Egypt as We Know, Egyptian History Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1345 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

Egypt

As we know, Egyptian history is divided into 31 dynasties (pharaohs' families) but the most important events, as many historians admit, took place during the reign of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. This was a period of so-called New Kingdom - a great period of Egyptian history which had changed the country and social relations of its citizens.

To begin with we have to remember that Egypt was not a centralized state before the New Kingdom and was divided into many small districts called nomes. These nomes were governed by local nomarch (ruler) and very soon (by the end of the Old Kingdom) nomarchs managed gaining individual rule over the territory they governed. This factor caused weakness of Egyptian state which was not able to resist barbarian tribes outside and rebels inside the country. Ultimately barbarians captured Egypt and were banished only after their king died.

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A new era of Egyptian history began. The New Kingdom (1580-1070 B.C.) was a period of forming so-called Egyptian empire - a huge state which included such lands as Syria, Palestine, and lands of modern Iraq. Egyptian foreign policy had one main target - capture more lands and subordinate local peoples, and no doubt, that this politics had a great success: Egypt became strong and rich country which was able to develop science and ancient manufacturing. Also nomarchs lost their power and that was a real pharaoh's success because state was no longer threatened by these separatists who wished preserving their positions in the nomes. Pharaoh established supervision over nomarchs' actions, so they were forced to respect central power and provide its politics in the districts.

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Military success brought peace and prosperity to Egyptian citizens who enjoyed social stability. Numerous wars gave Egyptians great treasures and even Homer wrote in The Iliad that Achilles was admired by Thebes wealth and splendor. Though some historians admit there were some hidden controversies in the society, in general, this stability did a lot of good and assisted progress.

Egyptian society was still divided in 3 social groups: rich citizens, small manufacturers, and slaves (who were not even considered as part of society) as in the previous periods of history but there were many important changes. Social processes became more complicated and new social groups appeared. For example slavery became wide spread and many common citizens could afford having several slaves. During the war Egyptians captured a lot of prisoners who were also turned into slaves, so their quantity increased and ultimately slaves became the major producing force in the country.

Moreover, the class of rich citizens was divided in two hostile groups: first consisted of the noble families, priests, nomarchs and their families; second - of usual officials who owed their wealth to the pharaoh (they were the main support of the monarch). Rivalry between them caused Akhenaton's reforms and it will be mentioned later.

When analyzing state's domestic policy we can see that pharaoh's administration protected first of all interests of rich and noble families who were the most powerful class of Egyptian society. This idea could be easily excused by thousands of years of human history because rulers always supported rich or noble citizens (the elite) who were devoted to them and had common interests. Social privileges were not equal in different classes: citizens of different classes had different economical and political rights. But we have to mention that Egyptian society was no doubt the moist democratic society of that time even under the condition of close cooperation with other nations and their both positive and negative influence on Egypt. Democratization of this ancient society became more intensive during the New Kingdom period as stability and peace inside the country were the main conditions of this process. Absence of gender discrimination is a bright example of this statement. Women had the same rights men had.

Historians and archeologists found out that the New Kingdom was a period of true social progress. All citizens (except slaves) could be owners of private property (slaves, animals, portable goods, land,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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