Early Civilizations and Near East: The New Kingdom of Egypt – Temples

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Early Civilizations and Near East:

The New Kingdom of Egypt – Temples

General History Of Civilization

The New Kingdom of Egypt was a civilization that revolved around religion and its traditions. They focused very much on burial practices, and the after life. The king or queen always promoted religion, and would build temples to honour their culture and faith. Every element, every ceremony, had a religious aspect, and was given a religious figure to guide and watch over it.



Tuthmosis III



Rames II

Centralized Government / Leaders

- Declared herself the queen

- Reigned for the longest of the four female rulers (15 years)

- Only female to rule when not under dynastic crisis

- Rule described as period of peace, stability and prosperity

- Expanded Egyptian trade, had a massive tomb built and two obelisks

- Inherited throne but did not reign until his late twenties

- Called the “Napoleon of Egypt” as he was very military oriented

- Egypt gained wealth through the money collected from conquered countries

- Focused on reforming religion from the worship of Amon-Re to Aton

- Built a new capital city called Akhetaton (place of the glory of aton) which was far from the centre of Egypt

- Closed temples that worshipped other gods and took their possessions

- Is sometimes called the first monotheist (believed in one god)

- Neglected his role as pharaoh of Egypt and from then the decline began

- Became pharaoh at age of 9

- Changed / stopped Akhenaton’s religion reform

- Changed his name from Tuankhaton to Tutankhamun; rejecting his fathers religion of Aton

- Moved capital back to Thebes

- Died at 18 suddenly from a supposed blow to the back of the head

- Buried in a tomb of a member of nobility which lay relatively undisturbed

-Commonly known for the great wealth found in his tomb (a solid gold coffin)

-Reigned 60 years after Tutankhamun

- Had more buildings and statues built during his reign than any other pharaoh

- Not long after his reign, Egypt fell


- Egyptians were very religious people

- Religion was generally primitive; consisted of the traditions and customs they performed; very important in all aspects of life

- The Egyptians believed that those who created Earth, men, animals etc. were the most significant gods

- They believed that the earth was formed when a hill emerged from the waters of chaos, and Atum, “the perfect one” was standing on the hill, and he then created the air, moisture, sky etc., and each element was represented by a god

- Amon was the god of the kings, and there were gods of death as well

- Each being had a ka, ba, and akh

- The god Khnum created the child on a potter’s wheel and then put it in the mother’s womb, and also created the soul, which was the ka; this was placed in the heart, and left the body at the time of death

- The ba entered the body at birth, and left at death; this was the personality

- The akh was the form that the mummy took that could live in the after world

- The Egyptian values and morals were order, justice and truth, called the Ma’at; they used these to achieve peace with the gods and to be allowed in the after world

- For Egyptians, death was not a bad thing, but was looked at positively; it was a place where the dead could participate in activities that had made them happy during their life on Earth

- In order to reach the after life, two things were necessary; the items that were to be enjoyed in the after life by the ka, who stayed with the body after death had to be placed in the tomb, and the preservation of the body, through the process of mummification

- The preservation of the body was the main focus of their religious beliefs, and took seventy days to complete, with the organs, including the brain being removed and the body being wrapped in linen

- The religious revolution that occurred, with the King Akhenaton forcing everyone to pray to Aton, was destroying Egypt, and was ended when King Tut came into power, and restored the worship of Amon, the god of kings

- The kings and queens generally contributed much to the temples, helping to promote religion and expand the places of worship

Science, Technology, Arts

- Hatshepsut: ambitious building program including her own tomb at Deir al-Bahari and Great Temple of Karnak near Luxor

- Clay soldiers in a pharaoh’s tomb were used to protect him in the afterlife

- People depicted in relief sculptures are questioned by experts to look like what the actual people may have looked like in real life
- in Egyptian art, sculptures portraying love between a pharaoh and their lover are rarely seen; more often the physical flaws are shown in these sculptures
- Akhenaton created hymns to define his religion, some on walls of the city he founded
- Coffins of pharaoh’s were crafted with great wealth; in Tutankhamun's case, it is solid gold and shaped to represent his physical form without deformities. It is also painted in a very detailed way
- Ramses II constructed the largest buildings and statues of all the pharaoh’s: 2 huge temples at Abu Simble
- Egyptians used tools and chemicals to sterilize and clean a dead body to prepare for mummification.

