Meaning of EGYPT, FLAG OF in English


horizontally striped red-white-black national flag with a central coat of arms in the form of a gold eagle. The flag has a width-to-length ratio of 2 to 3. Many flags have been flown over Egypt in its thousands of years of history, but its first true national flag was established only on February 16, 1915, after the British, who had effectively controlled the country since 1882, formally proclaimed a protectorate to deter restoration of Egypt's nominal ties to the Ottoman Empire. The flag previously used by the khedive (the Ottoman viceroy in Egypt) became the national flag; it was red with three white crescents and stars. Participants in the revolt of 1919 hoisted a green flag with a white crescent and cross, indicating unity between Muslims and Christians in the struggle for independence. A similar flag with three white stars instead of the cross was adopted on December 10, 1923, following the proclamation of the Kingdom of Egypt. The Arab Liberation Flag, flown in Egypt from 1952 (the year the Egyptian monarchy was overthrown) The 1952 revolt established the Arab Liberation Flag, which had red-white-black horizontal stripes and a gold eagle. That flag was often flown beside the national flag but did not itself have official status; nevertheless, its design was reflected in the official 1958 national flag of the United Arab Republic, where the gold eagle was replaced by two green stars to symbolize the union of Egypt and Syria. It was anticipated that the number of stars would increase as other Arab states joined the union. In fact, Syria seceded from the union, although Egypt did not alter the flag to reflect this. On January 1, 1972, the Confederation of Arab Republics was established between Egypt, Syria, and Libya. The stars were replaced with the gold hawk of Quraysh, symbol of the tribe to which the Prophet Muhammad had belonged. Finally, on October 9, 1984, five years after the dissolution of the federation, the gold eagle of Saladin12th-century ruler of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestinewas substituted for the hawk. Whitney Smith Government and social conditions Government Before the 1952 revolution, Egypt was a constitutional monarchy; the 1923 constitution, which followed the declaration of the end of the British protectorate, stated that Egypt was an independent sovereign Islamic state with Arabic as its language and provided for a representative parliament. This constitution was abolished in 1952, political parties were dissolved in 1953, and a new constitution was introduced in 1956. The Republic of Egypt was declared. Between 1958 and 1961 Egypt and Syria were merged into one state, called the United Arab Republic; the name was retained by Egypt upon Syria's secession in 1961. The National Union, organized in 1957 in place of the political parties abolished in 1953, became the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) in 1962. In 1971 Egypt, Libya, and Syria agreed to establish the Confederation of Arab Republics. A draft constitution was accepted by the heads of state of each country and was approved by referenda in each of the three member states. The capital of the confederation was Cairo. In 1979, however, deteriorating relations between Egypt and other Arab nations led to the end of the confederation; following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, most Arab economic ties with Egypt also were suspended. On Sept. 11, 1971, a new constitution for Egypt was approved by referendum. It proclaimed the Arab Republic of Egypt to be a democratic, socialist state with Islam as its state religion and Arabic as its national language. It recognized three types of ownershippublic, cooperative, and private. It guaranteed the equality of all Egyptians before the law and their protection against arbitrary intervention in the processes of law. It also affirmed the rights to peaceful assembly, education, and health and social security and the right to organize into associations or unions and to vote. According to the constitution and its subsequent amendments, the president of the republic is the head of state and, together with the Cabinet, constitutes the executive authority. The president must be Egyptian, born of Egyptian parents, and not less than 40 years old. The presidential term is six years and may be extended to additional terms. The president has the power to appoint and dismiss one or more vice presidents, the prime minister, ministers, and deputy ministers. The legislative body is composed of the People's Assembly, which nominates the presidential candidate by a two-thirds majority. The candidate is then confirmed by national plebiscite. The president is the supreme commander of the armed forces and has the right to grant amnesty and reduce sentence, the power to appoint civil and military officials and to dismiss them in a manner prescribed by the law, and the authority to call a referendum on matters of supreme importance. The president can, in exceptional cases and by investiture of the assembly, issue decrees having the force of lawbut only