By Arthur Goldschmidt Jr.
Historical Egypt used to be one of many longest-lasting civilizations the realm has ever identified. This e-book explores Egypt's extensive political, financial, social, and cultural advancements, from the robust civilization of the earlier to the various cultural and political panorama, protecting nearly 6,000 years of background.
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Extra info for A Brief History of Egypt (Brief History)
This painting by David Roberts shows the complex as it looked in the 19th century. (Jason Thompson) The Ptolemies For Egypt the Ptolemies’ rule was highly beneficial at first. Trade flourished in the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. As wheat replaced emmer and barley, Egypt became the breadbasket of the Mediterranean world. Fruit trees, grapevines, flax, and papyrus also contributed to a general prosperity. For the Egyptian people, though, life under these rulers, who were Greek-speaking Macedonians, did not improve.
Politically, Egypt’s Christians and Jews were known as dhimmis (protected peoples), subordinate to Muslims in general and Mamluks in particular, but they could nevertheless become learned, wealthy, or powerful within their own communities. Occasionally, the dhimmis suffered: If a Mamluk sultan found that he was short of funds, he might increase the tax on Christians and Jews known as the jizya. The Mamluks who ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1382 were called Bahri because these soldiers were initially housed in a castle on the island of Roda on the Nile, called bahr (sea) in Egypt.
Unlike the usual dynastic system, although at times a son might succeed his father as Mamluk sultan, he usually had only a brief reign during which the major factions would fight for power. As soon as one Mamluk party had defeated the others, its leader would seize the sultanate. One reason for the success of this system was that it enabled gifted leaders to rise to the top and stay there. An excellent example is Baybars (r. 1260–77), who had served his predecessor, Qutuz (r. 1259–60), at Ayn Jalut.