This is the first in what is going to be a series of articles by Mohamed Fahmy who holds a BA in Egyptology and worked for several years as an Egyptologist in Egypt.
Many remains of primitive civilisations are to be found in Egypt. Stone implements give us grounds to believe that from a time when man used a stone axe, roughly hewn, to when he learned to make the polished flint daggers of the Neolithic period, this country was continuously inhabited.
It is impossible to specify the exact proportions in which African, Asiatic and perhaps even European elements contributed to form the population which developed into the Egyptian race, but once these Ancient Egyptians were in the country, the conditions of life and climate helped them to found one of the oldest centres of civilization in the ancient world.
It seems that among the factors which helped in achieving the prosperity and continuous evolution of civilisation in Ancient Egypt are:
- 1. A good climate which is suitable for animal, life and plant growth
- 2. The fertility of the Nile Valley
- 3. The River Nile
- 4. The growth of nearly all vegetables necessary for man in the Nile Valley
- 5. The presence of Eastern and Western Deserts on both side of the Nile Valley which protected Egypt from any invasions of the neighbouring nations
- 6. The geographical location of Egypt between Africa and Asia and very close to Europe
Sources of Ancient Egyptian History
The sources of Ancient Egyptian history are either documentary or classical.
The documentary sources
These include tablets giving the names of the Kings, written in order, and the many inscribed monuments found everywhere in Egypt. The most important tablets are the following;
1. Palermo stone
A large fragment of a basalt stone tablet which gives a big list of Ancient Egypt Kings from the first Dynasty to the Fifth Dynasty and also includes some important events that took place in Ancient Egypt (It’s now in Palermo Museum Italy)
2. The List of Saqqara
Was found in 1861 in the tomb of the royal scribe Thunery at Saqqara. It gives the names of 47 Ancient Egyptians kings from the first dynasty ending with King Ramesses II. (It’s now in Cairo Museum Piece no 660)
3. Turin Papyrus
This papyrus tells us lots about the reign of King Ramesses II, it also contain a list of kings ending with those of the 19th Dynasty (It’s now in Turin Museum Italy)
4. The list of ABYDOS Temple
Inside the temple of Abydos (built by King Seti I) there is a big tablet on the wall of the temple giving the names of 76 kings. (Abydos temple South of Egypt)
5. The list of Karank Temple
It was discovered in 1825 in Karnak temple, Luxor city and gave us the names of the Kings who ruled Ancient Egypt (It’s now in the Louvre Museum Paris)
The Classical Sources:
These include all the books that were written about Egypt by ancient writers and the most important are;
A Greek historian who visited Egypt about 450 BC and wandered all over the country asking the priests about its history and religion, he devoted the second volume of his “histories” to Egypt.
One of his famous quotes is “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”
An Egyptian priest of the Ptolemaic period (The Greek Period in Egypt), who wrote in Greek by the order of King Ptolemy II, “their Egyptian memoirs” in which he grouped all the kings who ruled Ancient Egypt into 30 Dynasties. Unfortunately Manetho’s works are lost but fragments were found and restored in 70 AD.
This is the first part of what will be a series on Egypt.
Written by Mohamed Fahmy
At Explore Travel and Cruises we are passionate about history and we are really keen to share our love and knowledge. If you have any questions about the history of Egypt please use the comment box below or on our Facebook page and our Egyptologist will answer your questions