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Essay on Egyptian Civilization

Periods of Egyptian civilization

The Egyptian civilization is not only viewed as one of the oldest civilizations, but also as one of the most durable ones. It is traditionally divided into the following major periods:

1) Pre-Dynastic period (Prior to BC). During this period 42 territorial and political unities were formed. As a result of political, economic and military cooperation, they were merged creating the two major political formations: Upper Egypt (south) and Lower Egypt (north). Those, in turn, become part of a single Egyptian state. 2) Early Dynastic Period (1st–2nd Dynasties). Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Menes, the founder of the 1st Dynasty united Egypt in a whole. The integrity of the country was strengthened by establishing a centralized irrigation system and an administrative apparatus of the invention and spread of hieroglyphic writing. 3) Period of the Old Kingdom (3rd–6th Dynasties). Egypt is considered to be a powerful state based on economic and political factors. Economic prosperity and political stability have made possible the improvement of the irrigation system, as well as the construction of the pyramids such as Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure &#; symbols of Egyptian civilization. 4) The first transitional period (VII-X Dynasties). This is a time of the internal strife and the collapse of the centralized state. The city of Thebes became one of the major centers that played a huge role in Ancient Egypt. 5) Period of the Middle Kingdom (XI-XIII Dynasties). The country was reunited, and the power of the prefecture leaders was limited. Egypt increased its territory, particularly in the south. In addition to this, it launched glass manufacturing and started a proliferation of tools made of bronze. 6) The second transitional period (XIV-XVII Dynasties). Egyptian states collapsed due to the invasion of the Hyksos &#; nomadic tribes of Semitic origin, invaded from Asia and conquered the northern and central parts of the country. The rulers of Thebes led national liberation struggles that ended the expulsion of the Hyksos. As a result, “the Hyksos attacked Egypt and occupied the Egyptian lands. Yet, the princes of Thebes, led by Ahmos I, managed to expel them out of Egypt” (“Pharaonic Era,” , para. 9). 7) Period of the New Kingdom (XVIII-XX Dynasties). The era of the heyday of Egyptian civilization. Egypt expanded its ownership to the Euphrates in the east and the third cataract of the Nile in the south. Pharaohs put more effort to keep their land in the fight against the Hittite Empire, and later with the Sea Peoples. 8) Late Period (XXI-XXVI Dynasties). The time of strife, invasions and alien dominations: Libyan, Nubian, Assyrian. During this period, Egypt survived its last ascent. 9) The period of Persian rule (XXVII Dynasties). The Persian Empire conquered Egypt, but the increase in the tax oppression and abuse led to the Persians, the Egyptians revolted and liberated the country. 10) The last period of the independence of Egypt (XXVIII-XXX Dynasties). The union reduced to the internal strife that caused the weakening of the state and the restoration of Persian influence. 11) The period of the Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine domination ( BC. &#; BC.). In BC, Persians were driven out by Alexander the Great. After the collapse of the empire Alexander the Great in Egypt established the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted until the time of the Roman conquest.

However, “the end of the Old Kingdom was not the end of Egyptian civilization…The calamity triggered by low Nile floods was the impetus to radical social changes and a reformulation of the notion of kingship. The legacy of this period is still with us today” (Hassan, , para. 20).

Hence, as we can see Ancient Egypt started with the primary association of tribes in the valley of the River Nile in BC and ended around 31 BC, when the Roman Empire conquered Egypt. The latter event is not the first period of foreign Dominion, but the arrival of the Romans marked significant changes in the cultural and religious life of Egypt, as well as the termination of Egypt as a unified civilization. Ancient Egypt developed over three and a half thousand years. It all started with the primary association of tribes in the valley of the River Nile in BC and ended around 31 BC, when the Roman Empire conquered Egypt. The latter event is not the first period of foreign reign, but the arrival of the Romans marked the significant changes in the cultural and religious life of Egypt, as well as the termination of Egypt as a unified civilization.

The significance of the Nile River

The basis of the existence of ancient Egypt was a constant control of balance of natural and human resources , which primarily meant control over the irrigation of the fertile valley of the Nile , the use of minerals occurring in the valley and surrounding desert regions, the development of independent systems of writing and literature, the organization of collective projects, trade with neighbors in eastern and central Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, and, finally, military campaigns, which demonstrated the strength and power of the empire, as well as the territorial advantage over neighboring cultures at different periods of time. Those actions were organized and motivated by socio-political and economic elite that reached a social consensus through a system of religious means. For administrative purposes, Egypt was divided into different districts. Starting from the pre-dynastic period ( BC) ‘noma’ represented an individual city. In the days of the Pharaohs a whole country was divided into 42 nomes.

