(Educators: This text is a copy of what students will read in the overview of Egypt.)
When you think of Egypt,
do you think of pyramids?
Egypt is all of that, and much more!
Where is Egypt? Egypt is on the other side of the world.
" We live on the North American continent.
" Egypt is on the continent of Africa.
" This is where Egypt is.
Egypt is in the north east corner of the continent of Africa.It is north of the Sahara Desert. It gets almost no rain. Imagine living in a place that never rains.
" Most of Egypt is a desert. A desert is a place that is very dry because it gets very little rain.
" A desert is sandy and rocky. This is what most of Egypt looks like.
In one year, some parts of Egypt get 3 inches of rain. Some places get no rain at all!
" What does this chart show you?
" How much rain does Egypt get? (3 inches)
" How much rain does Michigan get? (32 inches)
Michigan is very green because it gets a lot of rain. Egypt is very brown because it gets almost no rain.
But Egypt is very lucky. It has a big river running right down the middle! The river is called the Nile.
All living things need water to live. If the Nile River was not there, no people or animals or plants could live in Egypt.
Lets learn about the Nile River.
" The Nile begins far to the south in the hills of Ethiopia. Ethiopia gets rain all year long. At times, it gets a lot of rain. Those times are called the rainy season.
The Nile River gives people, animals, and plants in Egypt the water they need to live in the desert.
Because of the Nile, people can grow food on the river banks.
The Nile is fed by many other rivers.
" The White Nile River and the Blue Nile River and Atbarah River all feed their water into the Nile.
The Nile River is the longest river in the world.
" The Nile is 4,187 miles long. It flows through water falls, rock gorges, and flat deserts.
" When it reaches Memphis, it divides into 7 mouths (tributaries). The land has many swamps full of papyrus.
" The 7 mouths of the Nile end in the Mediterranean Sea where the fresh water mixes with salt water.
The Dry Season
" The Nile River has 3 seasons. These seasons are about changes in the level of water flowing in Nile River.
" Dry (drought) Season is in March, April, May and June and is a time when there is no water. Each year, the water in the Nile River is very low because the rivers that feed it have little rain water.
In the Dry Season, Farmers store their crops
" During the dry season, all the crops have finished growing. Farmers cut their all their crops and stored them to be used for the rest of the year to make bread.
In Dry Season people pick palm branches and pick grapes
" Date palm branches are cut and shipped to people who use the branches for making furniture.
" Sugar cane stalks are processed and made into sugar.
" Grapes are picked and made into drinks. Figs are dried for desserts. Flax is grown for fabric. Sesame seeds are pounded to get the oil for cooking and burning in lamps.
In the Dry Season temples are built
" During the dry season, men also worked for the Pharaoh. He had men dug new basins. A basin is a low area that is dig out so that the Nile River will flood it with water and fresh dirt to make new farm land.
" The Pharaoh may have new buildings he wanted men to make. It takes many men to build a temple or a pyramid.
The Flood Season
The Flood Season is in July, August, September and October.
" In the mountains of Ethiopia, the rain and melting snow puts a lot of new rain water into the rivers that feed the Nile. This makes the Niles water rise higher and higher. When the extra rainwater gets to Egypt, where it is a flat desert, the Nile floods the land. It floods the basins and farmlands and ditches. This land is under water for a month or more.
The Flood Season is very good for Egypt.
" Egypt gets almost no rain. The flood brings a lot of new water.
" For 4000 years, people dug, wells, canals, ditches and basins to trap the flood water. That way the water can be used all year long.
" Water is trapped in the basins, ditches and canals by gates that are dropped into place when the water fills them up.
The flood brings water and good black dirt.
" The flood brings water for drinking and watering plants.
" The flood brings good black dirt that is left on top of the sand when the flood goes away.
" Egypt flood leaves black dirt
The Nile is a great river for transportation
" The Nile River has a strong current that runs north to the Mediterranean Sea. It also has a strong wind that blows south all the time.
" Why was this good?
" People can use the river to ship goods in both directions. The Nile is fast in the flood season.
Life in Egypt changes as the Nile River changes.
" During the flood season, people are busy fixing their tools to make ready for the planting season.
" Paper is made during this time.
" Flax and silk is spun into thread, and then woven into cloth.
A Temple for the goddess Isis was built during a flood season.
" The Pharaoh had men move huge stones on rafts up and down the river for his buildings. Moving big stones on barges is easier when the river is high.
The Farm Season
The Farm Season starts when the water in the Nile River goes down.
" As soon as the water starts to go down, farmers are busy plowing fields and planting seeds.