for a defined time period. Legislative power resides in the People's Assembly, which is composed of 444 elected members, some of whom must be women, and 10 additional members appointed by the president. The assembly is elected, under a complex system of proportional representation, for a five-year term. All males 18 years of age and older are required to vote, as well as all women on the register of voters. The president convenes and closes the sessions of the People's Assembly. The People's Assembly's main function is to approve policy. Its members must ratify all laws and examine and approve the national budget. It also approves the program of each newly appointed Cabinet. Should it withdraw its confidence from the Cabinet or any of its members, that person is required to resign. The president cannot dissolve the assembly except under special circumstances and after a vote of approval by a people's referendum. Elections for a new assembly must be held within 60 days of dissolution. The constitution also provides for a judiciary, independent of other authorities, whose functions and authority are governed by special legislation, and, as a result of an amendment approved by a 1980 referendum, for the Shura Assembly, a partially elective national advisory body. The National Defence Council, presided over by the president of the republic, is responsible for matters relating to security and defense. Local government and administration Until 1960, government administration was highly centralized; in that year, however, the local-government administrative system was established to promote decentralization and greater citizen participation in local government. The 1960 Local Administration Law provides for three levels of local administrationthe muhafazat (governorates), the markaz (districts or counties), and the qariyah (villages). The structure combines features of both local administration and local self-government. There are two councils at each administrative level: a mostly elected people's council and an appointed executive council. Although these councils exercise broad legislative powers, they are controlled by the central government. The country is divided into 26 muhafazat. Five citiesCairo, Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said, and Suezhave muhafazah status. The governor is appointed and can be dismissed by the president of the republic. He is the highest executive authority in the muhafazah has administrative authority over all government personnel except judges in his muhafazah and is responsible for implementing policy. The muhafazah council is composed of a majority of elected members. Although it has not been possible in practice, according to law at least one-half of the members of the muhafazah council are to be farmers and workers. The town or district councils and the village councils are established on the same principles as those underlying the muhafazah councils. The local councils perform a wide variety of functions in education, health, public utilities, housing, agriculture, and communications; they are also responsible for promoting the cooperative movement and for implementing parts of the national plan. Local councils obtain their funds from national revenue, a tax on buildings and lands within the muhafazah, miscellaneous local taxes or fees, profits from public utilities and commercial enterprises, and national subsidies, grants, and loans. History The New Kingdom The 18th dynasty Ahmose (Top) Sites associated with Egypt from Predynastic to Byzantine times. (Middle) Inset of the Nile Although Ahmose (ruled c. 153914 BC) had been preceded by Kamose, who was either his father or brother, Egyptian tradition regarded Ahmose as the founder of a new dynasty because he was the native ruler who reunified Egypt. Continuing a recently inaugurated practice, he married his full sister Ahmose-Nofretari. The queen was given the title of God's Wife of Amon. Like her predecessors of the 17th dynasty, Queen Ahmose-Nofretari was influential and highly honoured. A measure of her importance was her posthumous veneration at Thebes, where later pharaohs were depicted offering to her as a goddess among the gods. Ahmose was very young at his accession, and his campaigns to expel the Hyksos from the Delta and regain former Egyptian territory to the south probably started around his 10th regnal year. Destroying the Hyksos stronghold at Avaris, in the eastern Delta, he finally drove them beyond the eastern frontier and then besieged Sharuhen (Tall al-Far'ah) in southern Palestine; the full extent of his conquests may have been much greater. His penetration of the Near East came at a time when there was no major established power in the region. This political gap facilitated the creation of an Egyptian empire. Ahmose's officers and soldiers were rewarded with spoil and captives, who became personal slaves. This marked the creation of an influential military class. Like Kamose, Ahmose campaigned as far south as Buhen. For the administration of the regained territory he created a new office, overseer of southern foreign lands, which