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Ancient Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

Ancient Egyptian civilization lasted for more than 3000 years. When we think of ancient civilizations, Egypt is one of the first places that comes to mind.

Before Egypt really came into being, there were a few small independent city states along the Nile river. Around 3100 BC, the upstream cities and downstream cities merged into one Egyptian state.

Just as with Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley Civilization, Egypt was strategically located near a river, in this case the Nile river.

The Nile was particularly interesting because it was relatively benign, easily navigable, and had a regular flooding schedule. It flooded every year at the same time, unlike Mesopotamia’s Tigris and Euphrates which flooded unpredictably and violently.

Since the Nile was relatively tame, irrigation required much less effort and technology than other river civilizations. The soil was so fertile that planting was as easy as throwing the seeds in the soil, getting animals to walk over it, and waiting.

Because of this, Egypt was able to create a large food surplus with minimal effort, allowing them to have a lot of extra time and resources.

Egyptians were optimistic, at least with respect to their views on the afterlife. They believed that the afterlife was a continuation of this life, and were buried with things they enjoyed and cared about because they believed they would be able to take those things with them.

Rulers of Egypt were seen as the liaison between humans and the gods. After death, the pharaoh would become a god. Costly and elaborate tombs like the pyramids were built and filled with gold, jewelry, and even pets, so that the pharaoh could have these things in the afterlife.

The Egyptians invented some cool things. They created some written languages like Hieroglyphics and Hieratic, and invented papyrus as a material to write on.

They combined math and astronomy to give us the 24 hour day, and the 365 day year.

They came up with a new unit of measurement called the cubit, which allowed them to design massive structures like the pyramids with precision.

With one of the longest lifespans of any civilization, and a ton of cultural contributions and innovations, ancient Egypt is truly something to admire.

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