AHC: Save Ancient Egyptian culture

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Mort the Reaper, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    Your challenge is relatively straightforward: have Ancient Egyptian culture survive in some form or another.
     
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  2. Frrf Well-Known Member

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    Your best bet is to preserve Ancient Egyptian religion. The cults and their priests remained a deeply conservative, but vital source of legitimacy into the Roman period, which is why we have Roman emperors depicted on temple walls as pharaohs next to hieroglyphic inscriptions. After Christianisation, the script, festivals and art style were all lost, replaced by Coptic script, Christian holidays and the Eastern Christian icon tradition.
     
  3. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    The hieroglyphic texts and the Ancient Egyptian priest cult hadn't been lost until around 500 AC. ! A certain Egyptian Godess had followers even later.
     
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  4. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    21st and 22nd dynasty pharaohs were Berbers. Could Berbers transplant Egyptian culture across North Africa?
     
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  5. Anawrahta Gone Fishin'

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    There was signficant Egyptian trade with India, perhaps being aware of the Brahmins and Sramanas(Buddhists and Jains) of India, the last of the Egyptian pagans decide to relocate to India to seek refuge among the relatively tolerant Indians, how Zoroastrians, Jews and Syriac Christians did OTL. They essentially become an Indian caste with absolutely alien rituals. This plausible considering that they were aware of the traditions of the Indians.
     
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  6. Averrhoes Unknown Member

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    To do this you would essentially need to entirely prevent the Hellenization of the Near East, which subsequently allowed for for the Christianization of Egypt. Greeks held cultural hegemony over the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries, resulting in the steady disappearance of Demotic and other aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. Following the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt struggled to maintain independence and was never the geopolitical powerhouse it was under the New Kingdom. Preserving the entirety of Ancient Egyptian culture would require an extremely early change, possibly even before the Sea Peoples.
     
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  7. TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    Coptic Egyptian is directly descended from the languages of ancient Egypt - and it was widely spoken until the 1200's or 1300's or so. All in all, I think it'd survive to modern day if it wasn't for the Muslim/Arab invasions.

    Preserving Ancient Egyptian culture perfectly is impossible, because cultures aren't mummies (lol get it) - every culture changes. But there would have probably been a lot more cultural continuity if not for the Muslim invasions.
     
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  8. Sphenodon Well-Known Member

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    I guess this depends on what one defines "Ancient Egyptian" culture as being.

    As an example, the Coptic culture can be well argued as an extant form of the Ancient Egyptian one. Coptic, while extremely Hellenized, is still a direct derivative of Demotic and by extension other native Egyptian languages (in the sense that English is still a Germanic language in spite of Norman influence). In addition, the Coptic names for Egypt (Khemi, a direct derivative from the historic name Kemet) and places within Egypt (such as Alexandria, which is instead called by its archaic name Rakote) are native in origin rather than derived from exonyms. Beyond that, the Coptic identity divides itself sharply from the Arab one. Certainly they may constitute only a minority of Egypt's populace (and speak Arabic in common use due to its ubiquity), and adhere to a sect of Christianity - but their culture is still a direct Ancient Egyptian derivative.

    As for more direct preservation of native Egyptian customs (religion, cultural customs, non-foreign influenced language), this becomes substantially more challenging. Of all the long-lasting civilizations Egypt has some of the worst geography for remaining independent and projecting power over neighbors, lacking the natural defensive depth of Persia, Anatolia, Italy, and the like. Coupled with its immense population and agricultural output, this makes it a very tempting target for conquest by foreign powers. Avoiding this is going to require an Egypt that holds the Levant as a core region, thus giving it some line of defense against enemy powers to the West and North; expansion into Arabia and southern/eastern Anatolia would also be beneficial, both in adding second lines of defense and allowing power projection into Persia and Anatolia in times of weakness (thus allowing them to compete aggressively with powers in those regions rather than be doomed to constant defense).

    As for accomplishing this, one is going to need to maintain the heights reached by the New Kingdom, which means dealing with the Hittite Empire and later on the Sea Peoples (as well as weathering the rest of the Bronze Age Collapse fairly well). I can't claim to know enough about Egypt at the time to give definitive answers as to how Egypt might be able to do this, but I think that sufficiently breaking the power of the Hittites would allow them some breathing room in holding power in the Levant during the Bronze Age Collapse.

    Another idea would be for Atenism to successfully take root as the state religion of Egypt, which would both further bolster the temporal strength of the pharaoh and render the immense amount of resources historically consumed by the traditional priesthood unto the state. There was a very well-written timeline on here some years ago (The Realm of Millions of Years) that sought to explore this line of thought, though it sadly never continued onward.
     
