The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Chapter 1: Egypt: Gods, Rulers, and the Social Order.

1. Describe the characteristics of Egyptian religion and its gods.  How are they related to “geography, climate, and the realities of the natural environment”?  Describe how the Hymn to the Aten exemplifies these characteristics.   How did Akhenaton attempt to reform Egyptian religious life and what were the consequences?

2. Describe the characteristics of Egyptian government and its rulers.  What does the Palette of King Narmer (Menes) reveal about the nature of the pharaoh?

3. One historian wrote: “The dominant fact of Egyptian life was death”.  Explain how, using specific examples, Egyptian achievements in art and architecture mirror this aspect of their civilization.

4. Virtually all cultures develop a concept of the afterlife and – perhaps – an “ideology of immortality”.  Describe the Egyptian concept of the afterlife and explain how it influenced Egyptian culture.  How does an “ideology of immortality” influence any culture or civilization?  What does a particular “ideology of immortality” tell us about a civilization or culture?

5. Describe the social structure of ancient Egypt.

6. Describe the principles (conventions) underlying the arts in ancient Egypt.

7. Key elements of Egyptian civilization changed little in 3,000 years.  Why do you think the Egyptians had such a reverence for tradition?  Does modern American society?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of a reverence for tradition?

This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown
Last Update:  21.VII.2006

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