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Ancient Egypt: Beliefs

When we think of our modern civilization, we must also consider those of centuries back and wonder how the ushering of yet another age will obviously affect the progress of humanity.

When we think of civilization, we generally revert to a time and age centuries ago, such as the one in ancient Egypt where there used to be an entirely distinct mind-set that catered to many beliefs, such as, not only the worship of many gods and the plurality of temples dedicated to such gods, but also the belief that the Pharaohs were gods themselves and their helpers considered to be priests, divinely selected to do their bidding. There were many villages and towns that had their own private gods, the most important of whom was known as Ra, Amon-Ra, the sun god, and Osiris, god of the dead. There was also a god of the Nile, the lion god, the hippopotamus god, the turtle god and last, but not the least, the hawk god.

A special calendar was set up to let the farmers know when the Nile would be flooding and the fields ready for planting.  The invention of a style of writing with pictures called hieroglyphic, meaning “carving by priests,  was controlled and maintained by a group of professional men, known as scribes. Originally, the scribes used to carve their writing into stone or clay tablets, before they learned to use skins of animals, such as sheepskins, called parchments. As time elapsed, they invented a kind of paper from a reed called the papyrus on which much of their writing was done. They also invented a device called the nilometer, used to measure the floods. It consisted of a slab of stone with marks cut in it, placed beside the Nile. The marks on the stone indicated how high and fast the river was rising.

In addition to the aforementioned inventions, the scribes introduced a kind of surveying when the floods washed away the boundary marks that divided the farms before marking the boundaries again. There was no money in ancient Egypt and the collection of tax was by way of receiving a portion of the farmer’s crop.

The ancient Egyptians believed in a life after death. Unique tombs were built, dedicated to the Pharaohs and nobles. At the same time, the ritual of embalming (the treatment of the dead body with chemicals, wrapped with linen cloth) used to be followed by the inclusion of weapons, food, servants and slaves in tombs, known as pyramids.

The ancient civilization of Egypt did not change for hundreds of years until the year 640 when Arab armies conquered Egypt and introduced the new religion of  Mohamed, known as Islam.

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