Week 5 Post

For this week’s discussion post, I am going to examine and discuss the portion of the week 5 assigned reading that focuses on the content about tradition and innovation in the Middle Kingdom.  In my opinion, the portion that contains the discussion about “re-formation”, referring to when state systems that have fallen victim to the decline and fall of empires regroup and rebuild themselves into new and improved systems of authority and class structures is extremely interesting because it highlights the tendency that the Ancient Egyptian society had in terms of sustaining their traditions and society through out the centuries undisturbed by the cultures, traditions, and threats of societies outside of their own in.  By this, I mean to communicate that despite lots of internal dilemmas and additional constantly evolving global influences, the Ancient Egyptians managed to keep their civilization un-altered by intruding outside cultural forces.  This is a great accomplishment that displays the great will-force and power of the ancient Egyptians in the field of conserving and persevering their great culture that is remembered and cherished by millions of people today and will continue to be featured as one of the greatest hallmarks of world history.

The task of remaining an un-influenced and un-changed culture from outside civilizations was centralized around the ancient Egyptian’s form of central bureaucratic control.  This was referred to as the “great tradition”, a central political ideology that featured the respected and all powerful pharaoh who was considered the divinely sanctioned ruler of the ancient Egyptians.  His role included the vitally important and key task of sustaining Egypt in a state of existence called “sema-tawy”(binding together of two lands), through maintenance of “maat” (divine order) against the chaos and threat of “isfet”.  To me, this is symbolic of an ideology held by the ancient Egyptians that valued internal order and allegiance against outside threats and cultural forces that would alter or change the culture of the Egyptians.  This demonstrates that the Egyptians loved and cherished their culture so much that they strongly desired to be defensive about their cultural lines and did not compromise or have an open head to outside foreign influences, which indicates that their spiritual order and culture was a strong one similar to that of Old World Asia that did not like to mix with other cultures and highly valued its own ways.  Also, the Egyptians had a wonderfully functioning system/culture because they lasted and endured so many millennial periods in the times of B.C. without succumbing to persuasion or influence of outside cultural ways.

1 thought on “Week 5 Post

  1. Egypt certainly demonstrates a sense of internal stability with a desire to maintain traditions and a sense of cultural identity which is reinforced by later representations of Egypt’s enemies as foreigners. However, Egypt was a part of the regional community and as such external forces had an impact on Egyptian culture whether they liked it or even were aware of it.

    The crown during the Middle Kingdom was heavily involved in foreign trade. In additional to contemporary textual evidence, the archaeological record contains “sherds of pots from Cyprus and Minoan Crete”, as well as items from Byblos, Syria-Palestine, and others. (Bard, 2007, p. 171) Items that Egyptians later adapted for their own uses are believed to have been originally introduced by foreigners, such as horse drawn chariots and types of weaponry.

    Foreigners are also responsible for a change in the architecture of Egypt. Instead of devoting endless resources to the development of pyramids and funerary complexes, some of those resources had to be redirected into defensive structures, such as the fort at Buhen. While this sort of change is an unintentional consequence of existing in a larger community it still results in a marked change in the size and skill level of other monumental architecture at the time because of a necessary response to other cultures that did not always interact favorably. Changes are also present in Egyptian artwork where foreigners are depicted in a stylistically different conventions than those typically employed to represent Egyptians.

    While many elements of Egyptian culture remain largely unchanged on the surface or appear to represent an Egyptian “bias” and concomitant resistance to outside cultural influence, it seems that Bard’s (2007) observations that “the situation was more complex” bear merit and there was a comingling of cultures as a natural byproduct of proximity and interaction. (p. 199)


    Bard, Kathryn (2007). An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

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