The Egyptian Civilization

Egyptian civilization formed along the Nile river and the earliest traces of
human life in that region are from the Paleolithic Age, (Old Stone Age), about

300,000 B.C., at the very edges of the Nile Valley. Beyond, on both sides of the
river the land was and still is desert.

At that time the people moved from place to place, ate berries, roots, and
any animals they could find, but stood close to their lifeline, the Nile. The lands
along the Nile were rich enough to be farmed, so over time the people started to
grow crops. They found ways to store the yearly floodwaters and then use them
for the dry seasons. The farmers learned to lift water out of the Nile or wells and
send it across the fields through a system of canals. In order for all of this to
work out they had to work together, no one could do any of it alone. So as the
farmers and people began to cooperate, an organization began to grow. They
found leaders among them who directed the work. A form of government
developed and due to that they soon began to build cities, to manufacture
things, in time to trade with their neighbors. That is how it all started. Over a
period from 3100 B.C. to 332 B.C. they grew in culture, arts, religion, science,
medicine, and many other fields.

The early Egyptian people grew food by the Nile and lived mainly by
hunting for meat, fishing, and gathering wild plants. They kept a small number of
cattle, sheep, or goats, and grew a few crops. Their crops were flax, barley, and
a primitive kind of wheat called \'emmer.\' They got the sheep and goats from the
middle east, and their crops too. Farming provided most of the food and helped
their population grow. Later on in time, the basic diet of the ordinary people was
bread and beer. The wealthier ones ate more meat and drank wine instead of

The most common clothes women wore were tunic dresses. Those were
made by folding a rectangle of cloth in half, sewing it up at the sides, leaving
holes for the arms, and cutting a key hole for the head. Some had sleeves and
some were sleeveless. This looks very different from the tomb paintings where
women are shown wearing skintight transparent dresses with no underclothes. I
guess they wanted the art more attractive.

Men usually wore loin-cloths and short kilts. Much of the people\'s clothes
were made of linen because for the mostly hot weather they needed light, loose,
and easily washed clothes. Linen was perfect for that.

Children went naked whenever it was warm enough. At about the age of

10 they started to wear the same kind of tunics or kilts as their parents.

Egyptian doctors were the most famous in the ancient world. Today some
scholars call them "the first real doctors." The people who were doctors were
often priests as well. They were trained in the temple medical schools. Their
medicine was a mixture of science, religion, and magic. In many kingdoms all
over the Mediterranean if medical help was needed their services were at
demand. Their medical writings include all sorts of magic charms and chants, but
they had a lot of practical knowledge. They knew how to deal with broken bones,
wounds, and fevers. It is said that they approached their study of medicine in a
remarkably scientific way.

An example of likely treatment in those early times is the binding of a slice
of raw meat over a stitched wound. Also wounds were treated with willow leaves,
which contain salicylic acid (aspirin), to reduce inflammation, plus copper,
sodium salts to help dry up the wound. Cream and flour were mixed to make a
cast for a broken limb. With very bad diseases, where they didn\'t understand the
cause, magic spells were mixed with the potions. Even if the magic didnít work
itself the patient felt a little better just thinking it might work.

There are many gods and goddesses to be found in the beliefs of ancient

Egypt. The gods were associated with individual provinces, and their names
varied throughout the country.

The basic belief of most Egyptians was that in the beginning there was
only water. Then, just as happened after the Nile floods every year, the first
mound of earth rose out of the waters of chaos. What they believed happened
next depended on where they lived. There were common gods to all though. For
ordinary families most important in their daily lives were the household