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Which way was North?

 
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wideinside
Tomb Robber


Joined: 17 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:25 pm    Post subject: Which way was North? Reply with quote

In our society, North is generally considered straight ahead, or up. East is to the right, South down, and West to the left.

How did the Egyptians think of it?

Not for homework, just interested.

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Daughter_Of_SETI
Egyptian Architect


Joined: 15 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a quote from an article containing information on how the Ancient Egyptians found North:

Quote:
Using computer simulations of the night sky as it would have been seen at the time of the Egyptians, Dr Spence, from Cambridge University, suggests that the ancient Egyptians carefully monitored two stars which revolve in the northern region of the night sky.

The north-finding stars were Kochab, in the bowl of the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), and Mizar, in the middle of the handle of The Plough or Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Dr Spence says that the ancient Egyptians realised that when one was directly above the other then the line between the two-marked true north.

Taken from Here.

I seem to remember that the AE's used a plumb bob to determine when one star was directly above the other.
The AE's didn't consider North as 'up' as you said, though, Northern Egypt was known as Lower Egypt, and Southern was Upper Egypt. Very Happy
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tnrees
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since rivers flow down hill South Egypt is higher than North Egypt.

Also did the Egyptians use Upper & Lower or is that a modern designation?
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Daughter_Of_SETI
Egyptian Architect


Joined: 15 May 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tnrees wrote:
Since rivers flow down hill South Egypt is higher than North Egypt.

I didn't know that southern Egypt was higher than north.... Interesting!

tnrees wrote:
Also did the Egyptians use Upper & Lower or is that a modern designation?

I believe that is how the AE's refered to Egypt, was either Upper or Lower, the modern description would be; North or South.
Upper and Lower are generally more often used though, likely because it would become very confusing if both terms were used all the time.
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Osiris II
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Joined: 13 Mar 2004
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Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "Upper--Lower" question can be confusing to the modern mind. It's almost automatic for us to think of "Upper" as North and "Lower" as South, but in ancient Egypt just the opposite was true i.e. "Upper" was South. Cofusing!
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Neb-Ma'at-Re
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Joined: 09 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The upper and lower designation of the Ancient Egyptians is in context of the terrain in the South being more mountainous and higher elevation than the lower delta region of the North. As tnrees mentioned, this is why the Nile flows from South to North. It is interesting to note that the Ancient Egyptians refered to the Euphretes river as the 'inverted water' because it flows from North to South.
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