ranked second only to the vizier. Its incumbent was accorded the honorific title of king's son, indicating that he was directly responsible to the king as deputy. The early New Kingdom bureaucracy was modeled after that of the Middle Kingdom. The vizier was the chief administrator and the highest judge of the realm. By the middle of the 15th century BC the office had been divided into two, one vizier for Upper and one for Lower Egypt. During the 18th dynasty some young bureaucrats were educated in temple schools, reinforcing the integration of civil and priestly sectors. Early in the dynasty many administrative posts were inherited, but royal appointment of capable officials, often selected from military officers who had served the king on his campaigns, later became the rule. The trend was thus away from bureaucratic families and the inheritance of office. Amenhotep I Ahmose's son and successor, Amenhotep I (ruled c. 15141493 BC), pushed the Egyptian frontier southward to the Third Cataract, near the capital of the Karmah state, while also gathering tribute from his Asiatic possessions and perhaps campaigning in Syria. The emerging kingdom of Mitanni in northern Syria, which is first mentioned on a stela of one of Amenhotep's soldiers and was also known by the name of Nahrin, may have threatened Egypt's conquests to the north. The New Kingdom saw increased devotion to the state god Amon-Re, whose cult gave the king, as his representative, the mission of expanding Egypt's frontiers. Amon-Re benefited as Egypt was enriched by the spoils of war. Riches were turned over to the god's treasuries, and the king had sacred monuments constructed at Thebes. Under Amenhotep I the pyramidal form of royal tomb was abandoned in favour of a rock-cut tomb, and, except for Akhenaton, all subsequent New Kingdom rulers were buried in concealed tombs in the famous Valley of the Kings in western Thebes. Separated from the tombs, royal mortuary temples were erected at the edge of the desert. Perhaps because of this innovation, Amenhotep I later became the patron deity of the workmen who excavated and decorated the royal tombs. The location of his own tomb is unknown. History Introduction to ancient Egyptian civilization Life in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt can be thought of as an oasis in the desert of northeast Africa, dependent on the annual inundation of the Nile to support its agricultural population. The country's chief wealth came from the fertile floodplain of the Nile Valley, where the river flows between bands of limestone hills, and the Nile Delta, in which it fans into several branches north of modern Cairo. Between the floodplain and the hills is a variable band of low desert, which supported a certain amount of game. The Nile was Egypt's sole transportation artery. The First Cataract at Aswan, where the riverbed is turned into rapids by a belt of granite, was the country's only well-defined boundary within a populated area. To the south lay the far less hospitable area of Nubia, in which the river flowed through low sandstone hills that left a very narrow strip of cultivable land. Nubia was significant for Egypt's periodic southward expansion and for access to products from farther south. West of the Nile was the arid Sahara, broken by a chain of oases some 125185 miles (about 200300 kilometres) from the river and lacking in all other resources except for a few minerals. The eastern desert, between the Nile and the Red Sea, was more important, for it supported a small nomadic population and desert game, contained numerous mineral deposits including gold, and was the route to the Red Sea. To the northeast was the Isthmus of Suez. It offered the principal route for contact with Sinai, from which came turquoise and possibly copper, and with western Asia, Egypt's most important area of cultural interaction, from which were received stimuli for technical development and cultivars for crops. Immigrants and ultimately invaders crossed the Isthmus into Egypt, attracted by the country's stability and prosperity. From the late 2nd millennium BC on, numerous attacks were made by land and sea along the eastern Mediterranean coast. At first, relatively little cultural contact came by way of the Mediterranean Sea, but from an early date Egypt maintained trading relations with the Lebanese port of Byblos (modern Jubayl). Egypt needed few imports to maintain basic standards of living, but good timber was essential and not available within the country, so it usually was obtained from Lebanon. Minerals such as obsidian and lapis lazuli were imported from as far afield as Anatolia and Afghanistan. Agriculture centred on the cultivation of cereal crops, chiefly emmer wheat (triticum dicoccum) and barley (hordeum vulgare). The fertility of the land and general predictability of the inundation ensured very high productivity from a single annual crop. This productivity made it possible to store large surpluses against crop failures and also formed the chief basis of Egyptian wealth, which was, until the creation of the large empires of the 1st millennium