Meaning of EGYPT in English
Feluccas on the Nile River, near Luxor in Upper Egypt. officially Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic Misr or Jumhuriyah Misr al-'Arabiyah country located in the northeastern corner of Africa. It has a total area of about 385,230 square miles (997,740 square kilometres). Its land frontiers border Libya in the west, The Sudan in the south, and Israel in the northeast. (Israeli forces occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in eastern Egypt after the ArabIsraeli War of 1967. In 1982 the Sinai was returned to Egypt.) In the north its Mediterranean coastline is about 620 miles (1,000 kilometres), and in the east its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is about 1,200 miles. The capital is Cairo. Egypt was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East and, like Mesopotamia, of one of the very earliest urban and literate societies. Its culture had an important influence on both ancient Israel and ancient Greece, which in turn helped to form the civilization of the modern West. Egypt also provided Africa with its earliest civilization and may well have had considerable influence on the development of other African cultures. The special character evident in the civilization of ancient Egypt over a period of 3,000 years developed very rapidly at the time when the country first achieved unity. This great event happened in about 3100 BC, and, while some of the seeds of Egyptian culture had sprouted before this time, it is proper to regard the start of the 1st dynasty as the virtual beginning of Egypt as the country and its civilization are now generally envisaged. Perhaps the first and most important quality that typified this civilization was continuity. In every aspect of Egyptian life, in every manifestation of its culture, a deep conservatism can be observed. This clinging to the traditions and ways of earlier generations was the particular strength of the Egyptians. It can also be regarded as a weakness; but for a relatively primitive culture there was more to be gained than lost in attachment to the past. Regularity was a built-in characteristic of Egypt; life in the Nile Valley was determined to a great extent by the behaviour of the river itself. The pattern of inundation and falling water, of high Nile and low Nile, established the Egyptian year and controlled the lives of the Egyptian farmersand most Egyptians were tied to a life on the landfrom birth to death, from century to century. On the regular behaviour of the Nile rested the prosperity, the very continuity, of the land. The three seasons of the Egyptian year were even named after the land conditions produced by the river; akhet, the inundation; peret, the season when the land emerged from the flood; and shomu, the time when water was short. When the Nile behaved as expected, which most commonly was the case, life went on as normal; when the flood failed or was excessive, disaster followed. Egypt has always been a hub for routeswestward along the coast of North Africa, northwest to Europe, northeast to the Levant, south along the Nile to Africa, and southeast to the Indian Ocean and the Far East. This natural advantage was enhanced in 1869 by the opening of the Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The concern of the European powers to safeguard the Suez Canal for strategic and commercial reasons has probably been the most important single factor influencing the history of Egypt since the 19th century. During the Cold War, for example, the increasing presence of the United States and the Soviet Union in the Mediterranean kept Egypt in the international spotlight. Egypt's traditional significance to the balance of power, however, also lay in its location in Africa and along the Red Sea passage to the Indian Ocean. Both during and after the Cold War, Egypt's central role in the Arabic-speaking world increased its geopolitical importance as Arab nationalism and inter-Arab relations became powerful and emotional political forces in the Middle East and North Africa. officially Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic Misr, or Jumhuriyat Misr Al-'arabiyah country located in the northeastern corner of Africa, covering an area of 385,229 square miles (997,739 square km). The capital is Cairo. Egypt