Ch. 5 Ancient Egypt and Kush
5000 BC – AD 350
• While the empires
are rising and falling
in Mesopotamia, two
other civilizations
developed along the
Nile river in
northeastern Africa.
1. Egypt
2. Kush
• P.99 Map
• Draw this map
under your title
• Include major
landforms from
Egypt, and Kush
5.1 The Nile River Valley
• With an astounding
length of 4,145 miles, the
Nile River is the longest
river in the world, and the
only major river that flows
south to north.
• The Nile River is often
called the “lifeblood” or
“The Gift” of Egypt.
• EQ: How
influence the
way people
Upper and Lower Egypt
• Ancient Egypt
includes two
regions, upper
(southern) and
lower (Northern)
Blue and White Nile
• At its source, The
Nile is 2 separate
rivers: the Blue
Nile flows out of
the mountains and
meets with the
White Nile.
• Along the Nile there are
locations called cataracts.
Steep cliffs and large
boulders form these
dangerous, fast-moving
waters. The cataracts
prevented invasions from
the South along the Nile
River. The rushing and
swirling water was too
difficult to travel along.
• The Nile River is divided
into parts based on each
cataract ( 1st cataract, 2nd
cataract, 3rd cataract, and
4th cataract
Geography of Egypt
Harsh deserts surrounded the Nile river. The Sahara and Western and
Eastern deserts acted as a natural barrier against invasions.
The Nile River flooded each year to create a long narrow corridor about 12
miles wide of very fertile soil.
Every year in the Summer the River Nile rose and all the land along its banks
was covered with water for three months. When the water eventually went
down everywhere it had been was covered with a thick layer of black mud.
The Ancient Egyptians farmed this very fertile strip of mud-covered land,
which they called Kemmet, translated into English as Black Land. Beyond
the Black Land was the Red Land which was not flooded every year, so
nothing could grow in it; this was where the people built their houses.
The Black Land was so called because of its color. Similarly for the Red
Land: the Egyptian word we translate as Red Land is Desert - one of the very
few words of Ancient Egyptian which has passed into other languages.
To Sum up:
When the land was covered in silt ,it looked black. They called this the black
land or Kemmet.
The dry area or desert area looked red so they called it the red land.
• Before the Nile reaches the
Mediterranean Sea, it splits into many
branches. These waterways form a fanshaped area of fertile land called a
Flood season
• The “Inundation” was the time from June
to September. This was the time of the
flood. During this time, Egyptians were
paid to work for the Pharaoh on building
Flood season
• The “Emergence” of the land
from the water covering was
from October to February.
During this time, Egyptians
planted and captured as
much water as possible in
irrigation ditches.
• The last of the three seasons
was the “drought” season.
During the drought, the
harvest took place.
A protected land
• To the west and east of the
Nile were large desert area not
suitable for humans or animals
• Far south , the Nile’s
dangerous cataracts prevented
enemy ships from attacking
• In the north delta marshes
stopped ins who sailed from
the Mediterranean Sea.
• These physical features gave
the Egyptians advantages that
Mesopotamians lacked.
Assignment: Lesson 1 The Nile
River Worksheet
Due Wednesday, Oct. 1
• Papyrus was one of the most versatile
plants growing along the Nile. The plant
was used to make paper, sandals, boats,
ropes, and even paintbrushes.
• The Egyptians came up with a writing
system called hieroglyphics. It was a
combination of pictures and sound
The ancient Egyptians called their script
mdju netjer, or "words of the gods.“
Hieroglyphs were the earliest form of
Egyptian script, and also the longestlived. It is the most familiar to the modern
observer, when staring in awe at the
columned halls at Karnak, the beautiful
tomb paintings in the Valley of the Kings
and Queens, and on sarcophagi and
Scribes wrote on papyrus.
Horrible Histories Hieroglyphics video
Everyday Egyptian Life
• The Ancient Egyptians grew cereals such as wheat and
barley and many sorts of trees and other plants, and kept
cattle, sheep, goats, ducks, geese and pigs.
• They also kept bees, fished in the River Nile and hunted
the wild animals living in the delta and desert.
• The only trees and plants they needed but could not grow
along the River Nile were those which produced spices
and incense. Spices were used for flavoring their food and
many other purposes, and incense was used in the
Temples. These had to be imported from other countries.
• Much if not most of what we know about Ancient Egyptian
farming, food and drink comes from wall-paintings and
models in tombs, many of which show everyday people
doing everyday things like fishing, hunting, and drinking.
Hunters, Fishers, and Farmers
Bread The Ancient Egyptians, both rich and poor, ate so much bread that the people who lived
in the lands around Egypt called them “bread eaters”.