BC, the greatest of any state in the ancient Near East. Irrigation was achieved by simple means and multiple cropping was not feasible until much later times, except perhaps in the lakeside area of Fayyum. As the river deposited alluvial silt, raising the level of the floodplain, and land was reclaimed from marsh, the area available for cultivation in the Nile Valley and Delta increased, while pastoralism declined slowly. In addition to grain crops, fruit and vegetables were important, the latter being irrigated year-round in small plots; and fish was vital to the diet. Papyrus, which grew abundantly in marshes, was gathered wild and in later times was cultivated. It may have been used as a food crop; and it certainly was used to make rope, matting, and sandals. Above all it provided the characteristic Egyptian writing material, which, with cereals, was the country's chief export in Late Period Egyptian and then Greco-Roman times. After the introduction of cultivated cereal crops, meat was eaten mainly by the wealthy. Domesticated animals lost much of their significance for nutrition, but they retained great cultural importance and practical value. Cattle may have been domesticated in northeastern Africa. The Egyptians kept many as draft animals and for their various products, showing some of the interest in breeds and individuals that is found to this day in the Sudan and eastern Africa. The donkey, which was the principal transport animal (the camel did not become common until Roman times), was probably domesticated in the region. The native Egyptian breed of sheep became extinct in the 2nd millennium BC and was replaced by an Asiatic breed. Wool was rarely used, so that sheep were primarily a source of meat. Goats were more numerous than sheep and were commonly depicted browsing on tree foliage. Pigs, although subject to some sort of taboo, were raised and eaten. Ducks and geese were kept for food, and many of the vast numbers of wild and migratory birds found in Egypt were hunted and trapped. Desert game, principally various species of antelope and ibex, were hunted by the elite; it was a royal privilege to hunt lions and wild cattle. Pets included dogs, which were also used for hunting; cats (domesticated in Egypt); and monkeys. In addition, the Egyptians had a great interest in, and knowledge of, most species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish in their environment. Most Egyptians were probably descended from settlers who came to the Nile Valley in prehistoric times, with increase coming through natural fertility. In various periods there were immigrants from Nubia, Libya, and especially the Near East. They were historically significant and may have contributed to population increase, but their numbers are unknown. Most people lived in villages and towns in the Nile Valley and Delta. Dwellings were normally built of mud brick and have long since disappeared beneath the rising water table, thereby obliterating evidence for settlement patterns. In antiquity, as now, the most favoured location of settlements was on slightly raised ground near the riverbank, where transport and water were easily available and flooding was unlikely. Until the 1st millennium BC Egypt was not urbanized to the same extent as Mesopotamia. Instead, a few centres, notably Memphis and Thebes, attracted population and particularly the elite, while the rest of the people were relatively evenly spread over the land. The size of the population has been estimated as rising from between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 in the 3rd millennium BC to perhaps twice as many in the late 2nd millennium and 1st millennium BC. (Much higher levels of population were reached in Greco-Roman times.) Nearly all of the people were engaged in agriculture and were probably tied to the land. All the land belonged in theory to the king, although in practice those living on it could not easily be removed and some categories of land could be bought and sold. Land was assigned to high officials to provide them with an income, and most categories of land paid substantial dues to the state, which had a strong interest in keeping it in agricultural use. Abandoned land was taken back into state ownership and reassigned for cultivation. The people who lived on and worked the land were not free to leave and were obliged to work it, but they were not slaves; most paid a proportion of their produce to major officials. Free citizens who worked the land on their own behalf did emerge; terms used for them tended originally to refer to poor people, although they were probably not in fact poor. Slavery was never very common, being restricted to captives and foreigners or to people who were forced by poverty or debt to sell themselves into service. Slaves sometimes were even married by members of their owners' families, so that in the long term those belonging to households tended to be assimilated into free society. In the New Kingdom (from about 1539 to 1075 BC), large numbers of captive slaves were acquired by major state institutions or incorporated into the army. Punitive