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One hundred ten miles above Memphis the Libyan mountains bend to the northwest, and then, facing north-east, they draw nearer against to the Nile, thus surrounding a large extent of territory, which of old was know as Te-She, or Lakeland, from the great inland lake frequently mentioned and described by the Greek Moeris. cit.; Breasted, "History of Ancient Egyptians", 40 sqq.).
It is still called Fayûm, from the Coptic ", "the sea". The history of Egypt can be divided into two large periods, the first of which comprises the first seventeen and the second the other thirteen dynasties.
latitude, to the First Cataract, at Assuân (Syene), 24° 5' 30" N. However, from remote antiquity, as now, Egypt held sway over Nubia, reaching by degrees as far as Napata (Gebel Barkal), 18° 30' N. A few have reached us, and have been of no small assistance in astronomically determining, within four years at least, some of the most important epochs of Egyptian history. (2) The lists of selected royal names comprise: the so-called Tablets of Sakkâra, Nineteenth Dynasty, forty-seven names beginning with the sixth of the First Dynasty; Karnak (part of Thebæ), Eighteenth Dynasty, sixty-one names, unfortunately not chronologically arranged; Abados, Nineteenth Dynasty, seventy-six names beginning with Menes. collected and worked out with almost incredible patience by several generations of Egyptologists during the last hundred years. This is in particular the case for the Seventh and Eighth dynasties (Memphites), the Ninth and Tenth (Heracleopolites), the Eleventh (Theban contemporary with the Tenth), the Thirteenth (Theban) and the Fourteenth (Xoite in part simultaneous), the Fifteenth, and the Sixteenth (Hyksos), and the Seventeenth Dynasty (Theban partly contemporary with the Sixteenth.
proper applies only to the rather narrow valley of the Nile from the Mediterranean, 31° 35' N. Yet, for religious reasons, the Egyptians noted the Heliacal risings of Sirius on the various dates of their movable calendar. On the Palermo Stone each year of a reign is entered separately and is often accompanied with short historical notices. These thirty dynasties are very unevenly known to us; of a good many we know next to nothing.
Near Edfu the sandstone is replaced by nummulitic limestones (Eocene) of the Tertiary period, which form the bulk of the Libyan desert and a considerable portion of the Arabian desert as well. Occasionally the Egyptians resorted to counter-raids on the Syrian territory, as in the case of the Amus and Hirûshaitus under Pepi I, but, the punishment inflicted, they invariably returned to their line of defense.
The Libyan Desert is a level, or almost level, table-land averaging 1000 feet above the sea. The seat of government during the first period was several times shifted from one city to another.
Near Edfu the valley widens out and becomes wider still in the neighbourhood of Esneh (Latopolis). Such is the case for the first two dynasties, which until about 1888 A. were considered by most scholars as entirely mythical.
At Luxor (part of Thebæ) it again narrows for a few miles, but after that it maintains a respectable breadth, averaging between twelve and fifteen miles. Their tombs, however, have since been discovered at Ûmm-el-Ga'âb, near Abydos, in the territory of the ancient This (Thinis), and the names of Menes, Zer, Usaphais, and Miebis have already been found.
The range to the left is somewhat farther from the river, so that most of the towns are built on the western bank. Monuments of these kings have been discovered in Upper Egypt and at Sakkarah, which shows that they must have ruled over the whole land of Egypt.The immense alluvial plain thus encompassed was called by the Greeks the Delta, owing to its likeness to the fourth letter of their alphabet (). Some of the ancient Babylonian and Chaldean kings, like Sargon I (third millennium B.As soon as the river enters this plain its waters divide into several streams which separately wind their way to the sea and make it a garden of incredible fertility. C.), may have occasionally extended their raids as far as the Mediterranean Sea, but it does not seem that they ever established their rule in a permanent way.Wâdi Tumilât connects Lake Timsâh with the Delta across the Arabian desert, and forms the natural entrance to Egypt from the Asiatic side. Extensive commercial relations were maintained with the Syrian coast (whither King Snefrû, of the third dynasty, sent a fleet to procure cedar logs from Mount Lebanon), with the Upper Nile districts, with Arabia to the south, and with the Somali coast (, a hard dark stone which was used for statues and coffins.West of the Delta, in a depression of the Libyan Desert, lies the Wâdi Natrûn (Vallis Nitria), famous in early Christian times, under the name of the Desert of Scete, for its Coptic monasteries, four of which exist to this day. In Asia proper the pharaohs of that time sought no extension of territory, with the exception of a few points in the Peninsula of Sinai, where, as early as the First Dynasty, but especially since the time of Snefrû, they operated mines of copper and turquoise.
The most extensive of these are now, from east to west, Lake Menzaleh between the ancient Ostium Phatniticum and Ostium Pelusiacum, Lake Borolos (Lacus Buto or Paralus) east and Lake Edkû west of the Rosetta mouth (Ostium Bolbitinum), and Lake Mariût (Mareotis Lacus) south of the narrow strip of land on which Alexandria stands. The Libyans, also, and the tribes settled between the Nile and the Red Sea had to be repeatedly repelled or conquered.