Egyptian Priestess Takushit

The High Priestess

The High Priestess (II) is the second trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. This card is used in game playing as well as in divination. In the first Tarot pack with inscriptions, the 18th-century woodcut Marseilles Tarot, this figure is crowned with the Papal tiara and labelled La Papesse, the Popess, a possible reference to the legend of Pope Joan.

In the creation of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Popess was changed into The High Priestess. She wears a crown similar to the one used by the goddess Hathor, and is depicted with Marian imagery . A. E. Waite, the co-creator of the Rider-Waite deck, speculated that the card was connected to the ancient cult of Astarte. [1]

Day in the life of a high priest

The high priest’s day was a series of duties performed at set times to satisfy the gods who would then keep all things in order

Before dawn: Ritual ablutions
To be ritually pure, the priests bathed in the temple’s sacred lake, shaved off all hair and gargled with natron salt solution, before dressing in linen robes and reed-woven sandals.

Sunrise: Morning ceremony
At dawn the high priest entered the shrine and awoke the god’s spirit in its statue. This was then cleansed, anointed and dressed, and offered the finest foods while frankincense was burned to purify the surroundings.

Pre-noon: Reversion of offerings and ritual ablutions
Once the god had its fill of food offerings, these reverted to the priests as breakfast. Then to maintain ritual purity, the high priest bathed once again before re-entering the gods’ presence.

Noon: Midday ceremony
At noon, the high priest re-entered the shrine, this time burning myrrh resin while sprinkling water to further purify the temple’s shrines and sacred spaces.

Various times: Various rituals
With numerous rituals performed by the high priest and clergy at various times, these were not only set by the ‘Hour Priest’ astronomers but carefully measured with clepsydra water clocks.

Evening: Ritual ablutions
To maintain ritual purity, the priests had to bathe once again before re-entering the gods’ presence.

Sunset: Evening ceremony
In a reverse of the morning ceremony, the high priest once more entered the shrine to put the god’s spirit to rest, burning spicy kyphi incense to create a restful environment.

Night: Ritual ablutions
Since the priests had to bathe twice a day and twice at night, a fourth bath maintained ritual purity, while the hour priest astronomers monitored the
night sky from the temple roof ‘observatory’.

Types of Priests

Male priests were known as hem-netjer and females as hemet-netjer (servants of the god). There was a hierarchy in the priesthood from the high priest (hem-netjer-tepi, ‘first servant of god’) at the top to the wab priests at the bottom. The wab priests carried out the essential but fairly mundane tasks of taking care of the temple complex and performing whatever function they were called upon for, such as helping to prepare for festivals.

In between these two positions was a wide array of priests who performed all kinds of duties in service to the gods: kitchen staff, janitors, porters, scribes, anyone who worked in the temple complex who had any association with the god was in some form a priest. Even the cult singers and musicians needed to have had some training in the priesthood to perform their duties, though probably not the kind of initiation or education which actual priests went through.

Iufenamun was a senior priest from ancient Egypt. Scientists created this image of Iufenamun by using an advanced digital technology after scanning his mummy. It seems that he died at the age of 40 years. It is believed that Iufenamun and his father Nesypaqashuty were given the task of removing mummified bodies of Egyptian Pharaohs from the Kings’ valley to safeguard them from grave robbers. (National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK) / Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, Creative Commons

The hour-priests were astronomers who kept the calendar, determined lucky and unlucky days, interpreted omens and dreams. There were the doctors, who were also priests, the swnw (general practitioner) and the sau (magical practitioner) who both combined medicine and magic. A ka-priest (also known as a ka-servant) was paid by a family to perform the daily offerings at the tomb of the deceased.

There were also sem priests who presided over mortuary rituals and conducted funeral services. Sem priests were the embalmers who mummified the corpse and recited the incantations while wrapping the mummy. The sem priests were highly respected because they were responsible for the precise utterance of the spells which would guarantee eternal life to the deceased. An interesting exception was the sem priest who would make the actual incision in the body to remove the organs. However he was treated the rest of the time, after this procedure, he was ritually insulted by his peers and chased down the road, most likely to ward off evil spirits associated with causing injury to the body.

Just below the high priest was the lector priest (hery-heb or cheriheb) who wrote down the religious texts, instructed other clergy, and recited the “authoritative utterance,” the heka, in the temple and at festivals. Although there is evidence of women serving in all other positions in temple life, there is no record of a female lector priest. This could have been because the position was usually passed from father to son.

Besides the high priest, most of these positions were part-time. Priests and priestesses were divided into ‘watches’ and would serve the temple one month in every four. When their month of service was up, they returned to their regular jobs in the community which were usually those of mid-level bureaucrats. While they were in service, priests lived in the temple complex. They were expected to be ritually pure, bathe a number of times a day, and be able to carry out the duties required of them.

See Inside the Tomb of a High-Powered Egyptian Woman

A 4,000-year-old tomb with unusual monkey scenes is discovered on the outskirts of Cairo.

Archaeologists have discovered the lavishly decorated tomb of an ancient Egyptian priestess, giving a rare glimpse of the life of a high-ranking woman more than 4,000 years ago.

The tomb belongs to Hetpet, who served as a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, music, and dance. While female priests weren’t common in ancient Egypt, Hathor’s priesthood included a number of priestesses.

The find marks Egypt’s first archaeological discovery of the year, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced at a press conference Saturday in Giza.

Inside the tomb, Hetpet’s name and titles are engraved on a purification basin, AFP reports. The tomb is also decorated with remarkably preserved paintings, including Hetpet in hunting and fishing scenes and depictions of people melting metal, making leather goods, and dancing.

Among the paintings are unusual scenes of monkeys, which were kept as pets at the time. One shows a monkey picking fruit and carrying a basket, and another shows a monkey dancing in front of an orchestra. Only one other painting of a dancing monkey has been found previously, reports the Egyptian newspaper al Ahram, with a monkey dancing in front of a guitarist in the 12 th -century tomb of Kal-ber in Saqqara.

Hetpet lived during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty, part of a prosperous era known as the Old Kingdom. This was Egypt’s great age of pyramid-building, when pharaohs ruled and scores of temples and palaces were erected.

Her name was first seen on antiquities unearthed at the site in 1909 and sent to Germany. The tomb itself was not unearthed until 2017, more than a century later, by a team led by Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The team hopes to make more discoveries as they continue excavating the site, Waziri told reporters in Giza.

The rose Priestess lineage is all around us

As Venus orbits the Earth, her rotation culminating in an 8 year cycle, creating the image of a 5 petaled rose. Her cycle anchors in the Earthly experience of the Rose as she buds, blossoms, and dies, only to spread her seeds and be reborn again. As Venus weaves through the astrological signs, we are guided by her varied frequencies of love and wisdom.

In Ancient Lemuria, the Sisterhood of Rose was first created. The Magdalene soul was the High Priestess in the Temple of Phira. This Temple was dedicated to the Lion-Goddess of Sirius and essence of the Divine Feminine. Phira means “Living Flames”.

In Ancient Atlantis, the Sisterhood of the Rose continued as 12 Priestess groups of 12 women to continue activating the Flames of Love for all Humanity. When this civilization was under demise, the Rose Priestesses dispersed into key locations throughout the Global to continue this sacred mission.

The Tree of Life is one of the most sacred symbols throughout the world. Rooted in Kabbalistic Mysticism, the Tree of Life shows us the journey we go through in our lives. Within the Tree, the Egyptian and Grail Mysteries come alive, bringing forth ancient technologies that share the one common root of the Rose.

Ancient Egyptian Wisdom and the Ankh Key of Life descend from the high vibrational Planet of Sirius. As a Celestial Goddess herself, who’s wisdom is embodied through the Neteru (Egyptian Gods & Goddesses), she showers her unconditional love upon humanity in the creation and re-activation of advanced technologies of sacred geometry and sophisticated codes of sound and light.

The Grail Mysteries, seeded as Consciousness landed on Gaia from the Cosmos, were passed along the great telluric grid lines, dragon lines and song lines of the Earth with harmonic coding that is singing in celestial celebration now. The Grail, as Cup, Chalice or the Wombspace of Mary Magdalene, carries the Royal Blood Line of the Christ the Ages.

In Avalonian Tradition, The Chalice Rose is the Embodied Love of the Sacred Mother infused in the living mythos of the Dragon Queens, the Goddess and Her Priestesses, who’s Serpentine Energy Spirals in devotion to the Cycles of All creation.

