These essays explore how the pharaohs (kings) in ancient Egypt built a political edifice that translated agricultural surpluses from the Nile River Valley and Delta into incredible power and wealth. The Dynastic Era in ancient Egypt began about 2900 BCE with the creation of the Old Kingdom and closed in 332 BCE when Alexander the Great defeated Persia and imposed Macedonian rule on Egypt.
The Concise Essay first looks at the origins of the empire or kingdom – how founder-kings exploited favorable circumstances to their advantage. I then turn to an examination of sources of wealth and power in the ancient world – agriculture, foreign trade, and foreign conquest. I move on to means of control – political organization and religious persuasion – used by ruling elites to retain power and extract wealth from the masses. Next I examine causes of decline in Egypt – internal erosion of control followed by foreign incursions by competing enemies. I then summarize the key trends in the aftermath of New Kingdom Egypt– how successful later groups were in holding on to power and creating wealth. At the end of the essay, I draw lessons for contemporary powers from the experiences of ancient empires and kingdoms.
The Complete Essay allows the reader to go more in-depth into Egypt's past. It is divided into three parts. The first part considers how the leaders in ancient Egypt constructed their empire, the second examines how the rulers during the New Kingdom (16th- 11th centuries BCE) became the richest people in the world and why their system unraveled, and the third investigates the aftermath of the Dynastic Era (4th century BCE-present), when Egypt suffered through 22 centuries of foreign exploitation before re-gaining independence in 1952. A time line, an annotated bibliography, and a description of sites visited in Egypt are appended at the end of the essay.
Egypt and Jordan by Private Air, A Family Adventure Bushtracks Expeditions, Airplane-based, with a Cruise Aboard the Nile Adventurer, Lower Egypt – Memphis, Saqqara, and Giza, The Nile Delta – Cairo, Sinai – St. Catherine’s Monastery, Upper Egypt – Luxor, Upper Egypt – Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo, Nubia – Aswan and Abu Simbel, Ship-based, Aboard the Silver Whisper, Alexandria, Egypt, Port Said and the Suez Canal, Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt