Welcome to Ancient Egypt Online; a site dedicated to the culture, language, religion, and history of ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians did not call their home “Egypt” (that name is based on the Greek pronunciation of the name of Ptah’s temple in Memphis – “Hwt-ka-Ptah”), instead they referred to it as Kemet (or Kem – the black land) or Ta Mery (the beautiful land).
Ancient Egypt was divided into Ta Shemau (Upper Egypt) and Ta Mehu (Lower Egypt). The division between upper and lower Egypt was retained after the unification of the kingdom around 300 BC (Pre-dynastic Period). From that point on the pharaoh was often known as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt. This concept of duality is a constantly reoccurring feature of the Egyptian civilisation and was echoed in the pairing of different gods and goddesses to represent upper and lower Egypt.
The Egyptian civilisation survived, in a relatively stable form, for a staggering three and a half thousand years. Find out more about the different periods of ancient Egyptian history and learn about the kings, queens and nobles who shaped this amazing culture by checking out the pages of our Ancient Egyptian Timeline.
The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic language is both fascinating and beautiful. For many hundreds of years their meaning was lost, but thanks to the hard work of egyptologists hieroglyphs can again be read and enjoyed. In the hieroglyphs section you can find out about the development of hieroglyphs and investigate some of the most important artefacts such as the Narmer Palette and famous texts such as the Offering Formula and the Negative Confession (from the Book of the Dead). Ancient Egypt Online also features a collection of tutorials to teach yourself hieroglyphs.
The ancient Egyptians were polytheistic (they had many gods) and their religion was both complex and fascinating. At Ancient Egypt Online we have detailed pages on all of the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Find out which gods were associated with which cities, and what happened when Akhenaten tried to replace the traditional gods with the Aten. You can also find out about sacred symbols such as the Ankh, the Eye of Horus, the Djed Pillar and the Tjet, or learn about their sacred texts such as the Pyramid Texts and the Book of the Dead.
Pyramids, Temples and Tombs
The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx are perhaps the most famous monuments associated with Ancient Egypt. Yet, numerous other pyramids were constructed during the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings should not be missed. Egypt also has a wealth of beautiful temples such as the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, the stunning island of Philae with its Temple of Isis, the Temple of Hathor at Denderah (with its famous zodiacal calendar) and the Temple of Horus and Sobek at Kom Ombo.
Find out more in our section on Ancient Egyptian Monuments.
Visit our Ancient Egyptian Society pages to learn about daily life in ancient Egypt. You can find out about burial practices though the ages including mumification (even the mummies of pets) and the spells and magical texts that the Egyptians hoped would help them in the afterlife (such as the Book of the Dead and the Book of Two Ways). You can also learn about ancient Egyptian clothing, crowns, regalia, jewelery, and perfume or find out more about the role of animals, such as cats, in Egyptian society. Perhaps you want to learn about the ancient Egyptian diet and try some ancient Egyptian recipes, or find out what ancient Egyptian beer was like? There is also a section on the administration of Egypt (including a look at the importance of scribes) and the calendar and dating system used by the Egyptians.
The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt have inspired people for centuries. Who was the pharaoh of the Exodus?, Was tutankhamun’s tomb cursed?. Was Cleopatra really beautiful? What was the purpose of the shafts in the Great Pyramid? Did the Egyptians understand electricity? You can find the answer to these questions, and many more.
In our Library you can find links to primary sources about Egyptian history. Read the translations of tablets such as the Dream Stele (or sphinx stele) or the Victory Stele of Merenptah (the first historical reference to Israel). Find out more about Egyptian Literature such as the famous Story of Sinuhe (arguably the world’s first historical novel) and read the tales of magic and wonder (the Westcar Papyrus) from the court of Khufu (the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid). Investigate the Amarna Letters – correspondence between the “heretic” pharaoh Akhenaten and the leaders of neighbouring kingdoms or read the biography of Ahmose son of Ebana – a soldier who served four different pharaohs in the fight against the Hyksos.
Copyright J Hill 2008