In Essence, these are all petals of The One Rose, weaving through multiple timelines, spaces and dimensions, like the Path of Venus Herself, creating a Masterpiece of our Divine Destiny To Live Heaven on Earth now.

Ancient Egyptian Houses: Furniture

The Ancient Egyptians did not have much furniture. The most common item of furniture was a low stool, although many people, especially the poor sat on the floor. Rich people had beds and mattresses, while poorer people slept on a straw mattress or rug on the floor. The Ancient Egyptians did not have cupboards but stored things in reed baskets.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Egypt in the ancient world. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to Ancient Egypt.

The Master Keys to the Study of Ancient Kemet

1. Cultural Antiquity and Continuity Starts in Pre-Dynastic Times and Go to 640 A.D. We must remember this when reading or listening to presentations about Kemet. Even those who eventually conquered Kemet adopted its culture. 2. Older is Better. The older architecture is superior to the later works. It's as if the art and discipline was forgotten with time. 3. The Entire Orientation of the Ancient Kamites is Southern. Word for face and South, right and West, left and East, North and back of head are respectively the same. 4. The Origin of the Kamites is Southern. 5. Leadership is Southern. The main leadership that ruled ancient Kemet always came from the South 6. All Invasions Were Destructive. No one donated culture to ancient Kemet. 7. Arabic Migration Mixes with Nubian People in the Kemetic Valley at and After the Time of Muhammad. Arabic people come in from Syria and Assyria in large numbers for the first time as the first large population of settlers after Muhammad. And with Islam, you have the first change in the fundamental culture of Kemet. 8. Science Generated Religion. The ancient Kemetic people got religion by studying aspects of nature. Nature, when viewed systematically, represents "God" anywhere you look. If you keep seeing the same patterns and rules repeated over and over again in nature, you suddenly realize that there is something bigger that you can't grasp that is behind all this. Therefore, you study yourself into religion. The religion that the Kemetic people developed through study is the same religion that others borrowed from the ancient Kamites without study. Science generated religion, it generated philosophy, and it generated general culture (religion was not Sunday). 9. There is No Dualism in Kemetic Culture. Dualism in interpretation philosophically or culturally is a western phenomenon. (Example, Kierkegaard: It's got to be either this or that). The priest was a scientist. No split between a person searching truth through one means and a person seeking it through another. No split between science and religion, the sacred and the secular.

(From a lecture given by Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III, a.k.a. Nana Baffour Amankwatia

Do you think that Europeans created Christianity? Well. you've been lied to. Click the red button below to get a FREE copy of my book Pre-Slavery Christianity

By Black History In The Bible

"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." - John 8:45-47


Asenath is daughter of Jacobs daughter Dinah and the princ of Shechem. The child of rape. She wasn´t black. She was mix raced. Proper Jewish woman prepared by Yehowah for Joseph.

Show scripture. If she was the daughter of Dinah, then why does the Bible say she was the daughter of an Egyptian? Shechem wasn’t an Egyptian. Furthermore, how would Dinah’s daughter have married Joseph in Egypt when he was separated from the family, and already married with kids when they reunited?

Also, Hebrews traced lineage through the father, and if the father was Shechem, the kid would be considered from the lineage of Ham. Your entire argument fails when challenged with scripture.

I agree with you CJ. I am so happy to know the real truth about the people talked about in the bible. The Hebrew Israelites, were black people, are chosen people of Elohim, The Most High GOD! Continue to teach us. If you and the others that I believe were chosen by Elohim to tell us the truth don’t tell us, then we will never know. I give Praise to Almighty Elohim!

Our Elohim has driven you to seek out truth and you are doing it. For HIS WORD says, “if my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear them from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14. While I believe that some of our people don’t know who they are because they have been robbed of all things that identify who one is and where one belongs, a great many of us do not want to know this information for their lack of humility as well as their refusal to pray and seek Elohim’s face. Please keep searching, writing, and informing your and my people of our divine heritage.

The Ancient Egyptian City of ON along the River Niger: The History and Culture of Onicha Mmili (Onitsha) – by – Onwa Onyebuchi Amene Esq.

From, Ugonabo Onwa Amene Esq.
an Attorney who practices
mostly in the International Court of Trade.

Our history as a people should neither be a mystery nor a guess work. It must be written by us for us based on our knowledge of what was, what is and what will forever be as children of Onicha: a divine town of assured prospects a town that was oriented and aligned to sacred stars of the immortal galaxies a town, that was divinely inspired and strategically founded on the sacred banks of God’s own river, the Niger. Onicha, the sacred abode, uniquely ordained to soar and tower above all obstacles a town, where the immortal flame of God’s own love will forever glow.

Onicha-Ado n’ Idu! Atulukpa Ose! Onicha, oke Ebo na eri agu! Eke nwe ovia! (The royal python that reigns in the the sacred forest!) Oke Nnunu Mmuo n’ ebe n’ oku!(The mystical bird Phoenix who is immune from the inferno!) Onicha my Onicha, our Onicha, the divine breasts whose nourishing milk has sustained all from the misty dawn of times!

The word “Onitsha” is an alienization of the proper spelling of our correct name “Onicha”. From my research, this word was first used by Mungo Park in his reports of his expedition amongst the Niger people and this was continued by other Europeans. The compound term “tsha” is non-existent in any African or Igbo syntax. We should abandon the perpetuation of this anomaly and revert to the correct form of our name: Onicha. The ancestral name of our beloved town is “Onicha-Mmili”.This was to distinguish it from our other kinsmen at other Onicha settlements on the West of the Niger, like “Onicha-Ugbo” “Onicha-Olona” “Onicha-Ukwu” and other blood relatives that branched out from the major migrational group to develop those settlements on the West of the Niger or “Enu Ani”. It is really sad that these days, our interactions and dynamics with these our blood relatives at Enu Ani have become almost extinct.

My immortalized and legendary kinsman, Chief Philip Okonkwo Anatogu, the Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha, once explained that the word “Onicha-Ado N’ Idu” referred to the Nation of all Onicha stock that made the exodus from the Idu land. Idu was one of the names for ancient Egypt. “Idu” or “Edo” was later corrupted to Edo and was usurped by the Benin nation. The Iyasele explained that the towns of Onicha-Mmili, Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Olona, Onicha-Ukwu, Issele-Ukwu, Issele Mkpitima, Ezzi, Obamkpa and other towns of Benin migrational orientation were all collectively referred to as “Onicha Ado n’ Idu” by the Edos! Over the years when Onicha-Mmili became very accomplished, the usage of the name “Onitsha Ado n’ Idu” appeared to have been narrowed down to her. Many of our brethren at Enu Ani had criticized this as what they perceived as an attempt by Onicha-Mmili to solely assume what was a national identity of all Onicha children.

Who are Ndi Onicha? Onye ka anyi bu? Ebe ka anyi sii? Anyi abu ndi Edo/Idu/Benin?


Just like many ancient kingdoms that are now scattered in the Southern part of the Sahara, the Onicha history is rooted in Ancient Egypt. From linguistics, cultural, cosmological, anthropological, pictorial, traditional and spiritual analyses and comparisons, Onicha people and their Yoruba and Edo relatives are from Ancient Egypt, known then to our ancestors as Kemet. The word “Egypt” was a hellenised (from the Greeks) name for Kemet. (I have always wondered the psycho-social motivation for the European’s fixation for alteration of names and identities of the indigenous people that they conquer.)

Our confusion and rejection of our Egyptian roots is premised upon years and years of colonial mis-education and doctrine that the Egyptian civilization was attributable to Europeans. The imperialist oppressors never taught our history from its remotest past but taught and narrowed the genesis of African history to the colonial era and advent. Most Europeans who made a good effort to conduct research on African history and anthropology, like Professor Richard Henderson, in his “The King in every man” did excellent works but their works were very prejudicially narrowed in time and scope. None ever attempted to conduct an indepth study to connect our history to the advanced ancient Egyptian roots. This was a deliberate omission, perhaps premised upon the colonial doctrine that “Africa was a race without a past” because it does not take a lot of studies for one to connect Onicha and closely related communities like the Edos and Yorubas to ancient Egypt.

Words like “Yorubas”, “Benin”, “Igbos”, are relatively new terms and were never used by the ancestors of these people to identify them. We should also note that the Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, and many West African languages descended from one parent language and belong to the “KWA” language group. We must endeavor to write our history from its purest and ancient source and not be limiting our studies to events of 700 years ago. This is an insult to our ancestors whose eons and billions of ageless genes exist in us. ONITSHA DID NOT START WITH OUR ANCESTRAL ADVENT TO THE BANKS OF THE NIGER FEW HUNDRED YEARS AGO!


