Portal:Ancient Egypt

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THE ANCIENT EGYPT PORTAL

Showcased content about Ancient Egypt

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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Right profile and front

The Nefertiti Bust is a 3300-year-old painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Due to the bust, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women from the ancient world as well as an icon of female beauty. It is believed to have been crafted in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose.

A German archeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the Nefertiti bust in 1912 in Thutmose's workshop in Amarna, Egypt. It has been kept at several locations in Germany since its discovery, including a salt mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum (then in West Berlin), the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and the Altes Museum. It is currently on display at the Neues Museum, Berlin, where it was displayed before World War II.

The Nefertiti bust has become a cultural symbol of Berlin, Germany as well as of ancient Egypt. It has also been the subject of an intense argument between Egypt and Germany over the Egyptian demands for its repatriation. It was dragged into controversies over the Body of Nerfertiti art exhibition and also by allegations regarding its authenticity.


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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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Karnacs2.jpg
Credit: David Roberts RA, artist and Haghe, Louis, 1806-1885, lithographer

Karnak: "Dromos or first court of the temple" colored lithograph of Karnak.

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Outline tracing of the figure representing Darius in the Behistun Inscription

Darius I, known as Darius the Great, was the third "king of kings" (emperor) of the Achaemenid Empire. Darius held the empire at its peak, then including Egypt, northern India, and parts of Greece. The decay and downfall of the empire commenced with his death and the coronation of his son, Xerxes I.

Darius ascended the throne by assassinating the alleged usurper Bardiya with the assistance of six other Persian noble families; Darius was crowned the following morning. The new emperor met with rebellions throughout his kingdom, and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius's life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Darius expanded his empire by conquering Thrace and Macedon, and invading the Saka, Iranian tribes who had invaded Medes and had previously killed Cyrus the Great.

Darius organized the empire, by dividing it into provinces and placing governors to govern it. He organized a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon, and Egypt. Darius created a codification of laws for Egypt. He also carved the cliff-face Behistun Inscription, an autobiography of great modern linguistic significance. After becoming aware of the Persian defeat at the Battle of Marathon, Darius began planning another expedition against the Greek-city states. Darius had spent three years preparing men and ships for war when a revolt broke out in Egypt. This revolt in Egypt worsened his failing health and prevented the possibility of leading another army himself; soon, Darius was dead. In October 486 BC, the body of Darius was embalmed and entombed in the rock-cut sepulcher which had been prepared for him several years earlier.


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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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Things to do


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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