In Egypt, different taxes were paid according to the type of activity. The vizier controlled revenues from the people in the budget and plans for the collection. The householders also have to pay taxes, as annually they were engaged in social work for at least several weeks. There is no doubt that Egyptian civilization is widely known for its major achievements. This was “a time of a spectacular development in mathematics, astronomy, transport, government organization, and food production” (Kozma, , p. ).  It was a civilization that has reached a very high standard of production and intellectual activity as well as art and engineering (surveying), which led to the creation of the pyramids. Egyptians invented the hydraulic cement. In fact, “the first pyramid ever built in Egypt was Zoser&#;s, then Midum&#;s pyramid. However, the Giza pyramids together with the Sphinx, built during the 4th Dynasty, are the most famous of the 97 pyramids built to be tombs for Pharaohs” (“Pharaonic Era,” , para. 12). Thanks to the irrigation system, Egypt became the breadbasket of the ancient world. Lake Fayoum was used by Pharaohs as a reservoir for the storage of excess water, which was very important during droughts.

Egyptians’ cultures and worldviews were mainly based on the River Nile. Their view of the world, unlike most other nations, was focused not on the north and south, but mostly on the origins of the river. In addition, the river itself determined the three main seasons. Each of them consisted of four months:  1) July &#; October; 2) November &#; February; and 3) March &#; June &#; the harvest period and the lowest water level. Hapi as the god of the annual flooding of the Nile was portrayed as a fat man who brings gifts to the gods of the earth. Many pharaohs and the local nobility compared themselves with this divinity. In fact, “the Nile River brought an unlimited supply of water to the desert and the yearly flood built a fertile valley along the riverbanks. The almost regular and predictable pattern of yearly flooding of the Nile River guaranteed irrigation of the fields and adequate food production which caused the civilization to flourish” (Kozma, , p. ). Thus, it is possible to sum up that “the Nile valley is one of the oldest places in the world where its ancient inhabitants husbanded the water resources that engendered the valley a cradle of civilization, thereby creating ancient polities and empires” (Arsano, , p. 25). The Nile River was an important shipping thread connecting Upper and Lower Egypt with Nubia (Ethiopia). In such favorable conditions, Egypt began the construction of irrigation canals. The need to service an extensive irrigation network has led to the emergence of polynomials &#; large territorial associations of early farming communities. This particular area is denoted as a nome, written in the ancient Egyptian language depicting the land, and divided into sections of the irrigation network of the correct form. The system of Egyptian nomes, formed in the 4th millennium BC, remained the basis for Governorates of Egypt to the end of its existence. Creating a unified system of irrigated agriculture has become a prerequisite for the emergence of a centralized state in Egypt. At the end of the 4th century BC and at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC the process of unification of certain polynomials has been implemented. This distinction throughout Egyptian history preserved in the division of the country into Upper and Lower Egypt and was reflected even in the titles of the Pharaohs, who were called “Kings of Upper and Lower Egypt.”

Egyptian people venerated many different gods. Some of them were very old and looked more like animals &#; cats, bulls, and crocodiles &#; and thus they were kept in special rooms, ponds or stalls. Any insult to animals was punishable by death. Each nome had its own gods (sometimes unknown outside it), but there were various deities accepted throughout the country: Gore, Ra, Osiris, Isis, and others. As a result, Egyptians associated myths about the gods with the phenomena of nature, the major seasons, the flooding of the Nile River.

In addition to the above-mentioned information, it is possible to add that thanks to Ancient Egypt, many contemporary people can use various inventions in their everyday lives, such as the invention of the alphabet and calendar. Like other nations, the Egyptians first took a time-calculation basis for the lunar year ( days). But they soon realized that such a system did not have sufficient accuracy and prevented the smooth functioning of complex administrative machinery.


