Why did ancient egypt leave so little impact on the west?

MrKap

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
2,353
Egypt had a huge influence on the world, but it was more a place where everyone went to die and live in the after world. Thus, once you went in, whose to say you could ever leave? Sort of, just speculating.

In any event, 16th century maps show there was a river that connected to the East.

Step pyramids, may not look to related at first, but they may have been influenced architecturally.

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Sep 2014
957
Texas
I think there was a lot of interaction between Egypt and Europe before the arrival of the IndoEuropeans. 1559104309374.png
The Egyptians believed the sun crossed the sky in a boat. 1559104252868.png the ancient Europeans also beleived the sun traveled in a boat.
There is also evidence that the Egyptians paid Great Britain a visit long enough to leave descendants behind. Thomas Jeffereson apparently was one.

The Egyptians also believed the land was masculine and the sky was female. The IndoEuropeans believed the sky was male and the earth was female, but the Celts in Ireland believed the king was the land.
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Is there an ancient Egyptian ideal or word that is translatable to the modern Western concept of liberty?
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Is there an ancient Egyptian ideal or word that is translatable to the modern Western concept of liberty?
Not a specific word that could be used in that context, but they did have words for freeman and freewoman that were applied to slaves freed from servitude. This implies that a concept of liberty existed, and all Egyptians of no matter what rank had access to justice, and going only by the evidence for Deir el-Medina, were a very litigious bunch. I'll point out that slavery in Egypt was on a far lesser scale and less onerous than slavery in Greece or Rome. The means they employed to gather a large workforce for specific tasks was not to raid your neighbours for slaves, but to conscript on a temporary basis their own citizens, but this did not deprive them of their property or make them susceptible to arbitrary punishment up to and including death, as was the case elsewhere where slaves in the widely accepted use of the word did the work. Slavery, in the way we usually view it, came into Egypt primarily via the "civilizations" of Greece and Rome.
 
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Nov 2016
44
Australia
Alexandria wasn't the cultural and scientific capital of the known world by chance. It was because the Hellenic Greeks could use older Egyptian examples. Or rather the only reason we call their writings Greek, is because they were written in Greek, not necessarily by Greeks.

Also chaps like Pythagoras (whose theorem was widely used in Egypt to calculate areas of cropland in order to calculate the taxes) and Thales of Miletus didn't start out as smart mathematicians, that only happened after visiting Egypt.
Ok are you trying to tell me that a city named after Alexander the Great, where scholars spoke Greek and wrote in Greek and had access to all of Greek learning was actually an “Egyptian” phenomenon......?
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
The Serapeum of Alexandria, which had it's own very extensive library, was Egyptian with a Greek facade. Inside the temple you will find not Zeus or Herakles, but Osiris and Ptah, in the form of the Apis bull, joined together as Serapis, along with Isis and Hor-pa-khered, or in Greek, Harpocrates.
 
Nov 2016
44
Australia
Ok but given Alexandria was an ‘international’ polyglot city with a giant jewish and syrian and greek population... it doesnt seem to me that one should point to it’s achievements if one is trying to argue the primacy of the influence of Egyptian culture on The West.

I am not suggesting Egypt was some backwater... clearly they did or transmit some of their culture to the west either by soft power or military power.

All i am asking is.... compared with mesopotamia .... etc... would you agree or disagree with the following.

1. Mesopotamian civilization had more influence than Ancient Egypt.
2. Mesopotamian civilization had less influence than Ancient Egypt.

Or perhaps

3. The question is unanswerable.
 
Nov 2016
44
Australia
The Serapeum of Alexandria, which had it's own very extensive library, was Egyptian with a Greek facade. Inside the temple you will find not Zeus or Herakles, but Osiris and Ptah, in the form of the Apis bull, joined together as Serapis, along with Isis and Hor-pa-khered, or in Greek, Harpocrates.
Ok... but to take a trite modern example... why is the planet we call Jupiter, called “Jupiter” in English... not the Egyptian

Why are the current inhabitants of Egypt Coptic Christians or Muslims?
Why do we not study “egyptian philosophers” or perform “egyptian plays”? As we do with the greeks etc
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
I would say we call the planet Jupiter and not Her-Desher because the Greek world was transmitted across Europe by the Romans. That's not a form of superiority, just the product of conquest.

Modern Egyptians follow monotheism, and all three religions of the book have at their core, as far as creation goes, the Egyptian god Ptah. Christian Copts are following a religion with it's core message of resurrection coming from Osiris via Serapis.

It's only in recent years that a philosophy in ancient Egyptian religion has been discerned, and many people are not up to speed in this research, or don't want to accept it. Egyptian civilization predates that of Greece by millennia, so how are we to say what has been borrowed from them. A civilization that comes up with the concept of creation ex nihilo is a civilization that clearly has deep thoughts. That we do not know much of this is due to them containing their thoughts in temples and not discussing them in the agora. Likewise it is the same with plays. Barbara Watterson has made the case for some of these what we usually see as portrayals of religious ritual and liturgy on a temple wall as in fact being depictions of performances of a religious play, and probably taking place not in the small dark confines of the inner temple, but outside in the forecourt, and probably for a public audience for people who are otherwise excluded from the sacred main body of the temple and the devotional liturgies.

The Egyptians did things that the Greeks did, but for religious reasons in a manner that was not conducive to being picked up and transmitted to a much wider audience down the generations to the present day, therefore we mostly sit in ignorance of the totality of their achievements.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,807
The weirdest ancient Egyptian survival into modern times I can think of is actually the family name of this feller:
1559136068011.png
The actor Vincent d'Onnofrio (here in Full Metal Jacket).

Sure it's an Italian family name. But as it happened, and as things like the Cult of Isis spread out of Egypt in Roman times (there's clear evidence there were people in 1st and 2nd c. Rome who read and wrote ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics), Italy seems to have been able to retain certain kind of unconscious, vestigial memory ancient Egypt connectionn. Onnofrio is a Latinization (later Italization) of one of the divine named of Osiris – Wen-nefer, the Persistent in Goodness.

The immediate reason it survives is that there was in fact a Christian martyr and saint, Onuphrius, in the 4th or 5th century. Trust the Italians to keep track also of the obscure ones I guess. (Though I gather still in the Danish almanack Onuphrius day is still 10 June – trust the Danes to be conservative about things like that.)
 
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