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The Egyptian Culture Reflected in Worship

explanatory Essay
1626 words
1626 words
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The Egyptian Culture Reflected in Worship Much of our knowledge about ancient Egyptian culture is based on elaborate worship rituals related to death and the afterlife. Egyptians were devoted to their gods and to their pharaohs who were gods on earth, as demonstrated by their willingness to build the pyramids for the safe passage of their leaders into the afterlife. Understanding the development of Egyptian society and their theological system requires a basic knowledge of the geography of the area. The Nile River Valley and Nile Delta, circa 4000-5000 BCE, was comprised of about 12,000 square miles of arable land. The villages and towns of ancient Egypt were found up and down the length of the Nile with most of the population living below the First Cataract (located approximately at present day Aswan). The Egyptians were accomplished farmers. They knew the Nile would flood each year and bring new life and abundant grain. The Nile's flooding was predictable and left rich new deposits of silt for new crops, making irrigation easy to plan. A basin irrigation system allowed the flood waters to flow gently into each field, cleansing and renewing the earth each year. The virtual isolation of the Nile Valley allowed Egyptian civilization to develop unthreatened by its neighbors. The Mediterranean Sea lay to the north, vast deserts were found to the east and west, and dense jungle lay to the south. An invader would have to be quite determined to brave the elements that protected the Nile Valley civilization. Since Egyptian civilization was a product, in many ways, of the natural forces that surrounded its people, the people looked to nature to explain the unexplainable. Egyptian gods were depicted as wise, caring, predicta... ... middle of paper ... ...ring the shadow land that was the double of the Nile Delta. No famine or sorrows bothered him in this blessed afterlife. If his heart weighed too heavy, he would be thrown to the animal gods who tear him to shreds. The hieroglyphs left by the priests of ancient Egypt were meant to provide the dead with a guide to the afterlife, to instruct the Ka what it should do in every test as it navigated the after world. Those same hieroglyphs have done much more. They have provided present day scholars with an amazing record of a culture that existed thousands of years ago and some insight into the minds of the people who lived in that culture. Through those ancient writings we have come to know how the ancient Egyptians worshiped, how they viewed their leaders, how they thought they should relate to one another, and how they viewed their role in this life and the next one.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that ancient egyptian culture is based on elaborate worship rituals related to death and the afterlife. understanding the development of egyptian society and their theological system requires a basic knowledge of the area.
  • Explains that egyptian farmers knew the nile would flood each year and bring new life and abundant grain. a basin irrigation system allowed the flood waters to flow gently into each field.
  • Explains that the virtual isolation of the nile valley allowed egyptian civilization to develop unthreatened by its neighbors.
  • Explains that egyptian civilization was a product of the natural forces that surrounded its people. egyptian gods were depicted as wise, caring, predictable, and forgiving, just as the nile was predictable and life sustaining.
  • Explains that the creation myth of the ancient egyptians began with a vast waste of water called nu. nu gave birth to the sun god, who was called kheyera at dawn, ra at noon, and tum at dusk.
  • Explains that ra is given credit for creating the heavens and earth and all creatures. ra created man from his eye, and became the first king on earth.
  • Explains that after ra gave up his kingship to ride across the sky, osiris became king with isis as his queen. he taught men to be civilized, worship the gods, and build temples.
  • Explains that several legends about the death of osiris exist, all of them credit his brother set with his death.
  • Explains that ra ordered thoth and hourus to find the body of osiris and bind it in bandages. isis breathed life into the mummied form, and ra sent him to be the judge of the dead.
  • Explains that the egyptians revered animals, including the cat, bull, fish, jackal, the ram, boar, and frog. the serpent became a symbol of the pharaohs themselves.
  • Explains that egypt's history is divided into four periods: pre-dynastic, old kingdom, middle kingdom and new kingdom.
  • Explains that the great pyramids were raised to protect the souls of the pharaohs from their enemies.
  • Explains that the temple priests were the only ones who knew how to instruct the dead for their journey. the instructions were written on the inside of the coffin and in the tomb.
  • Explains that they have not committed sins against men, opposed their family and kinfolk, defrauded a humble man of his property, encroached on the fields, and driven the cattle away from their pastures.
  • Analyzes how the ka recites what it hasn't done rather than what has done. ancient egyptians believed they had a responsibility to their gods, fellow men, and nature.
  • Explains that the soul was led before the seat of osiris, who sat as the judge of the dead.
  • Explains that the hieroglyphs left by the priests of ancient egypt were meant to provide the dead with a guide to the afterlife, to instruct the ka what it should do in every test.
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