Egypt and Nubia

Essential Question:  What was the role of Egyptian trade in the eastern Mediterranean and Nile Valley? Where was the Kush civilization located and what was its political, commercial, and cultural relations with Egypt

Prior Knowledge: Egypt was admired across the Mediterranean world.  Pharaohs expanded Egypt in many ways.  Ramses II expanded Egypt through war.    You are going to learn about the Kush, or Nubian civilization.

The Role of Trade in Egypt
Trade brought Egypt and Nubia together.  Egypt was rich in sunshine and soil, but it lacked forests, minerals, horses, and other useful resources found in Nubia and other places.  People in ancient Egypt had to get these resources through commerce with the country’s neighbors. commerce is the buying and selling of goods and servicesAs their country grew in wealth, Egyptians were eager to buy luxury goods from other lands.  Luxory goods were goods that they did not need, but that made life more enjoyable.  Such goods included animal skins, precious stones, and perfumes. Click here to see trade routes

Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Pharaohs organized expeditions to open trade with other lands.  An expedition is a journey or trip taken for a special purpose. All trade goods brought back to Egypt by these expeditions belonged to the pharaoh.  Around 2500 B.C, a pharaoh named Snefru ordered expeditions to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Trade in the Nile River Valley: Snefru also started trade between Egypt and its neighbor to the South.  He sent a trading expedition up the Nile into Nubia, and it returned with 7,000 slaves and 200,000 head of cattle.  Over time, trade up and down the Nile Valley increased.  because of its location, Nubia controlled commerce between cenral Africa and Egypt.  Nubian traders supplied egypt with animal skins, ivory, ostrich feathers, and beautiful woods from the African interior.  Nubia traded gold from its desert mines for Egyptian wheat.

Trade and Conquest: To protect this valuable trade, Egypt gradually conquered most of Nubia.  Egyptians called this region Kush.  The Nubians also had to pay tribute to the pharaoh.  Tribute is a payment made by a conquered people to a stronger power.  One year’s tribute payment to the pharaoh Thutmose III included hundreds of pounds of gold, cattle, slaves, ostrich feathers, and ivory from NubiaOver time, the nubians adopted many aspects, or features of Egyptian culture.   They wore Egyptian clothes and worshiped Egyptian gods.  They spoke the Egyptian language.  Nubian soldiers, who were famous archers, served in Egypt’s army.  Some Nubians rose to become high government officials.

Relations Between Egypt and Kush: After the rule of Ramses II, Egypt’s government collapsed.  Rival leaders in different cities were so busy fighting one another that they forgot about maintaining Egypt’s control of Kush.  This was  a costly oversight.  Left on its own, Kush became an independent kingdom ruled by Nubian kings.

Kush conquers Egypt: In the mid-700s B.C, a nubian king conquered the Egyptian town of Thebes.  The net ruler of Kush, a king named Piye, expanded the Kushite empire by conquering one Egyptian city after another.  The city of Hermopolis, however, refused to surrender.  Piye issued these orders.  “Surround the city and capture its people.  Let not the peasants go forth to the field, and not let the plowman plow.” For five long months Hermopolis held out against Piye’s army.  But when the city’s food supply ran out, its people began to starve.  A horrible odor filled the city as dead bodies rotted in the heatOnly then did Hermopolis surrender.  When the city fell, Piye declared himself the new pharaoh of a united Egypt and Kush.

Egypt and Kush: Pharaohs from Kush ruled Egypt for almost a century.  The rulers from the south encouraged an Egyptian-style culture.  They build temples to honor Nubian and Egyptian gods.  The doted the desert with hundreds of tombs.  like earlier pharaohs, they encouraged trade between Africa and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea.  The rulers from Kush might have remained in power longer if they had been content to govern only Egypt.  Instead, they tried to expand their power.  They went to war with Assyrians, skillful warriors who had recently conquered the Fertile Crescent. This error in judgement led to the Nubians’ downfall.  Assyrian troops invaded Egypt in 663 B.C.  After suffering many losses in battle, the Nubians retreated from Egypt to Kush.
How to add this to your writing:
You can talk about Nubia or Kush taking over your land.
If your dad is the pharaoh you can talk about him being killed by the Kush and then you conquering the Kush for your dad’s honor
You can talk about being ruled under Nubia
You can write about being in the war with Nubia,  maybe you are a great warrior that is fighting for Egypt.
You could write about living in Hermopolis
You could write about training about going to war
Maybe you can be a merchant and you want to trade with Nubia.
If you are a scribe you can write about writing about the Nubians or making hieroglyphs


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