Egypt

Ancient Egypt : Pharaohs – Part 2

There has been a long list of Pharaohs in history of Egypt since 5000 BC till 51 BC until Roman Emperor Alexander the Great captured Egypt.

Menes (3100 BC), was the first pharaoh in Egypt while Cleopatra VII (beloved of Augustus Ceaser) was last Pharaoh when Roman Augustus Ceaser wiped out Egypt Empire. Mostly the Pharaohs succeeded the throne by heritage but there are few examples when militarily the throne was acquired. Some of the Pharaohs left their everlasting impressions for the work they left behind.

Here I mention some Pharaohs who we must know in order to understand the pyramids and temples they have left behind.

Some of the monuments which you can cover in  7 days are

Giza Pyramids, Papyrus Institute, Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo,  Philae Temple’s island, God Sobek temple, Horus temple, temple of Nefertari in Aswan, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon on West bank of Nile and temples of Ramesses II and Neffertari at Abu Simbel..

Pharaoh Zoser (2686 BC to 2648 BC)

Zoser, also spelt as Djoser, is credited with construction of first pyramid on plateau of Sakkarah. This was stepped pyramid and was designed by Imhotep who was one of the wisest man of ancient times. He was a statesman, physician, architect and engineer. He took the wood, small limestone blocks and sand mud.

Burial chamber was inside in center of this pyramid. Imhotep designed the burial chamber (90 feet below) same as Zoser’s palace. The other surrounding rooms contained burial artifacts such as furniture, jewelry, food items which were used and favorite of the king. The court flanked by two rows of small buildings is called the court of chapels. North of this are two large temples dedicated to the North and South. The tiny figures we see in this below model are of artisans, priests, laborers. The size of them we can get idea of immensity of this structure.

This pyramid even stands today as monument of his genius.

 

1st Pyramid. This is a model kept at Egypt Museum in San Jose in USA.

Pharaoh Khufu (2589 – 2566 B.C)

Built the Great Step Pyramid that is known as the Great Pyramid of Giza. This is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was just 150 years after the first pyramid was commissioned by Zoser.

Pharaoh Khafra (2558 – 2532 B.C)

He was the son and successor of Khufu. Built the Second Pyramid at Giza and the Sphinx that guards it.

Amenhotep I (1525-1504 B.C)

Also known as Amenhotep IV, both he and his mother were credited for opening a worker village at Set Ma’at which is now known as Deir el-Medina.

Painters, carpenters, sculptors and architects were direct employees of king. They were not bound to any land. They were directed by king and had to go to places where the tombs or furniture were to be constructed. The most famous artists lived in Deir el-Medina.

Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1498-1483 B.C)

She was one of the most successful pharaohs. She reigned longer than any other women of the Egyptian dynasty. On death of her husband she was appointed as the ruler of Egypt.

The walls of her temple at Deir el-Bahri,show the exotic tips of her famous trading expeditions in the land of Punt (a kingdom in ancient Egypt). She is credited with first in world to transplant foreign tree which she brought from Punt. Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her mortuary temple complex.

A model of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple (Deir el-Bahri) complex kept at Jan Jose Museum

Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479-1425 B.C)

He ruled the Egypt along with his step mother Hathepsut. He was very famous for his valor and as a brave warrior king.

Pharaoh Akhenaten (1379-1334 B.C)

Famous in history for religious revolution and start of new religion known as Atenist. Egyptian believed in many gods, but when Akhenaten came into power he introduced the worship of one god (monotheism) that is the Sun God Aten. He built many massive complexes in honor of the Sun God Aten. The style of art which flourished during this period was certainly different from the other Egyptian arts.

This fragment of carved relief shows the head and arms of the pharaoh Akhenaten, as he makes offering before God, the Aten. In his left hand is incense burner and in his right hand is sacred water vessel shaped like ankh-symbol of everlasting life.
Water vessels of this type were used for dedicating food offering to God.
Slightly curved surface tells us that the scene came from a large stone column in a public building at Akhenaten’s new capital Akhetaten. Today this site is located in Middle Egypt city called Tell el-Amarna.

This fragment of carved releif shows the head and arms of the pharoh Akhenaten, as he makes offering before God, the Aten. Photo taken at San Jose Egypt Museum, USA

Death of Akhenaten sugnal also was death of religion Atenist.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1334-1325 B.C)

He was the youngest pharaoh in the Egyptian history. He ascended to the throne at an age of nine and died at an age of 18. Tutankhamun was famous for his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, which was laden with many amazing treasures. He was most famous because his tomb was discovered completely intact and gave amazing insight into Egypt culture.
Also he is known to restore the old cult and religion of Egypt by abolishing his predecessor Akhenaten “monotheism”.

Note that the above figure is not the actual Tutankhanum’s tomb but recreated by Swiss artist Winterhalder.

Pharaoh Ramsses II (1279-1212 B.C)

He was also regarded as the most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian empire.He built many pretty temples and defeated the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh in 1274 B.C. Among many other queens his chief queen, Nefertari, was beautiful. Carvings of this beautiful queen can be seen on the Ramsses II’s temple at Abu Simbel. He lived a long life, and died at an age of 92.

His successors often referred him as the “Great Ancestor”..

Model of temple of Abu Simbel created at San Jose Museum, USA

This model is created at San Jose Egyptian Museum to give a glimpse of the grandeur of temple of Abu Simbel bult by Pharaoh Ramesses II.
In ancient time it was called as Hwt Ramesses Meryamum, the Temple of Ramesses, Beloved of Amum”. Each statue of Ramesses II are towering 67 feet.
On one side of colossal statues are images of Nile Gods. Inside temple there are 8 pillars supporting the first chamber.and are carved to show pharaoh as Osiris.
The interior of temple show the battles won. The temple was designed so that on day of birth day and coronation of Ramesses II in February and October the sun would directly shine at the temple entrance.

Nefratari, The Queen of Ramesses II. Photo taken at San Jose Egypt Museum, USA

A smaller temple nearby made is dedicated to his queen Nefertari.

Epilogue

There is a long lineage of pharaohs in history of ancient Egypt. As a tourist if you visit Egypt, we should know at least few pharaohs who had everlasting impression on Egyptian history and left some of the amazing works behind them in form of pyramids and temples. Amid 2000 types of Gods, mysteries of mummies, funerary systems all customs and social functions culminated by Pharaohs.

Travelers

The travelers

This Egypt museum at San Jose, USA, is a great collection of artifacts, mummies, coffins,
In order to understand the ancient Egypt glory we must also understand the contemporary civilization

Categories: Egypt

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