Marcus Aurlielus Garvey once opined that a people without a knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots. We must, for the sake of our children, approach the study of our history with fervency and zeal, otherwise, we deprive them of a foundation upon which they can stand to withstand the fierce battles of man’s unkindness to man as history keeps attesting. Just mentioning that we left Benin over a contest for a royal throne is a mockery of historical accuracy and a severe limitation of the true self knowledge of who we are, in terms of scope and time.

Who and what were we before the tiny or microscopic phase of the Benin/Edo experience? How did we get to Benin? And from were did we get to Benin? Why did we migrate from where we were to Benin?

Why does Onicha Igbo syllable contain more Yoruba words than Benin words? And why do our kingship and chieftaincy titles and arrangements resemble the Edos/Benin and not like the Yorubas? What was our original language? Do we still have its linguistic remnants in our chants, dirges, eulogies and dances? What is the meaning of the chants that we intone during the sacred Ido Ogbi gba (last funeral phase) of an ascended ancestor?

Why did Onicha people readily and without any objection embrace and adopt the mystical rituals of the Igala Immigrants and their Muo-Avia/MmuoOgonogo/Egwugwu, placing the Muo-avia on a powerful position that almost paralleled and usurped the powers of the monarch? Did the Igalas have any Yoruba, Edo or Benin roots? Did Onicha, Edo and Igala have a common roots? Why are the Ulutus/Mgbelekekes, who are Igala immigrants, the custodian of the most powerful sacred shrine in Onitsha: Ani Onitsha? These and many others are the questions that we need to ask?

Onitsha words like “Ogbadu”(corn), “Okwute” (rock/stone), “Ogede” (plaintain), “Ologbo” or Onogbo”, (cat), “Okpulukpu” (box or container”, “Erulu” (beads), “Ikpulu” (a specie of garden egg), “Inye Ori” by Muo Avia,(Ori means head or chi in Yoruba) and so many others are all Yoruba words, except “Ologbo” which is still used in Benin today. However, many of our traditional titles are the same with the Edos/Binis: Onicha titles like “Iyasele” is “Iyasere” in Bini “Ogene Onira” is “Oliha” in Benin “Odu Osodi” is “Osodin” in Benin “Omodi Daike” in Onitsha is “Edaiken” in Benin “Esagba” in Onitsha is “Esogban” in Benin the “Isama” titles are the same in both towns amongst many others.

The land of Kemet or ancient Egypt, also called Idu or Igodomigodo by our ancestors, now sadly inhabited by descendants of Arabic and Turkish (with other European) invaders, was before the invasion, the ancestral land of Onicha people and many other African nations.

We were forced to make a southern migrational exodus to avoid annihilation by the constant invasion from foreign forces from Persia, Turkey, Albania, Macedonia and other parts of Europe. The land of Egypt was a very sophisticated and super advanced nation of civilized people. The foundation of ancient Egypt was laid by Africans who are now scattered in disorganized groups called tribes and clans in total ignorance of their identities, contributions to world science, arts and their very advanced civilized roots in ancient Egypt.

Now and then, it hurts a lot to see the ways that Turkish-Arabs have been desecrating the ancient tombs and graves of our African ancestors in Egypt. Our ancestral graves are being excavated on a daily basis in the name of “research”. If these were their ancestors would they be allowing these desecrations and digging up of their ancestors for studies and research? In the name of research and studies, they are destroying land marks and coded information left by our ancestors for us and our children. Six years ago, they conducted a melanin pigmentation/skin color test on the skins of 25 Pharoahs and ancient Egyptian mummies that they excavated and found that they were all Africans with very dark skins but this information is yet to be published in the bi-annual Egyptian Historical Society magazines. The Key is to keep the African in stupor and ignorance of his great past.


Everything that the world knows today in terms of religion, science, astrology, astronomy, medicine, laws and other branches of philosophical studies are from ancient Egypt. According to Herodotus, a very travelled Greek Historian, who kept records of his visit to ancient Egypt, Egypt was peopled by very disciplined and organized citizenry who were “very” black people with “wooly hair”. Everything revolved around the Pharoah, who was an incarnate of God on earth.

The word “Pharoah” is the Greek translation of the Kemetic term, “Parah” meaning “Great house/home or abode”(compare this to the title of our King, “Obi” which is also a home or abode”.) The term alludes to the fact that the King or Pharoah is a great abode or temple that houses many forces, spirits or powers. The Gods and Goddesses dwell in his body making it “a great house or “Obi”.

The “Obi” of modern Onitsha today is the continuation of the ancient Pharonic dynasty of ancient Kemet or Egypt. Onitsha must retrace the history of her monarchs from his imperial Majesty Obi Achebe back to the Ogiso Kings of Igodomigodo in Edo, then to Egypt to Pharoah Tutankhamon, Pharoah Amenemhet, Pharoah Amenemes, Pharoah Amenkhuti Ra Pharoah Khafara, and back to the first dynasty in Egypt. Enough of this tracing of our kingship to just Obi Oreze or his father Ohime(corrupted to “Chima”) by his later descendants. Did they not descend from somebody? We must take back our history to where it belongs. Do we have to wait for Professor Henderson to come and tell us?

Onicha got its name from the ancient Egyptian city of “ON”, unfortunately renamed as “Heliopolis” by the Greeks and now being called “El Minah” by the modern Egyptian government, which has changed the name of this city five times. The City of “On” was the citadel of spiritual excellence and was one of the most sacred cities of ancient Egypt.

The priests of On were very mystical and were the repository of the ancient mysteries of Egypt. The priests of On guided their mysteries jealously and were the only priests that crowned the Pharoahs. No king of Egypt could be recognized without being consecrated by the priests of On. They were called the “Priests of the most high”. The Pharoh and his family traditionally resided in the city of On. “Onicha” means those that were sacked or cut off from the city of On. The word “cha” in ancient Egypt means to cut, descend or fall from. The Onitsha Igbo dialect term “chapu” like in “chapu ya isi” (cut off his head) still has the same root like the ancient Kemetic Egyptian language: “cha” : to cut off or make to fall.

Onicha people were actually those that were cut off or fled from the sacred city of On. Literarily speaking, Onicha means “people of On that fled” from On. Some people had wrongly described the word Onicha as those who “despise others”, but that could not be correct because they were the ones who were charged with the responsibility of consecrating and annointing kings and priests. As a matter of fact, the names, “Tutankam-on” and “Solom-on” are rooted in the city of On. Solomon means he who was initiated into the mysteries of On.

In Onicha today, we see the term “On” reflecting in many of our names and traditional titles. The term “On” is found in some of the following Onitsha traditional chieftaincy titles: “On-owu”, “On-i-ra”, meaning “On” dedicated to the ancient Egyptian God called “Ra”, “Onika” meaning the Ka of On the word “ka” in Kemetic language means “the soul”, therefore, “Onika”means the soul of On. We also see the word “On” in “Onya”, “Onoli” and “Onwolu” all chieftaincy titles in Onicha.

In their roles as priests, ON-icha people after being cut off from Egypt, continued to play their roles as priests and in that capacity sojourned with different closely related communities that were scattered in Africa, especially in West Africa, where their services as priests were still needed.

They dwelt amongst other fellow Egyptians and Punis (Cannanites) who had fled/migrated from ancient Egypt to avoid foreign invasions.

They were in Ile Ife, today in Ile Ife, some Yorubas of ON-icha stock are still residing there. Till date, an ancient ritual of the battle of Moremi, an Ile Ife Princess’ conflict with Onicha inhabitants are still enacted on a yearly basis.

Onicha priests were also in Benin kingdom or Edo land.

They were also in Igbo land. I suspect that the Priests of Nri were distantly connected to the city of On. That is why till date an Nri King upon consecration must bring certain sacrifial items (tributes) to the Obi of Onicha and must sleep over in Onicha before assuming the Nri throne.

Why would the very traditional Nri people who were (and still are) known all over the Igbo land as a holy people and the spiritual custodian of all Igbo lands, accord these rights to Onicha Kings? All these indicate that Onicha and many other tribes had had prior interactions and established certain traditional precedence which had been ongoing before the Onicha town was founded just around 700 hundred years ago. No Nri man would just concede to subject his divine King to some unknown immigrants who just crossed over from the Niger River, if that were to be the case.

