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The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

Where Black
History Lives!​

Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 A.D.)

Unit 1: Class 15: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. – 476 A.D. ) 

Alexander the Great, the first Macedonian/Greek conquer of ancient Egypt (reign: 332 B.C. - 323 B.C.)
Ptolemy I Soter,  
1st Greek Ruler of Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great (323  – 283 B.C.)

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, students 
will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the rule of Egypt under the Greeks vs. the Romans.
  • Analyze the ways in which the Greeks and Romans were influenced by Egyptian religion and culture and vice versa.
  • Discuss the role Egypt and Africa played in the early formation of Christianity.
  • Analyze an eyewitness account of a famous historical event. ​


Egypt Under the Greeks (332 BC – 30 BC)
Greeks had been coming to Egypt since the 7th century BCE. Even by then, ancient Egypt had experienced over 2,000 years of native rule and three Golden Ages that brought the world its first marvels of architecture, the understanding of math, astronomy, philosophy as well as the development of religion, paper and writing, and government. In essence, by the time the Greeks get to Egypt it is a shell of itself. Yet and still, the Greeks were in awe of what they saw and learned.
Herodotus was there in the middle of the 5th century BCE and claimed that the Greeks were the first foreigners to ever live in Egypt. However, we know that this is untrue. Those from the Levant lived in ancient Egypt for over a thousand years before the Greeks. However, the Greeks were marveled by Egypt and its most prominent philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, and doctors studied there.
The Greek occupation of Egypt began in 332 with Alexander the Great of Macedonia, who defeated the unwanted Persians. He was received as a liberator. He respected the ancient religion and culture of the Egyptians and proclaimed himself pharaoh after visiting the oracle of Ammon in 331, who proclaimed him the son of Amun-Re. The oracle of Ammon is in the Libyan Desert; no Egyptian pharaoh had ever visited the oracle prior to Alexander. Yet the oracle of Ammon was well respected by the Greeks. Ancient Greek authors ranked it third in importance after the sanctuaries of Zeus at Olympia, the home of the Ancient Olympic Games, and the sanctuary of Zeus in Dodona. Alexander used his visit and anointment by the oracle of Ammon to legitimize his position as pharaoh of Egypt. However, Alexander appeared to actual believe that he was the son of Ammon/Zeus toward the end of his life, capturing his deep fascination with ancient Egyptian religion and culture.
Alexander founded the city of Alexandria to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Alexandria is strategically located on the Mediterranean and became the principal city of Greek influence in Egypt. To sum up his love of Egypt, Alexander was buried in Egypt. He was first buried in Memphis, and in the late 4th or early 3rd century BCE his body was transferred from Memphis to Alexandria, where it was reburied.
After the death of Alexander the Great, one of his top companions and generals, Ptolemy I Sotor (Savior) was able to wrestle control of the empire in 323 BCE and by 305 he declared himself king of Egypt. Like Alexander, Ptolemy and his descendants showed respect for Egyptian culture and religion, even as they used Egyptian religion to their advantage. They adopted Egyptian dress, participated in Egyptian rituals, and had themselves displayed on monuments in Egyptian style. They also started a practice of marrying their sisters and nieces to keep rule within the same family. While it is reported in popular culture, there is no historical evidence of this type of incest amongst native Egyptian pharaohs.
The Ptolemaic Kingdom fell as a result of native rebellions that led to civil wars, which ultimately weakened the kingdom. The Ptolemaic dynasty of pharaohs ruled for approximately 300 years before it was annexed by Rome in 30 BC. The famed Cleopatra VII was the last Greek “pharaoh” of the Ptolemaic line to rule ancient Egypt.
Cleopatra VII (69 BC – 30 BC)
Cleopatra VII was the last Macedonian ruler of ancient Egypt. Cleopatra's father was King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra's mother, but some speculate that she was of black African descent. One of the reasons for this theory is the fact that Cleopatra VII spoke Egyptian, which no Ptolemaic pharaoh had done before her. The assumption is that the only way for her to have achieved this feat was to have had someone very close to her who spoke and taught her Egyptian, like a mother. However, Cleopatra is said to have spoken 7 or 8 languages, which would challenge this theory. 
Although she accomplished much in her time as ruler, most of the histories or stories of her surround her relationship with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. It is believed that she gave birth to a son by Caesar named Caesarian, although Caesar never claimed the child. In an event made for the soap operas, Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC after learning that Mark Antony had committed suicide after he was falsely told that she had died. 
Egypt Under the Romans (30 BC – 646 AD)
After the deaths of both Mark Anthony and Cleopatra VII, Octavian, who would later become Augustus Caesar, annexed Egypt as a Roman province called Aegyptus. Augustus was the founder of the Roman Republic and ruled as its first Emperor from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD (41 years).  
Unlike the Greeks, the Romans did not populate Egypt. Greek culture was left to continue along with native Egyptian culture and religion. The Romans were more interested in Egypt for its resources. They became known for their heavy taxation. The Romans used Egypt as a strategic resource, principally as the breadbasket for the Roman army. 
Unlike the Greeks, the Romans did not have the centuries of contact with the Egyptians, as did the Greeks. Therefore, they were less inclined to live amongst the Greeks and Egyptians or institute Roman culture. Christianity, legalized in 313 AD by the Romans, would be one of Rome's most enduring legacies in Egypt.
Christianity in Egypt (33 AD - 646 AD)
The Roman Empire was anti-Christian for a period of over 300 years.  Anti-Christian policies against the early church and persecution of early Christians happened sporadically throughout this period. The first persecution of Christians organized by the Roman government took place under the emperor Nero in 64 AD after the Great Fire of Rome (which many accuse him of orchestrating). 
In 313 AD persecution of Christians ended when the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius jointly issued the Edict of Milan, which legalized the Christian religion. Yet with the legalization of Christianity came the repression of other religions, including that of ancient Egypt. The worship of Egyptian gods was now considered paganism. Yet as late as the 5th century AD there is evidence that individuals were still worshiping ancient Egyptian gods such as Isis despite the dominance of Christianity. 

