Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Egyptian permanence and continuity

As far as why the egyptians were concerned with continuity and permanence I think we have to recognize that at that time a life span of over 30 was pretty good. Royalty probebly had longer life spans than peasant due to better nutrition and less brutal work and living conditions. That would contribute to the idea that royalty had a divine right to an ongoing afterlife. Life in Egypt was also pretty much cyclical due to the flooding of the Nile. This flood not only renewed the fertility of the soil but most likely washed a large portion of the landscape clean. Keep in mind a few hundred years ago most people never traveled more then a few miles from where they were born. So this regular "wiping of the slate" would likely give anything that remained an added gravity. As this importance with continuity gains importance in a culture it filters into their religion, furthur bolstered by their interest in astronomy, particularly circumplar stars. The king of course being divine gets to continue indefinitly.
As far as their success in this endeavor goes, I think they did pretty well. Not only did they leave behind megalithic structure like the pyramids and the Sphinx, but they also had a lasting effect on culture. They left behind their art. They had a huge impact on architecture and engineering. Even their heiroglyphics turn up on our money and sneak onto labels and brands of popular culter today.

1 comment:

Stephanie Lewis said...

So, a combination of shorter life spans and having more stuff led to a desire to live forever?