Its strata are gently inclined to the northwest, so that the highest level is in the south, near Luxor, where the oldest (lower Eocene) strata appear, and valleys (Bibân-el-Molûk) take the place of the cliffs, undoubtedly for the same reason as in the Arabian desert (see below). This radical change had the advantage of brining Nubia within closer range, and it may have contributed substantially to the conquest of that province; but it weakened the northern border, which was now too far from the center of political life.East of the Nile the limestone formation originally presented much the same appearance as in the Libyan counterpart. The pharaohs of the Thirteenth Dynasty (most of whom were called Sebek-hotep or Nofir-hotep), without abandoning Thebes, seemed to have paid more attention than their predecessors to the cities of the Delta, where at Tanis in particular they occasionally resided, and it was from Xois (Sakha), a city of Lower Egypt that the next following (Fourteenth) dynasty arose.In ancient times there were seven of these branches, five natural and two artificial. They were fully occupied with the war waged among themselves, or with the Elamites who for centuries contended with Babylonia and Chaldea for supremacy in Western Asia.Only two are now of importance for navigation, the Damietta (Tamiathis) and the Rosetta branches, both named for the towns near which they discharge into the sea. On their side the kings of Egypt had to secure their own borders (principally the southern) against the neighbouring tribes, a necessity which led them, after many centuries of warfare, to the conquest of Nubia.The most extensive of these are now, from east to west, Lake Menzaleh between the ancient Ostium Phatniticum and Ostium Pelusiacum, Lake Borolos (Lacus Buto or Paralus) east and Lake Edkû west of the Rosetta mouth (Ostium Bolbitinum), and Lake Mariût (Mareotis Lacus) south of the narrow strip of land on which Alexandria stands. The Libyans, also, and the tribes settled between the Nile and the Red Sea had to be repeatedly repelled or conquered.Between Lake Menzaleh and the Red Sea, on a line running first south, and then south-south-east, are Lake Balah, Lake Timsâh, and the Bitter Lakes (Lacus Amari), now traversed by the Suez Canal. The brief records of such punitive expeditions, which appear on the Palermo Stone, attribute them to dates as early as the first two dynasties. Distances by water are somewhat greater owing to the winding course of the river. Such data in themselves have no chronological value, as the phases of the moon return to the same positions on the calendar every nineteen years; taken, however, in conjunction with other data, they can help us to determine more precisely the chronology of some events (Breasted, op. Unfortunately, the first of these last two monuments is broken into many fragments and otherwise mutilated, while the second is but a fragment of a much larger stone. Still we must mention here the of the Egyptian priest Manetho of Sebennytus, third century B. Of this work we have: (a) Some fragments which, preserved by Josephus (Contra Apion, I, xiv, xv, xx), were used by Eusebius in his "Præparatio Evangelica" and the first book of his "Chronicon"; (b) by an epitome which has reached us in two recensions; one of these recensions (the better of the two) was used by Julius Africanus, and the other by Eusebius in their respective chronicles; both have been preserved by Georgius Syncellus (eighth-ninth century) in his . Jerome and an Armenian version of the Eusebian recension, while fragments of the recension of Julius Africanus are to be found in the so-called "Excerpta Barbara". Such is the case, for instance, for the first five dynasties, of which all we can say is that they must have ruled successively over the whole land of Egypt and that their kings must have been conquerors as well as builders.
The oasis of Bahriyeh (Small Oasis), north-east of Farâfreh, lies, on the contrary, in a depression entirely surrounded by the higher plateau. Having succeeded in bringing Lower Egypt under his rule, he appropriately selected Memphis for the capital of the new kingdom, as being more central.
This lake once occupied almost the entire basin of the Fayûm, but within the historical period its circumference does not seem to have exceeded 140 miles. A little before reaching Cairo the Nile flows along the rocky and sandy plateau on which the three best-known pyramids stand. In current literature Dynasties Three to Eleven are often variously referred to as the Old Kingdom ().
It lay 73 feet above the sea level, and was very deep, as shown by its last vestige, the Birket-el-Karûn, which lies 144 feet below the same level (Baedeker, op. There, too, the two ranges of Arabian and Libyan mountains, which above this point run for many miles close to the river, turn sharply aside in the direction of the north-east and northwest, thus forming a triangle with the Mediterranean shore. The simpler division which we propose here seems to us more rational. During this period Egypt and the Asiatic empires never, so far as we know, came into contact, except possibly in a pacific and commercial way; their armies never met in battle.
The immense alluvial plain thus encompassed was called by the Greeks the Delta, owing to its likeness to the fourth letter of their alphabet (). Some of the ancient Babylonian and Chaldean kings, like Sargon I (third millennium B.
As soon as the river enters this plain its waters divide into several streams which separately wind their way to the sea and make it a garden of incredible fertility. C.), may have occasionally extended their raids as far as the Mediterranean Sea, but it does not seem that they ever established their rule in a permanent way.