ANCIENT EGYPTThe History and Culture of Ancient Egypt From Its Beginnings
to the End of the New KingdomHIST 220505379‐Mon.‐Wed.‐ 9:25 AM‐10:40 AM Savitz 217 Dr. Morschauser‐firstname.lastname@example.org "The fame of the valiant is in that which they do, it will never ever perish in the land." Ahmose son of Ebana (c. 1500 BCE) A continuing spate of television documentaries, historical novels, and outlandish movies, attests to the popular hold ancient Egypt has over modern audiences. Perhaps like no other society in the ancient world, the Egyptians still evoke a sense of mystery and awe, through the grandeur of the pyramids, to (let's face it) the ghoul‐appeal of their mummies. Their technology is still so astounding, that many would attribute their spectacular architectural achievements to beings from Mars, telekinetic energy, or to other equally held absurdities. With the fascination there is a lot of fraud, nonsense, and misconceptions about this remarkable civilization. Yet, even more meaningful‐ ‐ ‐ if not quite as emotionally satisfying as the sight of colossal monuments‐ ‐ is the fact that the ancient Egyptians produced what is likely the most successful political institution in human history, lasting close to three thousand years. The office of kingship established by the Egyptians at the beginning of their history influenced the rest of the ancient Near East, the Greeks, and the Romans. The political legacy of their constitutional monarchy echoes down to us today. And as the Greeks, Romans, and even the ancient Israelites, acknowledged their debt to the Egyptians, we too, are their heirs. Our alphabet is an adaptation of their hieroglyphics (through Semitic intermediaries). The idea that human ethics has ultimate consequences is first seen in the Nile Valley in the concept of a "Last Judgment." Herodotus, Plato, and others attributed to the Egyptians, the invention of law, medicine, and architecture. The Egyptians, in a profound way, were the first "multi‐cultural" society‐ ‐ attested by the country's appeal as a place of asylum in the ancient world. Anybody who agreed to act responsibly and uphold the welfare of the nation was welcomed and could be regarded as a citizen‐ ‐ men and women. Unlike other societies throughout the Bronze Age, Egyptian women could be scribes and physicians; they could inherit, own, and dispose of their property. Females could be kings‐ ‐ ‐ not just queens‐ ‐ ‐ kings. This course will study ancient Egypt‐ ‐ ‐its history and culture: from its founding as the first nation‐state in history, through its apex and decline as an empire and world power at the end of the New Kingdom. We will be examining closely the African and Near Easter origins of ancient Egypt, and the synthesis of cultures that resulted in the creation of a unique society; the institution of kingship and royal ideology(‐ ies), and the changes and adaptations, which demonstrated Egypt's resilience, ingenuity, and practicality. And yes, we will look at pyramids and mummies, and the religious beliefs to which they point. But we will endeavor above all else to understand critically, how the Egyptians understood themselves‐ ‐ through their inscriptions, texts, and literature.
I. OBJECTIVES 1) To provide an overview of ancient Egyptian history and culture from the Pre‐Dynastic Period through the New Kingdom. 2) To understand Egypt both within its own peculiar, indigenous setting, and within the context of its contacts and relationships throughout the rest of Africa, the Near East, and the Mediterranean world. 3) To introduce students to basic problems in Egyptology: a) The complexities surrounding the idea of "divine kingship," and its ancient nuances; b) The difficulties in the nature, availability, condition, and types of ancient Egyptian sources. c) The interpretation of material, whose presentation, expression, and perspective are very different from our own, esp. in the field of religion and theological speculation. 4) To gain a basic comprehension about the nature of ancient Egyptian society and its changes, as opposed to modern myths and misconceptions about it; paying special attention to Afro‐ centric and post‐Modernist criticism of "Eurocentric" and "Orientalist" views of Egypt, as well as Egyptological response to these challenges. II. REQUIREMENTS Students will be evaluated on the following criteria: 1) You are required to attend class and do the readings for the course, as you attempt to comprehend what an ancient Egyptian inscription was trying to convey to its original audience(s). Your struggles with these texts will be preparation for class‐discussion. 2) You will be graded on: A) One Mid‐term worth 25%. The Midterm is designed to test your comprehension of the basic terminology, concepts and chronological details of the course up until that point. It will be combination of objective material, along with a synthetic essay. B) A critical review of a film/documentary (to be watched in class). You are to evaluate it for its Egyptological content, not its entertainment value; 10%. C) A research paper dealing with a particular, and narrow theme chosen by the professor. The paper itself is to be 12‐15 pages in length. It is to demonstrate your ability to conduct research, treat critically original sources (in translation), and will involve dealing with both historical and historiographical issues. A rough draft of 4‐6 pages will be due by March 23. The final paper will be due by April 20. 35%.
D) A final exam, in which you will be required to identify major personages, events, sites, etc., as well as discussing at length, a particular issue or problem in Egyptology; 25% D) In‐class assignments, attendance, and in‐class quizzes are 5%. You must do the reading and be prepared to answer questions, which the professor shall pose to you. There will be oral and written assessments of assigned readings .
>>Although legitimate excuses such as sickness or family emergencies will be accepted,
change of work‐schedule, cruises, and other non‐school activities will not.
