Ancient Egypt: Its Culture and History

History of Egypt

Egypt is one of the countries that had a long and remarkable history. This country had an immense influence on the development of western civilization. Ironically, the country and its culture were also shaped by western civilization, as well as other cultural traditions. The Egyptians are a unique nation that is constantly changing but still manages to preserve its traditions and values. Researchers note that one of the reasons for this uniqueness is the unique geographical position of Egypt1 The role of the sun can hardly be overestimated in this region as it is associated with life and death, prosperity, and danger. The people of Egypt worshiped the sun and made their whole lives follow its laws. The country is surrounded by two rivers, and the Nile makes the land fertile. At the same time, Egypt is also surrounded by the sands of one of the driest deserts on the planet. The climate is also remarkable as it ensures the preservation of various artifacts that can reveal the secrets of humanity.

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Scientists are still unable to identify the exact time of the beginning of the Egyptian civilization. It has been acknowledged that by 3000 BC, the nation already had sophisticated writing that documented the life of ancient Egyptians.2 The history of Ancient Egypt is divided into several periods and starts with the so-called Early Dynastic Period that dates back to the fourth millennium BC. During the three millennia, Egypt was a mighty country with well-developed agriculture, construction, science, and art. The people who lived in that period built the pyramids and developed a solar calendar. The Late Period ends in 332 BC with the conquests of Alexander the Great..3 It is noteworthy that this period, as well as the following ones, were characterized by the development of government, consolidation of power, and authority of a mighty ruler be it a pharaoh, emperor, sultan, or president.

The period between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD is referred to as Antiquity. At that period, Egypt was under the influence of Hellenistic culture and later the rule of the Roman Empire. Egypt lost its status as a mighty power and became a province of a new empire. One of the most well-known figures of that period was Cleopatra. The Roman rule ended in the seventh century. It was marked by the spread of Christianity..4 The Romans also contributed to the further development of construction, agriculture, and art in the region. The Middle Ages were the period when the country was conquered by the Muslims. During the 7th and the 10th centuries, Egypt was reigned by the Muslims, which led to the spread of Islam..5 Sciences (especially mathematics and astronomy) developed at an unprecedented pace at that period.

The Early Modern and Modern periods are characterized by the rule of different countries including the Ottoman Empire, France, and Great Britain. The changes of the rule translated into certain transformations in the political, economic, and social spheres. Egypt became a multicultural society where people of different ethnicities and religious beliefs had to co-exist and collaborate. Social tension existed at different times and unresolved conflicts were often used by external powers..6 The 20th century was marked by the country’s involvement in the Two World Wars and, as a result of the Second World War, Egyptians’ final chance to build their own country in the modern world. Egypt gained independence in the middle of the 20th century. The country collaborated with many states including other countries of the Gulf, as well as Western countries, such as the USA, the United Kingdom, and so forth.

Egypt managed to become one of the leading countries in the region due to its well-developed agriculture, and investment in such spheres as oil production and tourism. However, the development of the political agenda was not as successful. The country was led by autocratic people, who focused on preserving their power rather than the development of the society, which was specifically obvious during the 2010s. The outbreak of the revolution unveiled the social tension that existed, as well as people’s search for a more democratic future of their country.7 All these events and trends had an impact on the development of Egyptian society and its culture. The transformations that have taken place from the earliest days of the country contributed to the development of a set of values and beliefs that are persistent at present.

Assumptions About the Country and Its People

The Egyptians are now mainly seen as the representatives of the Muslim culture, but numerous values and beliefs were formed in ancient times. One of the central cultural peculiarities of Egyptians is their strong focus on family values. The family is regarded as the major unit, and family links are preserved and put to the fore in many situations.8 Authority, which is closely related to family links, is also an important pillar for the Egyptians. Hierarchy is highly valued, and people are mindful of their status. The influence of media has been associated with certain shifts as younger generations long for more democratic principles, but these are more linked to the political and social spheres.9 The social divide is quite well-pronounced, and the shifts from the lower layers to the upper class are rather uncommon.10

Islam is the official religion, and Islamic values and traditions are cherished in Egyptian society. People are rather religious as they attend mosques and they follow major Islamic norms including regular prayers. It is noteworthy that Egyptians emphasized honor. They try to avoid inflicting any disgrace on their names as it would lead to the loss of the reputation of the entire family. The Egyptians try to keep to the word and are very friendly. These values have affected the development of certain communication patterns.

