Corporate Strategy as an Art (XIII): The Bronze Age – Strategic Innovation Analysis Ancient Egypt (Part B).
Let´s continue what we left on hold during our last publication. We will try to finish our strategic innovation analysis by answering these questions:
- What resources Ancient Egypt did not have?
- What was the role of religion in corporate decision making at the Pharaoh´s Office?
- Who were the rulers or the CEO´s of Ancient Egypt during the Bronze Age?
- What was the role of the Pharaohs?
- What was the transportation systems role in Ancient Egypt?
- How did the Pharaoh´s get the resources to build their monuments and art?
- What was the role of the sciences, technology, and education in Ancient Egypt?
What resources Ancient Egypt did not have? The basis of wealth in Egypt was agriculture (mainly), and trade or commerce. They produced their own resources to feed themselves, and the surplus was exchanged for other goods they lacked. In addition, it seems to me that the pharaohs were aware of their deficits, in terms of inputs. They traded what they had in their territory mainly papyrus, linen, and grains in exchange for cedar wood, ebony, copper, iron, ivory, tin and lapis lazuli (a lovely blue gemstone.) Ships sailed up and down the Nile River, bringing goods to various ports. The Egyptian trade network was established through trade agreements and sometimes through military intervention. “The third king of the First Dynasty, Djer (c. 3050-3000 BCE) led an army against Nubia, which secured valuable trade centers. Nubia was rich in gold mines and, in fact, gets its name from the Egyptian word for gold, nub. Later kings would continue to keep a strong Egyptian presence on the border to ensure the safety of the resources and trade routes. Khasekhemwy, the last king of the Second Dynasty of Egypt (c. 2890 – c. 2670 BCE), led campaigns to Nubia to put down rebellions and secure trade centers and his methods became the standard for the kings who came after him”.
To make bronze, Egyptians needed copper and tin. Apparently, they had to import tin. I believe the tin was imported from Cyprus. “The Egyptians mined copper from Sinai and used it to make agricultural tools such as hoes and sickles, as well as cookware, dishes, and artisans’ tools such as saws, chisels, and knives. The Egyptians, famously fond of personal beautification, made mirrors and razors out of copper and produced green and blue makeup from malachite and azurite, two copper compounds with brilliant green and blue colors”. Cooper was utilized more than bronze during the Bronze Age in Egypt because they had it available in the region.
According to Ancient History website (https://www.ancient.eu/article/1079/trade-in-ancient-egypt/). During the bronze age, ancient Egypt’s economy operated on a barter or exchange system without cash. It was not until the Persian Invasion of 525 BCE that a cash economy was instituted in the country.
Who were the rulers or the CEO´s of Ancient Egypt during the Bronze Age? According to Manetho (an Egyptian priest who translated Egyptian history into the Greek language), there are 30 dynasties of pharaohs. The 31st (Persian) and 32nd dynasties (the Ptolemies) were added after Manetho´s death. Each Pharaoh was the CEO or leader of Egyptian society. In addition, the Pharaoh corporate mindset was accompanied by the priests religious advise.
The Pharaoh´s dynasties, in general, can be classified as follows:
- Early Dynastic Period of Egypt (1st – 2nd Dynasties; until c. 27th century C.E.)
- Old Kingdom (3rd – 6th Dynasties; 27th – 22nd centuries C.E.)
- First Intermediate Period (7th – 11th Dynasties)
- Middle Kingdom of Egypt (11th – 14th Dynasties; 20th – 17th centuries C.E.)
- Second Intermediate Period (14th – 17th Dynasties)
- Hyksos (15th – 16th Dynasties)
- New Kingdom of Egypt (18th – 20th Dynasties; 16th – 11th centuries C.E.)
- Third Intermediate Period (21st – 25th Dynasties; 11th – 7th centuries C.E.)
- Late Period of Ancient Egypt (26th – 32nd Dynasties; 7th century C.E.- 30 C.E.).