treatment of foreign slaves or of native fugitives from their obligations included forced labour, exile (in, for example, the oases of the western desert), or compulsory enlistment in dangerous mining expeditions. Even nonpunitive employment such as quarrying in the desert was hazardous. The official record of one expedition shows a mortality rate of more than 10 percent. Just as the Egyptians optimized agricultural production with simple means, their crafts and techniques, many of which originally came from Asia, were raised to extraordinary levels of perfection. The Egyptians' most striking technical achievement, massive stone building, also exploited the potential of a centralized state to mobilize a huge labour force, which was made available by efficient agricultural practices. Some of the technical and organizational skills involved were remarkable. The construction of the great pyramids of the 4th dynasty (c. 2575c. 2465 BC) has yet to be fully explained and would be a major challenge to this day. This expenditure of skill contrasts with sparse evidence for an essentially neolithic way of living for the rural population of the time, while the use of flint tools persisted even in urban environments at least until the late 2nd millennium BC. Metal was correspondingly scarce, much of it being used for prestige rather than everyday purposes. In urban and elite contexts the Egyptian ideal was the nuclear family, but on the land and outside the central ruling group there is evidence for extended families. Egyptians were monogamous, and the choice of partners in marriage, for which no formal ceremony or legal sanction is known, did not follow a set pattern. Consanguineous marriage was not practiced during the Dynastic Period, except for the occasional marriage of a brother and sister within the royal family, and the practice may have been open only to kings or heirs to the throne. Divorce was in theory easy, but it was very costly. Women had a legal status only marginally inferior to that of men. They could own and dispose of property in their own right, and they could initiate divorce and other legal proceedings. They hardly ever held administrative office but increasingly were involved in religious cults as priestesses or chantresses. Elite married women held the title Mistress of the House, the precise significance of which is unknown. Lower down the social scale they probably worked on the land as well as in the house. The uneven distribution of wealth, labour, and technology was related to the only partly urban character of society, especially in the 3rd millennium BC. The country's resources were not fed into numerous provincial towns but instead were concentrated to great effect around the capitalitself a dispersed string of settlements rather than a cityand focused on the central figure in society, the king. In the 3rd and early 2nd millennia the elite ideal, expressed in the decoration of private tombs, was manorial and rural. Not until much later did Egyptians have pronouncedly urban values. The king and ideology: administration, art, and writing In official terms, Egyptian society consisted of a descending hierarchy of the gods, the king, the dead, and humanity (by which was understood chiefly the Egyptians). Of these groups, only the king was single, and hence he was individually more prominent than any of the others. A text that summarizes the king's role states that he is on earth for ever and ever, judging mankind and propitiating the gods, and setting order [ma'at, a central concept] in place of disorder. He gives offerings to the gods and mortuary offerings to the spirits [the blessed dead]. The king was a god, but not in any simple or unqualified sense. His divinity accrued to him from his office and was reaffirmed through rituals, but it was vastly inferior to that of major gods; he was god rather than man by virtue of his potential, which was immeasurably greater than that of any human being. To humanity, he manifested the gods on earth, a conception that was elaborated in a complex web of metaphor and doctrine; less directly, he represented humanity to the gods. The text quoted above also gives great prominence to the dead, for whom the living performed a cult and who could intervene in human affairs; in many periods the chief visible expenditure and focus of display of nonroyal individuals, as of the king, was on provision for the tomb and the next world. Egyptian kings are commonly called pharaohs, following the usage of the Old Testament. The term pharaoh, however, is derived from the Egyptian per 'aa (great estate) and goes back to the designation of the royal palace as an institution. This term for palace was used increasingly from about 1400 BC as a way of referring to the living king; in earlier times it was rare. Rules of succession to the kingship are poorly understood. The common conception that the heir to the throne had to marry his predecessor's oldest daughter has been disproved; kingship did not pass through the female line. The choice of queen seems to have been free: often the queen was a close relative of