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Chapter 6 – Egyptian cities, temples, and tombs of the second millennium BC

Chapter Summary

Egyptian cities from the second millennium BC come into better focus for us than do those from earlier centuries. Examples presented here are Kahun, Buhen, Thebes, Deir el-Medina, and the best-known of all, Amarna. Also explored are religious architecture – funerary and cult temples – and the new approach to royal tombs.



Study guide

  1. Both Kahun and Amarna were towns built at a specific time for a specific purpose. Compare and contrast their plan and organization. What features do they have in common? Differences?  Should we accept these towns as typical of ancient Egyptian urban centers?

  2. Describe the cultural context in which Amarna was created. Who was Akhenaten? When did he live? What did he look like? What were his religious and political aims?  Why would he build a completely new capital city?  (Remember that Neo-Assyrian kings did so, too.)  Why was Amarna given up so quickly by the successors of Akhenaten?

  3. What are the main elements of an ancient Egyptian cult temple, and what do they symbolize?

  4. Compare and contrast the temples at Deir el-Bahri, Luxor, Karnak, and Abu Simbel. What features do they have in common? Differences?

  5. Describe a house of a well-to-do family at Amarna. 


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