What was the role of the Pharaohs? What we know about each dynasty has been taken from the mausoleums of the pharaohs. Egyptologists have interpreted that the purpose of these tombs was to preserve their life after death for their journey to eternity. Joshua Mark from Ancient.eu has written: “It was the king’s responsibility to care for the people, the land, and maintain the principle of harmony. If the land produced abundantly and there was enough food for everyone, as well as surplus, the king was regarded as successful; if not, the priests would intervene to determine what had gone wrong and what steps needed to be taken to regain the goodwill of the gods”. If this last statement is valid, the role of the Pharaohs was measured by the priests, as it is now measured by your bosses performance reviews at any corporation. Doctor David Neiman has indicated, “immediately after the Pharaoh ascended to his throne, and once he assumed the power, he started to build monuments, mausoleums, temples, artworks, pyramids, colossal stone statues, golden coffins for their after-death journeys”. The pharaohs main job activities were to make pronouncements, to do decree laws, to commission building projects and to prepare his tomb for his journey afterlife. The title Pharaoh doesn’t appear but after the New Kingdom period (1570 BCE). The ruler of Egypt was considered a God on earth, and the supreme ruler of the kingdom. He oversaw the top decision making, from religion to politics and economics. He decided when to defend his country and when to expand trade. He was the owner of the land of Egypt. The strategy of the pharaohs was focused too critically to build projects to honor power to their deities, including themselves. Probably by building such megastructures and huge sculptures, they were also trying to shine above the rest of civilizations with whom they had trade and commerce. Every single public building belonged to the king, and he was expected to rule wisely, justly and preserve the harmony for the local and the foreigners. In terms of his religious boundaries, the pharaoh could officiate religious ceremonies, choose the sites of the temples and officialize by decree what work would be done, Interesting enough, he couldn’t choose the priests. Finally, the Pharaoh as the ruler of the land of Egypt systematized the taxes collection system, and he decided in relation to war decisions or defend the country against the rest of the conquerors or aggression.
What was the role of religion in corporate decision making at the Pharaoh´s Office?
Each pharaoh or king adored numerous deities. There were 9 main Gods, led by the God Amun-Ra, the sun. In order of relevance, pharaohs were associated with the god Horus in life and Osiris in death based upon a mythical legend which became the most popular in Egyptian history. According to the Egyptian religious beliefs, after death, they must show up to Osiris to be judged for good and bad actions. The concept of judging our actions after death appeared in the Egyptian mindset for more than 3,000 years. I believe, probably many of the sculptures and artistic representations were linked to the idea of winning points in life for the time of judgment with Osiris after death. The mummification practice reflects their concept of preservation after it. This process is quite important in the culture of ancient Egyptians leaders.
Every ancient Egypt story always illustrated how order triumphed over chaos. It shows the concept of justice, during an afterlife. It shows the idea of life and light after death. And these Gods appeared repeatedly in every single portrait you can observe. Horus and Osiris would become a persistent motif in mortuary rituals and religious texts and art. During the whole Bronze Age, there were different gods shown in artistic paintings and architecture, which tell us they played an integral role in the daily lives of the rulers and his people.
What was the transportation systems role in Ancient Egypt?
For ancient Egyptians, the Nile river was their main system for transportation. THey used ships and boats to move around. Depending on the dynasty, the type of boats ranged from simple ships as skiffs to large royal wooden ships equipped with square sails and oars.
What was the role of the sciences, technology, and education in Ancient Egypt?
I will share with you the following link written by Joshua Mark. I encourage you to read it. https://www.ancient.eu/article/967/ancient-egyptian-science–technology/
Egyptians from the Bronze Age seem to have adopted education as a rule of thumb. Particularly for those who were going to be near the Pharaoh´s court. In every single discipline, from medicine, architecture, arts, construction, astronomy, trade, economy, math, etc. Once you start to observe their artistic expressions, you know for sure their passion for details was registered. The writing was learned. Scribes were meaningful for the Pharaoh. “The autobiography and the prayer became the first forms of literature in Egypt and were created using the hieroglyphic script”.
How did the Pharaoh´s get the resources to build their monuments and art? The pharaohs established a strong network of trade and commerce. To answer this question, we must observe the society organigram of the Ancient Egypt civilizations.
Think and presume about this. Each of the pharaohs had a self-sustained country and they traded with other nations. They also were in “war defense and expansion strategy, depending on the ruler and their enemies”, which means that their ultimate aim principle was not to go out of Egypt and conquer the neighbors but to protect their trading and merchant centers. Some pharaohs were more war oriented than others, but in general, the battles and chaos were not the “main motive” for their society.
Next publication will be about the land of Canaan. We will visit this land Corporate Strategy in times of the Bronze Age. I hope it will be easier than Egypt since we have the Bible which helps us as a reference tool. Thank you.
Source References utilized to write the articles of today:
Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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