The Role of the Environment (Geography) in the Emergence of the Egyptian Civilization
The Egyptian civilization was highly influenced by the environment and geographical locations of its cities, writings and religion. The largest number of the population of the ancient Egypt was located along River Nile where water and other economic resources were easily accessible (Hoffman 1979). When civilization started, the River was an important economic resource and a lot of structures and activities were carried out along the river.
Cities were formed around the Nile River due to its fertility and accessibility for trade and communication. As farming was carried out in large scale and trade grew immensely during civilization, the cities near River Nile evolved dramatically (Bell and Sarah 2010). People grew food along the river due to the availability of water and the fertility of the land. The river became an important feature that attracted settlements, leading to a significant growth of cities (Stalcup 2000). Being in a desert, Egypt’s survival relied on the river. Therefore, as civilization continued people came to live in the cities near the river in order to increase their chances of survival.
Egyptians lived in an environment with a lot of dessert features. Due to the seasonal rains in East Africa where River Nile originates, the Nile overflowed annually during the ancient Egyptian civilization (Smith 1916). When the rains decreased, rich black soil was deposited on the floodplain. This environmental phenomenon led to successful agricultural production in Egypt (Stalcup 2000). The sun was also shining relentlessly, providing light and heat for the people and crops. Furthermore, natural dessert barriers caused protection of the Egyptians against foreigners.
In terms of arts and writings, a strong and creative society was created following the rise of cities and civilizations along the Nile Delta. The Lighthouse at Alexandria and the Pyramids of Giza became two of the five wonders of the world. There were a lot of written records of ancient Egyptians including moralistic treatises, love poetry, instructional texts and tales. Their knowledge in Mathematics and architecture motivated by the environment also led to development of large stone buildings (Smith 1916). The availability of building stones and other architectural materials encourage the ancient Egyptians to develop writings and architecture in the Nile Delta region. The Nile River was also a good environment for the growth of papyrus plant that was used to write texts. This encouraged the development of writing during civilization, which was one of the earliest forms of writings. Egypt’s location in the desert area also exposed them to see the stars and sun, which formed the basis of their calendar, which one of the earliest developed calendars during the civilization era.
In terms of religion, various religious beliefs of ancient Egyptians were determined by geography and the environment. Religion was influenced by literature, medicine, astronomy and art. It has already been suggested that the astronomy (of stars and the sun), arts and literature were influenced by the environment (Bell and Sarah 2010). The religious beliefs were therefore guided by environmental factors. Egyptian gods were animals, but Egyptians were motivated by intellectual adventure to belief in many gods and goddesses who seemed appropriate to them. These gods influenced natural phenomena in the environment.
Indeed, the growth of cities, religion and writing in Egypt was influenced by its location in the Nile Delta. The agricultural strength and dessert features of the ancient Egypt improved the power and knowledge of the society, leading to civilization in terms of writing, growth of cities and development of religious beliefs. Seasonal flooding of River Nile led to increased agricultural production of the region. Growth of papyrus also encouraged writing and the landscape motivated architectural designs.
Bell, Michael, and Sarah Quie. Ancient Egyptian Civilization. New York: Rosen Central, 2010. Print.
Hoffman, Michael A. Egypt Before the Pharaohs: The Prehistoric Foundations of Egyptian Civilization. New York: Knopf, 1979. Print.
Smith, Grafton E. The Influence of Ancient Egyptian Civilization in the East and in America. Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 3 (1916): 48-77. Print.
Stalcup, Brenda. Ancient Egyptian Civilization. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Print.