Hello everyone and welcome to the second part of our journey!
In the previous episode MEDITERRANEAN SEA: INCUBATOR OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART 1, we have seen history as a sort of continuity where the fall of one empire meant the expansion of another. In this episode, we will treat one ancient civilization and one man that rewrote the course of history. These main game changers for humanity are interconnected and they will be treated as such. – Might I remind you that this is a satiric reading of history that will teach us our Mediterranean history in a rather unconventional manner.
ANCIENT EGYPT A.K.A “مصر أم الدنيا”
I call to the stand Ancient Egypt, a.k.a the “mother of the world” or “مصر أم الدنيا”. You have to understand that this civilization was THE preeminent one for around 30 centuries straight (from 3100 B.C to 332 B.C). Its history is so complex and rich that it earned a name for itself: “Egyptology”. So it goes without saying that this article contains but a fraction of it.
Egypt, and more specifically Pharaohs were mentioned in several religious writings, but we won’t tackle that part for Rotaract is an apolitical, areligious entity that values peace above all. Nevertheless, we are going to have fun with these fellows.
First thing you have to know about ancient Egypt is that all of its economy, source of wealth, and even reason for existing is based on the Nile river i.e. the longest river in Africa. Please beware that the part of the Nile that concerns us is the Lower Nile, the upper one is in Sudan which is right under Egypt the world map because that’s how logic works! Anyways, let’s not deviate from the subject. As I was saying, ancient Egypt’s sustainability was solely based on the Lower Nile’s flooding because as you might know, economies at that time were agriculture based. The Nile offered them self-sufficiency and material to trade, which brought them to another level of wealth, leading them to create humanity’s greatest monuments; Giza’s pyramids and the Sphynx.
In ancient Egypt, Pharaohs or rather one Pharaoh was the sole leader of the country. He was the personification of Gods on earth and was a messenger of humanity to the gods. S/he was UNIQUE and immortal so no other human could overcome his powers. For that, they resorted to incest to produce heirs who were a continuity of that God, and mummified the “deceased” so the bodies of God would be preserved for all eternity. You can sense Game of Thrones vibe here, however I am not going to get into details. What you might not have known is that the status of pharaoh only came in 1570 BC, before that they were just Kings.
Now the thing about Egyptian religion during the 3 millennia is that it was only monotheist during the reign of Akhenaton, the husband of the famous Nefertiti, the living Goddess of fertility. The guy was so full of himself, that he changed the religion of the whole population and renamed himself after the presumed God Aton.
And yes, the ruler is not necessarily a He for Queen Sobekneferu first confirmed female ruler of Egypt (1789-1786 B.C), the last ruler of the 12th dynasty. It is important to note that contrarily to most female rulers in Human history, she was not regent. A Regent is a person appointed to administer a state because the monarch is a minor or is absent or incapacitated.
The most famous Egyptian female queen is Cleopatra, the LAST ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt, who handed the keys of the kingdom to Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, and nephew of Caesar (See MEDITERRANEAN SEA: INCUBATOR OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART 1).
Ptolemaic, refers to Ptolemy, the General of none other than Alexander the Great. So this basically means that Cleopatra was in fact Macedonian.
Since we mentioned Alexander the Great, knowing it’s almost impossible to speak of Mediterranean history without bringing him up, we will move to the greatest military mind in human history.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT: OR IS HE REALLY ?
Alexander, was born in 356 BC to the king and queen of Macedonia. Since his young age, he showed great leadership and courage. After the assassination of his father, King Phillip II, in 336 BC, he claimed the throne for himself after cleaning up his kingdom from any sort of potential traitor. As the French say « Le roi est mort ! Vive le roi ! » which basically says « The king is dead ! Long live the king ». At 20 years old, this guy had only a goal in mind: Finish what his father started. In other words, conquer whatever he wanted to conquer. His story is like any other great leader, he started off with great military conquests, amassing great power and wealth, and ended with increased greed and paranoia causing him to kill his most trusted generals. However, this so called Great mind, contrarily to everyone else, wasn’t stopped at this phase, because as I just said he was paranoid and thus killed for the very thought of someone betraying him. Cute!
Throughout his very exhausting life/reign, he actually did what he dreamed to do. He conquered most of what was then the world; India, Greece, Persia, Egypt, Tyre… you name it. He thought of himself as a deity, for he never lost a battle. Yeah that didn’t help feed his ego. Neither did the legends of him being the son of Zeus himself. To sum everything up, Alexander the Great was someone very full of himself, who tried to change his people’s culture (because he was very fond of Persian culture), conquered the world, went around naming cities after himself (Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Afghanistan…), started a whole period in history called the Hellenistic Period, and finally died a Great man, although he obviously had issues.
I know this episode is all about ego, but I am not to blame, Human history is all about ego.
Anyway, I know I’ve left some loopholes in this article, but as I said in the beginning the Mediterranean history during that period is all intertwined. Thus in the next episode, we will talk more about Cleopatra, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.
See you guys in the next episode!
If you want to know more about Egypt and Alex or just verify the stories you can always visit britannica.com, ancient.eu, and history.com
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BY Alia TRIKI