Ancient Egypt
"What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?" "There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?"
Exam 1 must be submitted TONIGHT by 11:59 PM.
Great Sphinx, Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty, ca. 2520 - 2494 BCE. Sandstone, 65' X 240'.











Ashurnasirpal II Killing Lions
1300 - 612 BCE
After centuries of struggle among Sumer, Akkad, and Lagash, the Assyrians vanquished the various warfaring peoples that succeeded the Babylonians and Hitites, including the Elamites, whose capital of Susa they sacked in 641 BCE.
Ashurnasirpal II Killing Lions, from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud (Calab), Iraq. c. 850 B.C. Limestone, 3' 3" X 8' 4".











Citadel of Sargon II

Artist's rendition of the citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin, ca. 720 - 750 BCE.











Gate of the Citadel of Sargon II

Gate of the Citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad), Iraq, ca. 720 – 705 BCE.











Ishtar Gate dragon

626 - 539 BCE

  • The Assyrian Empire was never very secure, and fell after allied attacks by the Medes and Babylonians.
  • Neo-Babylonian kings ruled over the former Assyrian Empire until the Persian conquest.
  • The most well known Neo-Babylonian ruler was Nebuchadnezzar II (ruled 605 - 562 BCE)
Ishtar Gate dragon, ca. 575 BCE.











Ishtar Gate

Ishtar Gate (restored), from Babylon, Iraq, ca. 575 BCE. Glazed brick.











Ishtar Gate animal

Ishtar Gate detail










In the sixth century BCE, the Persians began seizing power in Mesopotamia.


processional frieze from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II

Processional frieze on the east side of the terrace of the apadana of the palace,
Persepolis, Iran, c. 521 - 465 BCE. Limestone, 8' 4" high.











belt fragment from the Ziwiye Hoard

Animal Style = a term used to describe a term art “zoomorphic,” or animal-based, design motifs found from China to Northern Europe during the early Iron Age, the Migration Period, and popular among Anglo-Saxon artisans during the medieval period. In the animal style, abstract animal motifs merge with geometric and organic motifs, creating a lively and intricate pattern, especially in metalwork.

Fragment of a belt, probably from the Ziwiye Hoard, Iran, 7th century B.C. Gold sheet, width 6 ½".









































Osiris flanked by Horus and Isis
Osiris flanked by Horus and Isis, ca. 1069 - 404 BCE. Jewelery pendenant, gold and lapis lazuli, 9 cm.











Egypt existed 3,000 years under relatively
unchallenged self-rule
  • Well protected by its geography
  • Nile River Valley provided hospitable weather patterns
  • Stability of Nile River flooding encouraged development of rich, unified culture
  • Stone was plentiful and easily transported via the Nile
In Comparison to Ancient Mesopotamia:
  • Fewer artifacts survive from Mesopotamia
  • Trade was essential to Mesopotamians
    • Allowing and encouraging conflict and invasion
    • Impractical and impossible to protect from outside invaders and influences
  • City-States in Mesopotamia unable to unify
Ancient Egypt











"In the beginning, Egyptian legends attested, floodwaters engulfed the world. Nothing stirred amid that dark and dismal expanse. Then, miraculously, a lotus blossom surfaced and opened its petals to give birth to the sun. Rising from the blossom like a golden bird, the sun subdued the waters and coaxed life from the emerging land. Ever after, when the Nile receded and the growing season began, people gave thanks to the sun god Re and to his earthly counterpart, the pharaoh, who claimed divine powers and kept the country fruitful." – What Life Was Like Along the Banks of the Nile
Painting of a Garden from the Tomb of Nebamun, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1400 - 1350 BCE. Fresco secco.










Stele of Dedia

"The sun god Ra shaped himself out of the waters of chaos, or unformed matter, and emerged sealed atop a mound of sand hardened by his own rays. By spitting (or ejaculating) he then created the gods of wetness and dryness, Tefnut and Shu, who in turn begat the male Geb (earth) and the female Nut (sky). Geb and Nut produced two sons, Osiris and Seth, and two daughters, the goddessess Isis and Nephtys.

Taking Isis as his wife, Osiris became king of Egypt. His envious brother, Seth promptly killed Osiris, hacked his body to pieces and snatched the throne for himself. Isis and her sister, Nephtys, gathered up the scattered remains of Osiris and with the help of the god Anubus (represented by a Jackal) they patched him back together. Despite her husband's mutilated condition, Isis conceived a son - Horus... who defeated Seth and became king of the earth, while Osiris retired to the underworld as overseer of the realm of the dead." - Marilyn Stokstad, Art History

Stele of Dedia with Horus, Osiris and Isis, 
New Kingdom, 1290 - 1279 BCE. Diorite.











Ancient Egyptian Dynasties
Isis Nursing Horus
Predynastic Period (First & Second Dynasties)
ca. 4500 - 3150 BCE
Early Dynastic or Archaic Period
ca. 3150 - 2575 BCE
The Old Kingdom (Third to Eighth Dynasties)
ca. 2575 - 2213 BCE
First Intermediate Period (Ninth to 11th)
ca. 2213 - 2061 BCE
The Middle Kingdom (11th to 13th Dynasties)
ca. 2061 - 1668 BCE
Second Intermediate Period (14th to 17th)
ca. 1668 - 1560 BCE
The New Kingdom (18th to 20th Dynasties)
ca. 1560 - 1069 BCE
Third Intermediate Period (21st to 24th)
ca. 1069 - 767 BCE
Late Period (25th & 26th Dynasties)
ca. 767 - 525 BCE

Persian Period (27th to 30th)

ca. 525 - 332 BCE

Greek Period (Macedonian Kings & Ptolemaic Dynasty)

ca. 332 - 30 BCE

Roman Period

ca. 30 BCE - 395 CE
Isis Nursing Horus, Late Period 664 - 332 BCE.











Predynastic Period


Palette of King Narmer

The Palette of King Narmer. ca. 3000 - 2920 BCE. Slate, height 25".


other Predynastic Egyptian palettes