Curse of Egypt

Timo Niroma (
19 Aug 1996 18:57:18 GMT

As a prologue to Egypt I first quote Cyril Aldred, before I begin to

Egypt during the Old Kingdom enjoyed a virile and self-assured culture
which is the most characteristic expression of the national ethos. The
calm faces that gaze out from so many statues and reliefs are untroubled
by doubts; and the voices that speak from the scanty writings of the
period, the books of precepts and etiquette, and the complacent
autobiographies, are unfaltering in their belief that the good life
consisted in being discreet, modest, honest and patient; prudent in
friendship, not covetous, nor envious, nor violent, but respectful to
superiors and inferiors alike; in short, keeping one's proper station and
exercising moderation in all things. Such an ideal of the golden mean was
essentially aristocratic.

This ideal was on its highest during Pepi II, the last pharaoh of the Old
Kingdom. But then all this came to a sudden end between 2200 BC and 2190

The overthrow of the Old Kingdom at the end of the Sixth Dynasty has all
the appearance of being sudden and complete.

Exactly as in Sumer and Indus and as nearly at the same time in all
three places as today's dating allows us to calculate.

Aldred says, already in 1987: "Recent research has attributed the abrupt
nature of the collapse to comtemporary changes in the climate of Africa
and the Near East." The climate change, whatever its cause, cannot have
been minor, because it destroyed Harappan and Mojendo-Daro forever, made
Sumer hower for 400 years until Hammurabi succeeded in reconstructing the
Babylonian state on the ruins of Sumer. And last but not least Egypt fall
in the agonies of the First Intermediate Period, as it is called.

With Egypt divided against itself, there was the inevitable immigration
of foreigners into the pastures of the Delta. Famine in their own lands
always drove Libyan and the bedouin of Sinai and the Negreb to graze
their flocks on the borders of the Delta in the manner of Abraham and
Jacob, and now with organized policing suspended, advantage was taken of
the tradition of hospitality to add to the general tale of rapine and

The evils caused by famine, poverty, social upheaval and anarchy brought
others in their train such as plague and sterility. A deep and lasting
impression was left on the ancient Egyptians by the trauma of these
times, so that in later literary works, such as the "Prophecy of Neferti"
and the "Admonitions of Ipuwer", when the writer wished to depict mankind
tormented by intolerable miseries, it was the sufferings of this period
that he recalled.

So, I claim that the biggest catastrophe ever happened to any great
civilization because of natural causes occurred about 2200 BC and
affected at least the whole area from Libya to Indus. For 100 years they
were all totally in ruins. For those that recovered, it took from 300 to
400 years.

Timo Niroma