extends about 655 miles (1,055 km) from north to south and about 780 miles (1,250 km) from east to west at the country's widest extent along its southern boundary. Egypt is bordered on the east by Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea; on the south by The Sudan; on the west by Libya; and on the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The population in 1991 was estimated to be 54,609,000. Additional reading General works Overviews are provided by Richard F. Nyrop (ed.), Egypt: A Country Study, 4th ed. (1983), covering the history, society, economy, and politics; Shirley Kay, The Egyptians: How They Live and Work (1975), an introductory survey of Egypt's geography, history, government, and culture, as well as transportation; Jasper More, The Land of Egypt (1980), an illustrated general description of the country; and Ahmed Fakhry, The Oases of Egypt, 2 vol. (1973), a description of the oases of the Western Desert. Geography The land W.B. Fisher, The Middle East: A Physical, Social, and Regional Geography, 7th rev. ed. (1978), basic geographical information; M.S. Abu al-'Izz, Landforms of Egypt, trans. from Arabic (1971), a detailed outline of physiographic regionalization; Martin A.J. Williams and Hugues Faure (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile: Quaternary Environments and Prehistoric Occupation in Northern Africa (1980), a detailed geologic and anthropological study. Other specialized works include Rushdi Said, The Geology of Egypt (1962), and The Geological Evolution of the River Nile (1981); as well as Tom Little, High Dam at Aswan: The Subjugation of the Nile (1965); and Julian Rzska, The Nile: Biology of an Ancient River (1976), containing discussion of the biological effects of the Aswan High Dam. On plants and animals, see Vivi Tckholm, Gunnar Tckholm, and Mohammed Drar, Flora of Egypt, 4 vol. (194169, reprinted 1973), the standard work on the subject; Richard Meinertzhagen, Nicoll's Birds of Egypt, 2 vol. (1930), a primary source, copiously illustrated; and John Anderson, William E. De Winton, and George A. Boulenger, Zoology of Egypt, 3 vol. in 4 (18981907, reprinted 1965), an authoritative and amply illustrated standard work. Henry Habib Ayrout, The Fellaheen (1945, reprinted 1981; originally published in French, 1938), contains observations on the customs, dress, and psychology of the Egyptian peasant; and Hamid Ammar, Growing Up in an Egyptian Village (1954, reissued 1973), is an excellent and full account of village life in Egypt. The people Abbas M. Ammar, The People of Sharqiya, 2 vol. (1944), a physical anthropologist's description of the inhabitants of the eastern Delta; Robert A. Fernea, Nubians in Egypt: Peaceful People (1973), an illustrated ethnographic essay; and Anwar G. Chejne, The Arabic Language: Its Role in History (1969), a discussion of the background of classical Arabic and the dichotomy between it and the various dialects. William H. Worrell, A Short Account of the Copts (1945), is a concise study of the indigenous Christian population of Egypt. Other studies of religions of Egypt include Otto F.A. Meinardus, Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern, 2nd rev. ed. (1977), on the Christian communities; Morroe Berger, Islam in Egypt Today: Social and Political Aspects of Popular Religion (1970); and G.H. Jansen, Militant Islam (1979). For a popular introduction to the religions of Egypt, see Veronica Ions, Egyptian Mythology, new ed. (1983). The economy Robert L. Tignor, State, Private Enterprise, and Economic Change in Egypt, 19181952 (1984); Robert Mabro, The Egyptian Economy, 19521972 (1974); Robert Mabro and Samir Radwan, The Industrialization of Egypt, 19391973: Policy and Performance (1976); Kasim Alrimawi (Qasim Rimawi), The Challenge of Industrialization, Egypt (1974); Charles Issawi, Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis (1963, reprinted 1986); Mostafa H. Nagi, Labor Force and Employment in Egypt: A Demographic and Socioeconomic Analysis (1971); Rashed al-Barawy, Economic Development in the United Arab Republic: Egypt (1972); K.M. Barbour, The Growth, Location, and Structure of Industry in Egypt (1972); Maurice Girgis, Industrialization and Trade Patterns in Egypt (1977); Yusuf J. Ahmad, Absorptive Capacity of the Egyptian Economy: An