Thus, taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that Egypt is not only considered to be one of the oldest civilizations, but also one of the most durable ones. The major reason is, first of all, its location: the country as it stands alone, apart from other states and empires. As a result, Egypt got the opportunity to grow in the fertile valley of the Nile, without any outside interference and influence. Like a long stem of the papyrus, it stretches from the south to the north, where the river flows into a series of flows in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Egyptian civilization is widely recognized for its major achievements in different aspects of our life. This was a time of various developments in various fields such mathematics, astronomy, food production, and more. Indeed, it was a civilization that has reached very high standards of production and intellectual activity as well as art and engineering processes (surveying), which resulted in the creation of the different pyramids known all over the world.

The flooding of the Nile is like a gift for many farmers in Egypt. In addition, it is an important natural cycle in Egypt because it is presented in the form of brown sludge on the farmers’ lands. Moreover, Egypt itself has developed as a centralized state with its own system of writing. It soon became the center of a highly developed civilization where philosophy and literature, architecture and art, science and medicine have been flourished, as well as the management systems and the organizations of society have been formed. All in all, due to its geographical location and access to the Mediterranean Sea, the Egyptians had a brilliant opportunity to contact with Europe, which is constantly expanding, and the influence of Egypt on the western culture has enriched the entire world civilization.

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Arab Republic of Egypt

جمهورية مصر العربية
Ǧumhūriyyat Maṣr al-ʿArabiyyah

and largest city
30°2′N31°13′E / °N °E / ;
GovernmentProvisional government


Abdel Fattah el-Sisi[1]

•&#;Prime Minister

Sherif Ismail[2]
LegislatureParliament (dissolved)

•&#;Upper house

Shura Council (dissolved)

•&#;Lower house

House of Representatives (dissolved)

•&#;Unification of Upper
and Lower Egypt[3][4]

c. BC

•&#;Muhammad Ali Dynasty inaugurated

9 July [5]

•&#;Independence from
the United Kingdom

28 February

•&#;Republican regime

18 June

•&#;Revolution Day

25 January

•&#;Current Constitution

18 January


1,,&#;km2 (,&#;sq&#;mi) (30th)




90,,[6] (14th)


76,, (total)[7]
incl. 3,, abroad


[convert: invalid number] (th)


$ billion[8]

•&#;Per capita



$ billion[8]

•&#;Per capita

CurrencyEgyptian pound (EGP)
Time zoneEET(UTC+2 (No DST Since ))
Drives on theright
Calling code+20
ISO codeEG
Internet TLD.eg, مصر.

a.^Literary Arabic is the sole official language. Egyptian Arabic is the national spoken language. Other dialects and minority languages are used regionally.
b.^De facto interim head of state.[10][11]
c.^ Densities are based on population figures. The gap between arithmetic and real densities is due to the fact that 98% of Egyptians live on 3% of the territory.[12]

For the ancient civilization, see Ancient Egypt.

Egypt is a country in northeast Africa. Its capital city is Cairo. Egypt is famous for its ancientmonuments, such as the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

History[change | change source]

Ancient Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country in the world. As a province of the Roman Empire, it became Christian and some Coptic Church people are still there after more than a thousand years of Muslim rule. The Fatimid Caliphate ruled Egypt in the tenth through twelfth centuries. Mamlukes ruled it until when Napoleon defeated them. Muhammad Ali Pasha soon took over and started a dynasty of Khedives under the Ottoman Empire. The Empire fell apart after World War I. Egypt became an independent country in and the khedive became a king. Egypt is a member of the United Nations and the Arab League. It became a republic after the Army's revolution of

Geography[change | change source]

Egypt is a large country, but a large portion of it is desert. Most people (95% of Egypt's total people) live in areas around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Nile River. This includes the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan, and Port Said. Not many people live in the desert. Today, Egypt has about 90 million people.

Egypt is divided into 29 areas, called Governorates of Egypt.

Politics[change | change source]

Egypt is a country which has had many different rulers and many political systems. After World War II, Egypt was still ruled by a king, Farouk of Egypt (11 February – 18 March ). He was the last ruler of the Muhammad Alidynasty.

Farouk was overthrown on 23 July by a military coup. The coup was led by Muhammad Naguib, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. From then on, Egypt had military rulers or rulers who had the backing of the army and many citizens.

Nasser became President, from to Later rulers were Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak.

Revolution of [change | change source]

Main article: Egyptian revolution

In January , thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo. They wanted Hosni Mubarak to leave office. He had been the President for almost 30 years. On February 11, , Vice PresidentOmar Suleiman made an announcement. He said that Mubarak agreed to leave office.[13] In , Egypt had a democratic election for the post of President. The winner was the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi.

