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CHAPTER 2 · Section 2

Ancient Egypt, 3000­2000 B.C. Mediterranean Sea

The Mighty Nile

The Landsat image (left) shows the Nile flowing into its delta. An outline of the continental United States (right) shows the length of the Nile's course. The actual length of the Nile with all its twists and turns is more than 4,100 miles.

History from Visuals

Interpreting the Map

Point out the map key, and have students use it to locate the Great Pyramids and the Nile Valley. Ask: In which direction do the prevailing winds blow? (to the south) Extension Have students note the distance from the Mediterranean to the First Cataract. Ask why a scale can't be used to accurately measure the Nile's length. Next, ask why a comparison of the Nile's length with the width of the United States is helpful. (The Nile's curves make it longer than the straightline distance from source to mouth. Comparison makes it easier to see the size of the area.)


Nile Delta


Region of Great Pyramids Prevailing winds River current Nile Valley






















First Cataract


1. Movement In which direction does the Nile flow? 2. Location Describe the location of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

1. Movement The Nile flows north. 2. Location Lower Egypt lies to the north near the Mediterranean Sea and Upper Egypt lies to the south.

In-Depth Resources: Unit 1 · Geography Application: Egypt and the Nile Delta, p. 27

Tip for English Learners

Fan out is an idiom meaning to "spread apart." Here, it describes how the river divides into many branches, which spread apart in a fan shape, or like the spread fingers of a hand.

· When the Nile's floodwaters were just a few feet lower than normal, the amount of fresh silt and water for crops was greatly reduced. Thousands of people starved. · When floodwaters were a few feet higher than usual, the unwanted water destroyed houses, granaries, and the precious seeds that farmers needed for planting. · The vast and forbidding deserts on either side of the Nile acted as natural barriers between Egypt and other lands. They forced Egyptians to live on a very small portion of the land and reduced interaction with other peoples. However, the deserts shut out invaders. For much of its early history, Egypt was spared the constant warfare that plagued the Fertile Crescent.

Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt Ancient Egyptians lived along the Nile from the mouth well into the interior of Africa. River travel was common, but it ended at the point in the Nile where boulders turn the river into churning rapids called a cataract (KAT·uh·rakt). This made it impossible for riverboats to pass this spot, known as the First Cataract, to continue upstream south to the interior of Africa. Between the First Cataract and the Mediterranean lay two very different regions. Because its elevation is higher, the river area in the south is called Upper Egypt. It is a skinny strip of land from the First Cataract to the point where the river starts to fan out into many branches. To the north, near the sea, Lower Egypt includes the Nile delta region. The delta begins about 100 miles before the river enters the Mediterranean. The delta is a broad, marshy, triangular area of land formed by deposits of silt at the mouth of the river.

Contrasting What was the main difference between the flooding of the Nile and that of the rivers in Mesopotamia?

A. Answer Nile flooding occurred with greater regularity than the flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates.

36 Chapter 2

Name Date

COOPERATIVE LEARNING The Tomb of Tutankhamen

Class Time 45 minutes

Task Making a presentation on the discovery and contents of the tomb of Tutankhamen Purpose To learn more about the discovery of the tomb Instructions Divide students into groups of three or four. Point out that the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen was one of the great archaeological events of the 20th century. Have students prepare a TV news broadcast to report this story to the class. Have them read Tutankhamen, p. 37 of In-Depth Resources: Unit 1, to gain background. Then have them divide up the following topics to research: Who was Tutankhamen; The discovery of the tomb; Opening the tomb; Inside the tomb; Importance of the discovery. Using their research, have each group prepare and deliver a live "broadcast." Encourage them to use diagrams, illustrations, and live interviews with participants in the discovery. Remind students that the Internet is a rich source of information about Tutankhamen. Simply using the name as a key word will bring up a large number of resources.



