Egypt in 2700 BC

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Note: This is so far back in time that dates can be off by up to 100 years or so. I follow the dates in “The Princeton Dictionary of Ancient Egypt” (2008). 

  • Location: north-eastern Africa, the last 1,000 km of the Nile where ships can freely sail north of the rocky Cataracts.
  • Population: about 1 million.
  • Major cities: Buto, Memphis (capital), Abydos, Hierakonpolis, Elephantine.
  • Language: Old Egyptian – in hieroglyphic writing that does not yet represent spoken speech.
  • Religion: idol worship in temples of Horus, Osiris, Seth, etc. Apis bull. No more human sacrifice. The rivalry between Seth and Horus of myth seems to take political form as a religious struggle in Egypt. See below.
  • Government: Peribsen, second-to-last god-king of the 2nd Dynasty.
  • Economy: wheat, barley, cattle, sheep, goats. From Asia: copper, wine, oil, wood,
  • Transport: Nile River, sail boats, donkeys. Roads and wheel transport (and trees) are rare, camels unknown.
  • Technology: irrigation, mud bricks (not yet stone blocks), copper (not yet bronze), paper, 365-day calendar.

The last 100 years:

  • Kings:
    • 2nd Dynasty: …, Weneg?, …, Sened?, …, Peribsen.
  • This is a shadowy period, like the previous 100 years. The only king’s tomb we have is Peribsen’s. The rest are lost or destroyed. We are not even sure what their names were. There is no known stone block building in Egypt from before this year. And yet in 14 years the Old Kingdom, aka the Pyramid Age, will begin. But some of the groundwork has already been laid:
  • Hieroglyphic inscriptions have no grammar, they do not yet record speech. But they do provide the record keeping needed for the taxes and supply chains upon which the government, and later the pyramids, are built.
  • Art and hieroglyphics come out of this period in the classic form they will have for the next 2,670 years, till the time of Cleopatra. It sets Egypt apart from Nubia. Till now there was no sharp cultural difference between the two.
  • Lower Nubia, the part of Nubia nearest Egypt, seems to have become depopulated. Unclear why, though it comes after Egypt has already begun its long-term policy of keeping Nubia in a stir.
  • Peribsen is the only king from this period we know much about. He used to call himself Sekhemib and, like all the kings before him, put the falcon of Horus above his name. But then he changes his name to Peribsen and puts a Seth animal above his name instead! The Seth animal looks like a dog or a jackal with an anteater’s head. Seth, at least in later tellings of the myth, was the god of chaos, Horus’s evil uncle (very much Scar to Horus’s Simba). There may have been some sort of religious struggle (or a political one dressed up as religion). The next king will put both Seth and Horus above his name and call himself Khasekhemwy – “the two lords/gods are at peace in him.” But later kings will return to the old practice of just putting Horus above their name.

Meanwhile in Britain, brown-skinned people like the Whitehawk Woman are working on a wood  version of Stonehenge.

– Abagond, 2023. 

See also:


Egypt in 2700 BC