Daily Rituals of the Pharaoh

If you read the pyramids node, it mentions the ancient Egyptian's pharaoh performed several rituals to ensure stability in the universe with the stars and this node explains the ancient Egyptians fascination with the stars. Anyway, order and stability were a gift from the gods. For example, the Pharaoh performed a ritual every morning before the crack of dawn that ensured the sun would rise and fall everyday.

Ancient Egyptians believed the sun traveled around the earth every day and during the night it was making it's journey through the underworld. So before the earliest light, the pharaoh and all his highest priests would meet in a special room where the pharaoh would take a fetish called a "ben-ben" that was a small pyramid-shaped stone. The sun god Ra would enter this and the pharaoh would help him on that journey. You could think of this sort of like Voodoo (although Voodoo has been horribly misenterpretated over the years), where they re-enact things on a small scale to cause it to happen on a large scale through-out the land. Although the one big difference is that the Egyptians didn't believe they were just acting out the motions or putting on a little play. They believed that it actually happened during the ritual they performed; that Ra actually did enter the small pyramid stone. The word "fetish" has a completely different meaning to archaeologists. If you look up the word in a dictionary you will see the meaning "representation" which is true but when the pharaoh believes he actually coaxes a god into his little stone, it has a different meaning.

A couple other things the pharaoh did to bring success to Egypt: well, armies did not win wars. The pharaoh did. The military success of Egypt was supposedly linked to the king directing the appropriate energy to the army and giving them the strength to win. Everyone was born with this energy, it's just that the king had much, much more of it. Also, the king and his high priests kept a "secret garden". He kept the garden very carefully protected and well tended to. This was to ensure the agricultural growth of Egypt.

So, you see the King was not just a lazy bum who sad around eating grapes all day. He worked very hard, got up very early, and thought he was important. Everybody else thought he was important too. The very fact that he was thought of as important is important itself. Without forms of massive communication it was very difficult to get the word around everywhere. Even having people read hand-written messages aloud in every town was very effective or efficient. And with such a huge empire that grew constantly, how would keep up a feeling of comradery throughout the empire? Well, basically Egypt was run on rumors; the rumors that the King was winning wars and helping everyone farm. Last but not least, he was the reason the sun rose and set everyday! Also, after working on the king's pyramid every single flood season, people got used to getting things from the government and eventually the government was taxing the people so much that it had a huge surplus. So it redistributed around the kingdom. It continued this practice until basically you gave the government everything you had and people became completely reliant on the government for food. You couldn't survive as a farmer without your food regiment from the government.

Now let's go back to the pharaoh's sun ritual. Now even further back to the legend of how the world was created. Why use the pyramid stone to represent Ra? Before the creation of the world, there was only darkness, except for the primordial waters called "nun" and the creator god "Amen" (who was later fused with Ra to become Amen-Ra) created himself from the nun. Then a mound of dirt arose from the waters and light came from it. So the pyramid is either this mound of dirt that rose out of the nun or the pyramid could represent the light from the sun (sun=Ra). You can visualize a sun at the point at the top of the pyramid. In fact, pyramids used to have granite capstones (they looked like they were gold but they were just painted with gold powder mixed in with some liquid) that would shine brightly from the early morning light until the sun set in the evening. This could definitely be a representation of the sun. And if you look on the back side of a one dollar bill you a pyramid with a huge eye on top of it. What's coming out of the eye? Rays of light!

I repeat if you look at the pyramid node, it shows a few examples of the shape of the pyramid being used as a modern-day "ben-ben".

An Original Work of BigHoliday.
Ancient Egyptian title for the supreme ruler. In English, it has since become the standard term for any Egyptian monarch. The Egyptian (linguistic notation pr-'3) however is a euphemism meaning 'great house', referring to the palace, and to the monarch only by metonymy.

The actual title by which the king is reffered varies. Most often he is the ni-sw.t, or 'he of the sedge-plant', the designation of the king of upper Egypt, or 'ni-sw.t bity', he of the sedge and the bee, king of upper and lower Egypt. He is also, in the titulary, the sa-ra, son of re. As commander, he is 'ity', the sovereign and military leader. Otherwise, he is simply hm//f, 'his majesty'.

A collective name given to the twenty-odd dynasties of supreme rulers that governed the kingdom of Egypt in ancient times.

Each pharaoh was believed to be the living incarnation of the hawk god Horus, which is one of the reasons they notoriously married their sisters, mothers and daughters - to keep the divine blood undiluted, as it were.