Section 2



The Boy King

"At first I could see nothing . . . but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold--everywhere the glint of gold."--Howard Carter, recalling the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb


hrust into the mantle of power at the age of nine or ten, Tutankhamen reigned as pharaoh, or king, of Egypt for only ten years, before dying at the young age of 18. His most important action was to restore ancient Egyptian religion. He was seldom remembered except by scholars who specialized in Egyptian history--until November 26, 1922. That day, archaeologist Howard Carter and George Herbert, a British nobleman, uncovered the tomb of this boy king and found such vast riches that he became the most famous pharaoh of all. Tutankhamen came to the throne in a difficult time in Egyptian history. His father had tried to radically change the land's religion. He moved the capital of the kingdom away from Memphis. He abandoned the sacred city of Thebes. He declared that the god Aten was the only god of Egypt, replacing all others. The pharaoh had even changed his own name to Akhenaten to honor the new god. The changes plunged Egypt into chaos. The pharaoh paid little heed to running his kingdom, and the people suffered. Later, after his death, he was angrily called the "criminal of Akhetaten," the name of his new capital city. Akhenaten died after 17 years of rule. Soon afterward, a new name appeared on the scene: Tutankhaten, the son of Akhenaten. He became king of a land in turmoil. Records show that under the young king, Egypt launched attacks on Nubia to the south and on Asia to the east. However, the boy ruler probably did not lead these military actions. Two older figures-- an official named Ay and the general Horemheb-- may have guided the country during the young pharaoh's reign. Both ruled Egypt after his death. The young king's main accomplishment was not military but religious. He put an end to his father's experiment with the new religion of Aten. He moved the religious center of the kingdom back to Thebes and restored worship of the ancient gods. Tutankhaten also worked to restore the temples


1. Recognizing Effects How had Akhenaten's rule affected Egypt? 2. Drawing Conclusions Why was it significant that Tutankhamen changed his name? 3. Making Inferences Not all the objects in Tutankhamen's tomb were made of gold or jewels. Why might archaeologists want to study shoes, boxes, or food?

34 Unit 1, Chapter 2

In-Depth Resources: Unit 1


Chapter 2

© McDougal Littell Inc. All rights reserved.

and other sacred buildings that had fallen to decay. He even changed his name to Tutankhamen to show his reverence for the old gods. Tradition and order returned to Egyptian society. Soon after, however, the boy king died. Though Tutankhamen had an important impact on Egypt, his reign was obscure to most people until Carter and Herbert brought his tomb to light. The rulers of ancient Egypt built elaborate tombs to house their bodies after death. Some were pyramids of stone. Others were cut into rock in the famous Valley of the Kings. These tombs were filled with gold, jewels, and other treasures for the pharaoh to enjoy in the afterlife. Over the years, however, robbers entered these burial places and took most objects of value. Archaeologists had long hoped to find a tomb that was intact. Carter and Herbert's find provided that chance. The entrance to Tutankhamen's tomb had been covered over by workers who built a later tomb. As a result, his burial place had lain forgotten--and full of dazzling riches--for thousands of years. One spectacular treasure was the death mask of the king, a beautiful piece of solid gold. And the tomb revealed a wealth of other objects: "beads, boxes, stools, chariots, bows, arrows, shoes, gloves, underwear, food . . . and much more besides." Today many of these objects are displayed in museums. They give not just archaeologists, but all people, an opportunity to observe the glory of ancient Egypt.

The Nile provided a reliable system of transportation between Upper and Lower Egypt. The Nile flows north, so northbound boats simply drifted with the current. Southbound boats hoisted a wide sail. The prevailing winds of Egypt blow from north to south, carrying sailboats against the river current. The ease of contact made possible by this watery highway helped unify Egypt's villages and promote trade.

CHAPTER 2 · Section 2

Scorpion King

In 1999 Egyptologists discovered a series of carvings on a piece of rock about 18 by 20 inches. The tableau scene has symbols that may refer to a king named Scorpion. The rock shows a figure carrying a staff. Near the head of the figure is a scorpion. Another artifact, a macehead, also shows a king with the scorpion symbol. Both artifacts suggest that Egyptian history may go back to around 3250 B.C. Some scholars believe the Scorpion is the earliest king to begin unification of Egypt, represented by the double crown shown below.

Egypt Unites into a Kingdom

Critical Thinking

· Why was Narmer a particularly effective ruler? (created a crown that combined those of the Upper and Lower kingdoms; moved the capital to Memphis, where the two kingdoms met) · How did building the pyramids show the power of the Egyptian pharaohs? (Only very powerful leaders could get people to to build one.)

