Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 to 246 BCE. He was the son of Ptolemy I Soter, the Macedonian Greek general of Alexander the Great who founded the Ptolemaic Kingdom after the death of Alexander, queen Berenice I from Macedon in northern Greece. During Ptolemy II's reign, the material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height, he promoted the Library of Alexandria. He erected the Great Mendes Stela, he led the Ptolemaic Kingdom against the rival Seleucid Empire in the first of a series of Syrian Wars that witnessed periodic territorial changes between the two powers in West Asia. Ptolemy II was the son of Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice I, he had Arsinoe II and Philotera. He was educated by Philitas of Cos. Ptolemy II had numerous half-siblings. Two of his father's sons by his previous marriage to Eurydice, Ptolemy Keraunos and Meleager, became kings of Macedonia; the children of his mother Berenice's first marriage to Philip included Magas of Cyrene.
Pyrrhus of Epirus became his brother-in-law through marriage to Ptolemy's maternal half-sister Antigone. Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinoe I, daughter of Lysimachus, was the mother of his legitimate children: Ptolemy III Euergetes, his successor. Lysimachus of Egypt Berenice Phernopherus, who married the Seleucid emperor Antiochus II TheosAfter he repudiated Arsinoe, he married his full sister Arsinoe II, widow of Lysimachus, which brought him her Aegean possessions, he had several concubines. With a woman named Bilistiche he is said to have had an son named Ptolemy Andromachou, he had many mistresses, including Agathoclea, Aglais daughter of Megacles, the cup-bearer Cleino, the Chian harp player Glauce, the flautist Mnesis, the actress Myrtion, the flautist Pothine and Stratonice. His court and dissolute, intellectual and artificial, has been compared with the Palace of Versailles of Louis XIV of France. Ptolemy deified his sister-wife after their deaths. Ptolemy II began his reign as co-regent with his father, Ptolemy Soter, from c. 285 to c. 283 BCE, maintained a splendid court in Alexandria.
Egypt was involved in several wars during his reign. His maternal half-brother Magas had declared himself king of Cyrene in 276 and began a war against Ptolemy's government in 274 BCE. Magas managed to keep Cyrenaica independent of the Ptolemies until his death in 250 BCE. Magas' attack on the Ptolemies began. Two or three years of war followed. Egypt's victories solidified the kingdom's position as the undisputed naval power of the eastern Mediterranean; the Ptolemaic sphere of power extended over the Cyclades to Samothrace, the harbours and coast towns of Cilicia Trachea, Pamphylia and Caria. In 275/4, Ptolemaic forces annexed the Triakontaschoinos. In 270, Ptolemy hired 4000 Gallic mercenaries. According to Pausanias, soon after arrival the Gauls plotted "to seize Egypt," and so Ptolemy marooned them on a deserted island in the Nile where “they perished at one another’s hands or by famine.”The victory won by Antigonus II Gonatas, king of Macedonia, over the Egyptian fleet at Kos did not long interrupt Ptolemy's command of the Aegean Sea.
In the Second Syrian War with the Seleucid Empire of Antiochus II Theos, Ptolemy sustained losses on the seaboard of Anatolia and agreed to a peace by which Antiochus married Ptolemy's daughter Berenice Phernopherus. Ptolemy was of a delicate constitution. Elias Joseph Bickerman gives the date of his death as 29 January; the material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height under Ptolemy II. Pomp and splendor flourished, he had exotic animals of far off lands sent to Alexandria, staged a procession in Alexandria in honor of Dionysus led by 24 chariots drawn by elephants and a procession of lions, panthers, antelopes, wild asses, ostriches, a bear, a giraffe and a rhinoceros. According to scholars, most of the animals were in pairs - as many as eight pairs of ostriches - and although the ordinary chariots were led by a single elephant, others which carried a 7-foot-tall golden statue may have been led by four. Although an enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he adopted Egyptian religious concepts, which helped to bolster his image as a sovereign.
