Scienceand Western Civilization Final Paper
Whenwe talk about Ancient Egypt, the most defining symbols of this eraare the pyramids of Giza. Theses pyramids are the markings of theinitiation of the Pharaonic civilization. Theses origins and earlydevelopment of civilization in the land of Egypt holds its roots backat least two thousand years before the pyramids were made. Thecultural foundations of the Ancient Egyptians were developed by thecommunities that occupied the fertile Nile valley and the drygrasslands to the East and West. The distinctive outlook of thepeople was shaped by the unique natural environment. The pace ofsocial development accelerated with the start of trade betweencompeting territories and the conquest into the world’s firstnation state. In the following eight centuries were witnessed theemergence of great civilization and it was fully expressed in thosemost iconic of monuments on the Giza plateau. However, this era wouldcome to an instant end due to the chaos experienced there (Wikinson,2010).
Althoughthe life in the Ancient Egypt does not reveal much science as it isexperienced today, there is a great deal of information to supportthat the Egyptians has embraced science during the era of the AncientEgypt. One thing that shows that the Ancient Egyptians had embracedscience was in the way the handled their health. To the Egyptians,health was a concern in life and even in death as the deceased neededextra care in order to be at their prime when they were put in thesarcophagus, in the possession of the magical weapon so that whenthey would reach the afterlife, they would be in complete possessionof all their physical abilities. Medicine was also used in trying torestrain all the malefic beings from action and preserve the wellbeing of the individual. When people died in ancient Egypt theirbodies were embalmed. This practice of embalming the dead body withherbs and spices was widespread throughout the territory. Thisembalming technique has now been embraced as a technique ofpreserving the dead bodies in the modern discipline of medicine. Theinformation for the study of health and personal hygiene is takenfrom the Nile from the culture of the Ancient Egyptians. The Nileriver brought about life and prosperity in every year with thedeposit of black land on shore. The diseases experienced in Egypt atthat time are the same ones being experienced even today. Thesediseases are caused by Nile water infections as a result of bacterialactivity. The Egyptians kept sacred lakes where people could go andclean themselves from both physical and spiritual impurities. Therewere many medicine men, healers and magicians in this land. All theselooked at the health of the individuals and the kings and treatedthem. They were also responsible for the treatment of the dead bodiesfor preservation in the tombs (Nunn, 2002). It has been identifiedthat the Ancient Egyptians used to suffer from Schistosomiasis thatwas caused by a snail found in stagnant waters. The snail wouldburrow under the skin and swim to the bladder through the veins whereit would lay its eggs. These eggs would finally hatch into worms thatwould migrate into the urinary tract causing hematuria. Since theydid not suspect these worms could be the cause of this problem, themedical papyri specified portions containing mouse tail mixed withonion, meal, honey and water that was meant to relieve thediscomfort. This potion was even strained before using and was to bedrunk for four days. Though the Egyptians had advanced in this fieldof medicine, this advancement was characterized by a little knowledgeof what actually caused certain conditions. The many interventionsthat were however fuelled towards easing disease conditions revealthat they had advanced in medicine (Brier & Hobbs, 2008).
Studiesin the early life of the Egyptians indicate that they had begunwriting during this period. The men, women, and children in theAncient Egypt lived in close ties. This can be demonstrated by thepaintings that demonstrated them demonstrating love for each otherand in various family scenes. The children would stay at home withtheir mothers up to the age of four years. Then these children couldbe trained by their parents, men training their sons and women theirdaughters. Though the children of the farmers received informaleducation, the children of the wealthy families received formaleducation. These children attended boarding school up to the age ofsixteen years. Those boys who were intended for priesthood orgovernment service went for further studies at the temples or ingovernment agencies. There is concrete evidence that during thisperiod they were practicing writing. The paintings on the walls andthe inscriptions in the tombs of Pharaohs indicated that they hadalready learnt how to draw and write (Bramwell, 2014). The use ofmaterials to draw the pictures and the knowledge on which materialscould be used for writing indicates that they had advanced intechnology unlike many other people who had not known how to write.
Thereis also evidence of mathematical knowledge at the time. There isdocumented evidence of the effort to create an encyclopedic record ofthe world. They also did approximation and calculations for surfaceand volume of certain geometric shapes. The measurements they used intheir utensils depict that they knew how to do calculations involumes so that they could be able to weigh appropriately with theseimplements (Dunn, 2013).
