On this review we have the course “Foundations of Western Civilization” taught by Professor Thomas Noble. This course has 2 parts, the second part being taught by Professor Robert Bucholz. However lets concentrate on this course for now, which has 19 sections from Southern Iraq all the way up to The Romans. This post is on section 3 “Egypt – The gift of the Nile”.
The title basically says it all, No Nile, no Egypt. The Nile was critical to Egypt’s life and use of irrigation, but it was not always an easy story for the Egyptians. War was a common theme for control of Egypt.
This lecture explains a bit about the 750 miles river, often floods and deposit a layer of silt. The Nile is critical for Egypt to sustain life. The course goes on to explain how the Nile influences Egyptian history, culture, politics and more.
The lecture moves on to explain how Egypt started out with upper and lower Egypt and then began to unify.
Irrigation became influence by larger organisations. The need to cooperate in political way in order to lessen the impact of wars. An important part of this lecture is that it mentions “Geography is destiny”, which is also mentioned in “Foundations of western civilization part II”
Several tribes were encountered in Egyptian history, one of them being the Hyksos people. Who then were eventually driven out by Egypt. The Egyptians after many wars began to try and establish new kingdom as a way to ward off another invasion. The problem was to establish such a kingdom would also mean difficult ways in defending it. This was to strike first against Egyptian neighbours, one of this encounters led to the formation of Libya.
The lecture then moves on to the Hittites. The course explains a bit about their language. Then the lecture moves on the various battles fought between the Egyptians and Hittites. The War dragged on for very long until the great battle fought to a draw at Kadesh around 1272. The constant battles lead to both empires going into a state of decline.
Professor Thomas Noble moves on to talk a bit on the Culture of Egypt. He explains about the Pharaohs, and the Egyptian two class society. Thomas Noble mentions here that people tended to speaking thorough the Pharaohs. The Pharaoh was a god, but when it came to death Egyptian people wanted this life to continue, particularly when buried, they would take stuff from this life to continue.
Focusing more on Egyptian culture, the lecture moves on to explain a bit on Egyptian temples being built. Then the lecture moves on to the worshipping of gods, plus how worship of more gods began to appear.
I loved the part in this lecture about the Egyptian idea of The scales of justice. We get told a story about how Isis measured a soul against a feather, must be lighter than the feather, or it is evil.
This story explains a lot about the ethical dimension, how your life effects your afterlife. We then get introduced to The cult of Arkan. The Worship of one god, without the other.
There is lots more to this lecture and Prof Thomas does not speak so quickly as the other lecturers, he goes a bit more slowly, however I do sometimes feel emotion is a little lacking in some parts compared to “Foundations of Western Civilization II”. Do not let you put that off, as even though the course might not be hammed up, there is a lot of depth in education here.
Check the course out if you can.