Portal:Ancient Egypt

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THE ANCIENT EGYPT PORTAL

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Golden funeral mask of king Tutankhamun, a symbol for many of ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. The civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and it developed over the next two millennia. Ancient Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers in this late period, and the rule of the pharaohs officially ended in 31 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered Egypt and made it a province.

Egypt has left a lasting legacy for all to see. Its art and architecture has been widely copied, and its antiquities have been carried off to the far corners of the world. Egypt's monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A newfound respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy for the earth.

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A tableau from the Book of the Dead (green-skinned Osiris is seated to the right). In ancient Egyptian religious cosmology, Thinis features as a mythical place in heaven.

Thinis or This (Egyptian: Tjenu) was a city, as yet undiscovered, which the classical historian Manetho cites as the centre of the Thinite Confederacy, a tribal confederation whose leader, Menes (or Narmer), united Egypt and was its first pharaoh, and as the capital of the first dynasties of ancient Egypt. The precise location of Thinis is unknown, although mainstream Egyptological consensus places it in the vicinity of ancient Abydos and modern Girga.

Other proprosals for Thinis' location have lost favour at the expense of the Girga-Birba theory: Auguste Mariette, founder director of the Egyptian Museum, suggested Kom el-Sultan; A. Schmidt, El-Kherbeh; and Heinrich Karl Brugsch, Johannes Dümichen and others supported El-Tineh, near Berdis. Mainstream Egyptological consensus continues to locate Thinis at or near to either Girga or El-Birba, where an inscribed statue fragment mentioning Thinis is said to have been found. Although the archaeological site of Thinis has never been located, evidence of population concentration in the Abydos-Thinis region dates from the fourth millennium BCE. Thinis is also cited as the earliest royal burial-site in Egypt.

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Did you know...

Mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II

  • ... that archeologist Karl Richard Lepsius is considered the father of the modern scientific discipline of Egyptology?

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Ancient Egypt map-en.svg
Credit: Jeff Dahl

In antiquity, Ancient Egypt was divided into two lands: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the south, it was bounded by the land of Kush, and to the East, the levant. Surrounded by harsh deserts, the river Nile was the lifeline of this ancient civilization.

Selected biography

The mummified head of Ahmose I

Ahmose I (sometimes written Amosis I, "Amenes" and "Aahmes" and meaning Born of the Moon or Born of Yah) was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Tao II Seqenenre and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, King Kamose. During the reign of his father or grandfather, Thebes rebelled against the Hyksos, the rulers of Lower Egypt. When he was seven his father was killed, and he was about ten when his brother died of unknown causes, after reigning only three years. Ahmose I assumed the throne after the death of his brother, and upon coronation became known as Neb-Pehty-Re (The Lord of Strength is Re).

During his reign, he completed the conquest and expulsion of the Hyksos from the delta region, restored Theban rule over the whole of Egypt and successfully reasserted Egyptian power in its formerly subject territories of Nubia and Canaan. He then reorganized the administration of the country, reopened quarries, mines and trade routes and began massive construction projects of a type that had not been undertaken since the time of the Middle Kingdom. This building program culminated in the construction of the last pyramid built by native Egyptian rulers. Ahmose's reign laid the foundations for the New Kingdom, under which Egyptian power reached its peak. Ahmose I's mummy was discovered in 1881 within the Deir el-Bahri Cache, located in the hills directly above the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. He was interred along with the mummies of other 18th and 19th dynasty leaders Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, Ramesses I, Seti I, Ramesses II and Ramesses IX, as well as the 21st dynasty pharaohs Pinedjem I, Pinedjem II and Siamun. His reign is usually dated to about 1550–1525 BC. His mummy is now in the Luxor Museum alongside the purported one of Ramesses I, as part of a permanent exhibition called "The Golden Age of the Egyptian Military".

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Ancient News

January 2011: Archaeologists discovered a tomb - KV64 - in the Valley of the Kings. The coffin found in the tomb contained an intact mummy of Nehmes Bastet, a temple singer during Egypt's 22nd Dynasty.(1)


November 2010: The Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt says archaeologists have unearthed 12 more sphinx statues along the ancient avenue connecting Luxor and Karnak temples.(2)


April 2010: A new 19th Dynasty tomb in Tell el-Maskhuta is discovered. The tomb belongs to a noble named Ken-Amun


March 2010: A new translation of the Philae Victory Stele reveals the name of Augustus in cartouches.


March 2010: More statues of Amenhotep III are found at Kom el-Hettan.


March 2010: The ruins of the pyramid of Queen Behenu are discovered.

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Here are some tasks you can do:
  • Article requests: We should have an article on every pharaoh and every nome (law) in ancient Egypt. Let's check to see whether every important Egyptologist has an article. Surely, we can think of other articles that we should have.
  • Cleanup: To begin, most of the general-history, and at least some of the dynasty, articles badly need work. Are there any other candidates?
  • Expand: "Standardize the Chronology": This is a boring task, but the benefit of doing it is that you can set the dates! Why say Khufu lived between 2589 and 2566 BCE? As long as you keep the length of his reign correct, or cite a respected source, you can date it 2590-2567 BCE or 2585-2563 BCE.
    Expand Ancient Egyptian philosophy
  • Infobox: Add an infobox or navbox to any article that doesn't have one yet.
  • Stubs: Anyone?
  • Update: Any article with dated (obsolete) information.
  • Verify: Fix / reclaim the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • Wikify: "Data sorting": Take one of the standard authorities of history or culture -- the writings of Herotodus, the Elder Pliny, J. H. Breasted, or Kenneth Kitchen -- and see whether you can smoothly merge quotations or information into relevant articles. This is probably a good exercise for someone who owns one of those impressive texts yet can't access a research library.

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