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Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilation

UNIT 1: CLASS 1 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 2 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 3 - The Beginnings of Civilization 
UNIT 1: CLASS 4 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 5 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 6 - The Whitening of Ancient Kemet/Egypt
UNIT 1: CLASS 7 - Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period & The Old Kingdom (10,500 B.C. – 2,181 B.C.)  Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 8 - Ancient Egypt: The Old Kingdom & First Intermediate Period (3150 B.C. – 2055 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 9 - Ancient Egypt: The Middle Kingdom & Second Intermediary Period (2055 B.C. – 1550 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 10 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 11 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 12 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 3
UNIT 1: CLASS 13 - The Queen of Sheba & Solomon (10th Century B.C. – 955 B.C.)
UNIT 1: CLASS 14 - Ancient Egypt: The 25th Nubian Dynasty & Late Period (760 B.C. – 332 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 15 - Ancient Egypt: Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. – 476 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 16 - Hannibal Barca – Defender of Carthage (247 B.C. – 181/183 B.C.)

Free Bonus Intro Unit: The Politics of Education: Enlightenment or Propaganda?

INTRO UNIT: CLASS 1 - African History: The Missing Pages of World History
INTRO UNIT : CLASS 2 - The Miseducation of the Negro
INTRO UNIT: CLASS 3 - The Psychological Effects of Racism on Blacks and Whites
The Intro Unit analyzes the political nature of education as it relates to race. It investigates the African proverb, “It is the lion hunter who writes the lion’s history.” Students will explore the biased nature of education and how best to use education as a source of empowerment and enlightenment. It also examines the psychological effects of racism on both blacks and whites as demonstrated in
INTRO UNIT: CLASS 4 - The Struggle Continues...The Ongoing Battle Against Racist Propaganda In Public Schools
the pioneering “Doll Test” by Kenneth and Mamie Clarke, and the “Brown Eye, Blue Eye Experiment” conducted by Jane Elliott. ​The Unit ends with a class that highlights the successful conservative efforts to whitewash U.S. and world history textbooks and curricula in states like Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and beyond.