DW | Ancient Egypt
1.1 - Why We Study Ancient Egypt
The civilization of Ancient Egypt stands as one of the most mysterious in history, marked by its remarkable achievements. Numerous historical milestones originated in Egypt, establishing them as pioneers in various fields.
One notable example is religion: It surprises many to discover that Egypt, through an Egyptian Pharaoh, introduced the concept of monotheism, the belief in a single god.
Additionally, the Egyptians were the first to master the intricate process of mummification. This practice was intertwined with their advanced mythology, surpassing that of any contemporary civilization.
Egypt vs. Mesopotamia
In contrast, the Sumerians did not erect the awe-inspiring Pyramids of Egypt, nor did they construct the magnificent temples that continue to astound us today. Furthermore, their approach to medical science paled in comparison to the achievements of the Ancient Egyptians. Throughout their uninterrupted existence spanning 3,000 years, the Egyptians maintained a distinct advantage over their Mesopotamian counterparts in the realms of art, architecture, and science.
Even the Ancient Greeks held the Ancient Egyptians in high regard. Greek historians unanimously acknowledged Egypt as the source of their own civilization. In comparison, the Greeks were relatively recent arrivals on the historical stage, and their epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, were several thousand years after the construction of the Pyramids. When asked about the origins of their temple-building skills, the Ancient Greeks consistently attributed their knowledge to the Egyptians.
This can be exemplified by Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, where the fluted columns strikingly resemble the Greek Doric Column, despite being erected a staggering 2000 years before the Greeks adopted this architectural feature. The significance of this timespan, 2000 years, is truly remarkable and serves as one of many reasons for the study of Ancient Egypt.
Another compelling aspect of Ancient Egypt lies in its artistry. Egyptian Art ranks among the most exquisite creations of all time. The statues of Khafre, Nefertiti, and Queen Tiye are prime examples, representing masterpieces crafted thousands of years before the renowned Greek sculptures emerged. The astonishing artifacts uncovered in Tutankhamun's tomb also deserve mention, surpassing anything produced at the same time in Mesopotamia.
Exploring the civilization of Ancient Egypt allows us to delve into the depths of our distant past and discover that these people were not so different than who we are today.
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