Monday, November 17, 2014

Digital Scrapbook Entry #4 - Egypt
Author: Paul Rogers
Creator Man. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Author: Unknown
From Castles of the Dead To Towers of the Heavens

           One main goal of all nations is to continue that nation's rule over its people and land. Throughout history it has been crucial for a nation to keep its people satisfied in order to keep stability. One main way for a government to maintain it's rule is to instill its people with a sense of nationality and comradery, which will make a nation's people more united in the idea of their country. Many nation's find different ways to accomplish this binding between individuals, and use methods that can range from slogans and banners to parades and speeches. Great Britain and many other nations during the 19th and 20th century are great examples of how nationalism can help keep a country both stable and prosperous. Ancient Egypt accomplished this sense of union through the construction of great wonders. These wonders would act not only as symbols of that nation's power, but also as symbols which could instill pride and comradery within its own people. These wonders were the pyramids, massive stone tetrahedrons which were constructed with uncanny skill, both mathematically and architecturally. These structures baffle even the scientists and historians of today, and are marvels of the Ancient World. They took huge amounts of manual labor to complete, which Ancient Egypt had to spare as the seasonal floods meant during the off season, farmers were free to work on other projects. These structures served two major roles for Ancient Egypt. They acted as symbols of strength for the nation, warning off foreigners by showing what the combined might of Egypt could accomplish. They also acted as symbols of unity and pride for the people of Ancient Egypt. These pyramids employed hundreds of thousands of workers to complete them, and this sense of being part of something large instilled many Egyptians with a sense of bonding to other workers. It also instilled others with a sense of wonder, as when the workers went home and spread the word of these massive structures, their families and villages would be in awe at the power of the state. In turn this awe and unity led to the legitimacy of the pharaohs, as it kept the people in line underneath them. This is because the workers, now feeling friendship and bonds towards others of the nation, felt pride in their country and pride in their current leadership. This national pride in turn led to stability, as people were content of their leadership. It is this stability and nationalism that allowed Egypt to remain for so long. Nobody wishes to rebel or overthrow a government that they are proud to be a part of. Even for the pharaohs who built no pyramids, they served as great reminders of the power behind the pharaoh. This stability in turn led to Egypt allowing itself to turn outwards, and focus on matters other than internal peace. This is why they were able to expand into an even vaster empire, and why they were able to leave such a mark on world history. In this way the pyramids contributed a great deal to the success and longevity of the Egyptian state, and why it is still remembered as one of the greatest powers of the Ancient World.
           Another great works is also underway in an area very close to Egypt, the Middle East, this time however, it is taking place in the Modern Era. The Kingdom Tower is currently being constructed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, very close to the city of Mecca. This tower is currently under construction, however will be the tallest building in the world upon completion, and is planned on measuring at a kilometer high. This construction is one of the most ambitious in history, and is supposed to have 200 floors serviced by 59 elevators. The total cost is planned on being 1.25 billion US dollars, and will be completed in 2019. This tower is supposed to serve as a national symbol for Saudi Arabia, and as a wonder to show the power of Saudi Arabia. It is also supposed to show the economic strength of the nation, and its nations ingenuity and worth.
           Many nations turn to construction and wonders as a way to ensure nationalism within their country for several reasons. While many would believe that such structures would be very inefficient, as their cost would greatly outweigh their worth, these critics are wrong. It is true that such structures cost fortunes of wealth, their contribution to a nation is far greater than the worldly cost. Firstly, these structures serve as symbols of a nations power. This power can be economical or militaristic. For the Egyptians it showed both the wealth of the pharaoh and also the sheer manpower he commanded. To create such a massive structure required a large workforce, and this large workforce could also be trained as soldiers and given equipment using the obvious fortune the pharaoh's held. This warned foreigners of the possible might of the Ancient Egyptians. The Kingdom Tower, on the other hand, shows the ingenuity and economical strength of Saudi Arabia. It shows that the economy is flourishing there, and that they have as much wealth as any of the nations often considered economically powerful. Either way it is used, these massive wonders serve a symbols for the power of a nation and its government. It also is used to boost the nationalism of all its people, and this way is most important. The Pyramids of Egypt boosted nationalism because it meant that all of the workers felt connected, and as part of something bigger than themselves. It also meant that any Egyptians passing it could feel pride in what their nation could accomplish. People would hear of it far and wide, of what they could accomplish as a group. The Arabians, however, use it to increase nationalism differently. They do not employ huge amounts of manual labor, and the comradery that comes from the towers is much more symbolic. Instead of gaining this unity through work, it instead is a symbolic way for the country to show its own power to its people. It shows their people what they can accomplish with their ingenuity and resourcefulness. In this way, while the Kingdom Tower is more a symbolic representation of Saudi Arabian power, it is just as powerful as the Pyramids.

Kingdom Tower:
Pyramid of Giza:
WWI Poster:

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