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HUM 111 ANCIENT EGYPT II: THE NEW KINGDOM AND THE AMARNA PERIOD Herodotus (“Father of History, 5 th century BC, Greece): “Egypt is the gift of the Nile.” Egypt is the gift of the nile- Heroditus said it, a greek historian in the 5 th century BC, about 2000 years after the great pyramids were built He is a good primary source about Egypt, firsthand account he saw how they lived very similar to how they had been 2000 years before Geography: Nile flows south to north, South= Upper Egypt, North= Lower Egypt This is reversed from how ours will be, Upper Egypt is where the river came from, old kingdom was right along the water’s edge, and new kingdom expanded and all the way up to Palestine and present-day Syria The river delta is so called because it looked like the Greek letter Delta The Nile divides Egypt in half East (sunrise) = Land of the Living, West (sunset) = Land of the Dead In the east the sun appeared to be reborn, houses, temples, workshops, on the west side of the nile the sun seemed to die, all tombs were on the west side and all things associated with the tombs Nile: annual flooding deposits layer of silt; transportation, communication The Nile is the world’s longest river, starting in the depths of Africa, as it moves through the jungles it collects organic materials and deposits, brings them down (up) towards Egypt, every year, almost on schedule, it will flood its banks and deposit the silt along its banks, stay that way for a while, then go back to its normal dimensions. So every year the people have new soil brought to them, this is amazing for farming, as you can’t plant crops on the same dirt every year, so the Egyptians didn’t have to worry about this Agriculture was very reliable, could rely almost without exception on the floods (unlike Tigris and Euphrates that were undependable and destructive), Nile was very predictable, so they developed a very different culture than the Sumerians, they had an optimistic culture, the river caused this Today the Nile no longer floods the same ways, they damned the river at Aswan and created Lake Nasser, a huge lake, as the flooding isn’t good for large condos, etc. some think that the food isn’t as good without the organic material coming down every year. Tigris and Euphrates are very difficult to Navigate because they have dry areas, marshy shallow areas, weren’t good for shipping and trade, weren’t good for armies, or sending messages from leaders. The Nile is perfect for navigation (4 little areas called cataracts that are small waterfalls or rapids, but you can take boats out of the water and go around the cataracts), you can sail with the current without much effort, if you want to go back up the Nile, that is the direction the winds go, so you just put your sail up, its perfect for communication, defense, trade- with trade everyone has a higher standard of living, also good to unify all of Egypt, so better stability, so better optimism throughout the culture
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The Nile was so important to the people that they considered it to be a god, they
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