Introduction to Geography 
and Egyptian Thought


1) Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
Anonymous 6th grader's answer to a history test.
5000 B.C. Neolithic Farming around Fayum in Upper Egypt
4500-3700 B.C. Badarian Culture
3700-3400 B.C. Amratian Culture: farming in Delta & Nile valley proper
3400-3100 B.C. Gerzean Culture: seeds of classic Egyptian civilization

ARCHAIC PERIOD (c. 3100-2700 B.C.)

NARMER (Menes) Unification of Egypt, c. 3100 B.C. Founding of MEMPHIS


Lower Egypt : Giza
Middle Egypt: Memphis
Upper Egypt: Thebes and Karnak
Why is the Nile 
an important river?

Regional Gods

Re - Heliopolis
Ptah - Memphis
Amon - Thebes
E.g. Athena - Athens

syncretism n [NL syncretismus, fr. Gk synkretismos federation of Cretan cities, fr. syn- + Kret-, Kres Cretan] (1618) 1: the combination of different forms of belief or practice 2: the fusion of two or more orig. different inflectional forms -- syn.cre.tist n or adj -- syn.cre.tis.tic adj

(Each area had it's own version.)

pantheon n [ME Panteon, a temple at Rome, fr. L Pantheon, fr. Gk pantheion temple of all the gods, fr. neut. of pantheios of all gods, fr. pan- + theos god] (14c) 1: a temple dedicated to all the gods 2: a building serving as the burial place of or containing memorials to the famous dead of a nation 3: the gods of a people; esp: the officially recognized gods 4: a group of illustrious persons 

polytheism n [F polytheisme, fr. LGk polytheos polytheistic, fr. Gk, of many gods, fr. poly- + theos god] (1613): belief in or worship of more than one god -- adj or n -- also adj 


The Heliopolitan Myth developed in Heliopolis and centered around Re-Atum (Ra or Re) as the key god figure. According to the myth, Re-Atum willed himself into existence.  Other areas say it Ptah.

Stokstad says "shaped from the waters of chaos.. and emerged sealed atop a mound of sand hardened by its own rays."

From him, Shu, the god of air and Tefnut, the god of moisture, were created. These two in turn had Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky god. From these the god of the elements were able to produce creation. 

In turn, these two produced Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. This myth was the most widely accepted and famous of the creation myths. 

Isis and Osiris marry (icccch).  Osiris becomes king of Egypt.  Seth plays a trick. 

Isis and Nepthys reassemble the body.

  • also spelled Amun, Amen, or Ammon, 
  • Egyptian deity who was revered as king of the gods.
  • Syncretic Aton (Aten)


  • Trickster god disordered the world.
  • Seth is similar to the Norse god Loki.
  • Mix between dog and camel or jackal or pig’s head.
  • Seth was not always seen as evil: he was just the opposite half.
  • Represented as enemy who has to be eliminated.
  • also spelled PHTHAH, 
  • creator-god and maker of things, a patron of craftsmen, especially sculptors; his high priest was called "chief controller of craftsmen." He was represented as a man in mummy form, wearing a skullcap and a short, straight false beard. As a mortuary god,  Ptah was often fused with Seker (or Soker) and Osiris to form Ptah-Seker-Osiris. 
  • Founder of Egypt and its civilization.
  • Established civilization
  • God of the underworld, death, and resurrection
  • Goddess
  • Archetype mother
  • Sister and wife of Osiris

  • Isis was used as a symbol to express the duties and roles of a "good" woman.

also called Athyr, in ancient Egyptian religion, goddess of the sky, of women, and of fertility and love. Hathor's worship originated in predynastic times (4th millennium BC). The name Hathor means "estate of Horus" and may not be her original name. Her principal animal form was that of a cow, and she was strongly associated with motherhood. Hathor was closely connected with the sun god Re of Heliopolis, whose "eye" or daughter she was said to be. In her cult centre at Dandarah in Upper Egypt, she was worshiped with Horus.


