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Author Topic: Egyptian "aggrandisers"
Clyde Winters
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Uruguayan has theory on the evolution of Egypt

Professor Juan José Castillos, of the Uruguayan Institute of Egyptology, claims that the evolution of the Egyptian civilisation resulted from the ambition of individuals with a strong inclination towards exerting power. He presented his thesis yesterday at the 2nd National Summit for Egyptology Studies, in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.


Omar Nasser, from Fiep*

Curitiba – Highly ambitious people with a strong inclination towards exerting power were the ones responsible for the emergence of one of the most brilliant civilisations the world has ever witnessed: the Egyptian civilisation. The theory was created by professor Juan José Castillos, of the Uruguayan Institute of Egyptology, which tackled the issue during the 2nd National Summit for Egyptology Studies "Religion in Everyday Life," last Thursday (30th) in the evening, in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. According to him, the roots of the Egyptian civilisation lie in the attitude of those individuals, who are called "aggrandisers" by some specialists – including anthropologists, social scientists, historians, and sociologists.

The "aggrandisers" appear in many different moments of the Human history and pre-history, according to Castillos. Among these characters, he names Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Stalin. In his opinion, those are people who had a great power thirst, probably due to a genetic predisposition, who were usually unhappy, and who sometimes caused tragedies. In many different periods, though, they have somehow contributed for the advancement of their societies.

With regard to Egypt, the professor explains, the "aggrandisers" appeared in Pre-Historic times, and for that reason, there are no written recordings of their names and actions. Nevertheless, excavations made recently in the country revealed the existence of graves with no inscriptions in which individuals were buried with great honours. The high-value objects found at those sites indicate that those were people who had important positions in society. They would have been the ones responsible for the advent of the advanced, complex, and stratified society of the dynastic periods in Ancient Egypt.

Professor Castillos explains that the studies and theories presented so far do not satisfactorily explain how Egypt evolved from a disunited society, comprised of hunters and collectors, to a stratified society. His theory will be presented in November in Toronto, Canada, at a conference on Egyptology. Next year, the results of his researches will be taken to a similar event at the British Museum, in London.

Castillos calls himself an "office archaeologist," because he studies the subject matter in books, conferences and symposia, different than the "field archaeologists," who make excavations. His studies are available to interested parties at the Web address www.geocities.com/jjcastillos/complexity.html.

In his opinion, Egyptology has a large field yet to be explored by Brazilian scientists. "It would be very important for Brazilian specialists to organise a mission to Egypt to make their own excavations," he claims.

*Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná. Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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rasol
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^ The "great man" theory of history is the most common approach to history by the westerners.

They see history in terms of individual leaders who change societies - Ceasar, Napolean, Hitler... etc..

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Doug M
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Yes, but African "great men" are rulers who provide stability, organization and prosperity for their people as a result of sound governance, not endless warfare and conquest. European and other foreign "great rulers" are often those who were able to conquer the most territory. Sure, Egyptian pharoahs also conquered other territories, but territorial conquest is not the sole characteristic of what makes a "great leader".
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Arwa
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A one man show
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Djehuti
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Mind you, the Egyptian conquest of southwest Asia was done as an act of revenge as well as an act of national security.
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sam p
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Order and law has to prevail before agriculture is possible. It would be obvious very early on that agriculture was more important to the success of a society than any other activity.

It might have taken centuries to make the world safe for farming and civilization which sprang from it.

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Doug M
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Agriculture grows out of the fundamental need for humans to secure a consistent means to feed themselves. Eating was the driving factor behind much of the development towards human civilization, the hunter gatherer lifestyle is based around the need to hunt and gather food to eat. The domestication of plants came about as people realized that plants grow from seeds and that by planting seeds at the right time and in the right place, with the right conditions, it will grow and produce food.