The bread was usually made from emmer wheat, although they also grew and used two other
types of wheat, einkorn and spelt. Bread is made from flour, obtained by grinding the
wheat to a fine powder. The Egyptians did not have windmills or watermills to do this, so
the grinding was done by hand, using special grinding stones called querns, and the way it
was done allowed some of the stone worn away from the querns to become mixed with the
flour. This meant that the bread was very gritty and chewing it gradually wore away your
teeth, so many older Egyptians had very poor teeth and lots of dental problems.
Pharaoh himself controlled the production of wheat and barley. In years when the harvest was
very good the surplus grain was stored in huge mud-brick containers called granaries, and
then in years when the harvest was poor the stored grain was distributed to prevent the
people from starving. This is why cats were so important in Ancient Egypt: they were
needed to control the rats and mice who would otherwise eat the grain in the granaries.
Meat Rich people ate mainly beef, with some sheep and goat. They would not usually eat pig
if other meat was available. They also hunted and ate many of the wild animals that lived
in the delta and Red Land (desert), including deer and antelope. The poor people ate less
beef and more goat and sheep and they also kept and ate pigs. People working on
building projects were provided with food and beer, and those working on Royal projects,
for example the pyramids or the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, seem to have had a meat
allowance containing a much higher proportion of beef than other workers.
Poultry There were no chickens or turkeys in Ancient Egypt, but the Egyptians kept geese
and ducks and these were eaten by both rich and poor. They also hunted and ate wild
ducks and geese and many other birds such as quails and cranes. The only birds they did
not eat were those they considered sacred, such as the ibis.
Hunters, Fishers, and Farmers
Fish There were many different sorts of fish in the River Nile, but rich people did not eat
a lot of fish (except salted fish) if meat was available. Poor people ate more fish, and
they also preserved it by drying it in the sun or salting it. Salted fish was a great
delicacy with both rich and poor, and was also one of Ancient Egypt's main exports.
They ate most sorts of fish except one species, which was sacred because it was
associated with the god Osiris.
Vegetables grew peas and beans, lentils, onions, garlic, radishes, turnips, peppers,
leeks, lettuces and cucumbers, and also many herbs such as aniseed, fennel,
mustard, thyme, coriander, cumin and dill. They could not grow spices as most spices
need much hotter conditions.
Fruit grew grapes, figs, water melons, dates, pomegranates, pumpkins, plums and
many other fruits, and also walnuts and almonds and other nuts. Grapes could be
eaten as they were, made into wine or sun-dried to make raisins, and dates, figs and
plums could also be eaten fresh or dried in the sun. Poor people also used dates and
other fruits to sweeten their food - we now think that the hieroglyph for date could
also mean any sort of sweetener except honey. Rich people sweetened their food
with honey but this was very expensive.
Eggs There were no chickens as we know them in Ancient Egypt, but the Ancient
Egyptians kept ducks and geese and ate their eggs - we know this because there are
wall-paintings showing baskets of eggs. But we do not know much about how they
cooked them because we have not found very many recipes containing eggs.
Butter and cheese milked cows, goats and sheep. They drank some of the milk and
turned some of it into butter and cheese.
Honey kept bees for honey and beeswax and also collected wild honey. Sugar, like the
potato, was unknown in Egypt and the Near East and Europe until the discovery of
the Americas, so rich people used honey to sweeten their food and to make cakes
and puddings. Honey keeps almost for ever and provided the jars have not been
broken honey put into tombs is still eatable more than three thousand years later.
However honey is also a very good preservative and the Ancient Egyptians used it for
preserving small pets etc as a less expensive alternative to mummification. So if you
happen to come across a jar of Ancient Egyptian honey it is always advisable to
check what else is in the jar before you start to eat it!
Fats and oils in food and cooking, for skin care and in perfumes and cosmetics, in
medicines, and to burn in lamps to provide light at night and inside the temples and
tombs. Solid fats were usually animal fat or butter; liquid vegetable oils were obtained
from the seeds of plants such as castor, sesame and flax. Olive trees did not grow in
Ancient Egypt although an attempt was made to introduce them during the 18th
Dynasty, about the time of Tutankhamen. Fragrances can be captured in waxes and
fats, which is why candles and soaps can be scented. In wall paintings Egyptian
ladies are shown with wax cones on their wigs and it is thought that these were
scented and that the wax would melt and run down over the wig releasing the
Salt is not a food but we cannot live without it: if we were to go completely without any salt at
all for more than three or four days we would die (in considerable pain). Also, most foods
taste horrible if cooked without any salt whatever. But too much salt is bad for you,
particularly for very young and very old people and people who are very fat or have heart
Today most take-away and prepared foods (beefburgers and fries etc, pizzas and hot-dogs,
pre-cooked foods and foods in packets, jars, tins etc ) contain so much added salt that
many people living in towns in Europe and North America are taking in far too much salt.
