Immortal Egypt - Episode 2
The pyramid building Ancient Egyptian civilization could not last. Ancient Egyptian's confidence was soon shattered. Economic collapse put a pause on the Egyptian Civilization. The Ancient Egyptian people were soon filled with dread as the society collapsed around them. Egpyt was soon thrown into chaos, signifying a new era in Ancient Egypt. The military took over and they ruled by fear and intimidation.
Saqqara not only shows the Egyptian’s confidence in their civilization but also the collapse of that civilization. A funeral causeway reveals the collapse of Ancient Egypt. An image from that causeway shows people suffering from famine. This famine is slowly closing in on Ancient Egypt. The images of plenty were replaced by images of skeletons. Such images were never created before but now reality hit ancient Egyptians in the face. They tried to keep the forces of reality at bay but the images Fletcher refers to were an omen of the future.
The Nile and its flood allowed Ancient Egyptians to thrive. Unfortunately for them, the Nile’s flood ceased. This led to suffering, starvation, and in some cases cannibalism. The Ancient Egyptians believed strongly in their kings. The Pharoah was soon seen to be weak during their time of need. Pharoah Pepi II, in his old age, tried to show off his physical prowess in the Jubilee celebrations. However, the image of a vital Pharoah was shattered.
The Egyptian Dark Ages was an age where its people turned to magic to sort out their problems. They thought that by reaching out to magic, they would be able to control the world. The Egyptians also started writing out curses on pots or wax figures. They would burn the figure or smash the pot to activate the curse. It was informal religious, it showed how suspicious the Eqyptians had gotten. Chaos meant that the Egyptians’ worldview had changed.
A once united Egypt fractured into smaller kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms had a strong warlord leader. These leaders believed themselves above the previous Pharoah. They used the language and the images that the previous Pharaohs used to describe themselves. They were the heroes without a peer. These leaders did what they could to take care of their people: they gave bread, they gave sandals, they gave money. There may have been cases of exaggerations of how bad it was. This helped them claim that they were gods.
However as the power of the warlords grew, more and more conflicts happened. Some warlords created alliances with other warlords or they fought each other. They ended up turning on the remains of the old pharaohs and destroyed the old tombs of the pharaohs in the valley of the Kings. This violation of the old burying places appalled the people. The destruction of the tombs broke the line of history. After the destruction, ordinary Egyptians made atonement, bitterly regretting the tomb destruction.
After this destruction, one warlord decided to unite Egypt. This king would end Egypt’s dark age. The Egyptian Civil War was violent. The bodies of these warriors bore witness to the violence of their death. The Pharoah made sure to bury his warriors in a prominent tomb with great ceremony. After the civil war, the people started to feel safe. The economy was rebuilt. However, the trauma of the civil war remained. Their tombs changed, funerary art reflected the wish for a peaceful afterlife. If the people could not feel secure in the present life, they could feel secure in the afterlife. The Pharoah’s concerned themselves with National Security. They built castles to maintain order and goods between Nubia and Egypt.
To continue to learn more about Ancient Egypt, continue to watch the documentary.
You can access the documentary here.
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