ECONOMY OF ANCIENT EGYPT
The basis of the economy of ancient Egypt was agriculture and crafts. The main role in the economic life of the country was played by the Nile. After its floods, the silt remained in the fields, which, mixing with the soil, yielded a wonderful crop. The Egyptians learned how to build dams along the banks of the river, in which they made special holes with diversions of water to the fields. Great progress in the development of the irrigation system and irrigation works occurred during the Middle Kingdom era. The area of ??irrigated lands increased significantly, which immediately affected the amount of harvested crop. The highest rise in agriculture reached during the New Kingdom period.
The pharaohs paid much attention to the irrigation works, thanks to which the irrigation system f reached a high level in Egypt. The Nile Valley was covered with canals, dams and dams. The Egyptians managed to master even the high fields – those lands of the Nile valley, where the water did not rise during the flood of the river. They came up with simple devices that allowed to lift water above the river level.
Of the military campaigns, pharaohs necessarily brought the unknown plants in Egypt (shrubs, trees) and tried to acclimatize them. So in Egypt there were pomegranate, myrrh tree, apple, some olive. Progress in gardening would be impossible without the invention of shadu-fa, which was a column of two human height with a long pole rotating in different directions, with a stone and a clay vessel at the ends. Shadouf greatly facilitated the farmers watering the gardens.
Craft in the Ancient Kingdom
Already in the period of the Old Kingdom great importance was acquired by crafts. Land plots quickly realized the advantage of copper tools. For the extraction and processing of stone, not only masters were required, but also the corresponding tools produced by other artisans. Gradually becoming a mass production of ceramics. The potter’s wheel made expensive vessels more accessible to commoners before. Shipbuilding also developed. On the wall of one of the tombs is drawn, as eight masters are working on building a boat.
The Bronze Age of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom period is the time of progress in metallurgy. The ore needed to make copper was mined in the eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula and in the Arabian Desert. The Egyptians knew the methods of cold forging and casting of copper. Mastered the production of bronze – an alloy more solid than copper. The tools made of bronze were reliable and convenient. In the era of the New Kingdom, bronze finally displaces copper. Over time, the artisan had to buy the goods he needed from his fellow – the same artisan. In connection with this, trade is developing more and more. However, there was no money yet. In one of the inscriptions of that time there is a mention that the house was exchanged for several items, the price of which is determined in 10 bars of metal. Such transactions were made with witnesses whose names were recorded in a special document.
Inventions and Discoveries
In the era of the New Kingdom in Egypt, the technology is booming. And it concerns not only crafts. Agricultural implements were significantly improved, which led to an increase in labor productivity. The structure of the plow has undergone changes, it became more comfortable for the animal in the new harness, which, of course, affected the speed with which the bull could plow the land. The Egyptians learned how to make plywood, and also invented a way of veneering products. The truly revolutionary discovery of the Egyptians was the manufacture of glass. Separate things from glass were known before, but during the New Kingdom there are technically advanced workshops and the production of glass becomes massive.
Improved and weaving. From flax already knew how to do literally everything: both a dense fabric for sails, and the finest fabrics, in which nobles and priests dressed. They could even make pleated fabrics. Weavers did not work manually, but on low horizontal machines. When excavating one of the temples, archaeologists found models of spinning and weaving workshops. Later, a vertical loom appears on which more dense fabrics used for sails were produced. They were required for large ships, the need for which grew more and more – the Egyptians began to go now not only along the Nile, but also on the seas to other countries, discovering new lands, and for merchants new markets for the sale of goods.
Despite technical achievements, the economy still remained natural. Egypt needed raw materials, which he did not have. The overwhelming mass of goods did not come by commercial means, but in the form of tribute or military extraction. The exchange of goods with other countries was rare. But domestic trade became more vivacious. The word “merchant” appeared in the era of the New Kingdom. Before us came a unique document from the time of the XVIII dynasty – a shopping diary in which it is recorded how much bread, pies, meat, wine, cookies the temple offered the merchants daily. It is interesting that the duties of one of the priests included control over the actions of merchants. There were first measures of value, debins – pieces of silver (in Egypt, it was valued more than gold), which had a standard weight. In One, the debenum was about 91 grams.