Callimachus, keeper of the library, a host of lesser poets, glorified the Ptolemaic family. Ptolemy himself was eager to patronize scientific research, he is thought to be the patron. The tradition preserved in the pseudepigraphical Letter of Aristeas which connects the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek with his patronage is overdrawn. However, Walter Kaiser says, "There can be little doubt that the Law was translated in Philadelphus's time since Greek quotations from Genesis and Exodus appear in Greek literature before 200 BCE The language of the Septuagint is more like Egyptian Greek than it is like Jerusalemite Greek, according to some." Ptolemy is recorded by Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court at Pataliputra in India to Emperor Ashoka: "But has been treated of by several other Greek writers who resided at the
Faiyum Governorate is one of the governorates of Egypt in the middle of the country. Its capital is the city of Faiyum, located about 81 mi south west of Cairo, it has a population of 3,072,181. The name Faiyum comes from Coptic ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ /Ⲡⲉⲓⲟⲙ efiom/peiom, meaning the Sea or the Lake, which in turn comes from late Egyptian pA y-m of the same meaning, a reference to the nearby Lake Moeris; the rate of poverty is more than 60% in this governorate but some social safety networks have been provided in the form of financial assistance and job opportunities. The funding has been coordinated by the country's Ministry of Finance and with assistance from international organizations; the governorate is divided into the following municipal divisions for administrative purposes, with a total estimated population as of July 2017 of 3,615,486. In some instances there is a kism with the same name; the governorate of Faiyum includes: The large fertile Faiyum Oasis, which comprises farmland, Lake Moeris, some cities.
South of the Faiyum Oasis, a smaller depression contains the town of El Gharaq el Sulţāni. It is irrigated from the Nile. A dry barren depression named Wadi El Rayan, which covers 280 mi², west of the El Gharaq el Sulţāni depression. Desert and dry mountains, which surround the depressions. According to population estimates from 2015 the majority of residents in the governorate live in rural areas, with an urbanization rate of only 22.5%. Out of an estimated 3,170,150 people residing in the governorate, 2,456,368 people lived in rural areas and only 713,782 lived in urban areas. According to the Egyptian Governing Authority for Investment and Free Zones, in affiliation with the Ministry of Investment, the following industrial zones are located in this governorate: Kom Oshim New Kom Oshim Kouta New Fayoum Aly Lotfy Mahmoud Ahmed Fakhry Arafa El Sayed Fawzia Fahim Hamdi Abu Golayyel Pope John XVIII of Alexandria Magdy Atwa Mariam Fakhr Eddine Mohamed Abdelwahab Mohamed Ihab Saadia Gaon Sayed Abdel Hafeez Sayed Moawad Sabri Raheel Sufi Abu Taleb Tefta Tashko-Koço Youssef Wahbi Yousef Wali Zakariyya Ahmad Bahr Yussef Egyptian Faiyumi Faces of Fayoum are paintings from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD.
El Wattan News of Faiyum Governorate "Fayum". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10. 1911. P. 219
The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. In the organization of the Roman Empire, the subdivided provinces were administratively associated in a larger unit, the diocese. After Christianity was given legal status in 313, the Churches began to organize themselves into dioceses based on provinces, not on the larger regional imperial districts; the dioceses were smaller than the provinces since there were more bishops than governors. Christianity was declared the Empire's official religion by Theodosius I in 380. Constantine I in 318 gave litigants the right to have court cases transferred from the civil courts to the bishops; this situation must have hardly survived Julian, 361-363. Episcopal courts are not heard of again in the East until 398 and in the West in 408; the quality of these courts were low, not above suspicion as the bishop of Alexandria Troas found out that clergy were making a corrupt profit.
Nonetheless, these courts were popular. Bishops had no part in the civil administration until the town councils, in decline, lost much authority to a group of'notables' made up of the richest councilors and rich persons exempted from serving on the councils, retired military, bishops post-450 A. D; as the Western Empire collapsed in the 5th century, bishops in Western Europe assumed a larger part of the role of the former Roman governors. A similar, though less pronounced, development occurred in the East, where the Roman administrative apparatus was retained by the Byzantine Empire. In modern times, many dioceses, though subdivided, have preserved the boundaries of a long-vanished Roman administrative division. For Gaul, Bruce Eagles has observed that "it has long been an academic commonplace in France that the medieval dioceses, their constituent pagi, were the direct territorial successors of the Roman civitates."Modern usage of'diocese' tends to refer to the sphere of a bishop's jurisdiction.
