The Nile River

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The annual flooding of the Nile in spring caused the black soli of the Nile River banks to increase its fertility. Crops such as papyrus, wheat, grapes, asparagus, cucumbers, figs and watermelons grew along the Nile. This abundance of produce encouraged trade with the ancient world as Egyptian fruits and vegetables flooded ancient markets. This economic influence resulted in Egypt being the "market place for the ancient world." It also made Rome quite envious of Egypt's wealth. Even the Egyptian religion was influenced by the Nile River. Since the river predictably overflowed yearly, the Egyptians along the river banks of the Nile knew when to "pull up stakes." Rarely were their homes flooded out or their farmlands destroyed as they were forewarned of the predictable flooding. Because the Egyptians had a rather happy existence, the belief in the Afterlife developed. Who would want to leave such a wonderful place? The Nile, therefore contributed to the unique occupation of mummification as a social influence. Egyptian pharaohs and nobility had their bodies preserved in elaborate mummification rituals. Immense pyramids, with hundreds of secret passageways were built as tombs for these aristocrats. Because of the belief in the Afterlife, all the possessions of the dead person were buried with him to ease his voyage into the next realm. Magnificent golden death masks, elaborate pieces of furniture, and countless pieces of gold and silver jewelry encrusted with emeralds, jade, lapis lazuli, alabaster, and ivory have been discovered. Various occupations were created because of these demands. Jewelers, stone masons, priests, slaves, transport workers, architects, etc. were put to work on the pyramids. The ancient Egyptian government was an absolute, divine right monarchy in the hands of the pharaoh. The pharaoh was a "living god" who was believed to control the Nile River. His/her pleasure or displeasure could cause crops to grow or starvation....
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