The Egyptians' civilization ability is Iteru, which decreases the build time of wonders and districts adjacent to rivers and grants them the ability to build wonders and districts on Desert Floodplains. In Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, Egyptian units, improvements and districts are immune to flood damage. Their unique unit is the Maryannu Chariot Archer, and their unique tile improvement is the Sphinx.
Egypt under Cleopatra is a wildcard; as they aren't skewed towards any particular victory condition, it is difficult to predict how they will proceed. Whether building up a religious army of Missionaries and Apostles ready to convert the entire world, laying down multiple Theater Squares and wonders for an inexorable Cultural Victory, sending Trade Routes to improve their economy, or even investing in their powerful but extremely expensive unique unit to take out unsuspecting neighbors, Egypt can do it all. Egypt is a rare cultural civilization that can also be on the offense, and underestimating Egyptian militaristic prowess in the early game can spell doom for most empires.
Boosted Production to riverside construction of Districts and Wonders
Out of the three Wonder-building abilities (the other two are Qin Shi Huang's and France's), this is the only one that applies all game long, but by no means it is the most impactful one out of the three. A lot of powerful and game changing Wonders are in the Ancient and Classical Era, but during this time there is no one in the game that can compete with Qin Shi Huang in building them. 15% extra Production is nice, but it is by no means a guarantee you will get the Wonder, especially in the early game when Production of cities is low and 15% extra means only 1 or 2 more Production. An extra problem with this ability is that it's restricted to Wonders built on tiles adjacent to a river. Naturally, this means you want to maximize the number of free river tiles, since there are only so many river tiles you can have per city. You may want to look for confluences of multiple rivers or settle next to other sources of Fresh Water, like Lakes or Oases, to free up as many river tiles as you can. This also applies to constructing districts, but unless there's a riverside spot with an outstanding adjacency bonus, river tiles should be reserved for Wonders and Sphinxes only. Sphinxes are the core power of your empire if you want to go on a Religious or Cultural path, and they give their best yields when built next to rivers. Since districts, unlike Wonders, do not have a time limit on when you can build them, and 15% extra Production isn't that outstanding, they should have lower priority than Sphinxes. This ability is highly synergistic with the Commercial Hub, since this district gains a major adjacency bonus from rivers, and it can be built faster thanks to this ability if placed next to one. Also, Cleopatra's ability puts a heavy emphasis on sending Trade Routes, making Commercial Hubs an even more important district for Egypt.
Other sources of extra Production can stack nicely with this ability, including certain policy cards, the Monument to the Gods Pantheon, Autocracy, the Heartbeat of Steam Dedication, and industrial city-states, particularly Brussels.
Overall, this is niche more than anything. The bonus is welcome but it is not strong enough that you should allow yourself get carried away in constructing Wonders. It surely gives you an edge on the Wonder race, but it is not in any way a definitive guarantee you will get the Wonder, so do not overestimate your power in this aspect.
Districts and Wonders can be built on Floodplains (Vanilla and Rise and Fall only)
This aspect is just terrible - it hurts you more often than it benefits you. Before the release of Gathering Storm, Floodplains only appear on Desert tiles. These tiles are the only fertile parts in a barren area, as it provides precious 3 Food and can be improved with a Farm to provide extra Food and Housing. Naturally, if you spawn on Desert, you do not want to place your Wonders and districts here. Desert cities often struggle with low Food and Production, so 15% extra Production you have towards constructing Wonders and districts is trivial, and you definitely do not want to snuff out the few fertile tiles.
Units and infrastructure immune to Flood damage (Gathering Storm only)
This is the turnaround that Egypt direly needed. It catapults Egypt from a mediocre civilization at best to a much more solid standing. Besides Volcanoes, Floods are the most dangerous disaster in the early game, because you have relatively limited options on how to deal with them before unlocking Dams. The other two options are to promote Liang to gain the Reinforced Materials title, which costs 3 Governor titles and can only protect one city, or build the Great Bath, both of which come with huge opportunity costs. Egypt negates this completely, yet is still able to reap the full benefits of settling next to a River. On high disaster settings, Egypt will be constantly rewarded with a stream of extra Food and Production just by settling next to a River (something that every civilization except the Maya wants to do anyway) without any worry about the destruction from Floods.
