DC power, 12.5 kW. This was the first Edison hydroelectric station. It powered Van Depoele's early electric trolleys later in 1886.

1882: Miesbach to Munich, Germany - longest DC transmission to this date: 1400 volts 57 km distance built by Marcel Deprez . HVDC
Transmission length: 57 km (37 miles)

1882: New York City - Edison Illuminating Company builds New York's first power plant at the Pearl Street Station. The DC station lit up to 400 lights and served 85 customers at first. The plant grew consistently over the next few years.
Transmission length: several blocks downtown

1884: England - Gaulard and Gibbs build an AC power plant using a rudimentary transformer which allows for voltage to stay constant despite additional lights(load) being added.
Transmission length: unknown

1884: Lanzo Torinese to Turino, Italy - 2000 volt experimental transmission line built for the International Electricity Exhibition. This transmission line uses a Gaulard and Gibbs transformer.
Transmission length: 40 km (25 miles)

1886: Great Barrington, Massachusetts The first full feature AC power distribution system using transformers is built in the small city of Great Barrington. It used a Siemens generator and Edison's incandescent lights. 500 volts.
Transmission length: 4000 ft (1.2 km)

1886: Pittsburgh, PA Oliver Shallenberger, the main engineer of AC power technology at Westinghouse constructs an AC system for Union Switch and Signal Company Works. George Westinghouse was pleased and began to sell this system. It operated at 1000 volts.
Transmission length 3 miles

1887: Buffalo, NY Oliver Shallenberger and William Stanley build the first commercial AC power plant for Westinghouse for Buffalo Electric Company. Single phase. Voltage ?.
Transmission length unknown

1887: Greater London Sebastian de Ferranti builds the largest AC power station to date (10,000 Volts). After business and other problems the Deptford Power Station is forced to delay opening until 1891. The station eventually supplies central London.
Transmission length unknown

1889: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA Longest DC transmission of power in North America is established south of Portland at Station A.
Transmission length 14 miles (DC Power)

1890: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA Experimental , 2 phase AC generators installed by Westinghouse at Powerhouse A, it sent power to Portland. It was 5 years later before regular commercial AC power was established in Powerhouse B.
Transmission length 14 miles (AC power)

1891: Telluride Colorado- Ames Hydroelectric Plant : 3000V, 133 Hz, single phase. It sent power to mining operations in the mountains near Telluride. It was a Westinghouse experimental project.
Transmission length: 2.5 miles

1891: Lauffen-Frankfurt Germany - A MAJOR STEP FORWARD: The first long-distance and 3-phase alternating current demonstration. This proved that three phase power worked the best for a power grid. This project was developed by Oskar von Miller and engineered by the founder of 3 phase AC power Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky.
Transmission length 175 km (109 miles)

1893: Redlands Mill Creek 1 powerhouse Redlands, CA 1893
The first 3-phase AC commercial power plant in the world. This used C.P. Steinmetz's improved 3-phase system.
Transmission line length: 7 miles

1893: Hellsjon - Grangesberg, Sweden: developed by Ernst Danielson, he also was involved in the Mill Creek Plant at Redlands, California in the same year. General Electric Company.
Transmission line length: 10 km

1895: Pelzer Hydroelectric Plant, South Carolina This plant provided AC 3-phase power to the Pelzer Manufacturing Plant. 3300 V (no transformers were used on transmission)
Transmission line length: 2.75 miles

1895: Folsom Powerhouse, Folsom California Built near a reservoir that catches water from the Sierra Nevada outside of Sacramento.
Transmission line length: 22 miles

*The Folsom Prison opened a small AC powerhouse in 1893 as part of the same hydro system

1895: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA . Powerhouse B is built on the Willamette River and supplies commercial AC power to Portland 14 miles away.
Transmission line length: 14 miles

1895: Niagara Falls AC Power Plants Westinghouse won the contract to build this power plant. GE won the contract for power transmission to Buffalo. The opening of the power plants was trumpeted in the international press more than any other hydro plant before, or possibly since. For this reason it is mistakenly believed to be the first. Nonetheless it was the largest hydro power plant till that date.
Transmission line length: 25 miles (1896)

1897: Mechanicville Power Station , Mechanicville, New York
This power station was built as an experiment of C.P. Steinmetz and commercial operation. Transmission line length: 17 miles
- Also the site of Albert W. Hull's HVDC experiments in 1932 read more about it.

1908: Schaghticoke Power Station Schaghticoke, NY

Site of an experimental monocyclic power transmission 1908. This was a project by AC Pioneer Charles. P. Steinmetz . Various power stations like this became testing grounds for new transmission technologies.

1915: Cohoes Power Plant Cohoes, NY

This plant was a part of the wide scale electric power development going on across the US and Europe at the time. The power grid begins to form as clusters of powerplants begin to interconnect.

After 1900 the number of power stations exploded. All across the world from Argentina to Singapore AC 3 phase power became established as the best way to supply populations with electric power.

3.) Sites by geography

Below: Sites of engineering significance, some of which are early electric power stations.

For use of Edison Tech Center images and videos see our licensing agreement.


Source:

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Foundation Phase Framework (Revised 2015) 544.77 KB
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Foundation Phase provision for three- and four-year-olds: Guidance for local authorities in Wales 1007.21 KB
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Foundation Phase nursery: A guide for parents and carers 675.58 KB

As a key part of the Welsh Government’s Early Years Developmental Assessment Framework (EYDAF), the Foundation Phase Profile (the Profile) supports assessment of children’s learning and development throughout their time in the Foundation Phase. Its main purpose is to provide a nationally consistent baseline assessment which aligns with end of Phase Outcomes. Through the use of observations and formative assessments, the Profile supports practitioners to provide a developmentally appropriate holistic curriculum for all children.

The Profile has been designed to line up with assessments carried out by health professionals and also supports early identification of possible developmental delay, Special Education Needs (SEN) or Additional Learning Needs (ALN) this will ensure support is given to children who need it. The assessments gathered on the Profile will provide useful information for all stakeholders in children’s learning and development, supporting transitions between settings and schools.

The Profile allows practitioners to assess children’s skills using observations and formative assessments and produces Outcomes expressed in four Areas of Learning. Skills should be observed across a wide range of experiences and all the Foundation Phase Areas of Learning.