Order and law are concepts separate from the fundamental need for all humans to eat. If you don't eat you die. Law and order are not fundamental to human survival at the basic level, which therefore means that agriculture was not a key factor in the development of law and order. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that organized societies with rules and traditions that maintained order have existed for many thousands of years prior to the invention of agriculture. T

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xyyman
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quote:
Originally posted by Djehuti:
Mind you, the Egyptian conquest of southwest Asia was done as an act of revenge as well as an act of national security.

Sound like why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Revenge and National Security. [Big Grin] [Wink]
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lamin
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Interesting that Uruguay--a small country way over on South America should have an Institute of Egyptology. I doubt that any African country--apart from Egypt and Senegal(IFAN)--have any institute or reserach centre on Ancient Egypt and Kush--correct if in error.


Castillos's thesis seems a trivial one because in all societies there are individuals who--for whatever reason--seek power over their fellowmen. It would seem rather that Ancient Egypt developed because a set of environmental factors made it possible: riverine culture that made agriculture possible, tropical/sub-tropical weather, an environment with abundant stone[the Egyptians were the first humans to build in stone], fertile soil and abundant sand[for mixing with limestone, etc. for building].

But more than anything else, it seems as if AE society developed because it was more a "people's culture" than an ancient dictatorship. I say this because of the evidence shown on the great number of people-centred murals their artists did. in other words, it was not just painting and doing scultptures of the king.

The settled agricultural nature of Egyptian society also produced more individual freedoms, a certain relaxed view of life, and an evident gender equality among the general population.

The pharaoh was seen as the bridge to eternity--hence the concept of "divine kingship" seen by some anthropologists as specifically West African(Glyn Daniel's research for example), which gave life a fixed purpose.

Another reason for the longevity of AE society is that there seems not have been any(?) social cleavages based on ethnicity. There was one society--albeit stratified according to distinct classes.

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Djehuti
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quote:
Originally posted by xyyman:
quote:
Originally posted by Djehuti:
Mind you, the Egyptian conquest of southwest Asia was done as an act of revenge as well as an act of national security.

Sound like why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Revenge and National Security. [Big Grin] [Wink]
Yeah, except the Egyptians knew what they were doing and were more successful in their endeavors while the U.S. apparently is not!

Then again, you didn't have any religious fanatics committing waves of suicide attacks.

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Djehuti
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quote:
Originally posted by sam p:

Order and law has to prevail before agriculture is possible. It would be obvious very early on that agriculture was more important to the success of a society than any other activity.

It might have taken centuries to make the world safe for farming and civilization which sprang from it.

Agriculture is a result of plant domestication, which is actually a long process to develop. Plant domestication was likely invented by women who were the gatherers of hunter-gatherer societies. As far as law and order is concerned, hunter-gatherer societies seem to be the most peaceful compared to other more 'developed' societies.
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sam p
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug M:



Order and law are concepts separate from the fundamental need for all humans to eat. If you don't eat you die. Law and order are not fundamental to human survival at the basic level, which therefore means that agriculture was not a key factor in the development of law and order. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that organized societies with rules and traditions that maintained order have existed for many thousands of years prior to the invention of agriculture. T

Formal agriculture is impossible unless the farmer has control of the land. What's the point of planting a crop or having an orchard if it will be overrun by hunter/gatherers? How long will your herd last when a hunting party passes through?

It was not only the surplus of agriculture that created civilization but to a very real degree, civilization created farming. By the same token it was the great efficiency and excess of food production made possible through farming which created both the need and the ability to raise armies.

Civilization and agriculture had to grow hand in hand. It is probably true that there were numerous early cooperative attempts at farming.

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fellati achawi
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quote:
The "great man" theory of history is the most common approach to history by the westerners.
the soninke have a great man theory also

The first ruler of this empire was said to be Dingha Cisse, who it is said had a semi-divine status. He came with his people from "the East", either Mali or possibly what is modern day Senegal, and created a coalition against the neighboring tribes and “nomadic raiders”. Some believe that after long battles with the Berbers, Cisse married the three daughters of their leader and created an impressive alliance.

I read also that alot of arabic histories where the berber nomadic tribes gave the ghanas allegiance.

