Between the floodplain and the hills is a variable band of low desert that supported a certain amount of game. The First Cataract at Aswān, where the riverbed is turned into rapids by a belt of granite, was the country’s only well-defined boundary within a populated area.
To the south lay the far less hospitable area of , in which the river flowed through low sandstone hills that in most regions left only a very narrow strip of cultivable land.
Nubia was significant for Egypt’s periodic southward expansion and for access to products from farther south.
West of the Nile was the arid , broken by a chain of oases some 125 to 185 miles (200 to 300 km) from the river and lacking in all other resources except for a few minerals.
Egypt is a BBC television docudrama serial portraying events in the history of Egyptology from the 18th through early 20th centuries.
It originally aired on Sunday nights at 9 pm on BBC1 in 2005.
The cataract, however, has lost much of its grandeur since the building of the great dam which now regulates the supply for the irrigation of the country in time of low water. (For further details on Manetho and his work see the preface of C. 69-99.) In the next place should be mentioned a list of so-called Theban kings handed down by Erotosthenes of Cyrene (third century B. It seems to be a translation of some Egyptian royal list similar to the Table of Karnak [see C. The following chronological table up to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty is condensed from the excellent work of Professor J. Such traditions, until confirmed by the monuments, or at any rate purified of their legendary elements by comparison with them, must of course be kept in abeyance.
From around 9000 BC, the North African hunter-gatherer inhabitants of the fertile Nile Valley enjoyed the milder post-glacial conditions, domesticating animals and increasing in number.
One of these rulers was the first to unite the whole valley, from the first cataract near the Nubian Desert to the Mediterranean, as a single kingdom in about 3400 or 3100 BC.
There are two main schools of thought regarding the dating of Egyptian dynasties.
In the late sixth millennium BC farming villages appeared, as did rock art in some of the region's caves, and the following two millennia saw the gradual formation of small states.
After 4000 BC, thanks to the sudden desiccation of the grass plains of the Sahara and an influx of people towards the Nile, there was a substantial increase in population, and villages sizes increased accordingly.
Distances by water are somewhat greater owing to the winding course of the river. Such data in themselves have no chronological value, as the phases of the moon return to the same positions on the calendar every nineteen years; taken, however, in conjunction with other data, they can help us to determine more precisely the chronology of some events (Breasted, op. Unfortunately, the first of these last two monuments is broken into many fragments and otherwise mutilated, while the second is but a fragment of a much larger stone. Still we must mention here the of the Egyptian priest Manetho of Sebennytus, third century B. Of this work we have: (a) Some fragments which, preserved by Josephus (Contra Apion, I, xiv, xv, xx), were used by Eusebius in his "Præparatio Evangelica" and the first book of his "Chronicon"; (b) by an epitome which has reached us in two recensions; one of these recensions (the better of the two) was used by Julius Africanus, and the other by Eusebius in their respective chronicles; both have been preserved by Georgius Syncellus (eighth-ninth century) in his . Jerome and an Armenian version of the Eusebian recension, while fragments of the recension of Julius Africanus are to be found in the so-called "Excerpta Barbara". Such is the case, for instance, for the first five dynasties, of which all we can say is that they must have ruled successively over the whole land of Egypt and that their kings must have been conquerors as well as builders.
latitude, which, under the eighteenth dynasty, was the southernmost city of the empire another stretch of about 590 miles by rail. The Egyptians also recorded the coincidence of new moons with the days of their calendar. Moreover, ancient Egypt has bequeathed to us a number of monuments of a more or less chronological character: The calendars of religious feasts [Calendars of Dendera (Tentyris), Edfu, Esneh, all three of which belong to the late period, Calendar of Papyrus Sallier IV] are especially interesting because they illustrate the nature of the Egyptian year (see Ginzel, op. Two chronological compilations known as the Turin Papyrus, Nineteenth Dynasty, and the Palermo Stone, Fifth Dynasty, from the places where they are now preserved. Of secondary importance are the data furnished by the Greek and Latin writers. Other dynasties are known to us by their monuments, especially their tombs, which are often extremely rich in information as to the institutions, arts, manners, and customs of Egypt during the lifetime of their occupants, but almost totally devoid of historical evidence proper.
The eastern desert, between the Nile and the Red Sea, was more important, for it supported a small nomadic population and desert game, contained numerous mineral deposits, including gold, and was the route to the , from which came turquoise and possibly copper, and with southwestern Asia, Egypt’s most important area of cultural interaction, from which were received stimuli for technical development and cultivars for crops.
Immigrants and ultimately invaders crossed the isthmus into Egypt, attracted by the country’s stability and prosperity. The fertility of the land and general predictability of the inundation ensured very high productivity from a single annual crop.
Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets.
This article focuses on Egypt from its prehistory through its unification under .