ThoughEgypt is characterized by deserts and dry conditions, there isconcrete evidence that ancient Egyptians practiced farming along theNile River. They showed proper knowledge of land preparationincentives. They would prepare their farms in the early autumn whenthe soils were still workable. They knew that if they could wait fora long time the wet soils could be quickly baked by the hot sun intorock hard clay. They also used farming implements to work on theirsoils. They used two handed plows. They could weave their wool intoclothes that they could use to clothe themselves. Since the hot sunkept the soils dry, they irrigated their lands and the irrigatedlands yielded twice as much food per acre compared to the nonirrigated land. Around 2800 B.C, they had established the departmentof irrigation. They also knew how to fish and keep bees (Romer,2013).
TheAncient Egypt started the practice of astrology. The studied theskies at night and took measurements from the stars to accuratelyalign their pyramids and sun temples with the earth’s four cardinalpoints. The astronomer priests took sightings of the Great Bear andOrion with an instrument and used it to mark out the foundations ofbuildings with astonishing accuracy (Wolf & Falconer, 2010).
Thescience and technology at the time of Ancient Egypt was still at thedevelopment stage. Though they had prior understanding of somethings, their actions demonstrate that the science at that time wasat the developing stage. They never knew the actual cause ofdiseases, therefore, the just tried to end the discomfort brought bythe disease. However, this science is the foundation of manydisciplines today. The embalming practiced today for dead bodies wasas an idea of the Ancient Egyptians who used to do this practice ontheir dead bodies. Science and technology made me understand theorigin of many techniques applied today. It is through the study ofscience and technology of the Ancient Egypt environment that I havebeen able to understand the origin of medicine, education, andfarming.
Thereligion of the Egyptians had developed well during the era ofAncient Egypt. There are paintings, graffiti’s and carvings ofEgyptian gods at that time. The Egyptians also believed in magic andthey used magic to protect the pyramids of the Pharaohs. There weregods who we aimed to do good to the community and those who wereaimed at doing destruction to the community. The culture of theEgyptians had also evolved to a greater extent. There were familyties and there were responsibility issues in the families. Thegovernment system was organized with a kingship system. The Pharaohswere the head of the kingdom and they had juniors who institutedtheir rule. The churches were also headed by the priests(Frankfurter, 2000).
Comparedto science and technology today, the Ancient Egypt had not developed.The medicine they practiced was for preventive purposes. They neverknew the causes of the diseases. However, today’s medicine involvesdiagnosis of a disease, identification of the causal organisms andtreatment of the diseases. Astrology in the Ancient Egypt was notdeveloped and was practiced by only few specialized people. The studyof astrology today has widened with study of other planets and thesolar system. Therefore, science and technology were only at thedevelopment stage during the Ancient Egypt period.
Theperiod of the ancient Egypt is characterized by the period ofPharaoh. During this period, science and technology were evident inmany instances. The Ancient Egyptians practiced medicine where theyembalmed the bodies of the dead people. They also had medicine papyriwho diagnosed different conditions. This period was alsocharacterized by indulgence in astrology where the astrologer priestscould study the stars and use the measurements in putting foundationsand building the pyramids. There was also practiced agriculture wherethe Egyptians farmed crops and kept animals. They had timedcultivation times and practiced irrigation for growing crops. TheEgyptians also practiced education where the children of the wealthypeople went to formal schools where they received an education. Thereis evidence of mathematical calculations and writings that supportthe fact that the Ancient Egyptians knew how to read and write. Thereligious system was organized with belief in gods. This is evidentfrom the drawings they made of gods. They also had an organizedgovernment with the Pharaoh’s being the kings.
Bramwell,N. D. (2014). Discoverancient Egypt.Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
Brier,B., & Hobbs, A. H. (2008). Dailylife of the ancient Egyptians.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Dunn,J. (2013). AncientEgyptian Science.Retrieved on 5thAugust 2014 from http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/science1.htm
Frankfurter,D. (2000). Religionin Roman Egypt: Assimilation and resistance.Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Nunn,J. F. (2002). AncientEgyptian medicine.Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Romer,J. (2013). Ahistory of ancient Egypt: From the first farmers to the GreatPyramid.New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin`s Press
Wilkinson,T. A. H. (2010). Therise and fall of ancient Egypt: The history of civilisation from 3000BC to Cleopatra.London: Bloomsbury.
Wolf,L. S., & Falconer, R. (2010). ShamanicEgyptian astrology: Your planetary relationship to the gods.Rochester, Vt: Bear & Company.