the king, but she also might be unrelated to him. In the New Kingdom, for which evidence is abundant, each king had a queen with distinctive titles, as well as a number of minor wives. Sons of the queen seem to have been the preferred successors to the throne, but other sons could also become king. In many cases the successor was the eldest (surviving) son, and such a pattern of inheritance agrees with more general Egyptian values, but often he was some other relative, or was completely unrelated. New Kingdom texts depict, after the event, how kings were appointed heirs either by their predecessors or by divine oracles, and such may have been the pattern when there was no clear successor. From the middle of the 5th dynasty (c. 2450 BC) to the 19th (12921190 BC) there is no certain attestation of a prince in the reign of his brother; rival claimants, therefore, must have been eliminated or silenced after one of them had succeeded. Dissent and conflict are suppressed from public sources. From the Late Period (664332 BC), when sources are more diverse and patterns less rigid, numerous usurpations and interruptions to the succession are known; they probably had many forerunners. The king's position changed gradually from that of an absolute monarch at the centre of a small ruling group who were mostly his kin to that of the head of a bureaucratic statein which his rule was still absolutebased on officeholding and, in theory, on free competition and merit. By the 5th dynasty, fixed institutions were added to the force of tradition and the regulation of personal contact as brakes on autocracy, but the charismatic and superhuman power of the king remained vital. The elite of administrative officeholders received their positions and commissions from the king, whose general role as judge over humanity they put into effect. They commemorated their own justice and concern for others, especially their inferiors, and recorded their own exploits and ideal conduct of life in inscriptions for others to see. Thus the position of the elite was affirmed by reference to the king, to their prestige among their peers, and to their conduct toward their subordinates, justifying to some extent the fact that theyand still more the kingappropriated much of the country's surplus production for their own benefit. These attitudes and their potential dissemination through society counterbalanced inequality, but how far they were accepted cannot be known. The core group of wealthy officeholders numbered at most a few hundred, and the administrative class of minor officials and scribes, most of whom could not afford to leave memorials or inscriptions, perhaps 5,000. With their dependents, these two groups formed perhaps 5 percent of the early population. Monuments and inscriptions commemorated no more than one in a thousand people. According to royal ideology, the king appointed the elite on the basis of merit, and in ancient conditions of high mortality the elite had to be open to recruits from outside. In addition, royal caprice resulted in many falls from favour, especially in the 18th dynasty (15391292 BC). There was, however, also an ideal that a son should succeed his father. In periods of weak central control this principle predominated, and in the Late Period the whole society became more rigid and stratified. Writing was a major instrument in the centralization of the Egyptian state and its self-presentation. The two basic forms of writing, hieroglyphs, which were used for monuments and display, and the cursive form known as hieratic, were invented at much the same time in late predynastic Egypt (c. 3000 BC). Writing was chiefly used for administration and until about 2650 BC no continuous texts were recorded; the only literary texts written down before the early Middle Kingdom (c. 1950 BC) seem to have been lists of important traditional information and possibly medical treatises. The use and potential of writing were restricted both by the rate of literacy, which was probably well below 1 percent, and expectations of what writing might do. Hieroglyphic writing was publicly identified with Egypt. Perhaps because of this association with a single powerful state, its language, and its culture, Egyptian writing was seldom adapted to write other languages; in this it contrasts with the cuneiform script of the relatively uncentralized, multilingual Mesopotamia. Nonetheless, Egyptian hieroglyphs probably served in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC as the model from which the alphabet, ultimately the most widespread of all writing systems, evolved. The dominant visible legacy of ancient Egypt is in works of architecture and representational art. Until the Middle Kingdom, most of these were mortuary: royal tomb complexes, including pyramids and mortuary temples, and private tombs. There were also temples dedicated to the cult of the gods throughout the country, but most of these were modest structures. From the beginning of the New Kingdom (c. 1539 BC), temples of the gods became the principal monuments; royal palaces and private houses, which are very little