The past and the present are closely connected as they form reality and result in the emergence of particular behaviors, traditions, values, and attitudes. At the same time, they impact the future and create the basis for the further evolution of society. For this reason, an in-depth investigation of our history should be considered the ground or the starting point for the creation of a new world deprived of irrational or negative remnants of the past.
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On the other hand, the improved knowledge of previous periods can be used to analyze the existing social relations and attain additional information about how and why people cooperate with each other. From this perspective, the research of ancient Egypt society as one of the earliest civilizations can help to acquire the idea of how it impacted the further evolution of our views on social, economic, and cultural relations along with a better realization of the factors that led to the emergence of particular phenomena.
In general, speaking about archeology and its focus on particular facts and artifacts, one should note the direct correlation between the existing societal culture and objects that are displayed in museums or investigated by archaeologists. Modern capitalist society cultivates particular values that are associated with certain forms of labor, achievement and the creation of visible images of power and wealth. At the same time, it preconditions the situation that the modern audience is more interested in the most appealing facts of civilization such as the famous Pyramids or unusual religion of Egypt, but not on the actual details (Johnson 12).
That is why the majority of modern museums provide short descriptions of artifacts instead of the presentation of the full story or the actual events that resulted in the appearance of particular peculiarities (“Special Exhibits: Egypt 2”). For this reason, imaginary modes of data presentation become more popular and effective as they provide people with the information they need and amuse them.
Speaking about ancient Egypt and its history, it is critical to say that this civilization became the phenomena that critically impacted the history of the world and preconditioned its further evolution in the way that can be seen today. The fact is that many patterns that emerged at that period of time under the impact of nature, religion, and area became topical for the rest of the world and shaped all spheres of people’s activity. That is why its role in comparative history can hardly be overestimated. The given statement is proved by the high level of attention traditionally devoted to the given period of our development by modern archeologists and scientists.
The majority of modern museums have a hall dedicated to ancient Egypt with a brief description of the most notable artifacts and events. Moreover, the forms of labor and rule were followed by many other societies, which shows the unique significance of the given culture.
From the perspective of the social theory, evolution can be considered a result of interactions between people who live in particular areas and engage in relations that can help to survive and achieve the best possible result needed for further development. In this regard, ancient Egypt became the place where people formed various types of settlements to protect themselves, develop social relations, and cultivate a particular way of living (Van de Mieroop 55).
Analyzing this tendency, Wenke and Olszewski state that the processes described above preconditioned the future formation of the social classes as the inevitable result of evolution (56). Such complex societies that emerged in Mesopotamia and Egypt gave a potent stimulus for the rise of the whole world as they were considered the centers of civilization that gave rise to sciences, different societal values, and modes of social relations.
From the capitalist point of view, the emergence of the first forms of social relations also preconditions the growth of economic intercourse such as ownership, differentiation of classes, the formation of elites, and redistribution of power regarding the wealth and available resources. The modern investigators of this era always emphasize the fact that the form of state rule peculiar to ancient Egypt arose because of the peculiarities of local culture, environment, and societal values (Van de Mieroop 65).
At the same time, it was the most potent way of government that provided the state with an opportunity to gain power and became the dominant actor in the region. Moreover, considering the current capitalist values, the relations based on the generation of competition are given special attention as the background for the emergence of new perspectives in the economy (Wengrow 5). Thus, the exploitation of slave labor in agricultural and other spheres contributed to the rise of the state and its becoming the center of religion, culture, and civilization. However, the inability to elaborate on new forms also preconditioned its collapse.
One of the things that are often emphasized in comparative history and modern archeology is a unique approach to power that preconditioned the further formation of society and its evolution. The fact is that Egypt as a united state was a union between Upper and Lower lands governed by a single ruler (Van de Mieroop 29). However, even prior to the official foundation of a state, Nilotic kings positioned themselves as the earthly avatar of the god Horus represented as a falcon (Morris 201).
The choice of this form was preconditioned by the fact that a ruler could rest on priests and promote his image as a unique creature who is chosen by some supernatural powers to rule people (Millet 55). Further, Egypt inherited this pattern as the Pharaoh became the embodiment of the god on the earth (Wilkinson 25). The existing museums of history have many artifacts evidencing this statement. Thus, rich coffins and images of pyramids show that the whole nation worked for the formation of the god-like image of their ruler and the creation of notable signs of his reign.
Thus, ancient Egypt and its history can also be considered from the perspective of the clash of cultures’ theory. The fact is that the existence of various peoples means the parallel evolution of many models of social relations and interactions. As for Egypt, it is located in an area known for the Mesopotamian culture that always had a strong impact on the evolution of our world. For this reason, the clash of these two cultures gave rise to the emergence of a new one containing unique features that made it known to the whole world.