Due to this ability, Dams become much less important when playing as Egypt, but they are not entirely useless. Dams can still house the late game Hydroelectric Dam, which is the best source of renewable energy, and provide major adjacency bonus to Industrial Zones - arguably the most important district in the game when the Industrial Era comes.
Cleopatra's leader ability focuses heavily on sending international Trade Routes, as it rewards handsomely in Gold. 4 extra Gold early on can effectively double or more than double the original yields. However, this also means that your cities will not receive Food and Production from trading internally, which in turn weakens the Iteru ability. This is a tricky balance. Generally, it is still recommended to send internal Trade Routes from new cities, or cities settling in low yield terrains, like Desert or Tundra, or cities that is currently constructing an important Wonder. Other than that, 4 Gold per Trade Route in the early game is a lot to pass.
This ability also encourages other nearby empires to trade with Egypt. The extra Food provided to other civilizations who send Trade Routes to you provide an important incentive for them to do so, similar to how Sweden works in Civilization V: Gods & Kings or the University of Sankore. Opponents, especially human players, will be much less likely to perform an action that they know will only benefit you. The extra Gold plays well into the previous part of the ability and the Reform the Coinage Golden Age Dedication, setting you up for a huge treasury to use on whatever you feel necessary, as Gold is still one of the most versatile currencies in the game. Last but not least, by making you a valuable trade partner for your neighbors, you are less likely to be targeted for wars.
When Alliances are unlocked, sending external Trade Routes provides additional benefits for Egypt, as you gain extra Alliance points from Trade Routes and can reach level 3 Alliances much more quickly than other civilizations, especially when in conjunction with policy cards. You can gain Alliance points in the following ways:
- 1 point per turn passively from being an ally to a civilization.
- 0.25 points per turn from sending at least one Trade Route to them (this gets increased to 0.5 per turn under Cleopatra).
- 0.25 points per turn from receiving at least one Trade Route from them (this also gets increased to 0.5 per turn under Cleopatra).
- 0.25 points per turn if you have the Wisselbanken or Arsenal of Democracy policy cards (doubled if they have one of these as well).
- 0.5 points per turn if you are an ally of Gilgamesh and you are both at war with the same enemy. (Does not have to be a Joint War).
Under the Gathering Storm ruleset, note that Arsenal of Democracy is not a policy card and its effects are transferred to the Democracy government. Therefore, Alliance points will grow by 0.25 extra if one party has adopted Democracy and by 0.5 extra if both have adopted Democracy.
The first four ways can be done rather easily as Cleopatra, provided that your ally isn't too far from you. From the first four ways, Cleopatra can gain 2.25 Alliance points whereas a normal leader can only gain 1.75 points. Considering that you need 80 Alliance points from level 1 to level 2, and 160 points from level 2 to level 3, Cleopatra can level up Alliances reliably a few turns quicker every game. The best thing is that Alliances are unlocked around the same time the Maryannu Chariot Archer becomes obsolete, so declaring friends with the world when your militaristic prowess wanes is a sound choice!
Maryannu Chariot Archer
The Maryannu Chariot Archer is a very powerful early game unit. On flat terrain, its Movement is unmatched by any standard unit of its time and equaled only by the War-Cart and the Saka Horse Archer...neither of which can compete with the Maryannu Chariot Archer's Range and high Ranged Strength. Its drawbacks are its high Production and maintenance costs, but a few Maryannu Chariot Archers can form the base of a strong military in the early game.
The Maryannu Chariot Archer's classification as a ranged cavalry unit means it can benefit from both the Agoge and Maneuver policy cards (and their respective upgrades), but the bonuses don't stack. In Gathering Storm, it becomes independent, so Egypt can train Heavy Chariots and doesn't have to rely on Warriors as the only frontline option to back up its Maryannu Chariot Archers in the Ancient Era. It is advisable for the Egyptians to slot Maneuver since it benefits both of the units they need.
