Jun 18, 2019 IN Seaport
Hi-story of Seaport: Egypt
At the beginning of the summer, Seaport is taking you on a voyage to a famous holiday destination. Hot sand dunes, long beaches, and ancient monuments are waiting for you in your port.
The history of Egypt is long and it does not revolve only around the majestic pyramids. The ancient Egyptians were the first ones to build ships from wooden planks. As they are one of the oldest nations with a history of shipbuilding and sailing, we could not omit them in our marine game.
Some of the oldest ships in history are known from Egypt. First depictions of ships were found on vases and murals from the year 6,000 BC. These ships were built from papyrus reeds and propelled by rowers. From 3000 BC Egyptians started building ships from wooden planks and the first sails appeared. The ships had flat bottoms, no keels, and square sterns. The wooden planks were held together with rope, and the spaces between the planks were filled with reeds and grass.
A perfect example of ancient Egyptian shipbuilding is the Khufu ship. The vessel was entombed at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2500 BC and found intact in 1954.
The Khufu ship is one of the Egyptian Solar ships, funerary vessels found entombed near the pyramids, ancient temples, or worship sites. According to Egyptian mythology, the Sun god Ra sailed on his ship around the world every day. So that the deceased kings could join him on his journey, ships were built and entombed with them. Many Solar ships were found well preserved all across Egypt and served as a model for the event ships in Seaport.
We decided to explore the famous era of Egyptian history together with the Italian architect and Egyptologist, Alessandro Barsanti. Alessandro worked for the Egyptian Antiquities Service and he was the one to discover the tomb of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. He was also leading the excavations of the tomb in 1893-1894.
Akhenaten or Amenhotep IV was a pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty and died in 1334 BC. He ruled for 17 years and during this time made some large changes in his kingdom. He initiated the move from traditional Egyptian polytheism to the worshiping of the one god Aten.
After five years of his rule, he changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten and transferred the capital city to Akhetaten (current Amarna). Apart from establishing a new religion, he was the husband of the famously beautiful Nefertiti and father of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. He also established a new style of architecture and art never seen in Egypt before.
Akhenaten was indisputably a revolutionary ruler. However, the ancient country was not ready for such radical changes. A few years after Akhenaten's death, his son Tutankhamun returned Egypt to the traditional polytheistic religion and abandoned the new capital Amarna.
Queen of beauty
Nefertiti was Akhenaten’s Great Royal Wife. It was custom that the King had more than one wife but one of them was principal and served in official functions. Akhenaten had six wives overall. Only the pharaoh could have more wives to secure the continuation of the royal line. Nefertiti had six daughters with Akhenaten. There are speculations that she ruled after her husband's death as the Pharaoh Smenkhkare. However, this is not confirmed.
This beautiful Egyptian queen became famous thanks to the bust made by the sculptor Thutmose. If you ever visit Berlin, you can see her beauty for yourself at the Egyptian Museum.
Egyptian history is full of interesting stories. It’s possible we will visit the country of the pyramids again. Until then, enjoy your voyage along the Nile and prepare for the next destination!
Seaport Story Writer
Creating great stories for our marine game.