Today, archeologists emphasize the idea that the existence of such potent phenomena on neighboring areas preconditioned its increased importance and further evolution. From the perspective of comparative history, its new formation became central for the understanding of civilizations and new peculiarities of the world. The modern museums show many artifacts of the past, such as mummies or ancient texts that are considered the combination of two unique cultures (“Special Exhibits: Egypt 2”). They remain popular among the audience as the signs of the past and are emphasized most of all to meet the existing requirements.
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Furthermore, the beneficial conditions and the growing power of the state resulted in the emergence of a new sort of relations within it. Applying the theory of social complexity, it should be stated that the rise of civilization is always followed by the appearance of new societal values and patterns that are utilized by various populations with the primary aim to create a new mode of behaviors that will be able to reflect the current state of affairs (Wenke and Olszewski 280).
In such a way, Egypt entered the phase of the rise of culture and monumental buildings. The importance of this era and its impact on the further evolution of humanity as evidenced by the fact that it still remains the most attractive period that is popular among museums’ visitors. The popularization of these objects was also supported by the existing capitalist perspective on various aspects of society’s evolution. The need for the generation of income preconditioned the focus on events in history that can attract people and ensure that they will pay for the ability to see some outstanding objects or events. For this reason, ancient Egypt, with its notable and recognizable symbols, became one of the most frequently mentioned historical events.
Finally, the history of the given state can be considered a good background to achieve an improved understanding of how the past can impact the present and how the comparative history can utilize events that happened many years ago to conclude about certain regularities. Egypt is a state that appeared due to the improved collaboration between people living in particular areas, which is not new for our world (Van de Mieroop 34).
However, in the course of its evolution, the country acquired a set of unique features such as attitude to rulers that are considered gods, religion, and approach to architecture that became a turning point for many other cultures shocked by the scale, unusual forms, and meanings (Meskell 60).
Mainly due to the recognizable shapes and well-known artifacts such as mummies and coffins, it also became the popular sphere of investigation for modern scientists and museums. Attracted by the popularity of the issue, they devote much attention to its analysis and research. In other words, in accordance with the main capitalistic dogma, the demand results in the emergence of supply. For this reason, modern museums provide visitors with brief information about the most popular Egyptian aspects.
Another notable aspect of the existing focus on the investigation of ancient history, including the Egyptian one, is that the display or visual forms become more and more popular if compare with the traditional ones. It can also be explained by several factors. First of all, the investigation of Egypt has always been associated with attention to its unique religion, monuments, and culture (Van de Mieroop 56). For this reason, archeologists were mainly focused on the search for artifacts that can be analyzed and presented to the wide audience as the visible signs of their achievement.
Moreover, the existing demand preconditioned the necessity to consider elements that can be understandable for all individuals regardless of the level of their education. Multiple myths and mysteries that are traditionally created on the basis of ancient Egyptian culture precondition the choice of presentation as the most potent tool. For instance, the mummy presented in the Smithsonian Natural Museum attracts thousands of visitors because of its recognizable image (“Special Exhibits: Egypt 2”). A short description provided to individuals does not present all factual data, but it offers another data to remain informed.
At the same time, lectures, PowerPoints, or presentations can be considered a rich source of knowledge that can be used to acquire additional information about the analyzed events. However, in many cases, it is utilized mostly by scientists because of their character and absence of the interactive element. Nevertheless, the rich Egyptian history still leaves many places for the utilization of these sources to remain informed and collect credible data.
Altogether, the history of ancient Egypt remains of the most important cultural events of our world. The combination of unique peculiarities of nature with people’s mentalities resulted in the emergence of an outstanding phenomenon investigation of which impacts comparative history and modern society significantly. The existing values demand the further promotion of objects that have traditionally been associated with this era. That is why there is an undying interest in the following analysis of the cultural heritage left by Egyptians and their contribution to the development and evolution of our world.
Johnson, Matthew. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
Meskell, Lynn. Private Life in New Kingdom Egypt. Princeton University Press, 2004.
Millet, Nicholas. “The Narmer Macehead and Related Objects.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, vol. 27, 1990, pp. 53-59.
Morris, Elen. “The Pharaoh and Pharanoic Office.” A Companion to Ancient Egypt, edited by Alan Lloyd, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, pp. 201-236.
“Special Exhibits: Egypt 2.” Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Web.
Van de Mieroop, Mark. A History of Ancient Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
Wenke, Robert, and Deborah Olszewski. Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind’s First Three Million Years. 5th ed., Oxford University Press, 2006.
Wengrow, David. What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Wilkinson, Toby. “What a King Is This: Narmer and the Concept of the Ruler.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 86, 2000, pp. 23-32.