known, were less important. Temples and tombs were ideally executed in stone with relief decoration on their walls and were filled with stone and wooden statuary, inscribed and decorated stelae (freestanding small stone monuments), and, in their inner areas, composite works of art in precious materials. The design of the monuments and their decoration goes back in essence to the beginning of the historical period and presents an ideal, sanctified cosmos. Little in it is related to the everyday world and, except in palaces, works of art may have been rare outside temples and tombs. Decoration may record real historical events, rituals, or the official titles and careers of individuals, but its prime aim is the more general assertion of values, and the information presented must be evaluated for its plausibility and compared with other evidence. Some of the events depicted in relief on royal monuments were certainly fictitious. The highly distinctive Egyptian method of rendering nature and artistic style were also creations of early times and can be seen in most works of Egyptian art. In content, these are hierarchically ordered so that the most important figures, the gods and the king, are shown together, while before the New Kingdom gods seldom occur in the same context as humanity. The decoration of a nonroyal tomb characteristically shows the tomb's owner with his subordinates, who administer his land and present him with its produce. The tomb owner is also typically depicted hunting in the marshes, a favourite pastime of the elite that may additionally symbolize passage into the next world. The king and the gods are absent in nonroyal tombs, and overtly religious matter is restricted to rare scenes of mortuary rituals and journeys and to textual formulas. Temple reliefs, in which king and gods occur freely, show the king defeating his enemies, hunting, and especially offering to the gods, who in turn confer benefits upon him. Human beings are present at most as minor figures supporting the king. On both royal and nonroyal monuments an ideal world is represented in which all are beautiful and everything goes well; only minor figures may have physical imperfections. This artistic presentation of values originated at the same time as writing, but before the latter could record continuous texts or complex statements. Some of the earliest continuous texts of the 4th and 5th dynasties show an awareness of an ideal past that the present could only aspire to emulate. A few biographies of officials allude to strife, but more nuanced discussion occurs first in literary texts of the Middle Kingdom. The texts consist of stories, dialogues, lamentations, and especially instructions on how to live a good life, and they supply a rich commentary on the more one-dimensional rhetoric of public inscriptions. Literary works were written in all the main later phases of the Egyptian languageMiddle Egyptian; the classical form of the Middle and New kingdoms, continuing in copies and inscriptions into Roman times; Late Egyptian, from the 19th dynasty to about 700 BC; and demotic (texts from the 4th century BC to the 3rd century AD)but many of the finest and most complex are among the earliest. Literary works also included treatises on mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and magic, as well as various religious texts and canonical lists that classified the categories of creation (probably the earliest genre, going back to the beginning of the Old Kingdom, c. 2575 BC, or even a little earlier). Among these texts, little is truly systematic, a notable exception being a medical treatise on wounds. The absence of systematic enquiry contrasts with Egyptian practical expertise in such fields as surveying, which was used both for orienting and planning buildings to remarkably fine tolerances and for the regular division of fields after the inundation; the Egyptians also surveyed and established the dimensions of their entire country by the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. These precise tasks required both knowledge of astronomy and highly ingenious techniques, but they apparently were achieved with little theoretical analysis. Whereas in the earliest periods Egypt seems to have been administered almost as the personal estate of the king, by the central Old Kingdom it was divided into about 35 nomes, or provinces, each with its own officials. Administration was concentrated at the capital, where most of the central elite lived and died. In the nonmonetary Egyptian economy, its essential functions were the collection, storage, and redistribution of produce; the drafting and organization of manpower for specialized labour, probably including irrigation and flood protection works, and major state projects; and the supervision of legal matters. Administration and law were not fully distinct and both depended ultimately on the king. The settlement of disputes was in part an administrative task, for which the chief guiding criterion was precedent, while contractual relations were regulated by the use of standard formulas. State and temple both