This became commonplace during the self-conscious "classicizing" structural evolution of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, but this usage had itself been evolving from the much earlier parochia, dating from the formalized Christian authority structure in the 4th century. Most archdioceses are metropolitan sees. A few are suffragans of a metropolitan are directly subject to the Holy See. While the terms "diocese" and "episcopal see" are applicable to the area under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of any bishop, a bishop in charge of an archdiocese thereby holds the rank of archbishop. If the title of archbishop is granted on personal grounds to a diocesan bishop, his diocese does not thereby become an archdiocese; as of January 2019, in the Catholic Church there are 2,886 regular dioceses: 1 papal see, 645 archdioceses and 2,240 dioceses in the world. In the Eastern rites in communion with the Pope, the equivalent unit is called an eparchy; the Eastern Orthodox Church calls dioceses episkopē in the Greek tradition and eparchies in the Slavic tradition.
After the English Reformation, the Church of England retained the existing diocesan structure which remains throughout the Anglican Communion. The one change is that the areas administered under the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York are properly referred to as dioceses, not archdioceses: they are the metropolitan bishops of their respective provinces and bishops of their own diocese and have the position of archbishop. Certain Lutheran denominations such as the Church of Sweden do have individual dioceses similar to Roman Catholics; these dioceses and archdioceses are under the government of a bishop. Other Lutheran bodies and synods that have dioceses and bishops include the Church of Denmark, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Church of Norway. From about the 13th century until the German mediatization of 1803, the majority of the bishops of the Holy Roman Empire were prince-bishops, as such exercised political authority over a principality, their so-called Hochstift, distinct, considerably smaller than their diocese, over which they only exercised the usual authority of a bishop.
Some American Lutheran church bodies such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have a bishop acting as the head of the synod, but the synod does not have dioceses and archdioceses as the churches listed above. Rather, it is divided into a middle judicatory; the Lutheran Church - International, based in Springfield, presently uses a traditional diocesan structure, with four dioceses in North America. Its current president is Archbishop Robert W. Hotes; the Church of God in Christ has dioceses throughout the United States. In the COGIC, most states are divided into at least three or more dioceses that are each led by a bishop; these dioceses are called "jurisdictions" within COGIC. In the Latter Day Saint movement, the term "bishopric" is used to describe the bishop himself, together with his two counselors, not the ward or congregation of which a bishop has charge. In the United Methodist Church, a bishop is given oversight over a geographical area called an episcopal area; each episcopal area contains one or more an
Arsinoë II was a Ptolemaic queen and co-regent of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of ancient Egypt. Arsinoe was queen of Thrace and Macedonia by marriage to King Lysimachus and co-ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom with her brother-husband, Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Arsinoe was given the unprecedented Egyptian title "King of Upper and Lower Egypt", marking her as a full pharaoh. Arsinoë was the first daughter of Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Hellenistic state of Egypt, his second wife Berenice I of Egypt, she was born in Memphis, but was raised in the new city of Alexandria, where her father moved his capital early on. Nothing is known of her childhood or education, but judging from her life as patron of scholars and noted for her learning, she is estimated to have been given a high education, her brothers where tutored by intellectuals hired by their fathers, it is regarded that she attended these lessons as well: she corresponded with the intellectual Strato of Lampsacus in life, he may have been her tutor.
At about age 15, Arsinoë married King Lysimachus, with whom she had three sons: Ptolemy Epigonos and Philip. In order to position her sons for the throne, she had Lysimachus' first son, poisoned on account of treason. Arsinoe paid for a rotunda in the Samothrace temple complex, where she was an initiate. After Lysimachus' death in battle in 281 BC, she fled to Cassandreia and married her paternal half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos, one of the sons of Ptolemy I Soter from his previous wife, Eurydice of Egypt; the marriage was for political reasons as they both claimed the throne of Thrace. Their relationship was never good; as Ptolemy Keraunos was becoming more powerful, she decided it was time to stop him and conspired against him with her sons. This action caused Ptolemy Keraunus to kill two of her sons and Philip, while the eldest, was able to escape and to flee north, to the kingdom of the Dardanians, she herself sought refuge in the Samothrace temple complex, which she had benefited during her tenure as queen.
