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The Great Civilization of the Nile: Ancient Egypt - Essay Example

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In early history, between 6,000 B.C. and 5, 000 B.C., ancient hunter gatherer people began to settle along the banks of the Nile River; a rich fertile area in which they became farmers creating villages. These were the first Egyptians. …
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Download file to see previous pages In early history, between 6,000 B.C. and 5, 000 B.C., ancient hunter gatherer people began to settle along the banks of the Nile River; a rich fertile area in which they became farmers creating villages. These were the first Egyptians. The Nile, the world's longest river became the center of that early society. It provided support for daily living, agriculture, and a source of food. Even today, most of the population of Egypt still lives in close proximity to the Nile. Those early settlements were protected by many natural barriers which kept their enemies out and allowed them to thrive and prosper. The dangerous cataracts of the Nile in Upper Egypt to the far south, kept enemies from invading. As well, both sides of Egypt are bordered by vast deserts. In Lower Egypt to the north, great marshes created by the Nile and farm land prevented enemy invasion by sea; still they were able to trade by using the Red Sea and the Mediterannean Sea. The early Egyptians used the Nile floods to their advantage to become very successful farmers. Not only did they grow what they needed, but also developed a successful agricultural trade from the rich black Nile delta. They also used irrigation methods to claim even more farmland. The Nile was reverred as a deity by the early people; the giver of life, the mother of the world. Ancient Egyptians developed geometry to assist with surveying and dividing land. They also used the naturally occuring papyrus reeds that grew by the Nile to make river rafts, sandals, baskets, and developed a process whereby the reeds were flattened, soaked in water, and connected to make a type of early paper. Their early written communication consisted of symbols for objects and sounds call hierlglyphics. They developed a system of labor that enabled them to specialize and become artisans working on carved statues, woven fabric, pottery, and shaping copper into tools for farming as well as weapons. As they traveled widely for trade opportunities, they began to assimilate properties from other cultures, such as a system of government which ruled over land division, trade, and infrastructure developments. Early Egyptians were polarized into two main kingdoms; Upper Egypt, upriver to the south, and Lower Egypt, in the Nile delta north to the Mediterannean Sea. Sometime in 3100 B.C., the two kingdoms merged, ending an age of 31 dynasties. Thus began the period known as the Old Kingdom. Early Egyptian society was divided according to wealth and power into social divisions much like a pyramid. At the apex of the pyramid was the pharaoh and his family, while at the base was the multitude of unskilled laborers. The upper class consisted of the wealthy Egyptians, along with nobles and priests, who lived in large estates along the Nile, worn fine and ornate clothing, jewelry, and eye make-up and had a large staff of servants to provide for their every need, with no physical labor involved for them. The middle class people were the traders, artisans, shopkeepers and scribes. They lived more simply than the wealthy people, although the entire society depended on their skills for items to use and trade. The agricultural experts were the largest group; they rented the land of the wealthy and kept the people of Egypt fed and the agricultural trade going strong. Their homes were one-room huts usually on the land they rented along the Nile; their diets were very simple. Many of the people living in the cities were unskilled laborers who did most of the physical labor such loading ships and caravans for trade expeditions. They lived in mud-brick shacks with flat roofs and dirt floors. In ancient Egypt, it was a patriarchal society, however, the women were given rights that other early civilizations didn't have. They could buy and sell property, as well as contract trade agreements, make wills, and file for divorce; upper class women could even be administrators in the temples as well as perform religious ceremonies. Skills were passed from father to son and from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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