Aug 6, 2017

Under the Pharaohs

Jun 12, 2017


The word pharaoh ultimately derive from the Egyptian compound pr-ˤ "great house," written with the two biliteral hieroglyphs pr "house" and ˤ "column", here meaning "great" or "high". It was used only in larger phrases such as smr pr-ˤ "Courtier of the High House", with specific reference to the buildings of the court or palace.

 From the twelfth dynasty onward, the word appears in a wish formula "Great House, may it live, prosper, and be in health", but again only with reference to the royal palace and not the person.

During the reign of Thutmose III (circa 1479–1425 BCE) in the New Kingdom, after the foreign rule of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period, pharaoh became the form of address for a person who was king.

The earliest instance where pr-ˤ3 is used specifically to address the ruler is in a letter to Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), who reigned circa 1353–1336 BCE, which is addressed to "Pharaoh, all life, prosperity, and health".

 During the eighteenth dynasty (16th to 14th centuries BCE) the title pharaoh was employed as a reverential designation of the ruler. About the late twenty-first dynasty (10th century BCE), however, instead of being used alone as before, it began to be added to the other titles before the ruler's name, and from the twenty-fifth dynasty (eighth to seventh centuries BCE) it was, at least in ordinary usage, the only epithet prefixed to the royal appellative.

From the nineteenth dynasty onward pr-ˤ3 on its own was used as regularly as hm.f, "Majesty". The term, therefore, evolved from a word specifically referring to a building to a respectful designation for the ruler, particularly by the twenty-second dynasty and twenty-third dynasty.[citation needed]

For instance, the first dated appearance of the title pharaoh being attached to a ruler's name occurs in Year 17 of Siamun on a fragment from the Karnak Priestly Annals. Here, an induction of an individual to the Amun priesthood is dated specifically to the reign of Pharaoh Siamun.
 This new practice was continued under his successor Psusennes II and the twenty-second dynasty kings. For instance, the Large Dakhla stela is specifically dated to Year 5 of king "Pharaoh Shoshenk, beloved of Amun", whom all Egyptologists concur was Shoshenq I—the founder of the Twenty-second dynasty—including Alan Gardiner in his original 1933 publication of this stela.
 Shoshenq I was the second successor of Siamun. Meanwhile, the old custom of referring to the sovereign simply as pr-ˤ3 continued in traditional Egyptian narratives.

By this time, the Late Egyptian word is reconstructed to have been pronounced *[par-ʕoʔ] whence Herodotus derived the name of one of the Egyptian kings, Φερων.[10] In the Bible, the title also occurs as פרעה [par‘ōh]("Pharaoh").

 from that, Septuagint φαραώ pharaō and then Late Latin pharaō, both -n stem nouns. The Qur'an likewise spells it  fir'awn with "n" (here, always referring to the one evil king in the Exodus story, by contrast to the good king Aziz in sura 12's Joseph story). Interestingly, the Arabic combines the original pharyngeal ayin sound from Egyptian, along with the -n ending from Greek.

English at first spelt it "Pharao", but the King James Bible revived "Pharaoh" with "h" from the Hebrew. Meanwhile in Egypt itself, *[par-ʕoʔ] evolved into Sahidic Coptic ⲡⲣ̅ⲣⲟ prro and then rro (by mistaking p- as the definite article prefix "the" from ancient Egyptian p3).

Jun 7, 2017

Middle Kingdom

Middle Kingdom of Egypt

Amenemhat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom

The pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's prosperity and stability, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects.

 Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I, upon assuming kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 BC, shifted the nation's capital to the city of Itjtawy, located in Faiyum.

 From Itjtawy, the pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a far-sighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. 

Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the "Walls-of-the-Ruler", to defend against foreign attack.

With the pharaohs' having secured military and political security and vast agricultural and mineral wealth, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom experienced an increase in expressions of personal piety and what could be called a democratization of the afterlife, in which all people 

possessed a soul and could be welcomed into the company of the gods after death. Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style.[34] The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical perfection.

The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III, allowed Semitic-speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate 

Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties. During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to seize control of the delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos.

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