Examination of Problems and Prospects (1976); David William Carr, Foreign Investment and Development in Egypt (1979); Khalid Ikram, Egypt, Economic Management in a Period of Transition (1980); and John Waterbury, The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two Regimes (1983). Administrative and social conditions Harold F. Alderfer, M. Fathalla El Khatib, and Moustafa Ahmed Fahmy, Local Government in the United Arab Republic (1963); Morroe Berger, Bureaucracy and Society in Modern Egypt (1957, reprinted 1969); and P.J. Vatikiotis, The Egyptian Army in Politics: Pattern for New Nations? (1961, reprinted 1975). See also Frank Tachau (ed.), Political Elites and Political Development in the Middle East (1975); Enid Hill, Mahkama!: Studies in the Egyptian Legal System: Courts & Crimes, Law & Society (1979); James B. Mayfield, Local Institutions and Egyptian Rural Development (1974); and Helmi R. Tadros, Rural Resettlement in Egypt's Reclaimed Lands (1978). On education, see Amir Boktor, The Development and Expansion of Education in the United Arab Republic (1963), an important general survey; Bayard Dodge, Al-Azhar: A Millennium of Muslim Learning (1961, reissued 1974); and Georgie D.M. Hyde, Education in Modern Egypt: Ideals and Realities (1978). Other works on social conditions include Tom Little, Modern Egypt (1967), a study of social and political structures; Peter Mansfield, Nasser's Egypt, 2nd ed. (1969), a clear and orderly description of political, economic, and social changes in Egypt after 1952; Unni Wikan, Life Among the Poor in Cairo (1980; originally published in Norwegian, 1976); Abdel R. Omran (ed.), Egypt: Population Problems & Prospects (1973); Saad M. Gadalla, Land Reform in Relation to Social Development, Egypt (1962), and Is There Hope?: Fertility and Family Planning in a Rural Egyptian Community (1978); and Andrea B. Rugh, Family in Contemporary Egypt (1984). Cultural life Mustafa Habib (ed.), Cultural Life in the United Arab Republic (1968); Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 17981939 (1962, reissued 1983), a study of the interaction of Western and indigenous culture in its historical context; Jacob M. Landau, Studies in the Arab Theatre and Cinema (1958); Abd al-Monem Ismail, Drama and Society in Contemporary Egypt (1967); Farouk Abdel Wahab (comp.), Modern Egyptian Drama (1974); Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Meguid, The Modern Arabic Short Story: Its Emergence, Development, and Form (1950?); Hamdi Sakkut, The Egyptian Novel and Its Main Trends from 1913 to 1952 (1971); and Hilary Kilpatrick, The Modern Egyptian Novel: A Study in Social Criticism (1974). Other studies include Mouhan A. Khouri, Poetry and the Making of Modern Egypt, 18821922 (1971); Yves Thoraval, Regards sur le cinma gyptien (1975), on the Egyptian cinema; and Pierre Du Bourguet, Coptic Art (1971, originally published in French, 1968). History Ancient Egypt The most detailed presentation of Egyptian history, with full bibliographies arranged by subject, is the multivolume Cambridge Ancient History, though volumes 1 and 2 no longer reflect current knowledge. Wolfgang Helck, Eberhard Otto, and Wolhart Westendorf (eds.), Lexikon der gyptologie (1975 ), is the basic reference work in Egyptology, of which 5 volumes had appeared by 1986, with further parts published in fascicles. Michael A. Hoffman, Egypt Before the Pharaohs: The Prehistoric Foundations of Egyptian Civilization (1979, reissued 1984), is a comprehensive general work on prehistory; while Lech Krzyzaniak, Early Farming Cultures on the Lower Nile: The Predynastic Period in Egypt (1977), focuses on the transition to agriculture and on Lower Egypt. General studies include Cyril Aldred, The Egyptians, rev. ed. (1984); and John Ruffle, Heritage of the Pharaohs: An Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology (1977); as well as other works cited below under the specific periods on which they focus. General histories include B.G. Trigger et al., Ancient Egypt: A Social History (1983), containing four essays on the main periods, concentrating on relations with Africa, and including valuable bibliographies; and Sir Alan Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (1961), a personal history, notable for the use made of ancient Egyptian texts. William W. Hallo