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Agriculture in Egypt

Imagine a time when time itself did not exist, or at least our modern day perception of it. Iterations of sunrises and sunsets were the basic tools of measurement that allowed for rough, and unreliable, estimates of the passing years. This lack of accuracy might seem like a more serene way to live, but it had horrendous consequences for the ancient Egyptians.

Agriculture was the main pillar of life in ancient Egypt. As such, everything revolved around the Nile river, which was notorious for its yearly floods that effortlessly annihilated all crops that lay in its path. Moreover, with no real way to measure time, these floods were capable of destroying entire harvests in the spur of a fleeting moment. Thus born from necessity, the ancient Egyptians created the 24-hour day, 365-day year system. These miraculous people were also able to recognize the existence of three seasons: Akhet (Flooding), Peret (Planting), and Shemu (Harvesting). Consequently, floods were tracked with pinpoint accuracy, allowing Egyptians to work comfortably year round to produce a wealth of sustenance, including wheat, barely, assortments of vegetables, and delicious figs, melons and pomegranates.

With agriculture at the heart of the civilization, many more innovations followed suit. Egyptians were of the first in history to conceive a method of readily creating paper known as Papyrus, used in all aspects of life from contracts to literature. This method was so sophisticated and highly valued that it became one of the Egyptians’ best-kept secrets, hidden until the 1960’s. Additionally, their prowess allowed them to develop their local cotton over the centuries, earning it an internationally acclaimed title until today. What exactly is so special about this so-called “Egyptian Cotton?” The length of the fiber yields the finest yarn without sacrificing strength, i.e. it’s both pleasantly soft and resiliently strong.

As a result, these historic achievements have allowed the ancient Egyptians to bask in the luxury of abundance and thereby focus their time and effort on other cultural, technological and artistic pursuits, potentially the driving force behind their unrivaled excellence.