Earliest Egypt

A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905), Chapter III, pp. 25-50


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EARLIEST EGYPT 31

petty states should perhaps be recognized in the said administrative or feudal divisions of the country in historic times, the nomes, as the Greeks called them, to which we shall often have occasion to refer. If this be true, there were probably some twenty such states distributed along the river in Upper Egypt. However this may be, these people were already at a stage of civilization where considerable towns appear and city-states, as in Babylon, must have developed, each with its chief or dynast, its local god, worshipped in a crude sanctuary; and its market to which the tributary, outlying country was attracted. The long process by which such communities grew up can be only surmised from the analogy of similar developments elsewhere, but the small kingdoms and city-states, out of which the nation was ultimately consolidated, do not fall within the historic age, as in Babylon.

The gradual fusion which finally merged these petty states into two kingdoms: one in the Delta, and the other comprising the states of the valley above, is likewise a process of which we shall never know the course. Of its heroes and its conquerors, its wars and conquests, not an echo will ever reach us; nor is there the slightest indication of the length of time consumed by this process. It will hardly have been concluded, however, before 4000 B. C. Our knowledge of the two kingdoms which emerged at the end of this long prehistoric age, is but slightly more satisfactory. The Delta was, throughout the historic age, open to inroads of the Libyans who dwelt upon the west of it; and the constant influx of people from this source gave the western Delta a distinctly Libyan character which it preserved even down to the time of Herodotus. At the earliest moment when the monuments enable us to discern the conditions in the Delta, the Pharaoh is contending with the Libyan invaders, and the earlier kingdom of the North will there-fore have been strongly Libyan, if indeed it did not owe its origin to this source. The temple at Sais, in the western Delta, the chief centre of Libyan influence in Egypt, bore the name "House of the King of Lower Egypt" (the Delta),



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