Times have really changed. It should be noted that I am referring to an era when we had no tribal or linguistical differenciation as we have now. Many of the modern African tribes and languages were non-existent in the past. We were all one group and spoke one language, different languages developed after our exodus from Egypt and sojourn with other different populations that were in other parts of Africa when we migrated.

These priests of On made sure to plant the concept and importance of establishing an independent nation like the ancient city of On where Onicha people would assume their prime and primordial roles as divine priests amongst men, once again. Onicha-Mmili was an attempt to recreate the ancient city of On for Onicha people after years and years of persecution and oppression for their priestcraft at the hands of many hosting relatives who over the years forgot who and what Onicha stood for.


The migration of Onicha people from Benin happened in phases over many years and did not happen once. The Ohime/Obi Ezechima’s exodus was one of the last ones that occurred but it should be noted that not all Onicha people left with Obi Eze Chima or Ohime. Some stayed back and are still in Benin today.

Some took a different migrationary route towards Ile Ife and Ado Ekiti. Some went to establish Ondo. Some made a northern migrational journey towards the north to establish the Igala Kingdom.

The Attah of Igala and a substantial part of the Igala kingdom were Onicha people who immigrated into Igala from Benin. According to oral traditions, the first Attah of Igala was a Priestly-Prince of the Edo/Benin Kingdom.

Now it can be understood why the Onicha people were ferried across the Niger and greatly assisted by their Igala kinsmen when they reached the banks of the Niger river. It can also be understood why Onicha people easily incorporated many Igala rituals and traditions into their own concepts. They were of the same roots but different branches. Onicha people left Benin to establish Igala that was the secret behind the easy adoption of and exchange of different tenets amongst Onicha and Igala people.

Some Onicha people, before Eze Chima’s exodus, had left Benin to establish other towns like Issele Ukwu, Ebu, Kwale, Ezzi, Onicha-Ukwu, Okpanam, Asaba(originally called “Araba”) and some other towns of Benin orientation that had been established before the Ezechima’s exodus from Benin.. It was these settlements that habored Obi Ohime/Ezechima when he and his family fled from Benin. The migration from Benin to Onicha Mmili took many years, towns of Onicha-Olona and Onicha-Ugbo were established by Onicha people who felt reluctant to continue and follow Obi Ohime to Onicha-mmili.


Obi Ohime or Eze Chima, having been told that he could not enter Onicha, stayed for a long time in Obio (a town across the Niger from Onicha) with his family and relatives before he died.

After he died, his relatives decided to continue with their migration to establish Onicha. The qualification for whom shall be crowned king was conditioned upon who shall sound ancient rhythms on a wooden Ufie. Traditionally, Ufie cannot be owned or be sounded/beaten by a person whose father is still alive. The contestants to the throne having just lost their father, had no ufie, however, Oreze Obi, had carved one which he hid under the boat and sounded first upon getting to Onicha whilst his siblings were busy looking for the appropriate wood to cut for the Ufie.

The contestants to the throne were Oreze, Ukpali, Agbor Chima, Ekensu (Aboh Chima), Obio, Obamkpa and Isele. All these men were all children of Eze Chima. This is very important because I have read some articles being written about “non-royal and royal” Onitsha families by people who are very ignorant of our history.

Dei Ogbuevi was uterine brother of Eze Chima and was therefore not excluded from Onicha kingship unlike the children of Eze Chima outlined above. That is why any Dei descendant can still aspire to the Oncha throne, unlike the descendants of the children of Eze Chima that contested the throne.

Rather than contest the election of their sibling, they resolved to emigrate from Onicha and go back to “Enu Ani” to establish their own clans. Thus Obamkpa, left to establish Obamkpa town. Umuasele, Iyiawu and Umu Odimegwu Gbuagwu villages are all descended from Obamkpa.

Ukpali went to found Agbor and Ekensu went to found Aboh.

After, Ojedi’s sacrifice of her life to save Onicha, her father Dei, left Umudei village to reside with his nephew Ukpali who had founded Aboh town (because then, it was a taboo for a child to die before the parents.) Whilst at Aboh, Dei had more children, who just like their Aboh relatives, became very wealthy by fishermen and traders.

These children of Dei in Aboh, whenever they came to Onicha to trade and market their wares, would spend some days with their relatives at Umudei village. Some later settled at Umudei after exchanging marital vows with other Onicha people and founded the “Ogbe Onira” clan in Umudei village, a very spiritual, mystical and tough clan. The term “Aboh Rika” is now being erroneously applied to all Umu Dei people, but this is historically incorrect. It was originally used for Ogbe Onira clan because of their “Dei-Aboh” roots. Till date, our relatives from Aboh town are saluted with “Abohrika”. It literarily means Aboh predominates! One always sees that pride wherever children of Eze Chima are founded.

When Dei later left Aboh, he went and founded Oguta town in Imo State and till date, only descendants of Dei can assume the throne of Oguta town. In Oguta today, the Umudei Village exists. Traditionally, whenever, the Obi of Oguta visited Onicha-Mmili, he would first go to the Diokpa of Umudei village who would then accompany him to the Obi of Onicha.


Onicha is made up of nine clans: the Umu-Ezechima Clan, Ugwu na Obamkpa Clan Awada Clan Ubulu na Ikem ClanUlutu ClanUbene Clan(Umu Okwulinye)Ogbolieke Clan Obior Clan and Agbanute Clan.


Onicha people traditionally beleive in one omnipotent God whom we call”Ose Ebuluwa” or “Osa Ebuluwa” ( “Olisa Ebuluwa”.) One of the original ancient Egyptian, Kemetic names of God, was “Osa”. The Greeks changed it to “Osiris”. Another name of God in ancient Egypt was “Ra”.

In Onicha today we bear the names “Chukwu Ra” etymologically it alluded to “Ra”, the high spirit. It was this aspect of God that the Jews worshipped that is why the term”RA” is reflected in many Jewish and Isreali names. Terms like (Abraham)Ab “Ra” ham, (Israel): Is “Ra” el, Sa “Ra” h, (Raphael)”Ra” phael, (Gabriel)Gab “Ra” el, (Ariel) A “Ra” el, (Mount Ararat)A,ra “Ra” t, and so many others. Could these be “just” coincidental?

In Benin, God is called “Osa No Obuwa”, which has the same etymological root with “Ose Ebuluwa”. The closest transliteration(it cannot be adequately translated into English) of the term “Osebuluwa” can be glimpsed if one attempts to etymologize the term “Osebuluwa”. The term is derived from “Ose/Osa(mystical force/being), ebili(waves), uwa(world), Osebuluwa therefore, subject to my human limitations, means “The mystical being whose waves sustain the world.” Going into the mystical and esoteric meaning of “OLISA”: which literarily means “the devourer of mystical seven”, would cast me beyond the scope of this article. MAKA NA IVIE LIE ISAA ONAA!(WHATEVER DEVOURS SEVEN CEASES TO EXIST!)

The name Ose Ebuluwa was (still is) deemed so holy that the Onicha men, especially Priests of Nze(Agbalanze) would not respond to any greetings from family members upon waking up in the morning, until they ritually cleansed their mouths with (chewing stick) Atu Oborsi, bathed and then faced the direction of the rising sun to pronounce the sacred name “Ose Ebuluwa”. He does this whilst standing in a very consecrated and hallowed ground called “Ani Ezi”. This name is very powerful:none should dare to falsely swear in this name. Our ancestors were spiritually advanced to know that God had no gender, we therefore till date ascribe no gender to God unlike in our European oriented creeds.

In Onicha spiritual philosophy, in the divine realm, things of the physical world like genders, colors, emotions and other trivialities do not exist. We believe that everything in God’s creation has a divine purpose. We see everything on earth as a reflection and part of the divine will and therefore regard every object, living or non-living as having a sacred stamp from God Almighty.

We see the herbs, the sky, the sun, moon, stars, rivers, hills and everything on earth as a different expression and extension of ourselves: we see everything on earth as our equals and do not endorse any superiority over GOD’S creation.

We do not seek converts or convince others to believe in our path of spirituality because everybody has his/her own path and pact with his/her Chi. Thus an Onicha man/ like most traditional Africans, would not impose his views of the divine concept and wage a holy war to convert other towns to partake in his spirituality.

