Egypt

Egypt had been both a land of refuge and a land of captivity for the Jews. Especially under the Ptolemies, persecuted Jews sought and found shelter in Egypt. It was about a 40 hours journey from Bethlehem and because it was a Roman province, offered security to the Jews who were living there.

The River Nile, measuring more than 400 miles, is the longest watercourse in the world, heading far into the Dark Continent. The water is muddy even at low Nile although thousands drink from its murky bosom. In October, it is high Nile and the water is rising. This is the time of year for the semi-annual overflow of the Nile, these inundations come each year, in spring and fall, flooding the whole valley. The flooding is scattering the richest sediment and forming the most productive soil in all the world, making this section of Egypt famous the world over, for the four crops raised and gathered each year. It wasn't an uncommon sight to see one planting or ploughing his corn, while his neighbor is harvesting his grain or is gathering his cotton, all at the same time, and under immediate observation.

Nations were distinguished from each other by the shape of their chariots.. Great attention was paid to the breeding and training of horses.. The bow was the national weapon. At their meals, they used tables and chairs not unlike our own. Women were treated more respectfully than in other countries of the east. Great respect was paid to age and rank.

The principal trees of Egypt were the sycamore, the fig, the pomegranate, the peach, the locust-tree, and the vine. Great care was taken of the vines. Wine was used in great quantities, by the nobles and wealthy merchants. of vegetables growing wild, the most remarkable was the lotus, a kind of lily.. the cultivated vegetables were corn and pulse, cotton, melons, cucumbers, onions, etc.. The cat was held in particular honor.. wild ox, the goat and sheep, and the antelope. They seem to have obtained camels from some foreign country.. crocodile, hippopotamus, the skin of the latter being regarded as the best covering for shields.. geese and other poultry.. Weaving was an important branch of industry, the cotton and flax being indigenous. Iron appears to have been but little known: nearly all the implements not made of gold or silver, either copper or brass.

Impressed by the example of Alexander, Ptolomy paid great attention to trade and navigation. The land was originally a desert plateau. The waters from the southern mountains, pouring out of rocky glen, forced their way north for 800 miles in a river, the Nile, it bed about one-half a mile in width. It made itself a valley 10 to 30 miles wide, between terraces and hills. The river rose annually and for four months and inundated the entire valley, renewed the land for the crops by the deposit of earth brought down from the glens, and then retired to its bed leaving a fertile soil.. Record state that it took 100,000 men ten years to build the first pyramid.

The ancient Egyptians were Hamitic peoples. Later on an invasion from Babylonia, predominately Semitic, came into the country and left its imprint upon the language and culture. The Egyptian language is closely related to the Coptic, which is itís direct descendant.
[289, 352, 08, 379, BD, 389, 395, 398]



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