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Ancient Egyptian Culture and Its Influence on Poetry

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Cultured and socially structured, Ancient Egypt was a civilization highly advanced for its time. The Nile River provided the gift of fresh water allowing the surrounding land to be settled. Its yearly predictable flooding created fertile soil for farming. This was the perfect environment in which Egyptian society would prosper. Egypt was equipped with all the amenities of a modern society including people who married, had children, practiced religion, and even had festivals with food, beer, music and dancing. All that is known about ancient Egypt is a result of the hieroglyphic carvings of the Great Pyramid walls and on tombs of dead. Originally from the Book of The Dead, “The Chapter Of Changing Into Ptah” was and remains a significant poem in the culture and traditions of Ancient Egypt.

Religion in Ancient Egyptian society was often used to explain cosmic phenomena and unexplainable events. Their religion used metaphors based on natural cycles and understandable experiences to explain everyday occurrences. All aspects of Egyptian culture and civilization were manifestations of religious beliefs. Astronomy, medicine, geography and art are just a few of the things explained trough religion. In our now modern society it may seem silly to ask why the sun rises, but Egyptians had asked this very question. In order to make sense of the world around them they had decided that the sun god Ra is responsible for the sunrise. With each unexplainable event was the birth of a god and so the Ancient Egyptian religion was created.

“The Chapter of Changing Into Ptah” contains multiple literary themes that are widely used in modern poetry such as power, religion, change, and culture. The title relates the poem to a “chapter”, letting the re...

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... had conquered and his god-like rule over Egypt will be eternal.

Poetry is a means of preserving culture, feelings, and history. “The Chapter of Changing Into Ptah” is a perfect example of the successful preservation of an ancient culture that would have otherwise been forgotten. Culture and society are a direct influence and if it were not for religion this poem and many others would not have existed.

Works Cited

Bleeker, C J. "The Pattern of the Ancient Egyptian Culture." Numen. 11.1 (1964): 75-82. Print

Rothenberg, Jerome. Technicians Of The Sacred. Second ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles:

University of California. Print.

Teeter, Emily. "Ancient Egyptian Society and Family Life." Egypt and the Egyptians. By

Douglas J. Brewer. Cambridge UP, 2001. The Fathom Archive. The University of

Chicago. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .
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