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Word Count: 542
Environment strongly affected in the Ancient Near East In a largely rainless climate Egypts high agricultural productivity depended on a long but very narrow floodplain on average 192 km wide it reached a maximum of 248 km in the Delta and was formed by the Niles annual flood If a periodic long-term decrease in the volume of the Nile were to occur it might create social stress and political and military conflict But an increase in volume increased food supplies and favored stability and centralized government The deserts to the east and west had valuable stones and minerals and it also helped protect Egypt from much external attack or infiltration from all sides of its boundaries To the south northeast Africa and northwest Syria-Palestine however important kingdoms developed Egypt traded with and exploited these kingdoms but was also sometimes threatened by them Beyond Syria-Palestine greater powers in Anatolia Mesopotamia and Iran were alternately Egypts allies and its rivals in imperial expansion but none was a direct threat before the 7th century BC Achievement continuity and innovation characterized Egyptian civilization Major achievements included a continuous drive toward political unity and social stability The creation of a surplus in food and materials supported a great structure of administrators soldiers priests and craftsmen The invention or adoption of a writing system was created around 3100 BC Literacy made government more effective stabilizing and enriching religious intellectual and scientific information In turn these developments promoted the growth of elaborate and often massively scaled buildings in brick and stone It also promoted the growth of highly accomplished art forms such as statues and paintings which were among the most distinctive of the ancient world Continuity was very strong in the civilization of the Ancient Near East Egypts religion its concepts of social order and its system of strong monarchical government remained fundamentally the same for over 3000 years Environmental stability helped as did ethnic and linguistic continuity unlike
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