- Salts were used to dry water in the body, creating an imperfect environment for bacteria

- The Pyramids of Giza were built with no technological, scientific, or animal lifting aid and were composed of 2.5 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons


And Trade

- Hatsheput extended trade in Egypt to the country of the Red Sea (known today as Somalia) from where Egypt obtained ebony, incense and ivory

- Labourers worked hard to construct projects such as pyramids and temples, not slaves

- In Egypt, labour was forced, but this ended in 1889

Occupation Specialization / Gender Roles

- Most Egyptians lived in one story, mud homes; they include artists, traders, merchants and labourers

- Women were basically treated well and were given a few legal rights that they enjoyed

- They had the rights to dispose of land and property, and were able to divorce their husbands as well

- Only four women were ever given the chance to rule Egypt, Hatsheput being one of them

- The man was the head of the household and was allowed to have as many wives as he wanted, though it was proved that one would be the best, economically

- The man passes on his inheritance to his children

Impact on History / Society

The New Kingdom of Egypt had many temples, and they allow us to view the types of architecture and materials they used for building in the past. Also, the great tombs of all the different pharaoh’s, with all there riches let us see the type of jewellery and wealth they had back then, and are a great attraction for those of us who visit Egypt. The New Kingdom of Egypt takes us into a different world, where religion is the key factor, and we are able to understand more of the Egyptian culture.

Art in Egypt and Ancient Israel

General History of the Ancient Israel Civilization: Israel is where Abraham was given a new land from God. His Grandson was the one who named it Israel. Some of the people fled to Egypt to avoid drought and famine; however they were enslaved by the Egyptians. Later on Moses led them out of this slavery, (exodus) and back to their land.

Geography of Civilization: Abraham’s land –Shechem in Canaan; which is now called Israel.


Egypt New Kingdom

Ancient Israel




If you look at the class structure you can see that the Pharaoh was above all and the Government officials came after that. So Pharaohs had a major influence on the government.

-Israel was “God ruled” and Abraham’s grandson had split the people into 12 tribes.

-The Israelites in Egypt had escaped by Moses organizing the tribes into a confederation using a covenant (a solemn agreement.

-After settling in Palestine the Israelites still had no central government.



Way of life

-During this time the Nile had flooded, and therefore dams and canals had to be repaired and maintained.

-Fertile soil was left behind from the river, allowing labourers to sow seeds after surveyors correctly mark the land with ropes.

- To churn the ground, labourers send herds of animals over the soil to stomp the seeds.

-Tax collectors and scribes calculated yield and assess taxes of the land. The harvest produced was send to landowner’s kitchens, town markets, and given to the labourers as payment.

-Farmers were considered very low in class. They are found in the second last level in the structure of Egyptian society.

-The majority of the labour was supplied by conscripted foreigners, like the Israelites.

Their job was to serve in the army, till the fields, have the roads paved, construct temples, and build new palaces and cities.


-Jewish faith was solely based on the concept of the Covenant. Yahweh which was first God made at the time of Abraham and later renewed under Moses
- Hebrews worship Yahweh as their only god, in which return they were to be Yahweh’s chosen people and were promised the land of Canaan
- Yahweh was just one god among many that were worshipped in the Near East such as Baal, Enlil, Marduk, and Amon-Re, he was the main and only true god, thus laying the foundations for a monotheistic (one god) religion
- Hebrews believed that their god intervened in human affairs and forgave those who truly regretted their wrongs
- Prophets also played a big roll to the success and development of Judaism they were the corruption of society and God’s forgiveness if people repented their sins
- the Prophets declared that God would prove his love for his people by providing a Messiah (a person with divine power) to lead the nation of Israel

Class Structure

-The classes in order from highest to lowest were:

Pharaoh, Government Officials, Soldiers, Scribes, Merchants, Artisans, Farmers, Slaves.

-The sophistication in dress and jewellery was improved with the significance of rank or family.

-Every child had to learn how to read and write it was a major priority in Egypt, however the sons of priests, Pharaohs, and the administrative families had a more advanced education and usually passed on the father’s positions to the sons.

Science and Technology,



- Gender difference

- Perspective

-Number 1 form of art

Painting / carved relief

-Found in tombs of pharaohs

-To show activities by the life of the pharaoh or the activities in after life

-Sometimes not accurate because of “false transparency -Stone figures were also found, Medicine, Writing

-Were forced to help Egyptian military, forced to construct pave roads, build temples, new place, and tow new cities

Merchant and


-Commonly the man of the house hold would have a job and pass it down to his sons

-It was strongly advised not to switch jobs because of the risk involved

-Barter system



Gender Roles

Women were generally well treated and enjoyed considerable legal rights compared with women in other ancient civilizations.

- they shared same legal rights as men, these legal rights allowed women to be economically independant

-at times roles of women seemed purely decorative, since they are usually depicted in ideal slender and young form.

-home was womens domain, common title for a married woman in ancient Egypt was nebet per meaning "lady of the house"

MEN--husband was the head of the family and passed on the inheritance to his childern.

men were not ristricted  in the number of wives they could have

-usually they did take only one wife.

-priests also exerted a powerful moral influence and although harems and concubines existed, sexual excesses were not evident in everyday social life

-man of household was the labourer

Impact On

History /


-Value of art

-Value of animals(pets)

-Government (salivary)

-Treatment of women


-Value of education

-Skill of writing



Jewish culture and religious beliefs have influenced all the ancient cultures of the Near East.

-Many of their traditions are still alive today and not only among the Jews but with other cultures as well.

- Treatment of lower class people (slaves)

Biblical (old testament)

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