The Egyptians - Farming
One of the reasons why the Ancient Egyptian civilisation was so successful was the fact that they were able to farm the fertile soil around the Nile and produce their own food and cloth. The river Nile is the longest river in the World. The source of the river is in Burundi in Central Africa, it then flows through Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt and empties into the Mediterranean sea.
During the early summer months the mountain region of Ethiopia experiences periods of heavy monsoon rainfall which increase the water level of the Nile causing it to flood in Egypt between June and September. The Egyptians call this the inundation. In 1889 work began on a dam to prevent the annual flood. The first Aswan dam was opened in 1902 but it proved to be insufficient and had to be raised twice in 1907–1912 and 1929–1933. In 1960 work began on a second dam, the Aswan High Dam which, since its opening in 1970 has prevented further floods.
The Farming Year
The Inundation (Akhet) June to September
When the river Nile flooded, water, mud and silt from the river was washed up over the river banks creating a fertile growing area. During the period of the flood the Egyptian farmers spent time mending and making tools and looking after the animals. Many farmers also worked for the pharaoh during this time building pyramids and temples.
Growing (Peret) October to February
As soon as the flood began to recede the Ancient Egyptians ploughed the soil ready for sowing. They had hand ploughs or larger ones that were pulled by oxen.
Seeds were then sown into the newly ploughed soil. Goats and other animals then walked over the fields to push the seeds into the ground.
Crops grown included wheat, barley, flax, onions, leeks, garlic, beans, lettuce, lentils, cabbages, radishes, turnips, grapes, figs, plums and melons.
Harvest (Shemu) March to May
Grain was cut using a sickle. The cut grain was then tied into bundles and carried away.
Wheat was made into bread, barley was made into beer and flax was made into linen cloth.
Papyrus reeds that grew naturally along the banks of the Nile were used to make sandals, boats, baskets, mats and paper.
Fruit and vegetables were harvested when they ripened.
Cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, goats, and oxen were raised by farmers for their meat, milk, hides and also to help with farming.
While medieval European medicine was still mired in superstitions and the rigid Catholic teachings of the Church, the advent of Islam in the 7th century A.D. gave rise to impressive growth and discoveries in many scientific fields, especially medicine. Islamic scholars and doctors translated medical texts from all over the known world, including the Greeks and Romans, Persians and Indians. They not only gathered... Read More
From the 1st century A.D. to the late 19th century, one medical compound reigned supreme over all other remedies: theriac. First concocted by a Greek king worried about poisons, theriac went from being a general antidote to snake bites to an all around panacea, used to treat everything from asthma to warts, including the Black Plague. Famous doctors throughout this long history experimented with the drug and... Read More
If you think, as some do today, that many drugs used as medicines are potentially deadly, consider what people living in medieval times were prescribed as curative agents—from ground up corpses to toxic mercury to crocodile dung. The annals of medieval medical history are full of substances that make us cringe. Yet people believed in these cure-alls and willingly took them when prescribed by a doctor of the... Read More
The Neo-Assyrian Empire used earthen ramps, siege towers and battering rams in sieges; the Greeks and Alexander the Great created destructive new engines known as artillery to further their sieges, and the Romans used every technique to perfection. That is to say, the Romans were not inventors, but they were superb engineers and disciplined, tough soldiers who fought against great odds and won, repeatedly.... Read More
Demetrius I, King of Macedon, invented many siege engines including battering rams and siege towers. For the Siege of Rhodes, he created the Helepolis, the Taker of Cities, a huge armored siege tower containing many heavy catapults.
The island city of Rhodes maintained its neutrality among the warring nations of the time, although it remained friendly to Ptolemy I of Egypt, the enemy of Demetrius of... Read More