A civilization in Civilization Revolution 2
|Begin the game with||Ancient Wonder|
Few civilizations have left such an indelible mark on history as that of ancient Egypt. The first settlers of the Nile valley are thought to have arrived in the area as early as 7000 BC; however it wasn't until the legendary king Menes unified Upper and Lower Egypt some three thousand years later that the region began to develop a cohesive sense of culture and identity. Menes' First Dynasty (2925-2775 BC), with its capital at Memphis, was followed by 26 more over the next 2700 years.
The nation's longevity was largely due to the invention of writing, which allowed for more efficient centralized power and control. This powerful new communications tool was used chiefly for administration and until about 2650 BC no continuous texts were recorded; the only literary texts written down before the early Middle Kingdom (1950 BC) seem to have been lists of religious practices and medical treatises.
The Egyptians were further united by their religion, which was one of the most enduring of the ancient world. Religion controlled virtually every aspect of life. Egypt's economic strength allowed for the support of a priestly class, who were tasked with the spiritual well being of the people yet were also able to devote their time to the study of religion, astronomy, philosophy, and mathematics. The priesthood also served the functions of a state bureaucracy, carrying out the edicts of the Pharaoh and managing his financial and diplomatic affairs.
The great organizational and economic power of Egypt allowed the rulers to accomplish unmatched works of construction. The Great Pyramids of Giza, completed in the Fourth Dynasty (2575-2465 BC), still stand as one of mankind's most impressive feats of engineering and logistics.
Prior to 1700 BC, no outsiders had ever held dominion over Egypt. That changed when the Hyksos, a Semitic people, overran Lower Egypt. The Hyksos held Egypt for some three centuries, until they were finally expelled. Over the next centuries Egypt would suffer a series of invasions and conquests by its neighbors, but natives would eventually regain control of their country. Eventually the country was conquered by the powerful Persians, who in 332 BC were in turn conquered by the Macedonians under Alexander the Great. His generals continued to rule Egypt after Alexander's death, establishing the Ptolemaic Dynasty that would survive some three centuries.
Cleopatra VII was the last of the Pharaohs. Her suicide in 30 BC marked the end of Pharaonic rule and the beginning of Egypt's centuries as a Roman and Byzantine province. Although swept by the Islamic tide in 642 AD, Egypt was to remain under foreign occupation - Arabic, Ottoman, French, and British - until the country finally gained independence after World War I. Although modern Egypt is beset by many great internal and external challenges, it is once again in charge of its own destiny.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the brain had no function in the body. During the process of mummification, the brain would be extracted through the nose and thrown away while most of the other major organs, including the liver, intestines and stomach were saved and preserved with the mummy.
The Nile River Valley was extremely fertile, so much so that during Egypt's conquest by Rome in the first century BC, Egypt became the major source of sustenance for both Egypt and the growing Roman Empire.