The Old Kingdom

Something that many of my classmates may have noticed along with myself is that as the eras move forward through time the communities become more complex, which is as to be expected. I find it amazing that in just a short period of time [in retrospect it seems like a short period of time, that is] the dynamics of the community as a whole changed.

It is interesting how with Memphis is one of the first pharaoh and the breakdown of the nomes [provinces] is a ‘key feature in the empire itself’. The politics must have been interesting and extremely dynamic. You can see links to the Upper and Lower Egypt along with links to the dynastic and the predynastic periods of Egypt [as mentioned in the video lectures].

In the reading on Chapter 6 the author talks about The Old Kingdom of Egypt and how the Old Kingdom had “no fundamental disruptions for more than 500 years, and faced no external threats” (126). This lack of external threats comes as a shock based on how fertile the Nile River Valley really is. Could it possibly be because of the location of Egypt – as in the geography and the topography of the landscape?  The harsh landscape of both the Western and Eastern deserts probably deterred a lot of would be attackers. I feel that it is safe to say that since Egypt had the moderators of the ruling elite they also had a centralization of trade and perhaps an early political system, which as we know lead to social complexity and later pharaohs et al.

Chapter 6 continues on to talk about how Memphis was one of the few ‘large urban centers’ within the country, since Egypt at the time was primarily agriculturally powered. However, there were “provincial administrative centers”. This made me wonder if this was an early development to the political framework that we have modernly. Ethan mentioned that there were positions that resembled the modern prime minister. Also, there was mention of the state controlling most of the land. This helps the state regulate and possibly tax the goods that were produced on the lands that they controlled. Which as we know money – modernly – is essential to the development of a country. I am unsure if Egypt had a currency system at the time of The Old Kingdom, but I feel that it is safe to assume that they used bartering and trade commonly. This movement of goods stimulates more bartering and trade, which most likely results in a set time and place to trade. Later in time these set places to trade probably resulted in permanent clustered housing then to the provincial administrative centers that are indicative of The Old Kingdom.

Aspects of The Old Kingdom seem to contain ideas of both bureaucracy as well as communism. It makes me wonder how much the system changed when the Romans and Greeks started moving into and occupying Egypt. How much did Egypt change and how much did Egypt affect the operation of the Greeks and Romans?


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