The Five Gifts of Hathor: Gratitude in Ancient Egypt
The central cultural value of ancient Egypt was ma’at – harmony and balance – which maintained the order of the universe and the lives of the people. Keeping balance in one’s life encouraged the same in one’s family and, by extension outward, one’s neighborhood, community, city, and the entire nation. A vital aspect of maintaining this balance was gratitude which would elevate a person’s journey through life and, after death, allow one to offer one’s heart – lighter than a feather.
Ten Ancient Egypt Facts You Need to Know
Ancient Egypt is defined as the civilization which flourished in North Africa between c. 6000-30 BCE – from the Predynastic Period in Egypt (c. 6000 - c. 3150 BCE) through the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BCE) before Egypt became a province of Rome. Roman Egypt (30 BCE - 646 CE) afterwards fell to the invasions of the Muslim Arabs.
Was Cleopatra Beautiful?
The idea that Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE), the famous last queen of ancient Egypt, owed her powerful position to her beauty persists. “The nose of Cleopatra: if it had been shorter, the whole face of the earth would have changed,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662 CE) ruminated (Pensées, 162). While for Pascal this thought illustrated how something small can change the course of history.
Arsinoe II Philadelphus
Arsinoe II (l. c. 318/311 - c. 270/268 BCE), daughter of Ptolemy I became one of the most enduring figures of the Lagid or Ptolemaic Dynasty and left an undeniable mark in the historical evidence. She was married three times; first to Alexander the Great's general Lysimachus, then to her half-brother Ptolemy, nicknamed Ceraunus, and finally to his full brother Ptolemy II. She became to model for succeeding Ptolemaic queens, down to Cleopatra VII.
Harper's Songs of Ancient Egypt
Harper’s songs were lyrics composed in ancient Egypt to be sung at funeral feasts and inscribed on monuments. They derive their name from the image which accompanies the text on tomb or chapel walls, stelae, and papyri in which a blind harper is shown singing his composition to the deceased and sometimes the family of the departed.
Book of the Heavenly Cow
The Book of the Heavenly Cow is an ancient Egyptian text dealing with the rebellion of humanity against the sun god Ra, his destruction of the rebels through the goddess Hathor, the reversal of this decision and Ra’s mercy, and his ascent into the higher heavens, leaving earth in a fallen state. The work has been compared with the Mesopotamian Atrahasis and the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood.
Immortality of Writers in Ancient Egypt
For the ancient Egyptians, life on earth was only one part of an eternal journey which continued after death. One’s purpose in life was to live in balance with one’s self, family, community, and the gods. Any occupation in Egypt was considered worthwhile as long as one was performing one’s duties in accordance with ma’at (harmony and balance as personified in the goddess Ma’at), the central value of Egyptian culture.
Field of Reeds (Aaru)
A’Aru (The Field of Reeds) was the Egyptian afterlife, an idealized vision of one’s life on earth (also known as Sekhet-A’Aru and translated as The Field of Rushes). Everything thought to have been lost at death was returned and there was no pain and, obviously, no threat of death as one lived on in the presence of the gods, doing as one had done on earth, with everyone the soul had ever loved.
Pharaoh of Egypt
Early ancient Egypt was ruled by kings and only from the New Kingdom period (c. 1570 - c. 1069 BCE ) did the title of 'pharaoh' appear. Considered a god on earth and the supreme ruler of his people, a pharaoh was one of the most powerful rulers of any ancient civilization. In charge of everything from religion to building projects, some of the most famous names in history such as Ramesses II and Tutankhamun have left us huge pyramids, colossal stone statues, and golden coffins to admire.
Cleopatra VII (c. 69-30 BCE, reigned 51-30 BCE) was the last ruler of Egypt before it was annexed as a province of Rome. Although arguably the most famous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra was actually Greek and a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BCE) which ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE).
UNESCO's Nubia & Abu Simbel Campaign
This collection is really dear to us as it is the fruit of our new collaboration and partnership with the UNESCO Archives. They have digitized a vast amount of resources that can be found on their platform and you can read all about their project in our interview about the archive launch. We are very glad to now have access to their archives and be able to share relevant media on our website.
Alexander Helios (40 BCE – c. late 1st century BCE) was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the second oldest son of Cleopatra VII (69 BCE – 30 BCE) and the twin brother of Cleopatra Selene II (40 BCE – 5 BCE). He spent the majority of his life in Alexandria, not meeting his father Mark Antony (83 BCE – 30 BCE) until he was three years old.
The Economy of Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt rapidly established itself as an economic powerhouse of the ancient world at the end of the 4th century BCE. The wealth of Egypt was owed in large part to the unrivalled fertility of the Nile, which served as the breadbasket of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Egypt’s economy underwent numerous radical changes during the Ptolemaic period, including the introduction of Egypt’s first official coinage, the cultivation of new crops, and the growth of international trade.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos outside the harbours of Alexandria, Egypt c. 300 - 280 BCE, during the reigns of Ptolemy I and II. With a height of over 100 metres (330 ft), it was so impressive that it made it onto the established list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Ptolemy XV Caesar “Theos Philopator Philometor” (“the Father-loving Mother-loving God”) (c. 47-30 BCE), better known by his unofficial nickname Caesarion or “Little Caesar” in Greek, was the oldest son of Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE) and was the last Ptolemaic king of Egypt. Caesarion is usually assumed to have been the son of Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) who had an intermittent affair with Cleopatra from their meeting in 47 BCE until his death in 44 BCE.
Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River. The two temples which comprise the site were created during the reign of Ramesses II (c. 1279 - c. 1213 BCE) either between 1264 - 1244 BCE or 1244-1224 BCE.