Ancient Egypt vs Modern Egypt

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Contrasted An In-depth Analysis of the Differences between the Egypt of Yesterday and Today

Egyptian culture has many contrasts and contradictions between the old and the new. The two cultures are much different from each other. But in its entirety, the culture of Egypt has successfully combined the best of both worlds. Keeping the appeal and magnificence of its ancient culture unharmed, modern Egypt has absorbed the contemporary ways of life. Egypt Culture is a balanced culture, both in its ancient times as well as its stylishness.

A visit to any of the big cities of Egypt will show the influences on culture world-wide. When compared to other countries, Egypt is advanced to another extent, culturally. Tourism being one of the major income creators for Egypt, the culture openly invites tourists. Modern Egypt is a thriving mixture of diverse culture. Egypt also claims a five thousand-year-old history of culture and civilization. It is a land, which is rich in art and history, people and places. Egypt has emerged as one of the most cultured nations of the world. The culture of modern Egypt is like any other diverse country.

Egypt has an interesting mixture of people of different cultural backgrounds. Modern Egypt has created an individual cultural identity all while keeping its ancient culture. This combination of the old and the new makes the culture of Egypt unique and distinct. Ancient Egyptian Culture represents the ancient ages of Egypt. The Ancient Egyptian age was a very intriguing period in history. Beginning in the year 3000 BC, the ancient era of Egypt lasted till about 300 BC. Major diggings of Egyptian historical sites have revealed that ancient Egypt had achieved very high standards of culture.

The beauty of the art, the skill of the craftsmen, the details of the language or even the vague, indefinable feeling that the Egyptians came as close as is humanly possible to living a near-perfect life. Individually these would all be good reasons to study any ancient civilization. Our fascination with ancient Egypt is, to a large extent, a product of the vast amount of material information available. We know so much about the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians. We can read their words, meet their families, feel their clothes, taste their food and drink, enter their tombs and even touch their bodies and it like we almost know them.

Read Pronunciation Problems in Egypt essay.

And knowing them, maybe even loving them, we feel that we can understand thehopes and fears that dominated their lives. The riches of objects, creates a highly biased collection of things. The lives and possessions of the poor are under-represented, and we can never be certain that the goods provided for the dead were representative of the goods used in daily life. Nevertheless, the contents of Egypt’s tombs, supplemented by the illustrations on the tomb walls, have allowed specialists to develop a greater understanding of Egyptian material technology than of any other ancient civilization.

Egypt’s magnificent stone buildings and pyramids have inspired numerous artists, writers, poets and architects from then even to the present day. The pyramid form still pays an important role in modern architecture, and can be seen rising above cemeteries and countless shopping centers. The original pyramids serve as a testament to the skill of the Egyptians The Great Pyramid, built by Khufu in 2550 BC, stands at an impressive150 feet high, with a slope of 51degrees. Its sides, with an average length of 754 feet, vary by less than 2 inches.

Higher than St Paul’s Cathedral, the pyramid was aligned with accuracy almost exactly straight. But the pyramids are more than that. They hold the key to understanding the structure of Egyptian society. The pyramids were built, not by the gangs of slaves often portrayed by Hollywood film moguls, but by a workforce of up to 5,000 permanent employees, supplemented by as many as 20,000 temporary workers, who would work for three or four months on the pyramid site, before returning home. The royal tombs of Egypt reveal that they wore fabrics such as silk which was very rare and a great commodity of the time.

Artifacts and what’s left that were found during excavations reveal to us that ancient Egyptians were very fashionable and culturally aware. The ancient royalty of Egypt such as the pharaohs wore a lot of gold jewelry. The abundance of gold made ancient Egypt seem to have been a very rich nation. Now, Egyptians are very fond of arts, music and sports. Football is the favorite sport of the Egyptians. Family ties are also very strong in Egypt. The males respect Egyptian women, which makes most of the big cities such as Cairo and Alexandria much safer for women than any western cities such as Sudan and Kuwait.

The ancient Egyptians were very religious minded. Gods and goddesses were part of everyday life of ancient Egyptians. They had gods and goddesses who they had persistent faith. Religious practices of ancient Egypt were linked to movements of holy bodies such as constellations, the sun, the moon, and the planets. Some of the most respected idols of ancient Egyptians are Osiris and Isis. Now, Egypt’s population mainly consists of Sunni Muslims and Coptic Christians. People of both religions moderately follow their religious practices.

Religious principles are quite noticeable in their daily lives

Today, Egypt is at the core of the Muslim world while in the past it was dominated by varying polytheistic beliefs and Christianity. Religious changes occurred with Egypt’s evolving governance. The original pharaoh rulers were conquered by Alexander the Great. His descendants merged Greek and Egyptian traditions until the Roman Empire conquered Egypt and subjugated its culture. Rome and its successor states ruled Egypt until the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD. These new rulers brought a new culture and language.