We believe that our ancestors having ascended to the divine realm before us, have the powers to intercede on our behalf over our spiritual needs since their genes still exist in us we believe that our connection to our ancestors are eternal and was so ordained by God. We use objects or images in our communications or prayers to the divine just as an objectification of the divine principles that they may represent and never WORSHIP or ascribe Godliness to anything carved by human hands. Above all WE BELIEVE THAT GOD, IN GOD’S INFINITE WISDOM, CREATED US AND MADE US MANIFEST AS NDI ONICHA FOR SPECIAL REASONS AND THEREFORE CANNOT SIN AGAINST GOD BY BECOMING OR CONVERTING INTO WHAT GOD DID NOT MAKE US TO BE.

Onowu Anatogu, philosophized that “… na onwelu ive Chukwu ji kenye Agu n’ovia, welu Azu tinye na mmili, aputakwo na mmili, enwe Azu Isi, enwe Azu Asa na azu ndi Ozo ga asi…” (God for a divine purpose created the lions and placed them in the jungle, and with the same divine purpose cast the fishes in the waters, and further divided them into different species like the Cat fish, Electric Eel and other species.) He further stated that it would have been very easy for God to make him an Awkuzu, British, Nsukka or French man, but for some reasons God did not. He concluded that God never makes a mistake or regrets God’s creations.

Our spiritual cycle and circles revolve around our divine King, the Obi of Onicha, the Agbo Ogidi, who encapsulates and personifies, the ultimate divine manifestation of sacred principles in man.

The Obi of Onicha is the soul of the past, present and future of Onicha people. He embodies all and is the big house (OBI) that swallows all, this is why he is addressed as “Agbo Ogidi” the true pronounciation is actually “Ai-Gbo Ogidi”.

The Obi is the royal cobra (UBI) that that kills and swallows its prey.

The Obi is followed in spiritual rank by the Eze Idis (Eze Idus – kings of the people of idus) who are the custodians of Nze and empowered to consecrate men to become Agbalanze.

The Diokpas (the first fruits of each familial obi – great house) are also sacred beings whom God and the ancestors have chosen to intercede in spiritual matters on their behalves.

The Agbalanze are consecrated priests who can officiate before the sacred ancestral or other divine altars for intercession.

The stool of Omu (Queen) of Onicha has been vacant for more than hundred years now. Our last queen was Omu Nwagboka. She was from Ogbendida village and was married into the Egwuatu family of Ogbeotu. The Omu was never the wife of the King in Onicha but was appointed by the King on the recommendation of the Ikporo-onitsha (the women of Onitsha).

Unlike many Onicha men, many Onicha women upon their deaths, became deified and elevated to the status of godship (a ritual that the Catholics copied from Africans.) In Onicha today, Princess Ojedi (Nne na ama Odu,Umudei), Omu Atagbusi(Ogbolieke), Aze (Abalaka, Oti idu)Umuaroli, Queen Uto (Oke Alusi odigbogbo, Ogelli Ete, Umuase), Obiasi Okwu Ogodo (Ogbeotu), Ucheju Onyeama (Odoje), Agadi Nwanyi (Onicha), Okike Iba (Ogbolieke) and others that I cannot mention, were all deified feminine ancestors.

I still believe that only Onicha women will redeem Onicha from its present decadence like they always did in the past. I will credibly defend this belief anywhere and whenever challenged thereon. Omu Atagbusi, led a boycott of Onicha Women from purchasing the imposed merchandize of the British royal Niger Company. This conflict later resulted in the bombing of Onicha by a British War ship, HMS, around 1778. After this assault, Omu Atagbusi, never surrendered, but continued to wage attacks that later forced the British to vacate from Onicha to relocate at Asaba which was then made the headquarters of the Royal Niger Company.

The true meaning behind the saying that “Ive eji abu Onicha erika” is being lost on us. The Onicha man is primarily motivated by inwe avo ojuju (spiritual and emotional balance) and preserving a good name for his children.

Violence and crime are not in his nature. What makes an Onicha man what he is, is his love for Onicha and his unsolicited penchant to help and assist his kinsman or women.

An Onicha man takes pride in seeing his fellow kinsmen being succesful because he sees himself in them.

We are now daily murdering that fraternal and sororial bonds that our ancestors employed to make Onicha what it was.

Would Ukpali, Obamkpa, Ekensu, Abor Chima, Obio have walked away, today, if their brother Oreze deceived them with the sounding of Ufie to become the King, as he did around 700 years ago? Let us learn to forgive ourselves! Let us abandon trivialities and submit ourselves to the divine order of life.

I dedicate this article to those unsung and quiet Onicha people who have been doing their desperate best to assist and elevate Onicha and her children despite our ingratitude and unkindness to them.

I also dedicate this article to my father, Ugochukwutubelu Oranyelu M.C.J. Amene Esq., whose good name and excellent character became my passport in gaining the trust, patience and confidence of many men and women of diverse orientations who were very knowledgeable about our culture.

“The History of Ancient Benin Kingdom and Empire” by Chief D.N. Oronsaye published in 1995 by Jeromelaiho.

“The King in every man” by Richard Henderson published in 1972 by Yale University Press

“Echoes of the Dark Land” by Charles Finch III published by Khenti Publications in 1999

“A history of Ancient Egypt” by Dr. EAW Budge, New York Humanities Press 1968

“Know Onitsha Families” by Eke Prince Ekwerekwu printed by Amakohson Printing Creations 1989

“My Odyseey” an Autobiography by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe published by Spectrum Books Limited.

Visits and studies of ancient sculpture and arts of the people of On at the city of Heliopolis” in Egypt.

Interactions and interviews with multiples of Onitsha men and women who “cast their ears to the earth”

“Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian language” by EAW Bugde published by New York Humanities 1978

“Egyptian book of coming forth by day and night” by Ani, published 5,000.00 B.C in the Papyrus of Ani, an Egyptian Priest.

Grade 5 - Term 3: An ancient African society: Egypt

Together we will learn about the way of life in ancient Egyptian society. The development of the Egyptian civilization is traced from the beginning of the settlement at the Nile river through to the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt under one Pharaoh.

We learn about their beliefs and religion and the important structures that still stand in Egypt today. We also outline the contribution that ancient Egyptians have made to the development of writing, mathematics and medicine. The mysteries of the tomb of Tutankhamen is also discussed in this topic.

The Nile river and its influence on settlement

When Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, wrote these words, Egyptian civilization had been going successfully for thousands of years without foreign interference. These unusual people, thanks to the uniquely protective Nile River Valley, had the opportunity to develop differently from Europe and the East. Long periods of isolated growth without foreign invasion occurred because Egypt had natural borders that were impossible, or very difficult to cross.

So immense is the significance of the Nile River to the development of Egyptian civilization, that we cannot separate the history of Egypt from its geography and other natural aspects. The Nile was very important as a communication and trade route across a vast and harsh land. Also, its annual flooding renewed farmlands that would otherwise be arid desert.

An Illustration of the Nile River Image source

Outside of the Egyptian border the Nile divides into two main rivers, known as the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile is the longer of the two, and is responsible for 16 % of the water flow in the Nile River, which makes the Blue Nile the main source of water and also fertile soil to Egypt. The White Nile travels from Tanzania, through Uganda into Southern Sudan. The Blue Nile flows through Ethiopia and mergers with the White Nile near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, becoming what is known as the Nile proper.

Map of the Nile River Image source

Since before written history, people have built their homes in towns and cities made along the banks of the Nile, but it wasn't always this way. The earliest inhabitants of this region were Stone-Age hunter-gatherers who roamed an immense area rich in wildlife, which is now a desert. With radical changes in climate, these people gradually replaced their nomadic culture with the settled life of agriculturalists.

- A Pharaoh's inscription on a wall in the Temple of Karnak in Thebes, referring to Egyptian appreciation of the fertile soil.

The Sahara desert, the Nile River and the abundance of rock greatly influenced where and how the ancient Egyptians settled and built their civilization. These factors combined: landforms, climate and water, are looked at in detail.

Alluvial soil is rich earth deposited by floods, usually over riverbanks. The Nile flooded annually in summer this way, renewing the fertility of the soil and the Egyptians' ability to grow crops and feed themselves over and over again. Their gratitude for this is reflected in their religion.