In the expansions, the Maryannu Chariot Archer's high cost makes it a unit that the Egyptians will either train once for the +4 Era Score and then ignore, or train in numbers and then go to war to get something out of their investment. A neighboring opponent who hasn't focused on building up his or her empire's defenses will easily fall prey to a few Maryannu Chariot Archers with melee or cavalry support.
The Sphinx has some of the least restrictive placement requirements of any improvement - any passable land tile is fair game, except for Snow and Snow Hills in Gathering Storm. The Egyptians should build them on tiles that cannot support other improvements, or adjacent to wonders for some extra Faith. Thanks to their Appeal bonus, well-placed Sphinxes can create good spots for Seaside Resorts and National Parks, or increase the yields of those that are already there.
Before Gathering Storm, the Sphinx grants +1 Appeal to adjacent tiles, but with Gathering Storm, it grants +2 Appeal, which is equivalent to a natural wonder other than Uluru or the Appeal amount granted by the Eiffel Tower, a Modern Era Wonder! And you can put this almost everywhere in your empire! Since Appeal is not a yield you can see on the map without its special lens, it tends to be underrated by players. The best Pantheon for Egypt, therefore, is Earth Goddess, since it is never easier to get Breathtaking tiles everywhere. Since Appeal bonus stacks, if a tile is adjacent to 2 Sphinxes, it will receive +4 Appeal. This Pantheon will generate a huge amount of Faith early on as well as into the mid- and late game that will help you with any victory type you choose.
The three best victory types for Egypt are Religious, Cultural, and Diplomatic. Religious Victory and Cultural Victory tend to go hand in hand. Egypt with the Sphinx will reliably generate a huge amount of Faith if they can choose Earth Goddess as their Pantheon. Make sure even if you choose Religious Victory as your primary path, remember to put down Theater Squares to have a backup, as Religious Victory has a rather small window of opportunity. Faith, coupled with your high Appeal territory, will yield Tourism when you unlock the ability to construct National Parks and Seaside Resorts. Also, Egypt's large treasury under Cleopatra allows them to win Aid Requests reliably to earn Diplomatic Victory points. Moreover, Egypt has a lot of incentives in declaring friendship and Alliances with the world, and the ability to level up Alliances quickly can also translate into a large amount of Diplomatic Favor per turn.
Domination Victory can also work for Egypt, if the map is not too large. The problem with going Domination for civilizations with a powerful unique unit like Egypt or the Inca, or even Russia, is that they do not have any militaristic bonuses that help them in war before and after their units become irrelevant. They have to rely solely on a unit within a limited time window to get their Domination snowball rolling, so whether or not they can win a Domination Victory depends a lot on how large the map is (the smaller the better) and how much they can achieve within the time window of their units. For the first playthrough, Domination is not exactly the best choice for someone who is learning and having a first feel of the civilization.
Everyone loves rivers, but Egypt's love for rivers is on another level. If forward settling to block Egypt's expansion to more rivers turns out infeasible, then remember that their infrastructure tends to be highly concentrated around rivers; Farms, Sphinxes, and districts are all priority pillaging targets. Horseback Riding should be a crucial technology to beeline for if you spawn next to Egypt. Horsemen are naturally good at pillaging (it is light cavalry's job, after all), and exceptionally good at dealing with Maryannu Chariot Archers. These units are so expensive that every time Egypt invests Production in building one, it would be a huge setback if just one of them gets killed. Horsemen are fast enough to catch up to and quickly kill Maryannu in melee battles. Later in the game, after the Maryannu is obsolete, there is no need to keep harassing Egypt - they are largely not a threat anymore (though you can freely declare war on them if you think they and their infrastructure are getting out of control, since they have no extra defensive capabilities). In the midgame, send them Trade Routes; the 2 Food you will receive is arguably better than the 2 Gold they will have from that (unless you have a new city and want it to grow quickly, in which case your Capital or another city you own is a better destination for a Trade Route).
