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Highlights of Ancient Egypt: New Kingdom
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  2/7/12
By: Yona Williams

When the Egyptians got rid of this foreign influence (around 1570) about their land, the New Kingdom was established. For the next 200 years, the Egyptian civilization underwent a peak. All over the world, the cities of Thebes and Memphis were seen as powerhouses in politics, commerce, and culture. In this article, you will learn more about this time period, which ultimately led to the decline of the ancient civilization.

The New Kingdom saw a handful of infamous rulers watch over the interests of Egypt, including Ramses, Tuthmose, and Akhenaten, who was known as the heretic king. Art and architecture were thriving during this time, and changes in religious thought were also a part of the New Kingdom. The approximated dates of the New Kingdom included the 18th Dynasty (1540 to1307 BC), 19th Dynasty (1307 to 1196 BC), and 20th Dynasty (1196 to 1070 BC).

Over the years, the Egyptians were responsible for inventing a calendar, developing papyrus (paper fashioned out of the papyrus plant), and creating a form of hieroglyphic writing. Since the Egyptians were positioned along the Nile River and close to the Mediterranean Sea, they also started to lead the way in creating vessels that traveled the seas. This led to more expansions of the military. Yet, the ancient Egyptians are often recognized for their achievements in construction – their buildings were known all over the world.

Ancient Egypt enjoyed prosperity for many years, as they continued to make money by reaping their resources from foreign lands (especially Nubia). The richest gold mines in the ancient world were found in Nubia. The majority of the funds that came back to the civilization was used by the pharaohs to give thanks to the gods for the success they enjoyed. They do so by erecting elaborate buildings and statues. The obelisks and temples that the pharaohs built also allowed them to display their wealth and charity to their people. It was also in their best interest to impress visitors from other lands. When they came to Egypt, they would see their achievements and progress – set in stone.  

Beyond the Great Pyramids of Giza, the temples, ruins and other construction of the ancient Egyptians were quite impressive. For instance, Abu Simbel offers two temples associated with King Ramses II, which were built out of rock during his reign (1304 to 1237 BC). There are many ruins and tombs at Abydos that shed light on the past of the Egyptians. A complex of temples and shrines found at Karnak is known as part of the sit of ancient Thebes. The temples and other buildings of Luxor were also part of ancient Thebes.

The last 700 years of ancient Egypt were observed from around 1085 to 332 BC. Foreign parties increasingly challenged the kingdom. The civilization grew weaker with growing opposition. By the end of the 20th Dynasty, Egypt was once again divided into many fractions, and the New Kingdom was no longer what it once was – called by many as the golden age of the culture. By the time Alexander the Great made his move to take over Egypt in 332 BC, he didn’t have much struggle from the people.



 

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