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Discuss the major factors behind the rise and decline of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization - Essay Example

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Historians set its emergence date at 2686 BC (third dynasty) after the unification of lower and upper regions under the leadership of…
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Discuss the major factors behind the rise and decline of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization
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Discuss the major factors behind the rise and decline of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization When asked to ancient civilizations that set precedent for contemporary societies, the Ancient Egyptian civilization comes first to mind. Historians set its emergence date at 2686 BC (third dynasty) after the unification of lower and upper regions under the leadership of the first Pharaoh. Since then, the Egyptian civilization flourished until its collapse, marked by sibling rivalry (sons of Pepy II fought for the throne) during the eighth dynasty (Karenga 139). Discussed below are the factors, which contributed to its success and those that contributed to its sudden decline.
Socialism played a pivotal role in the growth of the ancient Egyptian civilization. Karl Wittfogel, author of “Oriental Despotism” inferred that socialism laid the foundation for all primitive civilizations (Karenga 99). Socialism is an ideology, which advocates for public ownership in favor of privatization of a country’s economy. Ancient Egyptian civilization flourished under a centralized system of government charged with the responsibility of mobilizing the country’s resources. For example, the government oversaw the erection of permanent structures such as the pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. In addition, Egypt’s strategic geographic location endorsed agriculture within the region, which translated into a reliable and stable source of food for its population. Ancient Egyptians capitalized on the flooded Nile River, which supplied water to sustain the irrigation of arable plains in the region. Under the government’s supervision, the harvest was stored and controlled rations distributed to the population. Moreover, surplus harvest became a trade commodity boosting trade within the region. Growth was not limited to the economic sector only. The use of written words and symbols became a tool for the preservation of Egyptian culture whereby, scholars created permanent records of significant events. These served as reference points for future generations. Finally, the pharaohs (for example, Tuthmosis 1 and his grandson Tuthmosis III) secured the region’s borders by forming strategic alliances with their neighbors such as Assyria and Canaan (Hine et al 35).
Historians remain divided regarding possible reasons, which contributed to sudden decline of the ancient Egyptian civilization. However, they all concur that the civilization collapsed during the end of the eighth dynasty after the long reign of Pepy II. It is estimated that Pepy II held the throne for ninety years. His sons were eager to rule in his stead contributing to rivalry, which destabilized the central government. Governors in charge of different regions challenged the weakened monarch further decentralizing the government. Conversely, other historians blame the decline of ancient Egyptian’s civilization to catastrophic climatic changes. Ancient Egyptians followed a predictable planting and harvesting pattern guided by the water level in the Nile River. Flooded banks of the river indicated the commencement of the planting season whereas, decreased water levels indicated the onset of the harvesting period. The unpredictable climate caused persisting delayed rainfall, which caught ancient Egyptians off-guard. They depleted their food storage whereby, the population suffered the adverse effects of a long famine. In addition, they lacked surplus food for trade disrupting trade in the region (Hine et al 77).
In conclusion, the ancient Egyptian civilization provides great insight on past human societies. From it, scholars deduce general principles pertaining to the functioning of contemporary societies. Therefore, they are able to note and avoid possible factors that might predispose a society’s future destruction.
Works Cited
Karenga, Maulana. 2010. Introduction to Black Studies. Third Edition, Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press.
Hine D.Clark, Hine.W.C, Harrold, Stanley. 2010. The African American, A Concise History 3rd Edition: New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. Read More
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