When the Greeks were still bashing each other in the head with rocks and Rome wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye, Pharaonic Egypt had already established a civilization along the banks of the River Nile to stand the test of time … well, at least a few millennia. Until absorbed by mighty Rome, around 170 successive pharaohs had ruled the fertile lands. At its inception, those settling Egypt discovered that the floodplains of the Nile were exceptionally fertile for cultivating grain - which in turn lead to the rise of major cities such as Hierakonpolis and later Abydos. Coincidentally, these Naqada also founded the first Egyptian dynasty.
Besides establishing trade routes with Nubia to the south and city-states in the Levant and Near East, these early Egyptians began manufacturing combs, small statuary, pottery, cosmetics, jewelry, furniture and all those other knickknacks needed for a consumer society. Somewhere around 3150 BC they also developed elaborate mortuary cults and building complex mastaba tombs. The first pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (roughly 2686-2181 BC) decided that, what with all this wealth being generated, it made sense to create a system of taxes which they used to build irrigation projects, a justice system, and a standing army. And, coincidentally, massive tombs and monuments (the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx among others) to celebrate their own godhood.</Text>
Indeed, Egypt would be, not for the first time, a polytheistic theocracy of the iconic sort. Although human, the pharaohs were believed descended from the gods – Osiris, Anubis, Horus, Isis and others. Although supposedly equal, at various times specific gods were elevated in worship: the ubiquitous sun-god Ra during the Middle Kingdom, Amun during the New Kingdom, and such. Periodically, during revisionism among the priesthood – a power unto themselves as so often in history – Egyptian deities were merged, although retaining mystical aspects of their former selves (e.g. Amun-Ra, a synthesis of hidden power with the sun). Only the Egyptians seemed to keep them all straight. To this was added an elaborate system of burial customs, for the Egyptians were among the first to codify the afterlife and planned on enjoying it, provided they were wealthy enough. To insure the health and happiness of the ka (life-force) and ba (spirit or soul), burial rituals and protocols came to include mummification, magic spells, sarcophagi and grave goods. This Egyptian mysticism has since declined to the stuff of legend, and Hollywood horror films.
All this peace and prosperity had its price: apathy, corruption, infrastructure decay, in-breeding and in-fighting in the royal family. Regional nomarchs (governors) soon challenged the central government for local authority; taxes began being collected by the nomarchs, and in short order the pharaohs could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration, accelerating the political decay. Add a period of severe drought for fifty years beginning in 2200 BC, and the Old Kingdom collapsed, with rival pharaohs in Herakleopolis and Thebes duking it out to control the Nile. In time – well, a couple centuries – the Intef clan, the nomarchs in Thebes, managed to outlast all other claimants to control the Upper and Lower Kingdoms and reunite Egypt into one. The Middle Kingdom (2134-1690 BC) had begun, with a resurgence in art, trade, wealth, military adventures and those curious monuments scattered about the landscape for later generations of tourists to gawk at.
But, of course, Pharaonic Egypt just couldn’t seem to stay stable for more than a few centuries at a time. By the age of the Fourteenth Dynasty (which ended c. 1650 BC), things were falling apart yet again. The government collapsed in spectacular fashion, as it had before and would after. The Middle Kingdom was followed by the Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom Period, the Third Intermediate Period, and the Late Kingdom Period. During this (lasting from 2100 BC to perhaps 600 BC) the Egyptian government would rise and fall several times, and periods of strife and internal conflict would be followed by periods of relative peace and prosperity, if not more sense. External foes would invade when Egypt was weak, and the pharaohs would extend their empire when Egypt was strong. With all this rebirth and decay, it was inevitable that outsiders would eventually decide to get into the act. In 525 BC Egypt was captured by Persia, who would control the country until it was taken by Alexander the Great in 332 BC as he systematically dismantled the Persian Empire. After Alexander's death a Macedonian general established the Ptolemaic Dynasty, Egypt’s last.