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Doug M
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quote:
Originally posted by sam p:
quote:
Originally posted by Doug M:



Order and law are concepts separate from the fundamental need for all humans to eat. If you don't eat you die. Law and order are not fundamental to human survival at the basic level, which therefore means that agriculture was not a key factor in the development of law and order. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that organized societies with rules and traditions that maintained order have existed for many thousands of years prior to the invention of agriculture. T

Formal agriculture is impossible unless the farmer has control of the land. What's the point of planting a crop or having an orchard if it will be overrun by hunter/gatherers? How long will your herd last when a hunting party passes through?

It was not only the surplus of agriculture that created civilization but to a very real degree, civilization created farming. By the same token it was the great efficiency and excess of food production made possible through farming which created both the need and the ability to raise armies.

Civilization and agriculture had to grow hand in hand. It is probably true that there were numerous early cooperative attempts at farming.

I disagree. Agriculture started before there was a large sophisticated civilization. Agriculture does not need civilization. Small groups not connected to any centralized ruling system could plant crops for their own well being. However, civilization NEEDS agriculture in order to exist. You can't do much of anything if you have no food to eat. And of course once you have food to eat, you need to have an efficient means for storage and distribution. The necessity of agriculture, distribution and organization to sustain large sedentary populations under a centralized system of rule does not mean that agriculture started with large organized states.

Also, it is erroneous to think that once agriculture was invented, that people stopped hunting, fishing or even gathering. That is not true. If you read Wendorf and his findings at Wadi Kubbaniya and elsewhere from about 15,000 B.C., he says it is clear that the people there used agriculture as a SUPPLEMENT to their hunting and fishing activities. They planted crops when it was possible to do so, but also continued fishing and hunting. Therefore, the idea that the hunter gatherers were a SEPARATE group from those who were planting crops is basically erroneous. The hunter gatherers and agriculturalists were the SAME people.

And, it isn't as if agriculture was the first time that humans fought over territory. Humans have been fighting over territory and resources since time immemorial at some level, even if it was only small periodic skirmishes. Groups may have fought over many things, like water holes, hunting lands, sacred areas and other things, long before there was a agriculture.

http://www.antiquityofman.com/wadi_kubbaniya.html

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Clyde Winters
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Doug you are correct. Here is a site that suggest that hominids may have been engaged in settled life much earlier that we formerly imagined.

http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=005553

.

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Djehuti
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^ Correct
quote:
Originally posted by Djehuti:

Agriculture is a result of plant domestication, which is actually a long process to develop. Plant domestication was likely invented by women who were the gatherers of hunter-gatherer societies. As far as law and order is concerned, hunter-gatherer societies seem to be the most peaceful compared to other more 'developed' societies.


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Doug M
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I think one of the misconceptions is based on a misunderstanding of what the hunter gatherer lifestyle means. The hunting part obviously provides meat, but the gathering part is for obtaining vegetables and grains. The only difference between a hunter gatherer lifestyle and agricultural lifestyle is that the people plant the food that they gather at harvest as opposed to gathering it in the wild. Hunting still was necessary, even though it is obvious that the people of the Nile Valley figured out that putting a fence around animal herds made hunting easier and that making food and forcing it down the throats of certain animals made them fat and yummy to eat....
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Quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug M:
I think one of the misconceptions is based on a misunderstanding of what the hunter gatherer lifestyle means. The hunting part obviously provides meat, but the gathering part is for obtaining vegetables and grains. The only difference between a hunter gatherer lifestyle and agricultural lifestyle is that the people plant the food that they gather at harvest as opposed to gathering it in the wild. Hunting still was necessary, even though it is obvious that the people of the Nile Valley figured out that putting a fence around animal herds made hunting easier and that making food and forcing it down the throats of certain animals made them fat and yummy to eat....

When you plant you stay next to the fields you work. In gathering you have a nomadic lifestyle because you have to go to different places depending on when the wild plants are ripe for harvest.
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Clyde Winters
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 -
Move it up.

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