The film shown in class today kept coming back to the theme of the ancient Egyptians trying to control chaos. The Nile and its annual flood was a large part of that chaos, but also incredibly important to the everyday life of the Egyptian people providing them with food and a route of transportation.
The Egyptians relied heavily on religious rituals in all aspects of their lives, so it is not surprising that they also used rituals to try and control the chaos of their lives. What struck me was the attempt to build a dam that was so large and quite an undertaking in both manpower and engineering. In light of the pyramids and numerous temples, perhaps this is not the finest piece of ancient Egyptian work. It is interesting that so much time and effort was spent on the construction of the dam which would have benefited the people of that area in being able to control the waters of the Nile. Although this likely would have also benefited the elites who were behind the construction, it appears that it is one example of civil engineering as opposed to the individual benefits for the construction of pyramids and large temples.
I also find it interesting that the ancient people were motivated to step outside of their religious rituals to control chaos and attempt to build something that would physically control the chaos. Perhaps the construction of this dam was triggered by divine inspiration. It is a shame that such a large undertaking was destroyed so quickly which I am sure affirmed the Egyptian’s belief that these forces were greater than man. I do wonder about how this dam if it had been completed and functioned, would have changed the history of Egypt. Would the surrounding area grow in power, as the inhabitants were able to finally control chaos?