The culture of the time of the pharaohs - at least 3,000 documented years - was of course extremly diverse, and the political shifts and power plays between the kings and their various flunkies have been used to fill libraries, let alone books. However, the ancient Egyptian culture still managed to maintain an incomprable consistency and uniformity of style which renders its artefacts immediately recognisable as "Egyptian".

The pharaohs are further famous for their penchant for grand exits - or in other words, their magnificent tombs, among which are the immense and myseterious pyramids at Giza, the great temples at Luxor and the famous Valley of the Kings, in an unfashionable corner of which was unearthed the un-looted and now world famous tomb of king Tut-Ankh-Amun.

The word pharaoh stems from per-aä, which literally means the big house, i.e. the palace.

The special pharaoh powers meant that it was dangerous to touch him: he was as it were magically electrified. Still the pharaoh was no real god - worshipping him was highly unusual and did occur rarely. In this light pharaohs have been compared with the typically African kings and rainmakers.

Indeed the Egyptians were convinced that world order and the country's welfare depended on his physical strength. The pharaoh was responsible for the yearly inundation of the Nile, the suppression of dark and chaotic forces and the defeat of all of Egypt's enemies. This explains why at his accession of the throne, the pharaoh had to do a physical test to prove his fitness. This endurance run had to be repeated periodically, which coincided with the sed-feast. In later dynasties this test was a formality, but it is generally considered very well possible that old and weak kings were killed in prehistoric times.

Computer Game designed by Impressions and distributed by Sierra Studios in 1999. Part of Impressions's City Building Series.

Pharaoh, like Caesar III before it, can be described as a cross between Sim City, The Settlers and Age of Empires. Your overall goal in the game is to move up the ranks and become Pharaoh by accomplishing missions consisting of building cities with various goals. In some missions you need to have the housing evolve to a certain level, in some you need to defend the city against military attacks as you build a small monument and in others your goal is to create an efficient city with a very large monument. Each mission features its own map that usually presents challenges to the player. Like having all sources of food across a river, or the necessary raw materials for a monument spread out all across the map. Plopping down a pre-fabricated city will very often not work. In almost every mission you need to provide your people with food, products and entertainment and find a good way to keep the city solvent.

Pharaoh's strong point is the great amount of interaction between the various elements of the game. In Sim City you simply zone an area for Industry. In Pharaoh you pick particular industries and then need to worry about how to supply them with raw materials and workers. You also have to worry about how to get those finished products to the people or to traders.

To demonstrate this I'll explain how to go about doing the most basic thing in the game: Feeding your people. Housing in Pharaoh evolves as it gains access to more of what the people want. Without food your people will live in run down mud huts or even tents. The main type of farming in Pharaoh, and this is a big difference from Caesar III, is flood plain farming. The Nile appears in every map and usually has a flood plain around it. On the flood plain you can plop down a grain farm, for example. The farm will need access to a Work Camp by a road to have peasants work it, so you have to build a road. You now need a Work Camp. The Work Camp will send out a walker to find people to work. He'll follow the road and if he passes by a house and there are people available for work the Work Camp will start...err...working. So, you need some housing somewhat near the Work Camp, but not too close because Work Camps aren't very desirable places to live by. Great, you now have peasants going out to the farm to work it. They will plant, tend to, harvest and even deliver the wheat. But, they need a Granary to deliver the wheat to. Once the Granary finds some employees it will except the wheat when it's harvested. Next you will need a Bazaar, which is basically a market. Once the Bazaar has workers it will send someone out to get the wheat from the Granary and bring it to the Bazaar. Finally, the Bazaar will send out a walker to deliver the food. This person will randomly meander down the road and seemingly attempt its best to never reach any housing. If your roads are simple enough though, the Bazaar worker will reach a house and sell them some wheat. Your little patch of Egypt is no longer starving.

Now you'll just need to provide firemen, architects, fresh water, religious access, entertainment, etc. Luckily these things just require a building with employees and send out a walker to bestow their usefulness on the housing passed. You might also want to invest in an army, lest a small band of Libyans come by and wreck everything. Another system similar in complexity to food is industry. Your people want items, and you need money by selling excess products. In general, you need to buy, mine or harvest a raw material then create an industrial building to process it. The finished product then goes to a Storehouse to be sold to the people by a Bazaar, or sold for profit to a trader.

After managing to set up a food and industrial system you'll also need to make sure it keeps working. A break down in any part of the system can disrupt the whole thing. This can lead to mass starvation or bankruptcy. A city can literally fall apart if enough things go wrong with these systems. And with flood plain farming a major problem is built in. The flood is not the same every year, and, in fact, is sometimes non-existent. A string of bad floods can leave your city's food stocks empty if you don't quickly start dealing with it.

