Showing posts from January, 2018

Engineering an Empire: Egypt

The History Channel has a great series called Engineering an Empire We are watching a portion of the Egypt episode in class, particularly the segments devoted to the building of the pyramids. As we talked about in class, the pyramids developed over time to be what we think of as the Great Pyramids of Giza.

During the period known as the Old Kingdom (2686 - 2181 B.C.E.), the final resting places of the pharaohs changed from simple mastabas, to step pyramids, to smooth-sloped triangular pyramids.

The video is pretty long, so focus on the development of the pyramids and the effort that the Egyptians put into building them. 

Here's a great video animation of the construction of the pyramids. Remember to think about why the Egyptians are building these massive structures!

And be sure to check out this amazing website that describes the filming of the pyramids with drone-based cameras, and that has a 360-degree aerial tour of the site of Giza!…

Egyptian Deities and Religious Beliefs

Noun: A god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion)

Egyptians, like most ancient civilizations, were polytheistic. The important thing to understand about polytheistic religions is that the gods and goddesses REPRESENT ASPECTS OF NATURE. Keep this in mind when you're trying to understand how these religions developed.

For example, the Egyptians and Greeks both have deities that represent water, storms, the sky, death, an afterlife, love, war, and other concepts from the natural world or from human behavior.

God of the UnderworldHusband of IsisKilled by his brother, SetEgypt’s first mummyFather of HorusShown with green skin

Isis Queen of the godsWife of OsirisGoddess of love and beautyMother of HorusBrought her husband’s pieces to Anubis to be mummified

Anubis God of the deadShown with the head of a jackal on a human bodyGod of mummificationWeighs the heart of the dead person to see if they deserve a good afterlife

Horus Son of Isis and OsirisSky godShown with the head of a fal…

The Myth of Isis and Osiris

Summary of the Myth of Isis and Osiris
(taken from

The first son of Geb and Nut, Osiris was tall, slender, and handsome, with jet black hair. When his father, Geb, gave up the reigning power over Egypt and retired into the heavens, Osiris took over the kingship and married his sister, the beautiful Isis. Under his wise authority the Egyptians were persuaded to renounce cannibalism. He taught them farming and the pleasures of music, and he framed a just legal code for them. Egypt flourished peacefully under his rule.

Then Osiris went off to civilize the rest of the world and brought the same blessings to Europe, the Near East, and the Orient. In his absence Isis reigned as queen of Egypt and the land continued to prosper.

However, Osiris had an ugly and evil brother with red, coarse hair like an donkey's pelt. This was Set, a born plotter who envied the power and attractiveness of his elder brother. Set had another reason for hating Osiris: His own wife, Nephthys, …

Ancient Egypt Vocabulary

Our Ancient Egypt Vocabulary Words

1. Delta
A delta is a triangle-shaped area of rich soil where a river dumps into a larger body of water.

2. Cataract
A cataract is a steep rapids in a river, or a very large waterfall.

3. Mummy
A mummy is a dead body embalmed according to the Egyptians’ religion.

4. Hieroglyphics
Hieroglyphics are the Egyptian writing system in which pictures are used for sounds.

5. Pyramid
A pyramid is a structure built in ancient Egypt as a tomb with four triangular sides and a square base.

6. Pharaoh
The pharaoh was the king of ancient Egypt who believed to be a divine human with magical powers.

7. Dynasty

The Geography of the Nile

The Geography of the Nile River

Class Notes for World Studies book pgs. 68-75, Questions 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, and 2c:

1a. The Nile River begins in the lakes and marshes of Central Africa. Its true source is Lake Victoria (the largest lake in Africa). The Nile starts as two rivers: the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The beginning part of the Nile cuts through a mountainous area.

      The Blue and White Nile come together in modern day Sudan. The city of Khartoum is built where they intersect. The Nile twists and turns through 1,000 miles of desert. In its course, there are six cataracts (steep rapids or waterfalls). As it gets close to the Mediterranean Sea, it breaks into many little streams that empty into the sea. This creates a large triangular area of rich soil called a delta.

1b. The Ancient Egyptians relied on the Nile River for survival. The Nile gave the Egyptians certain “gifts”: water, silt (mud), food animals (birds, fish, etc.), papyrus, and flax. The Nubians and Egyptians used th…

Ancient Egypt Map

In class you received two maps: an ancient map of the Nile Valley, and a modern map of the Middle East. Your job is to label both of them according to the directions. Shade all water in blue. On the ancient map, shade the land according to how it looks on Google Earth. On the modern map, either shade or outline the different countries in different colors (like in the atlas).

Open your atlas to page 115 (Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East) and look closely at the areas of Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Libya, and Lebanon.
On the ancient map, label the following places clearly, then copy the list of places on the back. Be sure your map has your name on it!
Mediterranean Sea
Red Sea
Dead Sea
Nile River
Euphrates River
Tigris River

First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Cataracts


Lower Egypt
Upper Egypt

We also worked on a modern map using the Mediterranean map on page 115 in the Atlas. Be sure to …

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

This weekend is a long weekend from school, but too many students pause to remember why...

Some resources for finding out more:

The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Stanford University

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Also, just a reminder that Dr. King was a Ph.D. graduate from Boston University.