The events which followed are still controversial, but one aspect stands out. Morsi issued a declaration that in effect gave him unlimited powers. He had the power to legislate (make laws) without legal overview by the courts. This caused widespread protests. On 3 July , he was unseated by a military coup council (a coup d'état). After an election in June , Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became President of Egypt. Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, rejected the change of regime as a military coup, and not democratic.

Demographics[change | change source]

Religion[change | change source]

Today, the people of Egypt are mostly Sunni Muslims. There are still many Christians in Egypt today. Many of these belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Languages[change | change source]

The official language in Egypt is Arabic. The majority speak Egyptian Arabic but many speak other dialects. Some Egyptians still speak Coptic language. English. French and German are also taught in Egypt as second language.

Famous people[change | change source]

Many famous people are from Egypt. Some of these include Omar Sharif, who was an international actor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who was the first person from Africa to lead the United Nations, and four Nobel Prize winners: Anwar Sadat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in , Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in , Ahmed Zewail, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in , and Mohamed ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in

Governorates[change | change source]

Egypt is divided into 27 governorates. The governorates are divided into regions. The regions have towns and villages. Each governorate has a capital. Sometimes capital has the same name as the governorate.

Culture[change | change source]

Egypt is a country with an immense cultural mix. Life in the countryside differs from life in the large cities. There are differences between the families which are Muslim, and the smaller number which are Coptic Christians. There are noticeable differences in the standards of education.

Tourism[change | change source]

Tourism is one of the most important national incomes in Egypt. In , about 12 million tourists visited Egypt providing nearly $12 billion of national income to Egypt. Tourism affects the economy of the country as a whole.[14]

Giza Necropolis is one of Egypt's iconic sites. It is a popular destination for tourists to visit. It includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Transport[change | change source]

There are methods of transport in Egypt. The Suez Canal carries ships of many countries.

Cairo Metro is one of the most important projects in Egypt. It consists of 3 lines. Metro is the most preferable transport in Egypt due to persistent major traffic jams in the streets of Cairo.[15][16] Metro line 4 is being developed to reach the New Cairo District.[17]

Egypt established EgyptAir in The airline is based in Cairo International Airport and is owned by the government.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

  • Media related to Egypt at Wikimedia Commons
  • Egypt travel guide from Wikivoyage
Cairo Metro, Sadat Station
  1. Gupta, Kancha (15 December ). "President Sisi must stop Egypt from becoming just another radicalised Arab state Read more: woaknb.wz.sk#ixzz4TE6UcriZ Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter". Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 December &#;
  2. Ahmed A Namatalla (September 12, ). "Egypt Appoints New Prime Minister After Government Resigns". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 December &#;
  3. "Background Note: Egypt". United States Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. 10 November Retrieved 20 February &#;
  4. Goldschmidt, Arthur (). Modern Egypt: The Formation of a Nation-State. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p.&#;5. ISBN&#; &#;
  5. Pierre Crabitès (). Ibrahim of Egypt. Routledge. p.&#;1. ISBN&#; Retrieved 20 February &#;
  6. "Population Clock". Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 27 April Retrieved 27 April &#;
  7. "Indicators from final results of pop. Census compared with Census"(PDF). Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. Retrieved 15 April &#;
  8. "Egypt". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 19 September &#;
  9. "Human Development Report "(PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 5 November &#;
  10. ↑Hope, Christopher; Swinford, Steven (15 February ). "WikiLeaks: Egypt's new man at the top 'was against reform'". The Daily Telegraph. woaknb.wz.sk Retrieved 5 March &#;
  11. "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces: Constitutional Proclamation". Egypt State Information Service. 13 February Retrieved 5 March &#;
  12. de Blij, H. J.; Murphy, Alexander B.; Fouberg, Erin H. (). Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture (8th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. p.&#; ISBN&#;&#;
  13. Namatalla, Ahmed A (). "Mubarak Resigns as Egyptian President". Bloomberg. Retrieved &#;
  14. ↑"Egypt tourism numbers to fall less than feared", Reuters Africa. ()
  15. ↑"Underground, Everything That Life Above Is Not", NY Times. Retrieved May 3,
  16. ↑"Egypt's traffic: The problem grinds on", AhramOnline. Retrieved 8 Oct
  17. ↑"Cairo Metro, Egypt", Railway Technology.

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