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Old October 13th, 2017, 02:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Todd Feinman View Post
Yeah.. The Greeks admired the Egyptians, learned from them. Jewelry and treasure pretty much the best. Pyramids --just learning how they did it. Mysterious religion, obelisks, HUGE temples. Magic. Chariots and scale armour. amazing art.

Herodotus:
"Concerning Egypt itself I shall extend my remarks to a great length, because there is no country that possesses so many wonders, nor any that has such a number of works which defy description"

Of the Labyrinth now mostly gone:

"Furthermore, they resolved to leave a memorial of themselves in common, and in pursuance of this resolve they made a labyrinth, a little above Lake Moeris, and situated near what is called the City of the Crocodiles. I saw it myself and it is indeed a wonder past words; for if one were to collect together all of the buildings of the Greeks and their most striking works of architecture, they would all clearly be shown to have cost less labor and money than this labyrinth. Yet the temple at Ephesus and that in Samos are surely remarkable. The pyramids, too, were greater than words can tell, and each of them is the equivalent of many of the great works of the Greeks; but the labyrinth surpasses the pyramids also."
Maybe in architecture and art that Egyptians influenced the Greeks, but Greeks had a lot of influence from Near Eastern civilizations, and gained a lot more influence from Near Eastern civilizations other than art and architecture, for example, science, math, literature, writing script, influences in philosophy.

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Old October 13th, 2017, 02:57 PM   #12
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However, they had very little effect on the subsequent development of architecture.
Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised if at least a little of their work became so "standard" that it isn't seen as originally being Egyptian. One thing that is usually seen as being of Egyptian origin are obelisks, which were being built even up to the 20th century.

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And pyramids can be found many different civilizations, some of which look more interesting than the Egyptian ones in my opinion.
I think the exterior of the pyramids would have looked different than they do today so I'm not sure a direct comparison can be made that easily. But aesthetics is usually very subjective. They may have preferred a more "clean and neat" look to a highly decorated one just as a cultural preference.

There are some interesting accounts of the most famous pyramid on this site (I'm not advocating anything else on the site, I just found this easily accessible collection of descriptions convenient):

Historical Accounts of the Great Pyramid.

And of course some of the Egyptian pyramids are completely in ruins.

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The Egyptian contribution to mathematics was not so great in my opinion. Although, like many ancient peoples, they had a practical knowledge of elementary geometry, they had little interest in geometric theory. They may have used Algebra (and they were not the first to start it), but their knowledge was very limited, roughly to what is now studied in the first few weeks of an elementary algebra course. The most influential to math would probably be the Indians and Babylonians, even Chinese had some ideas seen in linear algebra. And of course the Greeks contributed as well, mainly with logic and proof system used nowadays in upper level math courses.
Number theorists still study Egyptian fractions today. And they made use of binary numbers. About geometry: you have to have geometry before you can have geometric theory, and starting geometry by themselves apparently without outside influence is impressive.

Also, I'm sure a lot of material has been lost, though of course the same can be said for all of those other groups as well (Babylonians, Chinese, Indians, Greeks). But generally I would agree with the notion that the Babylonians were a contemporary group that had more advanced mathematics while the other three groups you mentioned (Indians, Chinese, and Greeks) had more advanced mathematics, but only much later. What I mean is that they were not contemporaries that were more advanced in mathematics when Egypt was thriving, like Babylon was. They were more advanced in mathematics after Egypt was already well into its decline.

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The Egyptian contribution to astronomy was also small; Babylonians, Greeks, and Indians probably contributed more to astronomy than Egyptians. Even Mesoamericans had a good understanding of astronomy with more contributions of Astronomy than Egyptians (although you can argue back)
I agree, but the calendar most people around the world use today is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar actually.

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The ancient Egyptians weren't much interested in geography or exploration. From prehistory to history of Egypt, they traded with Nubians and with Levantines and Mesopotamians. However, they did not explore down the East African coast, and for many centuries they did not travel widely in the Mediterranean. Trading was more involved with Indians, Chinese, and Eastern Mediterranean civilizations.
Actually, the Egyptians went to the horn of Africa (in the east African coast), when they visited the "land of Punt" multiple times. They may also have gone into Chad at least once.