  • Son of Osiris and Isis
  • Falcon headed
  • Left eye damaged in a fight with Seth and replaced with the moon
  • Similar to ‘Raven’ story
  • Horus was the archetype or role model of the "good" son.


King Narmer rose to power and conquered Lower Egypt: ca. 3100 BC. He had been minor official in Upper Egypt. He and his successors: established a theocratic political system over entire navigable length of the Nile.
Victory Palette of Narmer also called Palette of King Narmer
(front and back) Slate  Height 25 in. c. 3100-3000 BCE
Hierakonpolis, Upper Egypt. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

HORUS  also called HOR, OR HAR, god in the form of a falcon whose eyes were the sun and the moon. Falcon cults were widespread in Egypt. At Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis), however, the conception arose that the reigning king was a manifestation of Horus and, after Egypt had been united by the kings from Nekhen, this conception became a generally accepted dogma. The first of the Egyptian king's five names was the Horus name--i.e., the name that identified him with Horus.



"shaped from the waters of chaos. . . 
and emerged sealed atop a mound 
of sand hardened by its own rays."
St. Peter’s Basilica & Washington Monument

Cartoon from New Yorker magazine

Fowling Scene Tomb of Nebamun -
1400 - 1350 BCE

Last Judgement of Hu Nefer - 1290 to 1280 BCE,  Thebes
Left to right
Anubis (Seth), Ammit, feather of Maat, and Thoth, Horus and Osiris


Last Judgement of Hu Nefer - 1290 to 1280 BCE,  Thebes

Funeral Banner
From the Tomb of Lady Dai 168 BCE
Mawangdui, China
Han Dynasty

Papyrus of Ani c1280BCE

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 332-30 B.C.
Papyrus and ink
30.0 cm H, 72.0 cm W (scene pictured)

OLD KINGDOM (c. 2700-2200 B.C.)

DYNASTY III (2700-2630 B.C.)
ZOSER Step Pyramid at Saqqara, c. 2680 B.C.
DYNASTY IV (2630-2511 B.C.)
Snefru Pyramids at Dahshur, c. 2625 B.C.
KHUFU (Cheops) Great Pyramid at Gizeh, c. 2600 B.C.
KHAFRE (Cephren) Second Pyramid at Gizeh, c. 2575 B.C.
Menkaure (Mycerinus) Third Pyramid at Gizeh, c. 2540 B.C.
DYNASTY V (2511-2345 B.C.) Rise of Cult of Ra
DYNASTY VI (2345-2181 B.C.)
Pepi I
PEPI II (2275-2185 B.C.) Construction of Last Pyramids


Step Pyramid of King Zoser (Djoser)- 2675-2625 BCE
Architect: Imhotep
Saqqara (Lower Egypt)
Necropolis - city of the dead at Memphis
Made of hard clay, brick, cut stone, limestone


The Serdab is easily missed without a guide, or the presence of other tourists.
Should you have to look, walk over the eastern wall of the mortuary temple 
(to the north of Zoser's pyramid), then look to your right for a stone box with 
two holes in them.
It is quite eerie to look through one of the holes, suddenly to have Zoser look 
back at you. The effect is impossible to grasp on photo or film.
Just note that the statue here is not the original, that one is in the Egyptian 
Museum in Cairo.


Menkure (Mycerinus) c2460
Khafre (Chephren) c2500, 
Khufu (Cheops) c2350, 

Greek equivalents are in brackets

4,000 people using his technique instead of 100,000, 
as postulated by other theorists.


Scenes from the Tomb of Nebamun c1350

Seated Scribe from Saqqara c2525
Mycerenus and Kha Merer Nebty circa 2500 BCE

Seated Scribe from Saqqara c2525
Mycerenus and Kha Merer Nebty circa 2500 BCE

Qin, Soldiers 221-207BCE 
from the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi 
(The First Emperor of Qin)

Prince Rahotep and his wife Nofret
c2580 painted limestone

Khafre from Gizeh c2575

Kouros Figures: 7th c BCE