Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why Ancient Egypt?

The ancient Greeks, and through them the ancient Romans held the ancient Egyptians in high regard as a font of ancient wisdom. The roots of our Greek-Roman civilization of today owe more to ancient Egypt than is commonly realized. 

What are those roots? Answer via book 'The Illustrated Dictionary of Ancient Egypt' from Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson (2008):
  • AKHENATEN. For the first time 'There is only 1 God' is born. Freud claims - not in the above mentioned book - that Akhenaten is the Moses of the Bible.
  • AMMUT. The creature of the netherworld that eats the hearts of those whose evil deeds (read: the weight of the 'heart' doesn't match 'maat') made them unfit to proceed into the afterlife.
  • BOOK OF THE DEATH. 42 negative confessions. Summarized they resemble the 'Ten Commandments' of the Bible.
  • ETHICS/ MAAT. Right is live in Maat ('truth' or 'harmony'). Wrong is live in Isfet ('chaos', 'lies' or 'violence').
  • FIELD OF REEDS (AARU). Heavenly paradise. Ideal hunting and fishing ground in eternal reed fields.
  • HIEROGLYPHS. Language
    • CALENDAR. A year has 12 months and three seasons with four 30-day months. Each month comprised three 10-day weeks. Day and night have each twelve hours.
    • MATHEMATICS AND NUMBERS. Value for Pi of 3.16. Calculation of the height or angles of pyramids. Moving of large weights of stone.
    • MEDICINE. "Egyptian medicine was a mixture of magical and religious spells with remedies based on keen observation of patients."
    • PRIESTS. They were the 'servants of God' and held a number of different offices. One of them were the 'hour priests' who  were responsible for the hours and calendar.
  • TEMPLE. In the innermost shrine was the image of the deity kept.
  • ART. Colums (reflecting a bundle of reeds) and figures. 

P.S. I wrote about this before in 'Following Trails' (2014).

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