Egypt Unites into a Kingdom

Egyptians lived in farming villages as far back as 5000 B.C., perhaps even earlier. Each village had its own rituals, gods, and chieftain. By 3200 B.C., the villages of Egypt were under the rule of two separate kingdoms, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. Eventually the two kingdoms were united. There is conflicting historical evidence over who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Some evidence points to a king called Scorpion. More solid evidence points to a king named Narmer. The king of Lower Egypt wore a red crown, and the king of Upper Egypt wore a tall white crown shaped like a bowling pin. A carved piece of slate known as the Narmer Palette shows Narmer wearing the crown of Lower Egypt on one side and the crown of Upper Egypt on the other side. Some scholars believe the palette celebrates the unification of crown of crown of Egypt around 3000 B.C. Upper Egypt Lower Egypt Narmer created a double crown from the red and white crowns. It symbolized a united kingdom. He shrewdly settled his capital, Memphis, near the spot where Upper and Lower Egypt met, and established the first Egyptian dynasty. Eventually, the history of ancient Egypt would consist of 31 dynasties, spanning 2,600 years. Historians suggest that the pattern for Egypt's great civilization was set during the period from 3200 to 2700 B.C. The period from 2660 to 2180 B.C., known as the Old Kingdom, marks a time when these patterns became widespread.

Pharaohs Rule as Gods The role of the king was one striking difference between

Connect to Today

Scorpion King

crown of Upper and Lower Egypt

The Scorpion King may have made another contribution to history. The Scorpion King's tableau, and other related discoveries, may represent the world's first writing, extending recorded Egyptian history back to between 3300 B.C. and 3200 B.C. If this is correct, it would predate Sumerian writing, which has long been thought to be the world's oldest writing.

Making Inferences Why were Egypt's pharaohs unusually powerful rulers?

Egypt and Mesopotamia. In Mesopotamia, kings were considered to be representatives of the gods. To the Egyptians, kings were gods. The Egyptian god-kings, called pharaohs (FAIR·ohz), were thought to be almost as splendid and powerful as the gods of the heavens. This type of government in which rule is based on religious authority is called a theocracy. The pharaoh stood at the center of Egypt's religion as well as its government and army. Egyptians believed that the pharaoh bore full responsibility for the kingdom's well-being. It was the pharaoh who caused the sun to rise, the Nile to flood, and the crops to grow. It was the pharaoh's duty to promote truth and justice.

Builders of the Pyramids Egyptians believed that their king ruled even after his

Vocabulary Note: The Greek root word -theoPoint out the word theocracy and explain that it is formed from the Greek root -theo-, which means "god." Here, it is combined with another Greek root, -crac-, which means "govern." The resulting word means "rule by god," or a "religious government." Point out that students have already learned another word using this Greek root, polytheism, which means "belief in many gods."

B. Answer They were believed to be gods as well as temporal rulers.

death. He had an eternal life force, or ka, which continued to take part in the governing of Egypt. In the Egyptians' mind, the ka remained much like a living king in its needs and pleasures. Since kings expected to reign forever, their tombs were even more important than their palaces. For the kings of the Old Kingdom, the resting place after death was an immense structure called a pyramid. The Old Kingdom was the great age of pyramid building in ancient Egypt.

Early River Valley Civilizations 37

DIFFERENTIATING INSTRUCTION: Interpreting Similes and Metaphors

Class Time 30 minutes Task Understanding similes and metaphors Purpose To broaden understanding of the text


Instructions Read the following line from the first full paragraph on this page: "The ease of contact made possible by this watery highway helped unify Egypt's villages and promote trade." Explain that "watery highway" is a metaphor--a figure of speech that compares two things that have something in common by saying one thing is another. Discuss the meaning of this metaphor with students.

Then explain that the authors use another figure of speech as well, the simile. In the third paragraph, the author describes "a tall white crown shaped like a bowling pin." This figure of speech uses "like" to make the comparison. Draw a bowling pin on the board and explain how it is like the crown. Tell students that metaphors and similes help readers see an unfamiliar idea more clearly by comparing it to something common. Have students discuss other figures of speech in this section: ribbon of water, gift of the Nile, regular as clockwork.

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