and William Kelly Simpson, The Ancient Near East: A History (1971), is a reliable brief introduction; and tienne Drioton and Jacques Vandier, L'gypte: des origines la conqute d'Alexandre, 4th ed. (1962, reprinted 1984), remains valuable for its critical discussions. John A. Wilson, The Burden of Egypt: An Interpretation of Ancient Egyptian Culture (1951, reprinted 1965), is a selective historical study. William C. Hayes, The Scepter of Egypt, 2 vol. (195359), is a detailed cultural history of Egypt to the end of the 20th dynasty, based on the collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Wolfgang Helck, Geschichte des alten gypten (1968, reprinted 1981), is still the best general history; his Beziehungen gyptens zu Vorderasien im 3. und 2. Jahrtausend v. Chr., 2nd ed. (1971), is the fundamental work on foreign relations, and his Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Alten gypten im 3. und 2. Jahrtausend vor Chr. (1975), covers institutions and economics. Rolf Krauss, Sothis- und Monddaten: Studien zur astronomischen und technischen Chronologie Altgyptens (1985), is a vital chronological study for the 2nd and 1st millennia BC; its dates are adopted in this article with minor variations. John Baines and Jaromr Mlek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt (1980), is a concise, geographically oriented survey. Hermann Kees, Ancient Egypt: A Cultural Topography (1961, reprinted 1977; originally published in German, 2nd ed., 1958; 3rd German ed., 1977), studies a number of major sites in depth. Karl W. Butzer, Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt: A Study in Cultural Ecology (1976), is a useful discussion of geographic and environmental conditions and their relation to the development of ancient Egyptian civilization. Claude Vandersleyen et al., Das alte gypten (1975), is the most comprehensive survey of Egyptian art. W. Stevenson Smith, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, rev. ed., edited by William Kelly Simpson (1981), is an excellent general account; and for the Old Kingdom, Smith's History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom, 2nd ed. (1949), is still a fundamental source. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings, 3 vol. (197380), offers an excellent collection of texts in translation, covering the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms and the Late Period. A smaller selection of readings is available in William Kelly Simpson (ed.), The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, and Poetry, new ed. (1973); while James B. Pritchard (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (1969), contains a wide selection of Egyptian material in translation. Studies of administration include Klaus Baer, Rank and Title in the Old Kingdom (1960, reprinted 1974); to which Nigel Strudwick, The Administration of Egypt in the Old Kingdom: The Highest Titles and Their Holders (1985), adds a vast amount of detail. Wolfgang Helck, Zur Verwaltung des Mittleren und Neuen Reichs (1958), with a separately published index volume (1975), is the basic work on the succeeding periods. Egypt from the 18th dynasty to 332 BC The rise of the New Kingdom is treated in Jrgen Von Beckerath, Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in gypten (1964). Donald B. Redford, History and Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt: Seven Studies (1967), includes a reevaluation of Hatshepsut. An informative account of the New Kingdom empire at its height is Elizabeth Riefstahl, Thebes in the Time of Amunhotep III (1964, reprinted 1971). For the controversial Amarna period, Rolf Krauss, Das Ende der Amarnazeit: Beitr. zur Geschichte u. Chronologie d. Neuen Reiches (1978); and Donald B. Redford, Akhenaten, the Heretic King (1984), offer strongly contrasting interpretations. Cyril Aldred, Akhenaten and Nefertiti (1973), is a good collection of the artistic evidence for the period. For the Ramesside period, K.A. Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II King of Egypt (1982), sets its subject in context, presenting the New Kingdom in general as well as Ramses' own reign. Edward F. Wente, Late Ramesside Letters (1967), deals with material from the end of the same period. For the economy of this time, see the major work of J.J. Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramessid Period: An Economic Study of the Village of Necropolis Workmen at Thebes (1975). John Romer, Ancient Lives: Daily Life in Egypt of the Pharaohs (1984), presents the life of the same community. T.G.H. James, Pharaoh's People: Scenes from Life in Imperial Egypt (1984), is concerned with lifestyles of higher ranks of society in the same general period. K.A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100650 B.C.), 2nd rev. ed. (1986), is the basic work on the period. Hermann Kees, Das Priestertum im gyptischen Staat, vom neuen Reich bis zur Sptzeit (1953), with an index volume, Indices und Nachtrge (1958), is a comprehensive analysis of the Egyptian priesthoods. This fundamental institution of the Late Period is also valuably treated in Serge Sauneron, The Priests of Ancient Egypt (1960, reprinted 1980; originally published in French, 1957). On the period from the Saite 26th dynasty until Alexander the Great, see Friedrich K. Kienitz, Die politische Geschichte gyptens vom 7. bis 4. Jahrhundert vor der Zeitwende (1953), based on both Egyptian and classical sources. Alan B. Lloyd, Herodotus, Book II, 2 vol. (197576), contains much material on the Late Period. Hellenistic and Roman Egypt On the period in general, see Harold I. Bell, Egypt, from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest: A Study in the Diffusion and Decay of Hellenism (1948, reprinted 1980); and Alan K. Bowman, Egypt After the Pharaohs, 332 B.C.A.D. 642: From Alexander to the Arab Conquest (1986). The basic general works on the papyri are L. Mitteis and U. Wilcken, Grundzge und Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde, 2 vol. in 4 (1912, reprinted 1963); and E.G. Turner, Greek Papyri: An Introduction (1968, reissued 1980), with its illustrated companion, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World (1971). On Ptolemaic Egypt, see Dorothy J. Crawford, Kerkeosiris: An Egyptian Village in the Ptolemaic Period (1971); P.M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria, 3 vol. (1972); J. Grafton Milne, A History of Egypt Under Roman Rule, 3rd rev. ed. (1924); Orsolina Montevecchi, La papirologia (1973); Alan E. Samuel, From Athens to Alexandria: Hellenism and Social Goals in Ptolemaic Egypt (1983); Naphtali Lewis, Greeks in Ptolemaic Egypt: Case Studies in the Social History of the Hellenistic World (1986); E.E. Rice, The Grand Procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus (1983); M. Rostovtzeff, The Social & Economic History of the Hellenistic World, 3 vol. (1941, reprinted with corrections 1972); and Sarah B. Pomeroy, Women in Hellenistic Egypt: From Alexander to Cleopatra (1984). On Roman Egypt, see A.C. Johnson, Roman Egypt to the Reign of Diocletian, vol. 2 in Tenney Frank (ed.), An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, 6 vol. (193340, reprinted 1975); A.H.M. Jones, The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces, 2nd ed. (1971, reprinted 1983); and Naphtali Lewis, Life in Egypt Under Roman Rule (1983). On Byzantine Egypt, see Alfred J. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty Years of the Roman Dominion, 2nd ed., revised by P.M. Fraser (1978); Edward Rochie Hardy, The Large Estates of Byzantine Egypt (1931, reprinted 1968), and Christian Egypt: Church and People: Christianity and Nationalism in the Patriarchate of Alexandria (1952); Allan Chester Johnson and Louis C. West, Byzantine Egypt: Economic Studies (1949, reprinted 1967); and Colin H. Roberts, Manuscript, Society, and Belief in Early Christian Egypt (1979). Egypt from c. 630 to c. 1800 Two standard works that survey medieval Egyptian history as a whole are Stanley Lane-Poole, A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages, 4th ed. (1968); and Gaston Wiet, L'gypte arabe de la conqute arabe la conqute ottomane, 6421517 de l're chrtienne, vol. 4 in Gabriel Hanotaux, Histoire de la nation gyptienne, 7 vol. (193140). Each of these is outdated in many respects, but each presents an accurate summary of the political history of the period, based on primary Arabic sources; also, both are strong on Egyptian architecture as an insight into political, social, and economic history. A valuable later reference source with comprehensive coverage of the period is Joan Wucher King, Historical Dictionary of Egypt (1984). For the economic history, see Subhi Labib, Handelsgeschichte gyptens im Sptmittelalter, 11711517 (1965); Labib has summarized this book in English in the form of an article, Egyptian Commercial Policy in the Middle Ages, in Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East: From the Rise of Islam to the Present Day, edited by M.A. Cook, pp. 6377 (1970). Eliyahu Ashtor, A Social and Economic History of the Near East in the Middle Ages (1976), and Levant Trade in the Later Middle Ages (1983), are also important. Aziz S. Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (1968, reissued 1980), is authoritative for Coptic history. For the beginnings of Muslim Egypt, see Francesco Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam (1968, originally published in Italian, 1967), for the conquest of Egypt; and Daniel C. Dennett, Conversion and the Poll Tax in Early Islam (1950), for Muslim tax policy in Egypt. For the Tulunids, see Zaky Mohamed Hasan, Les Tulunides (1933). Fatimid studies have been transformed by S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (1968 ), of which four volumes had appeared by 1987. Three articles by Hamilton A.R. Gibb are definitive for Egypt under the Ayyubids and during the Crusades, all published in A History of the Crusades, ed. by Kenneth M. Setton, 2nd ed., 5 vol. (195885): The Caliphate and the Arab States, 1:8198; The Rise of Saladin, 11691189, 1:563589; and The Aiyubids, 2:693714. See also R. Stephen Humphreys, From Saladin to the Mongols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 11931260 (1977). For Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt, see F.R.C. Bagley (ed. and trans.), The Last Great Muslim Empires, vol. 3 in The Muslim World: A Historical Survey, 3 vol. (196069, originally published in German, 195259). An account of the early Mamluk state is found in Robert Irwin, The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The Early Mamluk Sultanate, 12501382 (1986); and for the Ottoman period alone, see Stanford J. Shaw, The Financial and Administrative Organization and Development of Ottoman Egypt, 15171798 (1962). Egypt since 1800 Edward William Lane, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 2 vol. (1836, reissued in 1 vol., 1973), is a classic study of everyday life during the second quarter of the 19th century. An analysis of the political developments of the period is offered in F. Robert Hunter, Egypt Under the Khedives, 18051879: From Household Government to Modern Bureaucracy (1984). Jamal M. Ahmed, The Intellectual Origins of Egyptian Nationalism (1960, reissued 1968), is particularly concerned with the nationalists of the period from 1892 to 1914. Other useful works are Gabriel Baer, A History of Landownership in Modern Egypt, 18001950 (1962); P.M. Holt, Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, 15161922 (1966), and P.M. Holt (ed.), Political and Social Change in Modern Egypt (1968); Jacob M. Landau, Parliaments and Parties in Egypt (1953, reissued 1979); Helen Anne B. Rivlin, The Agricultural Policy of Muhammad 'Ali in Egypt (1961); Afaf Lufti Al-sayyid Marsot, Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali (1984), a sturdy defense by an Egyptian author; Robert L. Tignor, Modernization and British Colonial Rule in Egypt, 18821914 (1966); and Nadav Safran, Egypt in Search of Political Community: An Analysis of the Intellectual and Political Evolution of Egypt, 18041952 (1961, reprinted 1981). P.J. Vatikiotis, Nasser and His Generation (1978), offers a fine biography, especially for the years between 1930 and 1952; Raymond W. Baker, Egypt's Uncertain Revolution Under Nasser and Sadat (1978), analyzes the effect of the Egyptian revolution on Egyptian society; David Hirst and Irene Beeson, Sadat (1981), is an early assessment of the Sadat years; Raymond A. Hinnebusch, Jr., Egyptian Politics Under Sadat: The Post-Populist Development of an Authoritarian-Modernizing State (1985), is an interesting study; Derek Hopwood, Egypt. Politics and Society, 19451984, 2nd ed. (1985), is a general comprehensive introduction; and P.J. Vatikiotis, The History of Egypt, 3rd ed. (1985), together with Afaf Lufti al-Sayyid Marsot, A Short History of Modern Egypt (1985), are especially valuable for their analyses of the