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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Nubia in the early common era.

The Kingdom of Makuria was a kingdom located in what is today Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt. It was one of a group of Nubian kingdoms that emerged during the decline of the Aksumite Empire, of which it had been part. Makuria originally covered the area along the Nile River from the Third Cataract to somewhere between the Fifth and Sixth Cataracts, it also had control over the trade routes, mines, and oases to the east and west. Its capital was Dongola and the kingdom is sometimes known by the name of its capital. Makuria is much better known than its neighbor Alodia to the south, but there are still many gaps in our knowledge, the origins of Makuria are uncertain. Ptolemy mentions a Nubian people known as the Makkourae, who might be ancestors to the Makurians.[1] The kingdom is believed to have formed in the 4th or 5th century.

One of the most debated issues among scholars is over the religion of Makuria. Up to the fifth century the old Egyptian mythology seems to have remained strong, even while its counterpart in Egypt disappeared; in the fifth century the Nubians went so far as to launch an invasion of Egypt when the Christians there tried to turn some of the main temples into churches.

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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.

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Tomb of Artaxerxes III at Persepolis

Artaxerxes III (Ca. 425 BC – 338 BC) was the Great King (Shah) of Persia and the eleventh Emperor of the Achaemenid Empire and the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. He was the son and successor of Artaxerxes II and was succeeded by his son, Arses of Persia (also known as Artaxerxes IV), his reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Macedon and Nectanebo II in Egypt.

Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes was a satrap and commander of his father's army. Artaxerxes came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last brother was murdered and his father, Artaxerxes II died at the age of 86. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all of the royal family to secure his place as emperor, he started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, and was followed up by rebellions throughout the western empire; in 343 BC, Artaxerxes defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from Egypt, stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way.

In Artaxerxes' later years, Philip II of Macedon's power was increasing in Greece, where he tried to convince the Greeks to revolt against Achaemenid Persia, his activities were opposed by Artaxerxes, and with his support, the city of Perinthus resisted a Macedonian siege. There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis in his later life, where Artaxerxes erected a new palace and built his own tomb but projects like the Unfinished Gate. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, Bagoas poisoned Artaxerxes, but a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests that the king died from natural causes.

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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

  • Needed articles.

We should have an article on every pyramid and every nome in Ancient Egypt. I'm sure the rest of us can think of other articles we should have.

  • Cleanup.

To start with, most of the general history articles badly need attention. And I'm told that at least some of the dynasty articles need work. Any other candidates?

  • Standardize the Chronology.

A boring task, but the benefit of doing it is that you can set the dates !(e.g., why say Khufu lived 2589-2566? As long as you keep the length of his reign correct, or cite a respected source, you can date it 2590-2567 or 2585-2563)

  • Stub sorting

Anyone? I consider this probably the most unimportant of tasks on Wikipedia, but if you believe it needs to be done . . .

  • Data sorting.

This is a project I'd like to take on some day, & could be applied to more of Wikipedia than just Ancient Egypt. Take one of the standard authorities of history or culture -- Herotodus, the Elder Pliny, the writings of Breasted or Kenneth Kitchen, & see if you can't smoothly merge quotations or information into relevant articles. Probably a good exercise for someone who owns one of those impressive texts, yet can't get access to a research library.

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