partook in redistribution and held massive reserves of grain; temples were economic as well as religious institutions. In periods of decentralization similar functions were exercised by local grandees. Markets had only a minor role, and craftsmen were employees who normally traded only what they produced in their free time. The wealthiest officials escaped this pattern to some extent by receiving their income in the form of land and maintaining large establishments that included their own specialized workers. The essential medium of administration was writing, reinforced by personal authority over the nonliterate 99 percent of the population; texts exhorting the young to be scribes emphasize that the scribe commanded while the rest did the work. Most officials (almost all of whom were men) held several offices and accumulated more as they progressed up a complex ranked hierarchy, at the top of which was the vizier, the chief administrator and judge. The vizier reported to the king, who in theory retained certain powers, such as authority to invoke the death penalty, absolutely. Before the Middle Kingdom, the civil and the military were not sharply distinguished. Military forces consisted of local militias under their own officials and included foreigners, and nonmilitary expeditions to extract minerals from the desert or to transport heavy loads through the country were organized in similar fashion. Until the New Kingdom there was no separate priesthood. Holders of civil office also had priestly titles, and priests had civil titles. Often priesthoods were sinecures: their chief significance was the income they brought. The same was true of the minor civil titles accumulated by high officials. At a lower level, minor priesthoods were held on a rotating basis by laymen who served every fourth month in temples. State and temple were so closely interconnected that there was no real tension between them before the late New Kingdom. History From the French to the British occupation (17981882) The French occupation and its consequences (17981805) Although several projects for a French occupation of Egypt had been advanced in the 17th and 18th centuries, the purpose of the expedition that sailed under Napoleon Bonaparte from Toulon in May 1798 was specifically connected with the war against Britain. Bonaparte had discounted the feasibility of an invasion of England but hoped, by occupying Egypt, to damage British trade, to threaten India, and to obtain assets for bargaining in any future peace settlement. Meanwhile, as a colony under the benevolent and progressive administration of Revolutionary France, Egypt would be regenerated and regain its ancient prosperity. The military and naval forces were therefore accompanied by a commission of scholars and scientists to investigate and report the past and present condition of the country. Eluding the British Mediterranean fleet under Lord Nelson, the French landed at Abu Qir (Aboukir) Bay on July 1 and took Alexandria the next day. In an Arabic proclamation, Bonaparte assured the Egyptians that he came as a friend to Islam and the Ottoman sultan, to punish the usurping Mamluks and to liberate the people. From Alexandria the French advanced on Cairo, defeating Murad Bey at Shubrakhit (July 13), and again decisively at Imbabah, opposite Cairo in the so-called Battle of the Pyramids on July 21. Murad fled to Upper Egypt, while his colleague, Ibrahim Bey, together with the Ottoman viceroy, made his way to Syria. After entering Cairo (July 25), Bonaparte sought to conciliate the population, especially the religious leaders ('ulama'), by demonstrating his sympathy with Islam and by establishing councils (divans) as a means of consulting Egyptian opinion. The destruction of the French fleet at Abu Qir by Nelson in the so-called Battle of the Nile on August 1 virtually cut Bonaparte's communications and made it necessary for him to consolidate his rule and to make the expeditionary force as self-sufficient as possible. The savants, organized in the Institut d'gypte, played their part in this. Meanwhile, Egyptian resentment at alien rule, administrative innovations, and the growing fiscal burden of military occupation was exacerbated when the Ottoman sultan, Selim III (17891807), declared war on France on September 11. An unforeseen revolt in Cairo on October 21 was suppressed after an artillery bombardment that ended any hopes of cordial Franco-Egyptian coexistence. Ottoman Syria, dominated by Ahmad al-Jazzar, the governor of Acre, was the base from which French-occupied Egypt might most easily be threatened, and Bonaparte resolved to deny it to his enemies. His invasion force crossed the frontier in February 1799 but failed to take Acre after a protracted siege (March 19May 20), and Bonaparte evacuated Syrian territory. A seaborne Ottoman invading force landed at Abu Qir in July but failed to maintain its bridgehead. At this point Bonaparte resolved to return to France and succeeded in slipping away on August 22, past the British fleet. His successor as general in chi

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