Farming in Ancient Egypt Image source

Ancient Greeks said that Egypt was the gift of the Nile. The Ancient Egyptians settled themselves on the narrow strip of alluvial soil along both banks of the Nile. This came about for two reasons: excellent agricultural soil in the thin fertile zone next to the river. Beyond this was barren land and rugged cliffs, followed by arid desert. The Nile is the biggest river in Africa and is the result of the joining of three rivers from Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia. It starts in south (Upper) Egypt and ends at the country's northern border with the Mediterranean Sea (Lower Egypt). This separation of the country into two regions stems from ancient times. It also reflects the distinctly different higher ground and narrower river valleys in the south, from the flat flood plains of the delta in the north by the sea.The Nile River is considered to be the longest river in the world at 6,853 km.

Since before written history, people have built their homes in towns and cities developed along the banks of the Nile, but it wasn't always this way. The earliest inhabitants of this region were Stone-Age hunter-gatherers who roamed an immense area rich in wildlife, which is now a desert. With radical changes in climate, rain became less abundant and these people gradually replaced their nomadic culture with the settled life of agriculturalists. They settled along the banks of the Nile River and grew crops such as wheat and barley. They also farmed with animals. The Egyptians used the Nile for drinking water, irrigation, fishing, mud and reeds and they sailed around the Nileto transport goods.

‘We are content with our Black land … the heartland is with us’. - A Pharaoh’s inscription on a wall in the Temple of Karnak in Thebes, referring to Egyptian appreciation of the fertile soil. Ancient Greeks said that Egypt was the gift of the Nile. The Ancient Egyptians settled themselves on the narrow strip of alluvial soil along both banks of the Nile. This came about for two reasons: excellent agricultural soil in the thin fertile zone next to the river. Beyond this was barren land and rugged cliffs, followed by arid desert. The Sahara desert, the Nile River and the abundance of rock greatly influenced where and how the ancient Egyptians settled and built their civilization.

In its lower (northern) part, the Nile River splits itself many times and spills into the Mediterranean Sea across a huge delta plain. To the east another natural boundary, The Red Sea, extends roughly parallel to the Nile. Because of these two seas, the Egyptians were the only people of the ancient world to be able to control both western and eastern foreign trade.

It is due to the Nile River that the ancient Egyptians were able to develop their civilization. The Nile River brought water and rich fertile soil that the Egyptians used to grow crops in. The Egyptians knew which time of year the Nile River would flood, bringing its gift of rich soil. The Egyptians depended on the Nile River to flood otherwise they could not grow their crops and there would be a famine. Egyptian daily life revolved around the Nile River for planting and harvesting crops. The Nile flooded the area for about three months and then it had time to empty out into the Mediterranean Sea and return back to its normal size and flow.

A Shaduf used in ancient Egypt Image source

An illustration of an Archimedean screw Image source

Since the Nile flooded its banks every year, the Egyptians built their houses close together on high land and farmers were forced to move further inland. Farmers built canals and created an irrigation system to water their crops.They used ‘shadufs’, a hand-operated device for lifting water from the Nile River into buckets, which they then poured into the irrigation ditches. Farmers also made use of an ‘Archimedean screw’ which was used to lift water from a low lying body of water into irrigation trenches. Once the bottom of the screw-thread was lowered into the water the farmer turned the handle and as the bottom end of the tube turned, it scooped up a volume of water that travelled up the spiral screw within an enclosed tube until it finally poured out from the top to feed the irrigation systems.

Pharaohs would have beautiful leisure boats built for them to travel up and down the Nile for pleasure and relaxation. The Nile River was also important for transportation and trade.

An Egyptian boat Image source

The Nile River also played an important role in the economic, political and spiritual life of Egyptians. The river provided Egypt with trade routes in both the east and the west. Small boats were first built from the papyrus plant which grew on the banks of the Nile River, and was used for fishing and short trips. As the Egyptians skills developed, they began building bigger boats from wood which were able to transport cattle, stone, wood and people along the Nile. In its lower (northern) part, the Nile River splits itself many times and spills into the Mediterranean Sea across a huge delta plain. To the east another natural boundary, the Red Sea, extends roughly parallel to the Nile. Because of these two seas, the Egyptians were the only people of the ancient world to be able to control both western and eastern foreign trade. Due to this trading system, water buffaloes and camels were transported to Egypt from Asia and Persia during the 17th century. Camels were used for ploughing and carrying water from the river Nile, a process which was very important both for the people and their livestock.

The Nile River also played in a role in the spiritual life of the Egyptian. It was believed to be the gateway from life to death and the afterlife. The rise and fall of the Nile waters led the ancient Egyptians to view cycles of birth, death and re-birth. The east coast of the Nile was thought to be a representation of birth or life, and the west coast of the Nile was thought to symbolise death. This originates from the movement of the sun, which rises (is born) in the east and sets (dies) in the west. That is why all the tombs and pyramids are seen on the west bank of the River Nile. The god of the Nile is Hapi, who was known as the bringer of water and fertility. Osiris, god of the afterlife is also associated with the Nile as he was killed on its river bank. The Nile influenced many religious acts in ancient Egypt, which stemmed from its depiction of the afterlife, such as the preservation of mummies and the construction of the Great Pyramids that were built with its waters.

The Nile River, due to its importance for Egyptian life, was present in their religion. Egyptians believed that the Nile River was the river way that was taken from life to death and then to enter the afterlife. The east was looked upon as the place of growth and birth (the sun rising) and the west was part of death (the sun setting). The Sun god Ra would travel in a boat from birth, through life, through death in the underworld and then to be reborn each day. Egyptians based their calendar on the three cycles of the Nile River. Each season lasted four months, each month thirty days.

Journey of Re traveling through the Underworld in his solar barque Image source

The tomb of Tutankhamen

Of all the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, Tutankhamen is the most famous. This is due to the wealth of artefacts found in his tomb, which was "discovered" in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter, some 3000 years after Tutankhamen's death. The quantity of objects shocked archaeologists who had until then not found a tomb still containing treasures.

King Tuts tomb is located in the Valley of Kings, situated at the west bank of the Nile. What makes the discovery of his tomb so significant is the fact that for thousands of years the tomb of King Tut remained safe from grave robbers. However, it is believed that thieves had broken into Tutankhamun’s tomb shortly after his burial, but the robbers were soon found and the tomb was resealed. The size of King Tuts tomb was small in comparison to other pharaohs, which has led some to believe that his death was unexpected and thus his burial was rushed by his successor AY. Following his death, King Tut’s rule had been ignored by the pharaohs who had succeeded him and his tomb held little importance. Workmen building tombs of future pharaohs built their huts over the young king’s place of burial. The building, along with flooding in the area meant that within a few generations the entrance to King Tut’s tomb had been clogged with stone debris and forgotten.

Tutankhamen's sarcophagus Image source

Tutankhamun or “King Tut” is the most famous Egyptian pharaoh. Tutankhamun means ‘the living image of Amun”. He is well known because his burial tomb is one of the few that was discovered intact. It was very common for tomb raiders to steal the treasures that were buried with the pharaohs. Luckily, the tomb raiders didn’t locate King Tut’s tomb. We were then able to learn about the culture and people of ancient Egypt all from studying King Tut’s tomb and treasures.

What king tut would have looked like? Image source

Tut lived around 1343 to 1323 BC, he was only ten years old when he became a pharaoh and he earned his nickname of the ‘boy king’. King Tut’s father was the pharaoh Akhenaten. Akhenaten tried to change Egypt’s religion by removing all the old gods and replacing them with one god called Aten. This change was unpopular and when Akhenaten died the Egyptian people destroyed all traces of his reign.

King Tut relocated the city back to Thebes and rebuilt some of the temples for the gods. His hope was to restore popularity of the pharaoh and try to fix the damage that his father had done.

King Tut died at the young age of 19 and the cause of his death still remains a mystery today. Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the burial tomb of King Tut. Ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died they would enter the ‘afterlife’ where they would live in the same way that they did when they were alive. That is why Egyptians would bury everything they would need in the afterlife with them. The burial tomb of King Tut was piled with possessions: beds, chariots, games, art work, walking sticks, weapons and even food. Pharaohs had the most highly crafted items, many were made of gold, imported wood, inlaid gems and ivory.

The most fascinating item found was the stone sarcophagus containing three coffins, one inside the other, with a final coffin made of gold. When the lid of the third coffin was raised, King Tut's royal mummy was revealed, preserved for more than 3,000 years. It took Carter 17 years to fully excavate King Tut’s tomb.