She left from Samothrace for Alexandria, Egypt, to seek protection from her brother, Ptolemy II Philadelphus. It is not known, she may have left so early as 280, directly after the murder of the younger sons, or as late as 276, when the claim of her eldest son to the Macedonian throne had failed after the succession of Antigonus II Gonatas. In Egypt, she is believed to have instigated the accusation and exile of her brother Ptolemy II's first wife, Arsinoe I. Whether this was true is unknown: it is not known which year she arrived in Egypt, her sister-in-law may have been exiled at that point, or her divorce may have taken place without her involvement. Whatever the case, after the divorce of Ptolemy, Arsinoe II married her brother; as a result, both were given the epithet "Philadelphoi" by the scandalized Greeks. The closer circumstances and reasons behind the marriage is not known, her role as queen was unprecedented in the dynasty at the time and became a role model for Ptolemaic queens: she acted alongside her brother in ritual and public display, became a religious and literal patron and was included in the Egyptian and Greek cults created by him for them.
Sharing in all of her brother's titles, she was quite influential, having towns dedicated to her, her own cult, appearing on coinage and contributing to foreign policy, including Ptolemy II's victory in the First Syrian War between Egypt and the Seleucid Empire. According to Posidippus, she won three chariot races at the Olympic Games in 272 BC. After her death, Ptolemy II continued to refer to her on official documents, as well as supporting her coinage and cult. In establishing her worship as a goddess he justified his own cult. Arsinoitherium H. Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, C. H. Beck, 1977 R. A. Billows and colonists: aspects of Macedonian imperialism, BRILL, 1995 Elizabeth Donnelly Carney. Arsinoe of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536551-1. Milan Papyrus, P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309. S. M. Burstein, "Arsinoe II Philadelphos: A Revisionist View", in W. L. Adams and E. N. Borza, Philip II, Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Heritage, 197-212 P. McKechnie and P. Guillaume Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World.
Leiden, 2008. M. Nilsson, The Crown of Arsinoë II: The Creation of an Image of Authority. Oxford, 2012. D. L. Selden, Daniel L. "Alibis". Classical Antiquity 17, October 1998. Coin with her portrait Encyclopædia Britannica Arsinoe II entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphs combined logographic and alphabetic elements, with a total of some 1,000 distinct characters. Cursive hieroglyphs were used for religious literature on papyrus and wood; the hieratic and demotic Egyptian scripts were derived from hieroglyphic writing, as was the Proto-Siniatic script that evolved into the Phoenician alphabet. Through the Phoenician alphabet's major child systems, the Greek and Aramaic scripts, the Egyptian hieroglyphic script is ancestral to the majority of scripts in modern use, most prominently the Latin and Cyrillic scripts and the Arabic script and Brahmic family of scripts; the use of hieroglyphic writing arose from proto-literate symbol systems in the Early Bronze Age, around the 32nd century BC, with the first decipherable sentence written in the Egyptian language dating to the Second Dynasty. Egyptian hieroglyphs developed into a mature writing system used for monumental inscription in the classical language of the Middle Kingdom period.
The use of this writing system continued through the New Kingdom and Late Period, on into the Persian and Ptolemaic periods. Late survivals of hieroglyphic use are found well into the Roman period, extending into the 4th century AD. With the final closing of pagan temples in the 5th century, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was lost. Although attempts were made, the script remained undeciphered throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period; the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing would only be accomplished in the 1820s by Jean-François Champollion, with the help of the Rosetta Stone. The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek adjective ἱερογλυφικός, a compound of ἱερός and γλύφω; the glyphs themselves since the Ptolemaic period were called τὰ ἱερογλυφικὰ "the sacred engraved letters", the Greek counterpart to the Egyptian expression of mdw.w-nṯr "god's words". Greek ἱερογλυφός meant "a carver of hieroglyphs". In English, hieroglyph as a noun is recorded from 1590 short for nominalised hieroglyphic, from adjectival use.