  9. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

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    I think that, even after the Arab conquest of Egypt, the Coptic language could have survived if Egypt was ruled b Coptic speaking Muslims, like Persia was ruled by Persian speaking Muslims.
    Thus, Egypt could retain its old language and culture while still being mostly Muslim.
     
  10. AntoniousTheBro Authoritarian socialist monarchist

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    I have too agree here. Maybe you could have the arabs when they adopt older less Christian therefore hellenised aspects of Egyptian culture in their rule their so you get a more Egyptian culture in the region with coptic being adopted. This could lead to a Egyptian arab fusion with coptic and old Egyptian customs being the base with arab thrown in and there likely would be holdovers from the greeks and Christians but that is kinda unavoidable.
    All in all this would create a very interesting nation.
     
  11. Monter Well-Known Member

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    Persian survived due its position as the official language of the fallen Sassanid Empire, having a long cultural and administrative prestige over the Eastern Muslim world, Coptic has none of those.
     
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  12. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Tie that with the Muslim ruler taking the title of Pharaoh, and it would be just another Persia in terms of surviving into Modern Days
     
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  13. Flavius Phocas Well-Known Member

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    Alternatively, the Coptic Egyptian culture could survive by just preventing them from being Arabized under the Caliphate. Egypt was still majority Christian as late as the 9th Century so this is perfectly doable. Either by making the Egyptian elite more important in the early Caliphate (in line with the Persian elite) or having a native Egyptian ruling a de facto independent Egypt once the Abbasid Caliphate starts disintegrating.
    Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on the history of the Caliphate could elaborate more on how this could be done.
     
  14. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

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    Persian had prestige but, initially, the authorities used Arab. One of the reasons that Persian survived was that Persian speaking Muslims, eventually, took over Persia. Something analogous could have happened in Egypt.
     
  15. John7755 يوحنا Historical Inquiries

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    The ratio of time is different. Seeking a recovery of Egyptian is akin to seeking a recovery of Akkadian high culture in 100 CE; it is possible, but extremely unlikely. The region of Fars and her language had remained strong, militaristic and accustomed to rule. It had been approximately 900 years since the same could be said for the local Egyptian populace. The only major Coptic revolt against the Muslims, was nothing like the earlier Egyptian revolts against the Achaemenids, it was more akin to mass riots than a concerted effort of revolt. The reason, in the case of 450 BCE, Egyptian military prowess had remained, as did their memory of rule as to themselves. In 860, this consensus among the Copts was extinguished mostly, they were disarmed (a major issue!), had no military training and no martial expertise. They also likely had much less conception of creating their own state that was separate from a Roman Imperial off-shoot.

    In Iran, it was completely different, Persian or otherwise Iranian groups were powerful military factions who assisted the Islamic caliphate and once they gained positions of power, asserted their language as it was. The Saffarids are a major example or the Samanids or even the Barmakids. There is no similar situation in Egypt, there they are just dhimmi paying subjects who have no willingness fro revolt.

    The rebellions against the Achaemenids must prevail so Egypt can break free from it and consequently enter into various beneficial relations with Greek states and the eventual Roman Empire. It could form into a Korean analogue in relation to Rome and pay tribute and otherwise maintain itself and its divine Pharoanic rulers.
     
  16. Shahrasayr The Emperor of Dune

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    Problem is that by this point the title if Pharaoh had no prestige left. The emperor's of the ERE abandoned it leading up to Christian conversion.

    The Shahanshah of the Persians on the other hand was a title that still had a very impressive and legitimate power.
     
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  17. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    So... let's say a scenario where Cleopatra managed to play Anthony against Octavian, both of them killed, paid off Roman Legions with Gold and lands, before reinforcing Egypt...

    And thus Ptolemy-Caesarion dynasty survived, could it ended up as better for Egyptian Titles?
     
  18. John7755 يوحنا Historical Inquiries

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    Egypt by then is already a target. Why not just use an earlier pod when Egypt is in a strong position economically and not yet in a destitute position militarily. Generally, later Ptolemaic period Egypt was weak both economically and militarily and this strains the potentiality for Cleopatra to remain independent. If we go far enough back, we can have an Egypt that has both, at least a strong military potentiality. Another possibility, if one wishes a truly powerful empire, is for Egypt to be able to win the battle of Haran and protect the Assyrian rump state and therefore rebuff Babylon-Media and thus, we have an Egypt that rules up to the Euphrates River and has a vassal Assyrian state along the Euphrates in Haran and Carchemish.
     
  19. Dolan Lookin fer Gooby

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    Or maybe surviving Palmyran Empire, with Vahballathus moving the center of government to Egypt, and took the title of Pharaoh, all while the Crisis of Third Century caused earlier fall of Rome.