Egypt lies in the north east corner of Africa. Most of Egypt is hot desert land. Through flows it the mighty river Nile. Every year, during the summer, the river overflows its banks. Fresh water and rich silt or mud is spread over the land. When the water rains away, very soft, fertile soil is left behind. And this happens year after year. In the valley f the river Nile, a great civilization arose many thousands of years ago. It was so long ago that the history of ancient Egypt reads like a fairy tale.

Ancient Egypt had king to rule over them. The Pharaoh, or king, was very powerful indeed and his word was a law. The Egyptians believed that their Pharaoh was the son of the sun God, Ra. So the Pharaoh was also worshipped like a God. All the land belonged to him. But it was his duty to see that no one starved in his land.

The priests were also very powerful. They were called the servants of God. They were very clever and knew how to read and write. So they were given charge of all accounts. This also gave them a lot of power.

The ancient Egyptians believed in a number of Gods and Goddesses. Some of them had human form. But others had the body of a man and the head of a bird or animal. Ra was the sun God and he had the head of a falcon. The Egyptians thought that Ra rode across the sky every day in a golden boat. But at night he slipped into the desert. Osiris was the God of the under world. Osiris and his wife Isis were also worshipped. The Egyptians thought that when a man dies his soul goes before Osiris to be judged.

The Egyptians believed in life after death. The soul leaves the body but may come back searching or it. So they took great pains to preserve the dead body and all the things that the dead man loved. This took a long and much money. So only the very rich could affo0rd it. First the eyes, heart, lungs and stomach were taken out. Then the body was soaked in salt water to which many spices were added. The body was then stuffed. Finally yards and yards of fine linen was used to bandage it from head to foot. The Mummy, as it is called, was placed in a wooden box which was shaped like the body and face of the dead man. Then it was kept in a special tomb called a pyramid. Even after a thousand years, these mummies have been found in good condition.

The pyramids were the tomb of kings. They were built to last for ever and ever and they have. The most famous are the three pyramids that can be still seen at Giza. The largest of them is known as the Great Pyramid and it is one of the wonders of the world. It is as large as a cricket field and as tall as a small skyscraper. Most of the work was done by human beings because the Egyptians had no machines. Even today nobody really knows how the Egyptians built the pyramids out of thousands and thousands of huge stone bocks. If you ever get a chance to travel, you must see the pyramids.

The Egyptians were one of the first people to learn how to write. At first it was only a kind of picture writing. They drew picture to show what they wanted to say.

Finally the pictures were sorted to a few lines of curves.

Hieroglyphics-Don’t be afraid of the word and don’t word and don’t try to learn the spelling. It is only the name for Egyptian writing.

The Egyptians did not have paper, but they had another very clever idea. They split a long river –reed called papyrus into strips. They pasted he strips together and wrote on these trips with a pointed reed. They used a kind of ink made of gum, water and spot.

Fashionable men and women took great care to dress well. They wore clothes of very fi9ne linen and very elegant sandals. The rich women spent a lot of time on their make-up. They darkened their eye lids, put rouge on their lips, and painted their toenails and finger nails with henna. They loved perfume and jewelry. They wore a long, black wig over their short hair because they thought it made them more beautiful.

The Egyptians built their tombs and temples to last forever. But the people themselves were conquered by the kingdom nearby and thus the mighty Egyptian civilization was destroyed.

 

 


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