" Sometimes the farmers wife walked behind him to push the new seeds into the soil as she stepped on them.
Growing food was the most important activity in Egypt.
" Farmers were busy keeping their plants watered from the irrigation ditches.
" Growing food is important to everyone.
" Almost everyone was busy helping to plant seeds and water plants as they grow.
We know a lot about Egypt because they left good records.
" Egyptians told their story in pictures called hieroglyphics.
" The hieroglyphics were painted on hundreds of walls. Some of these pictures are 3800 years old.
" Egypt is about 4800 years old!
The Egyptians made the first written language
" Hieroglyphics were the first written language.
" Hieroglyphics told the stories of peoples lives. This picture writing covered the inside of all the tombs and temples. Some of these pictures are 3800 years old. Egypt is about 4800 years old!
The First King of Egypt was Pharaoh Menes
" About 4000 years ago, Egypt was 2 countries
" About 3000 years ago, Menes' army from Upper Egypt took over Lower Egypt. From then all, Egypt had one king.
Egyptians believed that their king was also a god
" They believed that every pharaoh was Horus, son of Re.
" That gave the pharaoh the right to make all the laws and own all the property
" Pharaohs wore special crowns White Crown was worn by the Pharaohs of Upper Egypt. The red crown was worn by the pharaohs of Lower Egypt. When the two lands were united by Menes, the pharaohs wore a double crown.
The Pharaohs job was to protect his people
" It was the Pharaohs job to keep people safe from invaders and to stop Egyptians from fighting with each other.
" The people of Egypt lived in a strip of land along the Nile River. It was easy for the Pharaoh to find out what was going on. His men sailed their fast boats up and down the river to get him news.
" He was told if an enemy was coming.
Egypt was a safe place because it was hard for enemies to get to
" There was a desert to the west (Libyan or Western Desert)
" There was also a desert to the east (Eastern Desert)
" There was a sea to the north (Mediterranean)
" And there were waterfalls (cataracts) on the Nile River to the south.
The Pharaohs job was to manage the country
" It was the Pharaohs job to make sure there was food for everyone.
" He told men to dig ditches and wells to hold the flood water. He told people what to plant. He made sure that a lot of food was put away for the Dry Season.
" He helped people learn to do new jobs or make new things to trade with others.
" A good Pharaoh took good care of the people he ruled.
Pharaoh built many pyramids
" The Pharaoh had the job of making all the rules. If someone broke a rule, the Pharaoh punished him.
" The Pharaoh was also the leader of the religion. Egyptians believed they would lived forever in another place after they died.
" Many of the Pharaohs built big temples and pyramids. Their bodies were put in them after they died.
" This is one of the first pyramids built. It is called a Step Pyramid.
This Step Pyramid was built by the Pharaoh Djoser at a place called Saqqarah. It is a long way from the Nile River. Over the years, the sand covered most of the surrounding buildings. Archeologists have dug the sand away so that people can see what it was like.
Ramses II liked to make buildings and he liked to build statues of himself. All over Egypt you can see statues of Ramses II.
" This temple was built by the Pharaoh Ramses II and is called Abu Simbal.
" Abu Simbal features four statues of Ramses II in the front. If you go through the door . . .
The first room of Abu Simbal
" . . .this is what you would see. This is the first chamber of the temple of Abu Simbal. From here you can go to 8 other rooms. If you go straight ahead, you will see. . .
The room of the Holy of the Holies
" . . . the main chamber for worship to the gods. These statues are at the end of the main room in Abu Simbal. On the left is a statue of the god Amen-Ra, protector of the city of Thebes. Next is the god Raharkht, protector of the city of Heliopolis. Then is the god Ptah, the protector of Memphis. Finally is a statue of the god and Pharaoh Ramses II, protector of Nubia. RamsesII had this temple and these statues made.
" The people of Egypt wrapped the body of dead royal people with oils and cloth and placed them in a special box called a coffin. They are called mummies.
" Because it is very hot and dry in Egypt, many of these special boxes are in good condition.
The mummy of Sety I
" This picture shows what the great Pharaoh Sety I looked like when they opened his coffin. He had been dead about 3200 years when they opened his box. He was very well preserved.
A Cat Mummy
" Here is a mummy of a cat. Egyptians loved their animals and rich people sometimes wanted their pets to be with them in their after life.
" Today Egypts largest city, Cairo, is similar to others in the Middle East. But it is still ruled by one thing. The Nile.
" Egypt is very much like it was 500 years ago.
" People still farm the land in the same ways and use the water of the Nile River to give life to a dead desert. Today people in Egypt mostly belong to the Islam religion.
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