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It is often said that Ancient Greece got much of its influences from Egypt. This is not completely true. Greeks did get some knowledge from Egyptians, but most of what Greeks learned came from Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenicia, Babylon and Assyria, and from there Greeks innovated on what they learned, came up with their own ideas, eventually surpassing their oriental predecessors.
Phoenicians were themselves influenced by Egypt, though. So the argument emphasizing Phoenician influence to downplay Egyptian influence isn't very strong. Also, there was artistic influence from Egypt as well.

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Because of Egypt's desert climate, Egyptian architecture has been
preserved far better than the architecture of other ancient civilizations. As a result, the Egyptian monuments are still so visible (and so impressive) that most people overestimate their importance to the growth of civilization.
This is a valid point about the preservation of architecture. . .but some of the monuments are really "so impressive" because of their sheer scale.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 02:59 PM   #13

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Only in my opinion it's overrated. It gets so much attention compared to the the other ancient civilizations (maybe Greeks get just as much attention). It's great and everything, but nothing special. I feel like Mesopotamia, India and China have given more to the world,...
Aren’t you contributing to an overrating of the Ancient Egypt opening a thread about it and not about other theme?

If you prefer to talk about other themes… it would be better to open threads about it and not about themes that you dislike.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #14
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To all those who are critiquing the very idea of "is x overrated" and if so why, I have to disagree with you. Overrated and underrated don't mean like or dislike, good or bad, it simply means the importance of something has been over or under stated by a majority of people relative to it's actual importance in your opinion, which is the question is being asked.

For example, lots of people are fascinated by WWII, it's a pretty interesting war but I don't think a lot of people would argue that WWII(and Hitler and Nazis) isn't overrated by both historians(look how many WWII threads there are on here, how many books are on the topic relative to other similarily important topics) and popular culture(look how many WWII series, history channell has made for example compared to other topics.

The whole WWII example is to demonstrate the merit of the line of inquiry of whether a topic is "overrated". I do think this is a valuable discussion to have and I will be posting my view on this later tonight.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 04:53 PM   #15
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Yes and no...

In my opinion Egypt gets allot of hype because of its increadibly unique culture. Similar to Japan.

Egypt is one of the great civilizations in history that suffers by being around for too long past its prime, tarnishing its legacy.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 04:58 PM   #16

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It's not overrated; I've seen kids get excited about ancient Egypt at the Library.
Entertainment influences aside (300, Mummy, games etc.) if you opened a book to a pic of Tut's sarcophagi and mask and mumny, another to the Ludovisi Sarcophagus, another to a jade mask, yet another to a chinese jade burial suit, guess which kids would go for?

And mummies covered with amulets and gold?? What kid doesn't like that??

Part of the enduring appeal of Egyptian material culture is it's combination of a strikingly modern sensibility with a primordial primitivism, realized through the highest craftsmanship. When I was in architecture school (left), they were always using the Egyptians as examples of use of space etc. Even now, I've seen entire malls that look Egyptian, with Caveto Cornices and all.

Take a look at Duck Stadium. See the inverted pylons at the entrance?

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Todd Feinman; October 13th, 2017 at 05:03 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 05:08 PM   #17
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It's not overrated; I've seen kids get excited about ancient Egypt at the Library.
Entertainment influences aside (300, Mummy, games etc.) if you opened a book to a pic of Tut's sarcophagi and mask and mumny, another to the Ludovisi Sarcophagus, another to a jade mask, yet another to a chinese jade burial suit, guess which kids would go for?

And mummies covered with amulets and gold?? What kid doesn't like that??

Part of the enduring appeal of Egyptian material culture is it's combination of a strikingly modern sensibility with a primordial primitivism, realized through the highest craftsmanship. When I was in architecture school (left), they were always using the Egyptians as examples of use of space etc. Even now, I've seen entire malls that look Egyptian, with Caveto Cornices and all.

Take a look at Duck Stadium. See the inverted pylons at the entrance?

Click the image to open in full size.
Damm that building is sexy
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Old October 13th, 2017, 05:11 PM   #18

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Damm that building is sexy
It is a nice stadium! Phil Knight sunk as lot of money into the campus, including adding on to the main library; it's beautiful.
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Old October 13th, 2017, 05:13 PM   #19

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I don't get the obsession with Stonehenge, myself..

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Old October 13th, 2017, 05:48 PM   #20

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The pyramids remain the queens of all ancient architecture. For 4000 years, the Great Pyramids was the tallest structure in the world.

Most writing today in the western world is ultimately derived from hieroglyphics.

Ancient cultures were facsinated by this land.

In a word: no.
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