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The Impact Of Ancient Egypt

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The Impact of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is a civilization of wealth and structure that flourished along the Nile River in northeastern Africa from about 3300 B.C to 30 B.C. In over 3,000 years, one of the most sophisticated and creative societies advanced where no other civilization did. 2,000 years later, it would be hard to think about the world without the impact of ancient Egypt, because it seems to have significantly affected every field of our American culture. The Egyptians have heavily influenced our culture’s literature, architecture, art, film, and politics.

The western world’s fascination with Ancient Egypt began in the 19th century. The reason for this fascination first began with two separate literary works. The first was entitled “Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte”, and was written by Dominique Vivant; published in 1802. The second was the Institute of Egypt's “Description de l'Egypte” that was published in 1809. Because of these publications, people became more and more interested in Egyptian culture and everything related to it. They brought life back to the deceased civilization of 2,000 years. Ancient Egyptian images and representations were integrated into a wide variety of cultural sectors and immortalized through literature. Not only are the Ancient Egyptians immortalized through current day literary works, but their hieroglyphs may be man’s first attempt to write. Deciphered in 1822 by Jean FranÐ"§ois Champollion, Ancient Egyptian language can now teach us what they knew then. Much of what we know about them was learned through these ancient writings; their government, class system, day to day activities, religion, wars, philosophy etc. Our history books wouldn’t be the same without them.

Ancient Egyptian architecture was greatly ahead of its time and took a high degree of architectural and engineering skill. “Ancient Egyptians actually reached unmatched high levels in architectural design and construction engineering. Even at present it is still hard to conceive how they could have all these buildings and structures erected with such high level of perfection and precision, using only primitive and naive tools far incomparable with modern machinery and equipment.” (Touregypt) It also required the organization of a large workforce consisting of highly trained craftsmen and laborers. The architecture that the Ancient Egyptians are most known for is their pyramids. The pyramids are the greatest and most famous structures ever in human history. The largest one is the Great Pyramid, and it is the last surviving of the 7 wonders of the world. The Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee is comparable in size to the Ancient Egyptians pyramids, being the 3rd largest in the world. The Louvre Pyramid is a large metal and glass pyramid in Paris, France. It is also what you call an Ancient Egyptian architecture revival structure. Another well known structure is the Great Sphinx of Giza, which was buried under sand for the majority of its life. It is also very unique to the Egyptian culture. You can see a present day revival of the sphinx at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Another popular Ancient Egyptian structure is the obelisk. There are currently only 5 remaining from the ancient civilization, but we can see about 50 newer ones around the world. The most popular one in America is the Washington Monument. It stands 555 feet tall. “Ordinary antique obelisks were seldom taller than around 100 feet (30 m), making this monument vastly taller than the obelisks around the capitals of Europe and in Egypt” (Olszewski)

Certain characteristics of Egyptian culture have become particularly symbolically charged during the 19th century up until now. The mummy, for example, represented the fascination of the Americans with the living dead, reanimation, and revenge. “This fascination went so far that 'unwrapping-a- mummy-parties' were organised, thus pushing the hysteria of the Americans with Egyptian myths further and further.” (Trafton) There have also been many movies which portray the mummy as a cursed villian back from the dead for revenge. “The Mummy” and its sequel “The Mummy Returns” demonstrate that ancient Egypt and the discovery of its secrets is still a powerful point of reference for contemporary western cultures. The most famous pharoah turned mummy is King Tut; partly because his tomb is among the best preserved and the most-exhibited. He’s been commemorated in the hilarious song “King Tut” by Steve Martin and also as a villian in the early Batman series.

Cleopatra is also very culturally significant ruler of the Ancient Egypt civilization. “The name Cleopatra stems from Greek for “father's glory,””



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