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The civilization of ancient Egypt is significant in several ways Together with those of Mesopotamia India and China it was one of the earliest civilizations and it is perhaps the best example of continuous cultural evolution based on internal stimuli rather than the complex mix of internal and external factors found for example in Mesopotamia Egyptian influence on other peoples was also significant Its hieroglyphic writing system and other cultural elements were adapted by ancient kingdoms of the Sudan Syria-Palestine was strongly affected by Egyptian religion and art And the cults of some Egyptian gods had followers in both Greece and Rome The two last regions and the Bible are the most important antecedents of the modern Western world that owe something to Egypt The Western alphabet is derived from a Phoenician one possibly modeled on Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian ideas are found in some parts of the Bible and Greek sciences and especially art were originally influenced by Egypt Finally archaeology and historical writing have made Egypt a subject of general public interestThe image of Egyptian history moves continually closer to reality as new facts are discovered and new kinds of research--anthropological and other--supplement more traditional archaeological techniques Egypts well preserved pyramids and cemeteries on the dry desert and sturdy stone-built temples have been studied by archaeologists since the early 19th century but river-plain town mounds and all sites in densely settled northern Egypt now receive more attention than previously Funerary and temple inscriptions survived well but they paint an idealized oversimplified picture of history and society Papyrus texts and ostraca pottery fragments are rarer but more realistic They now are better studied and are supplemented by new types of archaeological analysis see EgyptologyEnvironment strongly affected history In a largely rainless climate Egypts agricultural productivity depended on a long but very narrow floodplain on average 192 km 119 mi wide it reached a maximum of 248 km 1541 mi in the Delta and was formed
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