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Common Communication Patterns

As has been mentioned above, Egyptian people are very friendly. Smiling is one of the non-verbal communication patterns that facilitate cross-cultural interactions.11 Politeness is another characteristic feature of the existing communication patterns. Egyptians are very polite and expect the same respect from their partners. It is noteworthy that non-verbal communication is very important for Egyptians and can take many forms.

For example, these people pay much attention to the appearance of their interlocutors. This attention to such details may be associated with Egyptians’ focus on the social status of individuals and the level of their authority. It has been found that headdress tends to have an impact on face processing..12 Handshaking is common, but it is important to remember that the country is Muslim and there are some peculiarities associated with the physical contact of people. Men shake hands during their meeting, especially when it comes to the first meeting. However, when a female and a male meet, they shake hands if the woman extends her hand. If the woman does not extend her hand, the man bows his head.

As far as verbal communication is concerned, Egyptians pay special attention to the development of trusting relationships. Therefore, all conversations start with the discussion of the family, health, and so forth.13 Since the Egyptians place a significant emphasis on authority, they often refer to reputable sources. They also expect the same from their interlocutors. These people will take points on board if they are supported by sound evidence. It is possible to note that the communication patterns existing in Egyptian society are deeply rooted in the Islamic tradition, as well as the cultural peculiarities of the people of Egypt.

Bibliography

Bozeman, Adda B. Politics and Culture in International History: From the Ancient Near East to the Opening of the Modern Age. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Commisceo Global. “Egypt Guide.” 2017. Web.

Hassan, Mazen, Elisabeth Kendall, and Stephen Whitefield. “Media, Cultural Consumption and Support for Democracy in Post-Revolutionary Egypt.” Political Studies 64, no. 3 (2016): 534-51.

Megreya, Ahmed M., and Markus Bindemann. “Culture Shapes Face Perception: Comparisons of Egypt and the UK.” In Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences, edited by Markus Bindemann and Ahmed M. Megreya, 287-304. New York: Nova Science Publishing, Inc., 2017.

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Toscano, Roberto. “Is Democracy a Mirage?: The Arab Awakening in Comparative Perspective.” In The Arab Revolution of 2011: A Comparative Perspective, edited by Saïd Amir Arjomand, 75-87. New York: SUNY Press, 2015.

White, J. E. Manchip. Ancient Egypt: Its Culture and History. New York: Courier Corporation, 2013.

Footnotes

  1. J. E. Manchip White, Ancient Egypt: Its Culture and History (New York: Courier Corporation, 2013), 1.
  2. Adda B. Bozeman, Politics and Culture in International History: From the Ancient Near East to the Opening of the Modern Age (New York: Routledge, 2017), 20.
  3. White, Ancient Egypt: Its Culture and History, 233.
  4. Bozeman, Politics, and Culture in International History: From the Ancient Near East to the Opening of the Modern Age, 220.
  5. Ibid., 392.
  6. Ibid., 458.
  7. Roberto Toscano, “Is Democracy a Mirage?: The Arab Awakening in Comparative Perspective,” in The Arab Revolution of 2011: A Comparative Perspective, ed. Saïd Amir Arjomand (New York: SUNY Press, 2015), 77.
  8. Commission Global, “Egypt Guide,” Web.
  9. Mazen Hassan, Elisabeth Kendall, and Stephen Whitefield, ” Media, Cultural Consumption and Support for Democracy in Post-Revolutionary Egypt,” Political Studies 64, no. 3 (2016): 534.
  10. Commission Global, “Egypt Guide.”
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ahmed M. Megreya and Markus Bindemann, “Culture Shapes Face Perception: Comparisons of Egypt and the UK,” in Face Processing: Systems, Disorders and Cultural Differences, ed. Markus Bindemann and Ahmed M. Megreya (New York: Nova Science Publishing, Inc., 2017), 287.
  13. Commission Global, “Egypt Guide.”
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StudyCorgi. "Ancient Egypt: Its Culture and History." January 17, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ancient-egypt-its-culture-and-history/.

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