Ancient Egypt: Old, Middle, and New Kingdom

2337 WordsOct 8, 199910 Pages
Ancient Egypt: Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Outline I. Thesis: Ancient Egyptians were the basis for many western traditions. Their influences are noticeable in art, architecture, and religion. II. The Old Kingdom A. Zoser, the first pharaoh. 1. built the famed Step Pyramid 2. brought unity to Egypt B. Religion 1. creation 2. gods C. Art D. Downfall of the Old Kingdom III. The Middle Kingdom A. Pyramids B. Middle Kingdom religion 1. Myth of Osiris 2. Similarties between the myth of Osiris and Christian beliefs C. Middle Kingdom art D. Downfall of the Middle Kingdom IV. The New Kingdom A. Valley of the Kings B. Shift in religion…show more content…
Such was the case with Zoser, and the pharaohs of the preceding dynasties. But the priesthood that worshipped Re began a slow steady usurpation of power from the pharaohs in the fifth dynasty. The divinity of the pharaoh was reduced in magnitude; he was no longer a god himself, but merely the son of the god Re (David 16). The decline in the quality as well as the size of pyramids were the result of this shift in power. The art of the time flourished nowhere else like it did in Egypt. Art in the Old Kingdom was not simply for beauty, but for utility as well. Everything was to have a purpose. For that reason, statues were not erected in marketplaces, but rather in a temple where they might serve some practical purpose in the afterlife (Breasted 102). Eventually, the pharaohs themselves became a major contributor in their own downfall. There were marriages of non-royal women, as was the case with Pepi I. This led to the belief that the divinity of the royal line was diluted, thereby reducing the pharaoh's power. In addition, the royal treasury was rapidly being depleted due to maintenance costs of pyramids, the construction of new pyramids, and numerous gifts to the priesthood and nobles. It wasn't long before the priesthood and the nobles were as wealthy as the pharaoh himself (David 16). After Pepi II, central government was completely lost, and anarchy reigned. It wasn't until the Middle Kingdom that Egypt began to recapture the glory it once held.
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