What Was the Ancient Egyptian Economy Primarily Based Upon?

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What Was the Ancient Egyptian Economy Primarily Based Upon?

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By Sarah Moore; Updated April 25, 2017

Moore, Sarah. What Was the Ancient Egyptian Economy Primarily Based Upon? last modified April 25, 2017.

A highly developed agricultural economy and the need to control surplus wealth eventually led to the concentration of power under godlike kings, or pharaohs. This led to large civilizations and specialization of labor, with citizens producing bread and beer, harvesting papyrus, sailing merchant vessels, herding animals and making goods.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Egypt Throughout the Ages: Commerce and Industry

The primary source of energy in ancient Egypt was muscle power. People fished for food and grew crops in fields. When raw human power alone wasnt enough, workers drafted animals such as cattle into service. Animals were used to plow fields, and humans followed behind to cast grain on the ground and sweep it into the earth using a branch. Another main energy source was the sun, which provided the heat necessary to grow the crops on which the economy relied. To supplement this, people built canals to bring in water. Wind power supplied impetus for trade along the Nile.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Egypt Throughout the Ages: Commerce and Industry

Egypt: A Country Study; Helen Chapin Metz, ed.

Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a masters degree in journalism.

Moore, Sarah. What Was the Ancient Egyptian Economy Primarily Based Upon?

University of Southern Mississippi: Egypt

As one of the greatest civilizations known to man as well as one of the longest lasting, ancient Egypt holds a peculiar fascination for most people. It may surprise you to learn that the pharaohs built their massive economies on many of the same principles that we employ today.

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The storied flooding of the Nile was the main contributor to ancient Egypts agricultural wealth, as each summer it swept copious amounts of nutrient-rich silt onto the banks lining its sides. Such fertile land fostered the stable cultivation of crops such as barley and wheat and allowed people to move from a primarily meat-dependent society to one that could store and rely on grain. This in turn allowed them to abandon nomadic lifestyles and remain in the same place year after year so a more complex civilization could develop.

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The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago: Ancient Egypt: Farming

Two Examples of How the Nile Shaped Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians bartered to obtain many of their goods within the Egyptian state, but they also used money, or currencies based on precious metals, in their business transactions. Since Egypt lacked abundant precious metals, it had to trade with other countries to get them. Merchants carried Egypts wealth in the form of goods to other lands around the Mediterranean and Middle East mostly by ships sailing up and down the Nile, receiving in return precious metals along with cedar wood, leopard skins, ivory, incense, spices and wine.

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Moore, Sarah. (2017, April 25). What Was the Ancient Egyptian Economy Primarily Based Upon?

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