But in Ancient Egypt, mediaeval Europe and even many poor countries today, it was far from
easy for most people to obtain enough salt. We lose salt when we sweat, and the Ancient
Egyptians workers, laboring out of doors all day under the hot Egyptian Sun, would have
needed much more salt than we do. Most workers (not only in Egypt but also in many
other countries) received a daily salt allowance as a part of their wages. (Hence of course
the expression “not worth his salt” for a worker who is not pulling his weight.)
If you lived near the sea you could make salt by collecting sea water in shallow pots and then
leaving the pots in the Sun so the water evaporated leaving the salt behind, but if you lived
a long way from the sea you needed to obtain your salt from a salt mine, and sometimes
the nearest salt mine might be hundreds of kilometres away.
Most of Egypt's salt had to be brought from a place called Siwa, involving a journey of more
than two hundred kilometres across the Western (Sahara) Desert. Not only in Ancient
Egypt but throughout the whole of the ancient and mediaeval world the people who
controlled the salt mines and the merchants who transported and sold the salt were often
very rich and powerful.
Pharaoh Food
• Egyptian people ate fish from the river, but the Pharaoh
never ate fish because it was considered “unclean” and
“bad luck” from the Nile waters.
• There were many types of food a pharaoh could eat.
Some of them are: onion, sycamore fig, coconuts,
grapes, beef, olives, dates, milk, apple, pomegranates,
leek, honey, beer, duck, meat, fish and bread.
• Most Egyptians were farmers. They lived in mud-brick
one story houses on small rented plots of land.
Advances in farming
• Canals were dug from
the Nile to the farms
for irrigation.
• Egyptians also used a
shadoof (bucket
attached to a long
pole) to get water
from the river.
• Draw a diagram of the
shaddof, how the
shadoof works and
label its parts
Uniting Egypt
At first Upper and Lower Egypt were not united.
Upper Egypt was symbolized by a white cone-shaped
Lower Egypt was symbolized by a red crown.
Around 3100BC, Narmer (Menes) from Upper Egypt
conquered Lower Egypt and married one of their
princesses, uniting both kingdoms.
Pharaoh comes from the words
that mean “great house”
• Menes is the first ruler of
Ancient Egypt to leave a
written record.
• The people of ancient Egypt
believed their kings were also
• Modern people refer to ancient
Egyptian rulers as pharaohs, but
pharaoh originally referred to the
palace where the king lived.
• Pharaoh was not used as a title
for the Egyptian ruler until the
later part of ancient Egyptian
history, but today we use the
term to describe all of the rulers
of ancient Egypt.
• They were believed to be
descended from the sun god Re
and held absolute power
Fact and Fiction
• Menes wore a double crown of
red and white that symbolized
the unification of Upper Egypt
and Lower Egypt.
• The Egyptians believed the
crown had magic powers; it
was the single item an
Egyptian ruler could not take
with him to the afterlife.
• A historian named Manetho
reported that Menes ruled
Egypt for 62 years and was
killed by a hippopotamus.
• We cannot be certain of
Manetho’s account because he
lived almost 2,000 years after
Menes is considered Egypt’s first Pharaoh.
He also created the first dynasty (line of rulers
from the same family) in Egypt.
He also built a new capital city that was later
called Memphis.
Ancient Egyptian History is divided into time
periods known as the Old Kingdom, Middle
Kingdom, and New Kingdom.
Within these time periods, from 3100 BC to
332 BC, a series of 32 dynasties ruled Egypt.
To sum up…3 – 2 - 1
• Write: What are 3 ways geography
influenced the way Egyptians lived?
• Tell your shoulder partner 2 of those things
your learned today.
• Raise your hand: What is 1 thing you
didn’t understand from today’s lesson?
History Mystery
Monday, September 29, 2014
You are a time traveler. Frustrated, you shove your hands in your
pocket where you find a crumpled piece of paper. It looks like a map.
The map is similar to the one on p. 101. You realize you might be in the
city of Thebes in Ancient Egypt. You inquire with a man that is walking
in the city as to where you are. He replies, “in upper Egypt, dah!”
As you walk down the street taking in the beauty that is surrounding
you, you realize with sudden alarm that something isn’t right. The river
seems to be flowing backwards. You check your compass rose and
realize that the Nile River is indeed flowing backwards. Solve this
mystery. How can the Nile River be flowing backwards? Explain with
Assignment: Lesson 1 The Nile River Worksheet
Due Wednesday, Oct. 1
History Mystery

The Nile River Valley - Stewarts Creek Middle School