A history of Egypt and Egyptian antiquities 3000 B.C. - 396 A.D.

    Writing in the fifth century B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the gift of the Nile. By this he meant that without the Nile, Egypt as a prosperous, culturally significant country would not exist. By Egypt, the Egyptian in antiquity really meant the area of the Nile valley. The Nile is about 750 miles long, but the total distance with tributaries deep into Africa is closer to 1,913 miles. It "inundates" the land each year in August. This inundation spread rich alluvial land, making Egypt exceptionally fertile. In antiquity the inundation was worshipped as the god Hapy. The gods of the First Cataract (Satis, Khunum, and Anukis), near Aswan, were thought to have a direct influence on the inundation.

    The southern border of the Nile is in Wadi Halfa, Sudan. It separates into the Delta a few miles north of Cairo. In the earliest antiquity, the Delta was an undeveloped area of swamp and marsh. There were three main channels through the Delta in ancient times. Its broad distribution made the Nile the principal means of transport until about 1600 B.C., when horses and vehicles with wheels became widely-used.

    Egypt was rich in every resource except timber. From the Late Predynastic period, timber was imported from Syria and Lebanon.

    There were a total of thirty-one dynasties running from about 3100 to 332 B.C. The Ptolemaic period (332 - 30 B.C.) came after the Dynastic period.