Hieroglyphs may have emerged from the preliterate artistic traditions of Egypt. For example, symbols on Gerzean pottery from c. 4000 BC have been argued to resemble hieroglyphic writing. Proto-hieroglyphic symbol systems develop in the second half of the 4th millennium BC, such as the clay labels of a Predynastic ruler called "Scorpion I" recovered at Abydos in 1998 or the Narmer Palette; the first full sentence written in mature hieroglyphs so far discovered was found on a seal impression found in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen at Umm el-Qa'ab, which dates from the Second Dynasty. There are around 800 hieroglyphs dating back to the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Eras. By the Greco-Roman period, there are more than 5,000. Geoffrey Sampson stated that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script, invented under the influence of the latter", that it is "probable that the general idea of expressing words of a language in writing was brought to Egypt from Sumerian Mesopotamia".
There are many instances of early Egypt-Mesopotamia relations, but given the lack of direct evidence for the transfer of writing, "no definitive determination has been made as to the origin of hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt". Instead, it is pointed out and held that "the evidence for such direct influence remains flimsy” and that “a credible argument can be made for the independent development of writing in Egypt..." Since the 1990s, the discoveries of glyphs at Abydos, dated to between 3400 and 3200 BCE, may challenge the classical notion according to which the Mesopotamian symbol system predates the Egyptian one, although Egyptian writing does make a sudden apparition at that time, while on the contrary Mesopotamia has an evolutionnary history of sign usage in tokens dating back to circa 8000 BCE. Hieroglyphs consist of three kinds of glyphs: phonetic glyphs, including single-consonant characters that function like an alphabet; as writing developed and became more widespread among the Egyptian people, simplified glyph forms developed, resulting in the hieratic and demotic scripts.
These variants were more suited than hieroglyphs for use on papyrus. Hieroglyphic writing was not, eclipsed, but existed alongside the other forms in monumental and other formal writing; the Rosetta Stone contains three parallel scripts – hieroglyphic and Greek. Hieroglyphs continued to be used under Persian rule, after Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt, during the ensuing Ptolemaic and Roman periods, it appears that the misleading quality of comments from Greek and Roman writers about hieroglyphs came about, at least in part, as a response to the changed political situation. Some believed that hieroglyphs may have functioned as a way to distinguish'true Egyptians' from some of the foreign conquerors. Another reason may be the refusal to tackle a foreign culture on its own terms, which characterized Greco-Roman approaches to Egyptian culture generally. Having learned that hieroglyphs were sacred writing, Greco-Roman authors imagined the complex but rational system as an allegorical magical, system transmitting secre
Egypt the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, across the Mediterranean lie Greece and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt's long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman Turkish, Nubian.
Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority. From the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century, Egypt was ruled by foreign imperial powers: The Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. Modern Egypt dates back to 1922, when it gained nominal independence from the British Empire as a monarchy. However, British military occupation of Egypt continued, many Egyptians believed that the monarchy was an instrument of British colonialism. Following the 1952 revolution, Egypt expelled British soldiers and bureaucrats and ended British occupation, nationalized the British-held Suez Canal, exiled King Farouk and his family, declared itself a republic. In 1958 it merged with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which dissolved in 1961. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Egypt endured social and religious strife and political instability, fighting several armed conflicts with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967.
In 1978, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and recognising Israel. The country continues to face challenges, from political unrest, including the recent 2011 revolution and its aftermath, to terrorism and economic underdevelopment. Egypt's current government is a presidential republic headed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, described by a number of watchdogs as authoritarian. Islam is the official religion of Egypt and Arabic is its official language. With over 95 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa, the Middle East, the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa, the fifteenth-most populous in the world; the great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres, where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
The sovereign state of Egypt is a transcontinental country considered to be a regional power in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world, a middle power worldwide. Egypt's economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, is projected to become one of the largest in the world in the 21st century. In 2016, Egypt became Africa's second largest economy. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. "Miṣr" is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while "Maṣr" is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew "מִצְרַיִם"; the oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the Akkadian "mi-iṣ-ru" related to miṣru/miṣirru/miṣaru, meaning "border" or "frontier". There is evidence of rock carvings in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BCE, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture.
Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BCE began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society. By about 6000 BCE, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt; the Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade; the earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BCE. A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BCE