Over 3,500 years ago, Rome was no more than a soggy marsh
and the Acropolis was just an empty rock, but Egypt was on the brink
of its greatest age - the New Kingdom.
|The Pyramids of Egypt
There was an explosion of creativity, wealth and power in Egypt that
would make it the envy of the world. After defeating the Hyksos invaders,
successive Pharaohs expanded and maintained
their Empire through both force and diplomacy. In the process, they
won Egypt vast amounts of gold, influence and respect.
They included; Ahmose, Hatshepsut,
Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep
III, Akenhaten, Tutankhamen
and Ramesses III.
Behind the power of the Egyptian empire lay a vast wealth of natural
resources. Chief among these was the river Nile, the freeway of
the ancient world, whose floodplains also provided huge expanses of
fertile farming ground that kept Egypt self-sufficient and usually
Along the banks of the Nile, the humble papyrus plant was used to create a bureaucratic efficiency and cultural sophistication previously unknown to mankind.
The golden touch
|Click on the image for a gallery view
To the south, in the deserts of Nubia, gold mines gave Egypt the unimaginable
wealth that formed the real power behind the throne. The same gold
also saw the start of a golden age for Egyptian art
and architecture, as Pharaohs built magnificent temples and tombs
for themselves and their families.
But the Pharaohs are only part of the
story. Although they sat at the top of society, Egypt's success and
legacy owes a great deal to those beneath them: the soldiers,
craftsmen, priests and farmers.
Just as important were the women. Egyptian
religion gave women a central role in the divine order and they were
seen as central to their husbands' success. Although there were few
women in power like Nefertiti
and Tiy, all women were treated with respect
and enjoyed legal rights that other women would still be waiting for, thousands
of years later.
Where to Next:
Women in Power