A gilded coffin rests inside a sarcophagus of carved quartzite in the original burial chamber Image source

Way of life in ancient Egypt

Social structure in ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians are the inventors of another feature of civilization still existing today - the complete dictator! Social and industrial conditions were determined, through priests and scribes, by the inflexible rule of omnipotent rulers. All of Egypt was subjugated under one ruler, the Pharaoh, who was God, king and high priest all rolled into one. The Pharaoh, screening much of his work and status in a kind of confusing mystery, centralized socio-economic power and control efficiently and ruthlessly, owns all the land. It is as if the triangular shape of pyramids themselves, show the hierarchy and control of one over many.

Under the Pharaoh on the social pyramid sat the vizier (advisor). The vizier was the chief minister in charge of managing the taxes, building projects and government records that were kept by scribes. Next came the priests of the temples and the various nobles who held government jobs. Nobles were quite wealthy as they kept a part of the tax normally given to the pharaoh as well as some of the tributes that were given by the people to the gods. Army officials and scribes were on the next level down on the social pyramid. The soldiers fought in the armies during wartime, but in peacetime many supervised the peasants, enslaved people and farmers. They were also part of the building process of palaces, pyramids and other structures. Image source

Under the Pharaoh on the social pyramid sat the vizier (advisor). The vizier was the chief minister in charge of managing the taxes, building projects and government records that were kept by scribes. Next came the priests of the temples and the various nobles who held government jobs. Nobles were quite wealthy as they kept a part of the tax normally given to the pharaoh as well as some of the tributes that were given by the people to the gods. Army officials and scribes were on the next level down on the social pyramid. The soldiers fought in the armies during wartime, but in peacetime many supervised the peasants, enslaved people and farmers. They were also part of the building process of palaces, pyramids and other structures.

The royal household, priesthood and civil service administered the state under a system of nepotism - the children of the pharaohs and bureaucrats were exempt from manual work and succeeded to their parent's position automatically. The civil service improved mathematics and writing (on clay and papyrus). These skills they kept to themselves and so maintained control. In this way planning and ideas became separate from doing and making. (Hellman: 1994)

Using the food surplus generated by a favourable climate and a large labourforce of enforced labour, the Pharaohs financed huge pyramids that eventually would contain their embalmed bodies and worldly riches for the after-life. These were built in summer during flood time by a very large staff of trained craftsmen and an army of peasant, slave and prisoners of war labourers. This religious obsession of the upper classes with the preservation of the body after death, led to the pyramid tomb standing as a symbol of the terrible majesty of the Pharaoh’s power.

The kings of ancient Egypt were known as 'pharaoh', a name given to them by the Hebrews while enslaved, and derived from the Egyptian word 'per-aa', meaning 'great house'.(Fletcher:1963).

Beliefs and religion

Ancient Egyptian religion remained mostly unchanged for many thousands of years, apart from a very short time of belief in one god during the Amarna period under King Akhenaten. Their culture changed little over this time. Although the Egyptians claimed to be monotheistic, in practise they were polytheistic.

Ancient Egyptian gods Image source

Religion was organized by a very powerful, well-educated priesthood with unlimited authority under the Pharaoh. The king was God on earth in the form of man, and no distinction was made between God and king. It was because of this that the ancient Egyptian belief system created and supported the political and social hierarchy.

Egyptians strongly believed in an after-life, but only the wealthy could afford the expensive and labour-intensive preparations for this after-life. Kings and powerful nobility could, and this led to the creation of the monuments of ancient Egypt, like the pyramids that many of us have seen in pictures.

Religion in Egypt evolved over centuries. This created and supported the political and social hierarchy. In Egyptian society religion was significant for growth of the civilization, as it fostered a shared understanding and shared values. Egyptians believed in the after-life. They believed that everyone possessed a soul that would live on after death. In their belief, after death, ordinary people would go to the world of Osiris (afterlife) while only Pharaohs would go to the land of Ra, the sun god. This is why Paraohs bodies were prepared in special way and buried in pyramids.

The Egyptian Sun god Ra Image source

Egyptians had thousands of gods, but certain gods such as the sun god Ra, were held in greater esteem than others. He was usually shown in human form with a falcon head crowned with the sun disc encircled by the sacred cobra. Many gods were linked to special animals and were depicted to possess an animal head. These gods were greatly feared by the people of Egypt. It was believed that whoever displeased the gods would face a great punishment such as sickness, starvation, poor harvest or a defeat in battle.

Prior to the development of the concept of god, powers that controlled natural phenomena were seen as magical entities. Magical power was usually demonstrated through the hieroglyph of a sceptre, with gods that took animal forms. For example, there was Heket, the goddess of childbirth who had the head of a frog Tefnut, the goddess of moisture and rain, had the head of a lioness and Anubis, the god of mummification, had the head of a jackal. The sceptre can be seen throughout ancient Egyptian history as a symbol of divine power.

The next stage of religious worship saw Egyptians conceive God in a more personalised form. This phase was known as a mythical phase where gods were depicted as having human bodies and temples were built in major cities to worship local gods. During the New kingdom, 1100 B.C to 1600 B.C, these temples honoured a triad of gods based on the pattern established by the mythical family of Osiris, Isis and Horus.

A carving of the mythical family of Osiris, Isis and Horus Image source

The Pharaoh was god on earth in the form of man and no distinction was made between God and king. A powerful and well educated priesthood had unlimited authority under the pharaoh and organised religion. It was only the wealthy, namely kings and powerful nobility who could afford the expensive and labour-intensive preparations for the after-life, which would allow them to enter the land of the sun go.,This they believed would allow them to keep power.

Egyptian religion continued to develop and influence other societies, such as Greece and Rome, which conquered Egypt in the 600 B.C and 30 B.C. Ancient pagan religions eventually faded and were replaced by monotheistic religions. Today the majority of the Egyptian population is Muslim, while a small minority are Jews and Christians.

A journey through ancient Egypt Source

mummification Image source

Ancient Egyptians believed that when the pharaoh died, he would enter the land of the sun god, while part of his spirit (known as “ka”) would remain with his body. To properly care for his spirit, the corpse was embalmed in a special way, this is known as mummification. Initially the dead were buried in small pits in the desert however, the heat dehydrated the bodies and created lifelike mummies. They then buried the bodies in coffins, but found that lack of sand and heat from the desert caused the bodies to decay. Centuries later, the Egyptians had managed to create a method of preserving the bodies in a way that they would remain lifelike, by embalming the bodies and wrapping them in strips of linen.

The process of mummification lasted for approximately 70 days. This process included removing the brain through the nose with a hook and taking out all the internal organs, and only leaving the heart inside the body. The body would then be covered in salt for approximately 70 days and then wrapped from head to toe in bandages. Once the pharaoh’s body had been turned into a ‘mummy’ it was placed in a coffin and buried in a vault in a pyramid along with the pharaoh’s treasures, such as food, water, weapons and a boat needed in the afterlife. The pharaohs' names were written in hieroglyphics on their tombs, as it was believed that if someone’s name was remembered then he or she would survive in the afterlife.

The king was known as a pharaoh. He was the most powerful person in ancient Egypt. The pharaoh was the political and religious leader of the ancient Egyptian people.

The king or queen was known as a pharaoh, the most powerful person in ancient Egypt. The pharaoh was the political and religious leader of the ancient Egyptian people, holding the titles: 'Lord of the Two Lands' and 'High Priest of Every Temple'. The title ‘Lord of the Two Lands’ meant that the Pharaoh was the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt and the rightful owner of all its land. He was also able to make laws, collect taxes and defend Egypt against foreigners. Being the ‘High Priest of Every Temple’ meant the pharaoh represented the gods on earth, thus performing rituals and temples to honour the gods. Those conquered during a battle had to recognise the Egyptian pharaoh as their ruler and offer him the finest and most valuable goods from their land.

Ramses II Image source

Pharaohs were admired by the people of Egypt and seen as living gods who were the rightful owners of the land of Egypt and its people. Pharaohs were believed to have been chosen by the gods to serve as mediators between themselves and the people on earth, being neither human nor Divine, but lying somewhere in-between. Because of this, it was in everyone’s interest to keep the king’s majesty intact even after his death, when he was believed to become Osiris, god of the dead. The new pharaoh, in turn, became Horus, the falcon-god who served as protector of the sun-god, Ra.