post-Sadat period. Laila Shukry El Hamamsy Marsden Jones Charles Gordon Smith Derek Hopwood John R. Baines Alan K. Bowman D.S. Richards Cultural life The outer court of the Temple of Luxor in Thebes, Egypt, with giant statues of King Ramses II. In spite of the many ancient civilizations with which it has come into contact, Egypt unquestionably belongs to a sociocultural tradition that is Arabic and Islamic. This tradition remains a constant factor in determining Egyptian views both of itself and of the world. The story of the cultural development of modern Egypt is, in essence, that of the response of this traditional system to the intrusion into it, at first by conquest and later by the penetration of ideas, of the alien and materially superior civilization of the West. The response covered a broad spectrumfrom the rejection of new ideas and reversion to traditionalism through self-examination and reform to an uncritical acceptance of new concepts and the values that went with them. The result has been the emergence of a cultural identity devoid of self-consciousness, which has assimilated much that is new, while remaining distinctively Egyptian. The process is to be seen at work in all branches of contemporary culture. The state of the arts The impact of the West is one of the recurring themes in the modern Egyptian novel, as in Tawfiq al-Hakim's 'Usfur min ash-Sharq (The Bird from the East) and Yahya Haqqi's novella Qindil Umm Hashim (The Lamp of Umm Hashim). A further theme is that of the Egyptian countrysideromantically handled at first, as in Muhammad Husayn Haykal's Zaynab, and later realistically, as in 'Abd al-Rahman ash-Sharqawi's al-Ard (The Land) and al-Fallah (The Peasant) and in Yusuf Idris' al-Haram (The Forbidden). A Dickensian capacity to catch the colour of life among the urban poor is a characteristic quality of the early and middle work of Egypt's greatest modern novelist, Najib Mahfuz, notably in Zuqaq al-Midaqq (Midaq Alley). The modern theatre in Egypt is a European importationthe first Arabic-speaking plays were performed in 1870. Two dramatists, both born at the turn of the century, have dominated its developmentMahmud Taymur and Tawfiq al-Hakim. The latter, a versatile and cerebral playwright, has reflected in his themes not only the development of the modern theatre but also, in embryo, the cultural and social history of modern Egypt. The changes in Egyptian society are reflected in the themes adopted by younger dramatists. There is a relatively long tradition of filmmaking in Egypt going back to World War I, but it was the founding of Misr Studios in 1934 that stimulated the growth of the Arabic-speaking cinema. Modern Egyptian films are shown to audiences throughout the Arab world and are also distributed in Asian and African countries. The industry is both privately and state ownedthere are many private film-production companies, as well as the Ministry of Culture's Egyptian General Cinema Corporation. Contemporary Egyptian music embraces indigenous folk music, traditional Arabic music, and Western-style music. The revival of traditional Arabic music, both vocal and instrumental, owes much to state sponsorship. Popular Arabic music consists of a blend of classical Arabic music, folk songs, and Western music. Muhammad 'Abd al-Wahhab has been one of the leading figures in the development of this genre, as both composer and singer. Umm Kulthum was the leading vocalist not only of Egypt but also of the whole Arab world for almost 50 years. Western-style music has been a familiar component in Egyptian musical culture since the 19th century. Pioneers such as Yusuf Greiss and Abu Bakr Khayrat succeeded in incorporating Arabic elements to give a national colouring to their Western-style compositions. A return to folklore as a source of inspiration for the arts is a generalized phenomenon in modern Egyptian culture. It has resulted in a revived interest in traditional crafts, in the collection of folk music, and the maintaining, with government sponsorship, of two folk-dance ensemblesthe Rida Troupe and the National Folk Dance Ensemble. In the plastic arts the highly original use of local themes is particularly striking. An active school of Egyptian painting and sculpture has emerged.
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