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The Egyptian Culture Reflected in Worship Deborah Howard Much of our knowledge about ancient Egyptian culture is based on elaborate worship rituals related to death and the afterlife Egyptians were devoted to their gods and to their pharaohs who were gods on earth as demonstrated by their willingness to build the pyramids for the safe passage of their leaders into the afterlife Understanding the development of Egyptian society and their theological system requires a basic knowledge of the geography of the area The Nile River Valley and Nile Delta circa 4000-5000 BCE was comprised of about 12000 square miles of arable land The villages and towns of ancient Egypt were found up and down the length of the Nile with most of the population living below the First Cataract located approximately at present day Aswan The Egyptians were accomplished farmers They knew the Nile would flood each year and bring new life and abundant grain The Niles flooding was predictable and left rich new deposits of silt for new crops making irrigation easy to plan A basin irrigation system allowed the flood waters to flow gently into each field cleansing and renewing the earth each year The virtual isolation of the Nile Valley allowed Egyptian civilization to develop unthreatened by its neighbors The Mediterranean Sea lay to the north vast deserts were found to the east and west and dense jungle lay to the south An invader would have to be quite determined to brave the elements that protected the Nile Valley civilization Since Egyptian civilization was a product in many ways of the natural forces that surrounded its people the people looked to nature to explain the unexplainable Egyptian gods were depicted as wise caring predictable and forgiving just as the Nile was predictable and life sustaining The creation myth of the ancient Egyptians began with a vast waste
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