>>All electronic equipment is to be turned off, and put away once class begins: activity on
cell‐phones, I‐pods, I‐phones, Blackberries, and text‐messaging will not be tolerated.
>>According to University regulations, you are not to bring food or beverages into the class‐
>>If you have some medical problem that requires you to get up and leave, please let the
professor know of your difficulties. However, you are expected to show courtesy to your colleagues
and professor, and not disrupt the class.
>>It is your responsibility to get to class on time: plan ahead in terms of finding a parking
>>Continual lateness and absences will affect your overall grade. Your grade will be marked
down by a half, upon being late for three classes (e.g. from an A, to an A‐); late for six‐classes will
result in a whole grade drop (an A to B), etc. After three absences, your overall grade will be reduced
by a whole letter (e.g. an A to B, etc.).
The following books are required:
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature I‐II(AEL) Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of Ancient Egypt (HAE)
However, there will be periodic assignments from articles on JSTOR and other academic sites.
IV. OFFICE HOURS Mon‐Wed.‐8:30‐9:25; 10:50‐12:00 Tues‐8:30‐9:25 All other hours by appointment. Phone‐ext. ‐3993
V. TENTATIVE SCHEDULE Week Topic 1 "The Stones Speak": The Rediscovery of Ancient Egypt and the Beginnings of Modern Egyptology: Eurocentrism, Orientalism, and Afrocentrism and Ancient Egypt 2 The Land and the People: The Ancient Egyptian World‐View AEL I‐The Hymn to Hapy HAE, 1‐10 3 A Multicultural Experience: Predynastic Egypt HAE, 21‐26 4 The Deal is Done: Establishing Kingship and the Beginnings of Constitutional Monarchy HAE, 27‐36 5 The Tools of Egyptology: Primary Sources and Chronology HAE, 10‐21 The Breaking of Consensus and Renewal‐The Archaic Period (Dyn. 1‐2) HAE, 37‐51 6 Monuments for Eternity‐Djoser's Funerary Complex and the Beginnings of the Old Kingdom (Dyn. 3) HAE, 51‐57 7 The Age of Autocracy: Khufu, Khephren, Mycerinus (Dyn. 4) HAE, 57‐61 "Giving bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to the naked": The King as Good Shepherd of Re` (Dyn. 5) AEL I: The Memphite Theology; The Pyramid Texts; Tales of Wonder; the Book
of the Dead (AEL II)
HAE, 61‐77 8 The Impossible Possibility: The Schism of Dyn. 6 The Longest Reign in History: Pepi II and the Disintegration of Monarchial Rule AEL I: Decree of Pepi I; Weni; Harkhuf HAE, 78‐88 9 MID‐TERM EXAMINATION
A Land Turned "Topsy‐Turvy": Theories and Realities of the First Intermediate Period (Dyn. 7‐10) AEL I: Merikare; The Eloquent Peasant HAE, 88‐96 10 Renegotiations: The Ship of State Upright and the Formation of the Middle Kingdom (Dyn. 11) "So That One Might be Wise": Political Literature of early Dynasty 12 AEL I: Ptahotep; Sinuhe HAE, 97‐108 11 "Serve the King and Live": Sesostris III and the Revival of the Autocratic Image The Breakdown of Consensus: The End of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period (Dyn. 13‐14) AEL I: The Stela of Sehetpibre (the Loyalist); Hymns to Sesostris III HAE, 108‐125 12 "Like a Cloud‐burst?" The Hyksos Domination of Egypt (Dyn. 15‐17) The "Champion" of Egypt: the Rise of Thebes and the Establishment of the New Kingdom (Early Dyn. 18) AEL II: Ahmose Son of Ebana HAE, 126‐150 13 On to the Euphrates: Thutmosis I and the Beginnings of International Hegemony "Love the King or Die Immediately!" Power and Progaganda during the Reign of Hatshepsut AEL II: Obelisk Inscription of Hatshepsut HAE, 151‐183 14 The Great Chief: the First "Pharaoh"‐Thutmosis III "The Dazzling Disk of the Sun": Amenophis III and the Age of International Stabilty "The One God, the Only God, Besides Whom There is No Other": the Imperial Politics of Monotheism AEL II: The Annals of Thutmosis III; the Poetical Stela; Stela of Amenhotep III; Stela of Bek and Suty HAE, 184‐206 15 "The Horizon of the Sun": Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and the Amarna Revolution "The Gods Turned Their Backs on the Land": Reaction to Amarna AEL II: The Great Hymn to the Aton; the Boundary Stelae; The Destruction of Mankind
16 The Trials and Tribulations of Ramesses‐Not‐so‐Great (Dyn. 19) Lost Raiders of Arks: The Problem of the Peoples of the Sea Assassinations, Tomb‐robberies, Inflation, and Strikes: The Waning of the Ramessides The Setting of the Golden Sun and an Iron Dawn: The Decline of the New Kingdom (Dyn. 19‐20) AEL II: The Battle of Kadesh; the Israel Stela; The Scribal Miscellanies; the Prayers of Penitence HAE, 213‐239; 240‐259 FINAL EXAM