The original Egyptian language of hieroglyphics was forgotten. It was not understood until an expedition led by Napoleon discovered a stone translating the language into Greek in 1799. The geography of Egypt has also changed since its inception, due to the Aswan High Dam. The dam helped expand irrigation along the Nile River and created the large Lake Nasser. Ancient Egypt is also very rich in what seems to have been intellect and artistic value. The earliest examples of literature are within the pyramids in writing and carvings on the walls of the tombs.

Preserved in their writings and coded into their artwork the Egyptians asked, and answered, the questions that all societies ask. What happens after death? How was the world created? Where does the sun go at night? Lacking any real scientific understanding they answered their own questions with a series of myths and legends designed to explain the otherwise inexplicable. Some of these myths passed from Egypt to Rome, and have had a direct effect on the development of modern religious belief. Reading and understanding the ancient stories allows us to abandon our modern preconceptions, step outside our own ultural experiences and enter a very different, life-enhancing world. Believing that the soul could live beyond death, the Egyptians buried their dead in the Red Land, with all the goods they considered they would need in what they thought of as the ‘afterlife’. While their mud-brick houses have dissolved and their stone temples have decayed, their desert tombs have survived relatively intact, the dry conditions encouraging the preservation of such delicate materials as plaster, wood, papyrus, cloth, leather and skin.

Egypt’s rich material legacy is the result of unique death beliefs, which combined with distinctive geography, encouraged the preservation of archaeological material. The Nile River flows northwards through the center of Egypt, bringing much needed water to an otherwise dry part of north-east Africa. The Nile is the world’s longest river. It is over 4000 miles long! It is shaped like the lotus flower so often seen in ancient Egyptian art. Each spring, water would run off the mountains and the Nile would flood.

As the flood waters receded, black rich fertile soil was left behind. The ancient Egyptian called this rich soil The Gift of the Nile. The Nile River Valley and the delta offered inhabitants of ancient Egypt two things, fertile land and a location that seemed to be the center of the world. Farming, raising animals, and fishing helped the world’s first nation-state flourish. The earliest evidence of village life in Egypt dates back to 5000 B. C. The Egyptians were great farmers, and surpluses of wheat and barley were stored for times of famine.

The Egyptians were also great traders, and the region was the hub of trade for much of the ancient world. Today agriculture is still an economic backbone, but Egypt’s dams and irrigation canals have disturbed the Nile’s natural flow. This has reduced the flooding that brought nutrients to the soil. Efforts are being made to keep the land fertile. Fertile soil for crops was not the Nile’s only gift. The Nile gave the ancient Egyptians many gifts. Thanks to the Nile, these ancient people had fresh water for drinking and bathing.

The Nile supported transportation and trade. It provided materials for building, for making cloth for clothes, and even for making paper – made from the wild papyrus weed, that grew along the shores of the Nile. Because of the annual flooding of the Nile, the ancient Egyptians enjoyed a high standard of living compared to other ancient civilizations. Without the Nile, Egypt would be a desert. Their total dependence on the River Nile as a source of water and a means of transport had a deep impact on the way that the Egyptians saw the world.

Their sun god, the falcon-headed Re, did not cross the heavens in a flaming chariot, he sailed sedately in a solar boat. Parallel to the Nile on both banks of the river runs the Black Land – the narrow strip of fertile soil that allowed the Egyptians to practice the most efficient agriculture in the ancient world. Beyond the Black Land lies the inhospitable Red Land, the desert that once served as a vast cemetery, and beyond the Red Land are the cliffs that protected Egypt from unwelcome visitors. One constant thing throughout Egypt’s history has been its political importance.

This importance has shifted from its role as a regional superpower in ancient times to the role of an agricultural breadbasket for Rome, to the role of a cultural core for the Arab world. The bureaucracy that we know lay behind this operation is staggering. Not only did the workforce have to be summoned, housed and fed, but administrators also had to coordinate the supplies of stone, rope, fuel and wood that were needed to support the building work. Pyramid studies confirm that a pre-mechanical society can, given adequate resources and the will to succeed, achieve great things.

Pyramid building would have been impossible without strong government backed up by an efficient civil service. No wonder many archaeologists believe that, while the Egyptians undeniably built the pyramids, the pyramids also built Egypt. The ancient Egyptians enjoyed many natural barriers. There were deserts to the east and west of the Nile River, and mountains to the south. This isolated the ancient Egyptians and allowed them to develop a truly distinctive culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt’s ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in ancient Egypt.

The Nile river was a perfect spot for civilization to take root with the fertile soil it was the perfect spot for one of the richest of ancient cultures. Egyptians managed architectural accomplishments which were supreme in that age. The pyramids, Sphinx, and other large monuments of Egyptian culture are still in existence today. Egypt is still an important cultural center.

Bibliography

  • 1. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization by BJ Kemp (Routledge, 1989)
  • 2. Ancient Egypt: The Great Discoveries by N Reeves (Thames and Hudson, 2000)
  • 3. http://www. fathom. com/course/21701778/sessions. html

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