Today, I thought we’d try looking into the birth of the Pharaonic era of Ancient Egypt. We’ve done as much as we could, to talk about Egyptology and Archaeology themselves, so why not actually take a look at the how’s of the Ancient Egyptian timeline, starting with the Pharaonic period.
Now, let me remind you, this is the birth of the 3000-year period where one ruler reigned over both Upper (southern) and Lower (northern) Egypt. We’re not going into its pre-history yet, because…well there is a lot to uncover there. So, we’ll be looking at one of the most illustrious periods of the ancient world, and believe me, it’s as grand as it is violent!
How Was Egypt Founded?
Well, first of all, Egypt as we know it wasn’t around until about 3000 BC. Before then, Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was closer around Sudan and the deserts to the south of our modern-day Egypt. Lower Egypt was towards the Delta, and the Mediterranean Sea.
The difference between the two was that Upper Egypt established themselves as monarchic and an actual kingdom. Lower Egypt was called the “Principalities of the Delta”, since the people lived in tribes. Now, you can probably guess what happened. Upper Egypt got a little bit greedy and they wanted the land Lower Egypt claimed for themselves, so they started a war and united the two kingdoms.
Well, that’s exactly what happened! Archaeologists have dubbed that unity, and its subsequent rulers as Dynasty Zero, and when they did unite, the population was said to be around one million. That’s quite a lot, considering the fact that we’re talking about early human history here. Anyway, the person who united Egypt was called Narmer, and in honour of his success, he dedicated a temple to the Egyptian god Horus, in Hierakonpolis, and mapped out his victory on a slab of stone, called the Narmer Palette.
Isn’t There A Different Version?
Ok, so for a while, there was a debate on how Egypt was united. There was the violent altercation between Upper and Lower Egypt, and there was apparently one where they used trade and peace talks to unite the two. Well, you could say that both means were employed. Narmer did try to use peaceful means to conquer Lower Egypt, but the chiefs or the leaders of the tribes refused him, so he chose to go to war instead.
Now, the reason why he changed tune was because he was first and foremost a military leader, but because he was so effective as a ruler, he was basically dubbed a king, by his people. He’d go about and inspect his kingdom, making sure that the people of Upper Egypt were prosperous. Most of the time, it was because his kingdom relied heavily on the River Nile.
Water Is Life
Ok, we’ll come back to Narmer and his union of Upper and Lower Egypt, in a bit. First, let’s look at how Upper Egypt thrived, and why they needed to expand their territories in the first place. Their capital city, if you’d like was based in Hierakonpolis, now modern day Nekhen. It was their powerhouse, and where Narmer and his family lived. About 10 000 people lived there, and most lived in clay houses.
If you’re not familiar with an Ancient Egyptian map, Hierakonpolis was situated on the banks of the River Nile, near where Edfu is and is closer to Aswan than Cairo. The city spread for about 5km across the Nile and because it was so close to a source of water, the people managed to live well. After all they could irrigate their crops, use the fresh water for drinking and caring for their livestock.
Essentially, water was a vital source of life, considering the fact that beyond the river, on both sides, were deserts that stretched for miles. So, for Narmer and his people, water was a gift from the gods, and because it was the southern-most point, of their territory, they built a temple on the island of Elephantine. They also believed that it was the source of their water, when actually the Nile spread farther into Sudan and Ethiopia, splitting into the White Nile, in Sudan, and the Blue Nile, in Ethiopia.
Here Come The Floods
Now, the reason why the people of Upper Egypt revered the Nile was because every summer, the Nile would flood the surrounding area, thanks to the rains in the Ethiopian mountains, where the Blue Nile originates. Since it makes up 60% of the Nile’s waters, the rains would add a significant amount of water, every summer, and would cause the Nile to expand by around 2 to 8 meters, every year.
So, judging the Nile’s floodwaters was essential to life in Upper Egypt, because if you planted your crops too close to the banks, and the floods were too high or too low, then you’d suffer for the rest of the year. Of course, during Dynasty Zero, descendants would build a Nileometer. It would measure the floodwaters of the Nile and help the rest of the people of Egypt to determine how, when and where to plant their crops.
Let’s Do A Little More Research
Alright, we’ll leave it there for now, because this is a long story, and I don’t think you guys are interested in reading an essay. So, let me give you some homework. I want you to watch the documentary Planet Egypt, especially the first episode. You can learn a little more about Narmer and his conquest of Lower Egypt, and how he and his people worshipped the gods who provided their means of living, and even a little bit about the migration and needs about pre-historic Ancient Egypt.
Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!