Land of the Pharaohs lecture notes (1): Geography

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University of Toronto St. George
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Katja Goebs

(1) Geography Cont... - Geographical factors shaped Egyptian mindset: o Nile: highway. Didnt need wheels, Nile was all important. o Contrasts: Fertile land/desert. Delta/valley. Fertile land is oasis, creation took place here, desert is where foreigners live and they are barbaric. - Delta is V shape: it is fertile. - South of Egypt is narrow. -> Delta and south used in literature; used to make metaphors: Something something is like a man from delta found himself in valley. - Three branches in Delta: Rosetta, Damietta, and Pelusiac (now dry). - When flood hits, ports and branches are fully flooded. Little tiny pieces of land stay while the rest are drowned. Called “Turtle backs.” o Used for creation myth. Rises from chaos and nothingness (water), rises (turtlebacks) and etc. - Nile valley has very narrow cultivation. - Delta= lower Egypt, Valley= upper Egypt. - Kana bent? Bent in valley water where pyramids and other shit are. Natural Frontiers - North: Mediterranean Sea - North-East: Sinai - East: Eastern Desert. - South: at Aswan o –First of five cataracts/rapids - West: Libyan Desert. *Define cataract, frontier. South: First Cataract - Formation of igneous rock - Before Aswan High dam - Today several islands flooded - Some temples shifted North: Mediter. coast - A lot has been flooded. - Coastline that can be defended well. East: East desert, sinaia, red sea West: Libyan desert and oases - Inhabitants a bit different. o Dress, customs, culture. o Lit. Have them coming to Egypt: Foreigners.
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