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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+

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

Unit 1: Class 7: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): Predynastic Period & The Old Kingdom (10,500 B.C. – 2,181 B.C.)

The Goddess and Concept of MA'AT

People To Know
The God Djehuty, or whom the Greeks call Thoth. Djehuty is the male counterpart or husband of Ma'at. Together they maintain the balance of the universe. Djehuty/Thoth is also the God associated with writing and philosophy. He is who the very word "thought" is derived from. He is usually depicted as an ibis-headed man, often in the occupation of a scribe or recorder of events.
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Maat or Ma'at is the ancient Kemetic/Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Ma'at is represented as a goddess with wings. She is the symbol of the moral and carnal laws of ancient Kemet and one of the most important of all the gods. She put order to the universe at the time of creation and is responsible for regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and deities. Through the 42 Laws of Ma'at she provides the moral and ethical guidelines in which all Egyptian citizens were to follow in order to achieve rebirth in the afterlife. Aside from her role in creation, Ma'at played a critical role in the weighing of the soul that took place in the Duat, or the underworld. In order to achieve reincarnation, one's soul had to be "light as a feather" after reciting the 42 Laws of Ma'at before Osiris. 

Although the first mention of Ma'at is found in the pyramid of Unas of the 5th Dynasty, ca. 2450 B.C.E., we know that the laws of Ma'at were formulated well before the establishment of ancient Egypt. Pharaohs were often depicted with adornments representing Ma'at, illustrating their pharaonic responsibility and commitment to upholding her principles. The entire spiritual foundation of ancient Kemet/Egypt was based on the principles set forth by a woman. In ancient Egypt, women were given independence from men, were allowed to own property, and in few cases they rose to the level of Pharaoh. In ancient Africa, women were valued more and given more rights than in any other culture. Women were seen as the counterpart to man, not his inferior. 

42 Laws/Negative Confessions  of Ma'at 42 (Papyrus of Ani)

1. I have not committed sin.
2. I have not committed robbery with violence.
3. I have not stolen.
4. I have not slain men or women.
5. I have not stolen food.
6. I have not swindled offerings.
7. I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
8. I have not told lies.
9. I have not carried away food.
10. I have not cursed.
11. I have not closed my ears to truth.
12. I have not committed adultery.
13. I have not made anyone cry.
14. I have not felt sorrow without reason.
15. I have not assaulted anyone.
16. I am not deceitful.
17. I have not stolen anyone’s land.
18. I have not been an eavesdropper.
19. I have not falsely accused anyone.
20. I have not been angry without reason.
21. I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
22. I have not polluted myself.
23. I have not terrorized anyone.
24. I have not disobeyed the Law.
25. I have not been exclusively angry.
26. I have not cursed God/Goddess.
27. I have not behaved with violence.
28. I have not caused disruption of peace.
29. I have not acted hastily or without thought.
30. I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
31. I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
32. I have not worked evil.
33. I have not used evil thoughts, words or deeds.
34. I have not polluted the water.
35. I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
36. I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds.
37. I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
38. I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
39. I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
40. I have not taken food from a child.
41. I have not acted with insolence.
42. I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess.

The Weighing of the Heart

In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Ma'at", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart (called "ib") was seen as part of the Egyptian soul. If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat.

The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. While the heart was weighed the deceased recited the 42 Negative Confessions as the Assessors of Maat looked on
Depiction of Thoth as a baboon (c. 1400 BC), in the British Museum. Thoth has been depicted in many ways depending on the era and on the aspect the artist wished to convey. Usually, he is depicted in his human form with the head of an ibis. He also appears as a dog-faced baboon or a man with the head of a baboon when he is A'an, the god of equilibrium.

"Death in Ancient Egypt: Weighing the Heart". British Museum. British Museum.


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.)