Founded by Ptolemy Soter, one of Alexander’s favorites appointed satrap of Egypt after his death, the new dynasty was quickly accepted by the phlegmatic locals and Egypt flourished for 275 years. In general, the first Ptolemies (all these pharaohs took the name “Ptolemy,” while the queens – most sisters to their husbands – were named Cleopatra or Berenice just to add to the confusion) were surprisingly able rulers. At least, that’s what the texts of the time proclaim, and of all ancient Egyptian dynasties the Ptolemaic is the best documented in writing. These upstart Macedonian pharaohs adopted Egyptian ways, built new monuments to the old gods, expanded into new regions through land grants to Macedonian veterans (not coincidently establishing a well-trained militia), fixed the levees, lowered taxes, and so won the hearts and minds of the populace.
The first through the third Ptolemies made Egypt an economic powerhouse, exporting everything from trinkets to treasures. But it was grain that made Egypt filthy rich, as the Nile became the breadbasket of the Mediterranean Basin. Emmer wheat, barley and fava beans where bought and transshipped by every upstart empire and ancient city state, along with cotton, flax and henna for clothing. Too, Egypt was the crossroads for trade routes from the south and east into the Mediterranean, bringing ever more wealth. It is not surprising that others soon cast covetous eyes on the kingdom, slowly sinking into decadence again.
In 170 BC, the Hellenic Seleucid Antiochus IV invaded and deposed the ten-year-old Ptolemy VI, installing his younger brother Euergetes as Ptolemy VIII and joint ruler. That didn’t last long. The sordid dynastic quarrels left Egypt so weakened as to become a de facto protectorate of Rome, its primary client for the agricultural bounty. Furthermore, ongoing inner familial relations led to diminished physical and mental acumen in later generations. Historians believe the genetic line suffered from morbid obesity, exophthalmos, a multi-organ fibrotic condition, and fibrosclerosis. By the time Cleopatra VII was wed to her younger brother Ptolemy XIII in 51 BC, the writing was on the wall (or hieroglyphs on the plinth, as the case may be).
After watching as the Macedons and Seleucids nibbled at the edges of their decaying kingdom, the Egyptian rulers had allied themselves to the expanding but distant Roman Empire, a pact that would last nearly 150 years. However, the avaricious Romans kept demanding ever more tribute and influence over internal affairs, such as settling that sibling spat between the last Cleopatra and last Ptolemy. That sordid affair began with the wedding and a power struggle between the queen and the pharaoh for dominance in the kingdom, into which stepped the Roman counsel Julius Caesar, who stayed in the palace in Alexandria and soon took up with the 22-year-old Cleopatra.
With Julius’s troops at her back, Cleopatra VII – after a few skirmishes in Alexandria (during one of which the Great Library there may have burned) – defeated Ptolemy XIII at the Battle of the Nile, in which he “shockingly” drowned shortly thereafter. Cleopatra soon married the even younger Ptolemy XIV, bore Julius a son, moved to Rome, and allied with Marc Anthony upon Caesar’s murder and the resulting power vacuum. Octavian Caesar, exasperated with this sorcerous “Foreign Queen,” declared war on her and Anthony. The new emperor entered Alexandria in August 30 BC in triumph, and Cleopatra followed her latest lover by committing suicide.
With the death of Cleopatra, Egypt formally became a Roman province. The Romans, taking a clue from the success of the early Ptolemies, pretty much left Egypt alone in its religion, culture and trade. It was business as usual, with Rome now reaping the financial benefits. Pharonic Egypt was no more, and the land itself would be subject to many rulers – Byzantine, Sassanid, Arab, Fatimid, Ayyubid, the list goes on – over the next two millennia, in stark contrast to its first four when the kingdom stood astride the ancient world.
- Main article: Egyptian cities (Civ6)
|Males||Females||Modern males||Modern females|
- The Egyptian civilization's symbol is the Eye of Horus, which represents an Ancient Egyptian god of protection, royal power, and good health.
- The Egyptian civilization ability is the name for the Nile river in ancient Egyptian.
- Egypt is also playable in the Gifts of the Nile scenario.
Claim the Fourth Cataract
Playing as Egypt in a regular game, conquer the original Nubian capital within 10 turns of declaring a formal war on Nubia
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