A city that is pretty far along is quite interesting to just look at. Hundreds of walkers scurry about delivering food, passing out water, checking the structural integrity of buildings, etc.

The biggest difference between Pharaoh and Caesar is the addition of Monuments. Throughout the game you are assigned the task of building Mastabas, Stepped Pyramids, "true" Pyramids, the Sphinx and Sun Temples. In general, to complete these tasks you need to mine or import stones, establish guilds to provide scaffolding and work the stone at the site and provide peasant labor form Work Camps to move the stones from a storage yard to the site. The monuments are basically built brick by brick. You can follow a particular hunk of plain stone from a mine, to the storage yard, to the site via a sled pulled by peasants sometimes up and around scaffolding and finally being placed by masons. Some of the bigger monuments are extremely large compared to your city. Nothing in Caesar III (not even hippodromes and coliseums) compares to these accomplishments. Unfortunately, waiting for these things to be finished can sometimes take awhile.

Caesar III introduced using walkers for everything, and also introduced the walker problem. They never seem to go where you want them. They'll wander all over the place except where you need them. In Pharaoh, Impressions has added roadblocks. By correctly placing these you can gain a lot more control over your walkers, but it's still occasionally a problem.

Pharaoh should appeal to anyone who has played Impressions previous city building games. People who like The Settlers should like Pharaoh too. In general, if you like the challenge of handling a complicated system of interdependent units you should like Pharaoh.

Impressions has also released Cleopatra, and add-on that includes new missions and several new features.

The pharaohs are known to us today under their personal names, such as Rameses and Amenhotep, and there may be more than one of each. The regnal numbers as in Amenhotep IV are modern and were not used by Egyptians, who did use an immensely complicated variety of royal titles and epithets. Three of the most common they used were the nsw-bìty or personal name, the s3-r` or reign name, and the h.r or Horus name.

Essential note on language. Vowels were not written, so Egyptologists conventionally make words pronounceable by turning w into u, y into i, 3 and ` into a, and adding e elsewhere: so those consonant skeletons are said nesu-biti, sa-ra, her. In some cases the vowels can be deduced from Greek transcriptions, so you get variation. Where the conventional rule would give Ra and hetep and Imen, you often or usually see Re and hotep and Amen, Amon, or Amun. So there is no one right way of giving a name in English.

Two of the three common names were written in cartouches, resembling a speech bubble. This is how hieroglyphics were originally deciphered: the Rosetta Stone has parallel inscriptions in Egyptian and Greek, and the cartouches contain the names of Cleopatra and Ptolemy, which have a number of consonants in common to break the code. The Nesu-biti and the Sa-ra were written in cartouches.

As Gone Jackal says above, the Nesu-biti is conventionally translated King of Upper and Lower Egypt. It contains signs for sedge and bee, and precedes the cartouche. Formerly we used the Greek forms of the names, such as Cheops, Amenophis, Thutmosis, and Rameses. It is increasingly common to use a more accurate Egyptian form, Khufu, Amenhotep, Djehutmose, Ramesse. This was the king's birth name.

The name given to them on accession was the Sa-ra, "Son of Ra", and the signs s3-r` (a duck and the sun) were written before the cartouche. The Sa-ra name always ended in the god's name Ra, but because he was a god, his sign was written at the beginning. This is also true for all royal names, if they contain any god's name like Ptah or Amen. So Nesu-biti Tutankhamen had the Sa-ra name Nebkheperura, but this was written Ra-neb-kheper-w. This is called honorific transposition.

Instead of regnal numbers we can combine these two names and refer to e.g. Thutmosis III as Aakheperenre Djehutmose.

The common element kheper in many of these names is the scarab beetle, which is also used an abstract word of similar sound, meaning "become" or "form". Djehuty (picture of an ibis) is the god Thoth (which is the Greek form of his name). Ka (two hands upraised) is a spirit/soul, ankh (the familiar looped sandal-tie) is "life", neb is "lord" (and also means "every"), and tut is "image".

As well as the Horus name, preceded by the falcon h.r, there were two other lesser-used names, the so-called Golden Horus and Two Ladies names. Many other epithets were also used, extolling how beloved they were of this or that god, and how perfect and long-lived they were.

Pha"raoh (?), n. [Heb. paroh; of Egyptian origin: cf. L. pharao, Gr. . Cf. Faro.]


A title by which the sovereigns of ancient Egypt were designated.


See Faro.

Pharaoh's chicken Zool., the gier-eagle, or Egyptian vulture; -- so called because often sculpured on Egyptian monuments. It is nearly white in color. -- Pharaoh's rat Zool., the common ichneumon.


© Webster 1913.

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