Great cities such as Sais and Bubastis emerged from this region, along with the Biblical cities of Pithom and Raamses(Exodus 1:11). The northeast Delta is the closest part of Egypt to Israel. Throughout the history of Israel and Egypt commerce, war, travel and trade have flowed freely between these two regions.
Ancient Egypt geography was centered around the Nile River. Ancient Egyptian civilization flourished as a result of the Niles nourishment. From around 3200 B.C. onward Egypt, like Mesopotamia, became a powerful center of civilization in the ancient world; and exerted a powerful influence on the shaping of the history of Palestine and the Ancient Near East.
The Nile Valley rests south of Cairo. The desert, just as influential on ancient Egypt geography as the Nile, limits settlement only to those areas that are affected by the Niles annual flood. The Nile Valley is never more than a few miles wide, consequently settlements are packed into a small sliver of land. The contrast between the brown, barren desert and green, fertile and lush Nile Valley is striking.
Egypts Pharaohs consistently interfered with the affairs of Canaan in order to secure trade routes. Ancient Egypt geography was dominated by desert regions to the west, east, and south. To the north lay the Mediterranean Sea. Great trade routes led across the Sinai into the heartland of Canaan. It was vital Egypt exert some influence in the region in order to prosper through relations with eastern powers.
It was in the northeast Delta that the land of Goshen was located. Here the Israelites toiled under the Egyptian yoke during the 400 years of slavery.Genesis 45:9-11 and 46:31speak of the patriarchs traveling frequently to Goshen. It was in this region that Abraham fled to escape the famine in Palestine.
Once the waters receded, Egyptian farmers would reclaim their fields and prepare the land for planting in this newly deposited, fertile soil. Egyptians developed a method for measuring these rising flood waters. Since all of Egypts agriculture depended on the annual flood, it was vital for the Egyptians to be able to measure and monitor the Nile.
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Heavily fortified garrisons protected the 6 cataracts along the Nile in the south. The desert bordered Egypt on the east and west, and the Mediterranean provided protection in the north.
The geography of ancient Egypt is composed of two geographical regions, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, with modern day Cairo acting as the divider.
As a result of this vulnerability, thehistory of Palestineis dotted with Egypts constant attempt to extend its control beyond Palestine into Syria – effectively extending the buffer zone between Egypts outer limits and the countrys heartland. These excursions brought Egypt into conflict with its neighbors, most notably the Hittites, Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Israel and Judah – among untold others.
The Nile River flows from South to North, emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. Water from the Ethiopian (Cush) highlands in the south runs down stream to form the sources of the Nile River. Melting snow and rains pour into the Blue Nile and Atbara rivers, which join the White Nile river to jointly form the Nile River.
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The rushing water of these three rivers carry sediment and organic materials, depositing its load into the Nile. The water from these rivers would also swell the banks of the Nile. From July to September these banks overflow soaking the land with water, and leaving behind a layer of rich and fertile silt.
However, it also allowed for international travel – such as the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem during King Solomons reign, described inI Kings 10andII Chronicles 9. Travel between the two regions was also popular during the time of Jesus, as is evident in the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian inActs 8.
The balance between prosperity and disaster rested precariously on the Nile Rivers flood. A rise of 7 to 8 meters was ideal. More water meant devastating floods. Less water was known to produce famines, like the famine Joseph experienced inGenesis 41:53.
Prominent cities in Upper Egypt include Abydos, Edfu, and Thebes. Thebes is the biblical No-amon, and was known for its temple to the sun-god Amon-Re. Across from Thebes, among the cliffs of the western desert, rested the Valley of the Kings. These cities personified Egypt in its most glorious era.
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The Nile shaped ancient Egypt geography, culture, settlement, worship, harvest and the well being of Egypts citizens. The uncanny regularity of the Niles flooding would leave behind water for the land, as well as a thin new layer of extremely fertile soil.
Samuel Sharpe (17991881) was an English Unitarian Egyptologist and translator of the Bible. His work, published in 1849, along with Joseph Bonomi the Younger, an English sculptor, artist, Egyptologist and museum curator, provides valuable insight that has stood the test of time inThe Chronology And Geography Of Ancient Egypt. Click on the link below to be re-directed to and dive into the world of ancient Egypt!
The close relationship of Egypt and Israel cannot be denied as the two are inextricably linked.
The Egyptians wished to exploit these trade routes and to provide a zone of security between Egypt and the eastern powers. Ancient Egypt geography dictated the easiest route of invasion lie across the Sinai. Canaan, especially the Negev, was of keen interest to the Egyptian Pharaohs.
Egypts most vulnerable region lie in the northeast Delta. It was here that traffic chiefly entered into Egypt. Throughoutancient IsraelIsraelites entered Egypt frequently in times of trouble or distress. Great trade routes ran from Israel, across the Sinai, into Egypt. These routes allowed for easy entry into the country. These routes also made Egypt vulnerable to attack.
So ancient was Egypt that when Abraham fled the famine inCanaan and crossed the Sinai into Egypt, the Pharaohs had been ruling for over a thousand years already!
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The Nile River was by far Egypts most precious resource. The Nile was Egypts life vein. The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the gift of the Nile. This river linked the cities of Egypt together. It provided transportation, and was the main highway of communication throughout the empire as well.
Egypt was also the benefactor of a favorable climate which accompanied friendly geography. Though rainfall is scarce, hence the dependency upon the flooding of the Nile, long, hot summer days, and mild winters, generated ideal crop growing conditions. Egypt was also impervious to the storms and intense weather changes that affected other lands in the Near East.
North of Cairo deep alluvial sediments deposited by the Nile formed a great Delta. Ancient Egypt geography used to consist of many branches flowing from the Nile into this region. Today, however, only two branches remain.
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