The eldest son of a royal family was usually given the role of pharaoh however, there are also instances of female Pharaohs such as Cleopatra VII Philopator, who was the last pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt from 51-30 B.C. Kufu the second pharaoh of the fourth dynasty reigned from 2589 B.C to 2566 B.C. He is most famous for building the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Hatshepsut who came to power in 1498 B.C had the longest reign of any other woman in the Egyptian dynasty, being in power until 1483 B.C. Akhenaten ruled from 1379 B.C until1334 B.C. and is remembered for his religious revolution. Akhenaten attempted to establish a monotheistic religion through the sole worship of the Sun God Aten. Ramses II, Egypt’s pharaoh from 1279 B.C to 1212 B.C. is regarded as one of the most powerful leaders of the Egyptian empire. He defeated Hittites at the battle of Kadesh in 1274 B.C and went on to live a long life, dying at the age of 92.

The first Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Source

Sphinx, pyramids and temples

The Sphinx of Giza (also known as the Guardian of the Horizon) is a symbol that has represented the essence of Egypt for thousands of years.

Archaeologists have discovered 35 major pyramids and 40 smaller ones. Pyramids were huge structures with storage rooms, courtyards and secret passageways. The pyramids were constructed from massive blocks of stone and originally built as tombs for the bodies of dead pharaohs. The Pharaoh was buried alongside material possessions, which would be needed in the afterlife, such as gold vessels, furniture and food. The riches were not only meant to provide for the pharaohs, but also for their relatives, officials and priests who were buried near them. The construction of pyramids were labour intensive, stones from the quarries had to be cut and moved without wheels, using human or animal power. It took approximately 20 years for 5000 workers and enslaved people to build a pyramid.

/>Sphinx Image source

Carved from the mould of a natural rock in the Giza plateau, the Sphinx is truly a mysterious marvel from the days of ancient Egypt. With the body of a lion and the head of a king or god, the Sphinx has come to symbolize strength and wisdom.

The Ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their pharaohs and queens. Pyramids were huge structures with storage rooms, courtyards and secret passageways.

Temples were a place of worship and learning in ancient Egypt. In religious customs the temple was seen as ‘the horizon’ of a god, the point at which a god came into creation. This meant that every temple was built to honour a specific god. Egyptian people went to the temple to pray and women often brought food and goods to the temple as offerings to the gods. The temples were run by the chief priests who were rich and powerful. Children attended school in the temple, visitors from other towns would also stay there and grain was stored in the temple and shared with those who needed it. The Temple of Hatshepsut, known as ‘the most magnificent of the magnificent’ by the ancient Egyptians, was built in worship of the sun god.

The temple of Hatshepsut Image source

When the ancient Egyptians started trading, they needed to keep a record of what they bought or sold. This led to the development of their alphabet. At first they used picture writing called hieroglyphics, where each picture stood for a sound. Scribes primarily did the writing, as most of the population could not write.

Hieroglyphics can be seen carved into or painted on walls inside temples and pyramids. Initially this was the only form of writing, however, Egyptians invented the first form of paper known as papyrus in 3000 BC. This enabled the scribes to write down things and create the first written documents.Papyrus refers to a thin paper-like material made by cutting reed collected from the Nile River into thin strips and placing them over each other in a ‘criss-cross’ manner. This was then covered with a cloth and hammered straight, creating a surface for writing.

Ancient Egyptian Writing and Hieroglyphs Image source

The Rosetta Stone is considered to be the most famous slab of stone in history. In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte sent a team of historians, scientists and draughtsmen along with his army. They discovered the slab, which was found and kept by a troop of French soldiers stationed at Fort Julien in the town of Rosetta in the Nile Delta.The stone contained text inscribed in Greek, demotic and hieroglyphics. The slab of rock is 188cm high, 77cm wide and 30cm deep and weighs three quarters of a tonne.

Previously scholars assumed that hieroglyphics was simply a form of picture writing and needed a literal translation of the images. However, this changed after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Since the stone contained the same text, which appeared to be a decree from the general council of Egyptian priests issued in 196 B.C and written in 3 different languages, it acted as a key for translation. The Greek translation allowed for the discovery that each hieroglyphic character represented a distinct sound, similarly to letters in the English alphabet. Unfortunately, the ancient Egyptian language had not been spoken for at least 8 centuries, which meant that it was not possible to know the sound of the Egyptian words.

  1. Each alphabetic sign represents a single sound
  2. The syllables are a representation of two or three letters
  3. When a picture is followed by an upward stroke it means that it represents a whole object or a whole word.
  4. When a picture of a roll of papyrus that was sealed was used, it indicated that only writing and not pictures could express the meaning of a word.
  5. It is not possible to precisely match hieroglyphics with the English alphabet, however, historians have managed to come up with a simplified translation of English letters and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Mathematics and astronomy

The ancient Egyptians possessed one of the earliest forms of mathematics that inspired all mathematical traditions that followed. They developed a system of numbers, using symbols for the numbers 1 and 10.

Little is known about Egypt’s mathematical achievements. However, by analysing their exploits in engineering and astronomy, it can be determined that they possessed an advanced understanding of numbers. The oldest mathematical text from ancient Egypt discovered thus far is the Moscow Papyrus, which dates from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom around 2000 B.C. - 1800 B.C.

The ancient Egyptian numbering system was developed around 3000 B.C. The Egyptians created a system of numbers using stroke symbols for the numbers 1 to 9. The system uses a base of 10 and no concept of decimal numbers existed. Numbers were written from the highest number to the lowest number and read from top to bottom when more than one row of numbers existed

The Egyptian number system Image source

In ancient Egypt astronomy was sacred and greatly influenced culture. Egyptian astronomy developed as a result of attempting to predict the annual flooding of the Nile River. They discovered that when Sirius, the brightest star, rose in front of the sun on the morning of the summer solstice, the annual flood would occur. This event was marked as Day 1 of their calendar year. The Egyptians understood that the year had 365 days, and 12 months with 30 days in each month. They included 5 "feast days" at the end of each year to celebrate the birthdays of certain gods. Egyptians also used astronomy to tell time. They made use of sundials, which divided the days into 24 hours, although the length of these hours was not fixed, ensuring that day and night both consisted of twelve hours, whatever the time of year.

Hieroglyphic numbers 1 is shown by a single stroke. 10 is shown by a drawing of a hobble for cattle. 100 is represented by a coil of rope. 1,000 a drawing of a lotus plant. 10,000 is represented by a finger. 100,000 is a tadpole or frog 1,000,000 figure of a god with arms raised above his head.

An ancient Egyptian calendar Image source

The stars were important for the construction of pyramids and temples, which were positioned in relation to the stars. Tools such as a ‘merkhet’ was used in planning the design and placement of a pyramid or temple. The merkhet was a small wooden plank with a hole at one end. Ancient astronomers would look through the hole and angle the device until their target star was aligned accurately.

Ancient Egyptian astronomy was also a religious tradition. The Egyptians had no true understanding of the universe, so many myths were created as explanations for astronomical events. Certain gods were seen in the constellations and others were represented by actual astronomical bodies. The constellation Orion, for instance, represented Osiris, who was the god of death, rebirth and the afterlife.The sun was represented by multiple Gods. When the sun rose in the morning it was known as Horus, the reborn child of Osiris and Isis, God and Goddess of the afterlife. The hot, mid-day sun was known as the much more powerful sun God, Ra. And the evening sun was the creator God, Atum, the "finisher of the world" who put to rest all other sun Gods, then died each day at sunset.

Medicine and physician

The ancient Egyptians had a great deal of knowledge of healing herbs and repairing physical injuries. Evidence shows that ancient Egyptian doctors also performed eye-surgery and practised dentistry. They extracted teeth, drained abscesses and made false teeth. The Egyptian physicians knew how to stitch a wound. Much of the Egyptian knowledge of the body came from their practise of embalming the dead.

Ancient Egyptian Medicine Image source

From the Stone Age to the Islamic period, Egyptian doctors were considered the best in the western world. However, it should be noted that during this period their knowledge around disease and cure was not that advanced and many Egyptian doctors believed evil spirits were the cause of ailments. Cures included concocted drinks and praying to Sekhmet, the goddess of healing. They did, however, also use effective medicinal treatments such as laxatives, setting broken arms and legs and massaging aching legs and calves.

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

The spread of Egypt’s knowledge

Ancient Egyptians were amongst the first to record stories, love poetry and dramas. The Greeks also benefited from and were influenced by Egyptian sculpture and architecture. Their understanding of astronomy was very advanced and this knowledge was passed onto the generations that followed.

Watch the video: Tomb of Dynastic Egyptian Priestess HETPET Discovered (November 2021).