The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.
Unas built his pyramid between the complexes of Sekhemket and Djoser, in North Saqqara. Anchored to the valley temple at a nearby lake, a long causeway was constructed to provide access to the pyramid site. The causeway had elaborately decorated walls covered with a roof which had a slit in one section allowing light to enter, illuminating the images. A long wadi was used as a pathway. The terrain was difficult to negotiate and contained old buildings and tomb superstructures. These were torn down and repurposed as underlay for the causeway. A significant stretch of Djoser's causeway was reused for embankments. Tombs that were on the path had their superstructures demolished and were paved over, preserving their decorations. Two Second Dynasty tombs, presumed to belong to Hotepsekhemwy, Nebra, and Ninetjer, from seals found inside, are among those that lie under the causeway. The site was later used for numerous burials of Fifth Dynasty officials, private individuals from the Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties, and a collection of Late Period monuments known as the "Persian tombs". (Full article...)
Composite image of Isis's most distinctive Egyptian iconography, based partly on images from the tomb of Nefertari
Isis (Ancient Egyptian: ꜣst; Coptic: ⲎⲥⲉĒse; Classical Greek: Ἶσις; Meroitic: 𐦥𐦣𐦯 Wos[a] or Wusa) was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom (c. 2686 – c. 2181 BCE) as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain brother and husband, the divine king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. She was believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, who was likened to Horus. Her maternal aid was invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people. Originally, she played a limited role in royal rituals and temple rites, although she was more prominent in funerary practices and magical texts. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom (c. 1550 – c. 1070 BCE), as she took on traits that originally belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis was portrayed wearing Hathor's headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow.
In the first millennium BCE, Osiris and Isis became the most widely worshipped Egyptian deities, and Isis absorbed traits from many other goddesses. Rulers in Egypt and its neighbor to the south, Nubia, built temples dedicated primarily to Isis, and her temple at Philae was a religious center for Egyptians and Nubians alike. Her reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods, and she was said to protect the kingdom from its enemies, govern the skies and the natural world, and have power over fate itself. (Full article...)
Image 5Naqada figure of a woman interpreted to represent the goddess Bat with her inward curving horns, c. 3500–3400 B.C.E. terracotta, painted, 11+1⁄2 in × 5+1⁄2 in × 2+1⁄4 in (29.2 cm × 14.0 cm × 5.7 cm), Brooklyn Museum (from Prehistoric Egypt)
Image 24Possible prisoners and wounded men of the Buto-Maadi culture devoured by animals, while one is led by a man in long dress, probably an Egyptian official (fragment, top right corner). Battlefield Palette. (from Prehistoric Egypt)